RIC Leads Training in Good Behavior at RI Schools
Friday, January 14, 2011
Every school has problem behavior, from bullying to vandalism to disrespect and open defiance. But schools have been dealing with these issues in one of two ways: detention or suspension, which fails to reform.
Beyond detention and suspension
Initiated by the U.S. Department of Education, a system called PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports) is being implemented by schools across the country, and these schools are reporting dramatic declines in discipline referrals.
“It’s great when you no longer see the same child’s name showing up on a discipline referral,” said Assistant Principal Steven Clarke of Ricci Middle School. Ricci incorporated PBIS in September 2010. “It’s a great system,” he said.
RIC’s PBIS coordinator, Lavonne Nkomo, said the system is founded on the premise that if positive behavior is taught and reinforced, positive behavior becomes the norm.
“Some teachers ask why schools should have the job of teaching good behavior,” said Nkomo. “But these teachers take it for granted that kids know how to behave or how to make friends or how to deal with frustration. We teach every child in the school because each child’s development varies.”
Principal Melissa Marino of Wawaloam and Lineham elementary schools in Exeter/West Greenwich said that students, parents and faculty at her schools praise PBIS. “It teaches students to make good choices, which results in more time for instruction versus time dealing with discipline issues.”
Five Key Features of PBIS
1. A leadership team is created consisting of faculty, administration, parents and community members.
2. The team comes up with 3–5 behavior expectations for the school. Those behaviors are physically demonstrated to the students.
3. An acknowledgment system is created for use whenever a child is “caught” using a target behavior.
4. Problem behavior is tracked and input into a database system called SWIS.
5. Intervention is made when SWIS detects a pattern of problem behavior. Early intervention is cited as one of the major reasons for the decline in discipline referrals.
RIC has trained 112 schools and 11 school districts, and more schools are lining up for the training. For more information, visit School-Wide PBIS.
For more on the story, go here.
Gita Brown is a Writer/Editor at Rhode Island College.
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