Vermillion's two public elementary schools – Jolley Elementary and Austin Elementary – have become Positive Behavior Interventions and Support (PBIS) pilot schools as they implement the behavior management program to teach kids what behavior is expected for each student in each possible school setting.
At Jolley School, students on the first day of school last month went through Expectation Stations which briefed about school wide expectations. These expectations were a list of broad, positively stated behaviors that were desired of all students and faculty.
"We had, for example, each grade come to the lunch area to have the students watch our teachers go through the lunch line while discussing the expected behaviors and the proper procedures for going through the lunch line. We had the students attend stations for the lunch room, the playground, in the hallways, in the bathrooms and while in lines for morning and recess time," said Principal Mark Upward.
"PBIS is a positive behavior management system to create a safer and more effective school. This system provides clear school wide expectations for our students and teachers so we can all work as a team for a common goal which is to have less behavioral issues and more learning time, "said Cindy Weis, who is the program coach at Jolley.
Austin Elementary School Principal, Kim Johnson said the school staff participated in professional development for positive behavior interventions three years ago. They had organized a School Climate Committee and studied the basis PBIS framework. The committee began developing a school discipline plan based on that framework.
"Becoming a pilot PBIS school through the Department of Education was a perfect extension of our philosophy, but also incorporated training, support and accountability," she said.
Both at Austin and Jolley, the entire teaching staff had been involved in implementing the program to assure that the skills necessary to meet the PBIS expectations were worked on and evaluated frequently.
"Our PBIS team attended two workshops over the summer to train on the PBIS system. After the workshop, we trained the rest of the staff on PBIS. PBIS is a school wide system so every staff member, from the school lunch aides to the Principal, are involved in implementing this program," said Upward.
At Austin, the PBIS Team had gone through the training and then devoted their back-to-school in-service to training the entire teaching staff.
"We also held a 'Welcome-Back-to-School Brunch' for our support staff (educational aides, playground and lunch supervisors) to show appreciation for their important role as well as build consistency and support for the PBIS philosophy," said Johnson.
The schools also assess students' progress toward reaching the behavior expectations in a number of ways. At Austin, progress is measured through data (i.e. office referrals) as well as through classroom and school-wide feedback of student behavior. The progress of students at Jolley is assessed daily and weekly by counting the number of students who get a Tanager Buck in each classroom.