Frequently Asked Questions

Answers

What does PBIS stand for?

Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports. It is also known as Positive Behavior interventions (PBS) or School wide Positive Behavior Supports (SWPBS).

What is PBIS?

Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports is a general approach to supporting academic and social success of all children in a school. Attention is focused on creating and maintaining a positive environment in school by teaching and encouraging appropriate behavior and discouraging problem behavior.

What schools in the Worcester district have received training in using PBIS as a discipline system?

Middle Schools:

Burncoat Middle School
Dr. Arthur F. Sullivan Middle School
Worcester East Middle School

Elementary Schools:

Belmont Street Community School
Burncoat Street Preparatory School
Canterbury Magnet Computer-Based School
Chandler Elementary Community School
Chandler Magnet School
City View Discovery School
Columbus Park Preparatory Academy
Elm Park Community School
Francis J. McGrath Elementary School
Gates Lane School of International Studies
Goddard School of Science and Technology
Lincoln Street School
Norrback Ave. School
Quinsigamond School
Rice Square School
Roosevelt School
Tatnuck Magnet School
Union Hill School
Vernon Hill School
Wawecus Road School
Woodland Academy

Alternative Programs:

Academic Center for Transition (ACT)
Fanning Learning Center
Dr. James A. Caradonio New Citizen’s Center

What is Primary Prevention?

Primary prevention refers to the features of the PBIS system that involve all students, and staff in all areas of the school and all times of the day. There is a school leadership team that includes representation from the school administration, a cross section of grade level teachers and support staff, specialists, and optimally, parents. There are school-wide behavior expectations established and directly taught to students. There is a system in place to PBIS acknowledge appropriate behavior and discourage problem behavior. There are procedures in place to examine data for ongoing monitoring and evaluation.

What is Secondary Prevention?

The Secondary, or Targeted, level of prevention refers to the individual and small group supports that are put in place for those students who need greater assistance in developing behavioral competence and self management than is provided at the Universal level. There is a team in place that focuses on establishing a more individualized approach to meet the needs of these students. Many schools use a Check and Connect system, Mentoring, HUGS (Hello, Update, Goodbye) or small group interventions at this level of support. A functional behavior assessment and behavior intervention plan is often used to identify how to best serve the individual needs of the child.

What is Tertiary Prevention?

Tertiary or Intensive level of prevention is used to reduce the intensity and severity of problem behavior in the one to five percent of students who need the most intensive level of support. These are the children who engage in chronic challenging behavior that is unresponsive to the primary or secondary systems of support. They are often in trouble at school, in the home and in their neighborhood or community. In the Worcester Public Schools we use a variety of interventions for these students including a strength based, family focused process, often referred to as wraparound. Efforts are made to involve all supports available for these students, formal and informal, to achieve better outcomes for the youth and their families.

Why should schools focus on teaching social behavior?

It is the responsibility of schools to educate their students. PBIS works to establish a positive climate with the goal of preventing inappropriate behavior, thereby allowing teachers to spend more time on instruction and less time reacting to negative student behavior. Teaching, modeling, and reinforcing positive social behavior is important to a student’s educational experience.

Why should students be rewarded for doing what is expected?

Many students require acknowledgment that they are learning the necessary skills for success, in both the academic or social areas. When positive feedback is provided that behavioral skills are developing correctly and goals are being met, the appropriate behavior is more likely to be repeated in the future. People of all ages respond to support and acknowledgment of their success.

Does PBIS mean that student’s don’t get consequences for inappropriate behavior?

Many students only get recognized when they misbehave and therefore the misbehavior is often reinforced through increased attention. There are also students who act out in class to avoid challenging academic tasks. When we fail to examine the causes of the misbehavior we often miss an opportunity to provide the correct intervention for the student. In all of the Worcester Public Schools there are consequences for behavior that is determined to be unsafe, that is chronic or that interferes with classroom instruction. PBIS strives to provide logical consequences for behavior and works toward the goal of addressing unwanted behavior through environmental redesign, curriculum redesign, modification of behavior, and function based behavior support. School and student safety are always the paramount consideration.

How does PBIS involve parents?

Parent involvement is a strong component of a successful PBIS system in any school. Schools are urged to recruit parents for the Universal PBIS leadership team. If parents are aware of school expectations they are able to reinforce the behavioral expectations in conversations with their children. Many schools dedicate a portion of the Parent-Teacher meetings to update the membership about PBIS in the school. Often there are messages in school newsletters that celebrate the successes of the PBIS system in the school as well.

How does a school become involved in the PBIS system?

In the Worcester Public Schools it is the policy that training for staff in PBIS practices takes place on a voluntary basis. The school administrator requests training by contacting Martha Wally, PBIS District Coordinator. The staff is then offered an overview and decides, often by a vote, whether they will proceed with training. PBIS requires active administrative leadership as well as staff involvement and classroom implementation. It takes time, effort and cooperation to change the way a school handles discipline issues. It requires everyone in the school to commit to the move from a reactive style to a proactive and preventative discipline system.