SWPBIS for Beginners
This section of the website is dedicated to those individuals who are interested in learning more about School-wide Positive Behavior Support.
Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) when applied at the School-wide level is frequently called: SWPBS or Sw-PBIS. For the remainder of this article SWPBS will be used when referring to School-wide Positive Behavior Support.
SWPBS refers to a systems change process for an entire school or district. The underlying theme is teaching behavioral expectations in the same manner as any core curriculum subject.
Typically, a team of approximately ten representative members of the school will attend a two or three day training provided by skilled trainers. This team will be comprised of administrators, classified, and regular and special education teachers.
The school will focus on three to five behavioral expectations that are positively stated and easy to remember. In other words, rather than telling students what not to do, the school will focus on the preferred behaviors. Here are some examples from other schools:
- Respect Yourself, Respect Others, and Respect Property
- Be Safe, Be Responsible, Be Respectful
- Respect Relationships and Respect Responsibilities
After the SWPBS team determines the 3-5 behavioral expectations that suit the needs of their school, they will take this information back to the staff to ensure at least 80% of the staff buy into the chosen expectations. Consistency from class to class and adult to adult is very important for successful implementation of SWPBS.
The team will then create a matrix of what the behavioral expectations look like, sound like, and feel like in all the non-classroom areas. This matrix will have approximately three positively stated examples for each area. Here is an example line from one school:
Keep feet and hands where they belong.
Throw unwanted items in wastebasket.
Keep food and drinks in backpack.
Place tray on kitchen window shelf after scraping leftovers into wastebasket.
Wipe table with sponge provided.
Clean food spills off floor.
Flush toilet after use.
Use two squirts of soap to wash hands.
Throw paper towels in wastebasket.
Report any graffitti or broken equipment to adult on duty.
Return playground equipment to proper area.
Use equipment as it was designed.
This would be filled out for each non-classroom area and each behavioral expectation. The Sw-PBS team would take the matrix back to the whole staff to ensure 80% buy-in from the entire staff on what expectations are taught in each area.
Another primary activity for the SWPBS team is determining how the behavioral expectations and routines will be taught in and around the school. There are many lesson plans available for teaching respect, responsibility etc. This website has many examples available under the primary level. Many schools choose to use several days at the beginning of each year to take the students around the school to stations, where the skills are taught in setting specific locations. For example, a bus may be brought to the school and the children will practice lining up, entering the bus, sitting on the bus, and exiting the bus using hula hoops to denote proper body space distance in lining up to enter the bus.
The next activity the SWPBS team will begin is the fine tuning of the office discipline referral form. The team will decide "What behaviors are an instant trip to the office and what behaviors are taken care of in the classroom." It is very important that every staff member is consistent. If it is not permissible to use a cell phone in band class then it has to not be permissible in art class.
Many schools choose to use School-wide Information System (SWIS). This is a web based program which graphs office discipline referral data. This program creates instant graphs for behavioral incidents per day- per month, time of day, specific behaviors, location and by specific student. The graphing program provides many other options. For more information on SWIS, please visit www.swis.org
Another activity for the SWPBS team is to determine a "gotcha" program. The gotchas are a system for labeling appropriate behavior. This website has many examples of gotchas in the primary section. Some schools use NCR paper for gotchas with one copy going home to parents, one to the classroom teacher, and one to the principal for weekly drawings.
The above activities are just a few of the steps a school begins to implement Sw-PBS. For further study check out these links in the resource box:
- Blueprint for Positive Behavior Support Manual
- Getting PBIS Into Your School Newletter Article
- PBIS Video
- State Map for Contact Information for Your State