Successful Strategies from our PBIS Schools

A dedicated PBIS block every week. Activities during this time are devoted to teaching and promoting positive behavior. Steps to Respect, Second Step, or the behavior curriculum for the school (Cool Tools) are presented during this school-wide committed time each week. (ElmParkSchool).

Recess before lunch. Several Worcester schools have discovered that sending students out to play before they eat lunch has multiple benefits. Transitioning to class after lunch is much easier and calmer, adding to more instructional time and fewer behavioral corrections. Students sit and eat their lunch without rushing to get outside to play. There are studies that show less food waste and improved cafeteria behavior. As one teacher says “they get all the wiggles out”. For more information about this, see the website www.peacefulplaygrounds.com or search “recess before lunch”.

Table of the week. Cafeteria behavior is a common concern in many schools. One intervention that has proven successful has been the institution of table of the week. All students were given assigned seats during each lunch period. Tables of students are recognized for following cafeteria behavioral expectations and are given “paw cards” for their exemplary behavior. The table with the greatest number of “paws” at the end of lunch on Thursday have the privilege of sitting at a special table on Friday, set with a table cloth, and they get freeze pops for dessert. (Burncoat Prep.)

Fine Dining. This suggestion was given by a retired principal, Bob Sullivan. At the front of the school cafeteria there are a couple of tables designated in some way as special (Bob had green tables). Students can be invited to sit at these tables by any adult in the school due to good behavior. Those students who are invited to sit at the special table are given applications for a Gold Card. The application has multiple pages, including check-lists that serve as references from three different people, attesting to the character and trustworthiness of the student. The last page is an open response question, such as “If you become a Gold Card member, how would you help others to do the same?” If the application is accepted there is a brief ceremony in the cafeteria where the Gold Card is presented. The card affords the privilege of sitting at a table one day a week, away from the other students. The table is set with a table cloth, napkins, dishes and silverware, and bowls of simple snacks like pretzels . Students also get to leave the classroom a minute or so early so that they do not have to stand in line to get their food.

Luncheon for PBIS students of the month. This is another suggestion for special lunches that promote appropriate social behavior. Once a month the principal, assistant principal and PBIS facilitator don aprons and serve the PBIS students of the month pizza and desserts and are presented “medals” which they wear throughout the school day. (Union Hill)

Bus of the Week. Behavior on the school buses is another area of common concern. One school has included the bus drivers in their PBIS program. Special recognition cards for bus behavior are given to students who demonstrate appropriate behavior on the bus. It is important to first directly teach the behavior to students so that they understand what is expected. The students are nominated by their bus drivers for this award, they are publicly recognized in the school, and get to participate in Fun Friday activities. This has proven to be very successful at Quinsigamond Elementary.

Above and Beyond Board. There is a board set up in the cafeteria with notes posted that recognize specific positive behavior. Staff can nominate students or other staff members. The notes say things like “I nominate John Jones for always getting to school on time” or “ I nominate Mrs. Smith because she greets every student with a smile in the morning”. The notes are left up all year and Above and Beyond certificates are presented to those nominated. There is great effort to recognize those students who might otherwise be overlooked. (Gates Lane)

Combining Focus on Results and PBIS. The similarity in the structure of Focus on Results and PBIS lends itself to combining instructional and behavioral interventions, as several schools have recognized. Rice Square and Lincoln St. Schools have Book Buddies. The students in the Book Buddies program at Rice Square read Bedtime Stories. The students were able to use their Chilly Cards to attend a showing of the movie Bedtime Stories. At Lincoln St. School everything that is done with PBIS is linked to their instructional focus of strengthening reading comprehension. For instance, the Book Buddies got together and made scarecrows as part of the quarterly PBIS celebration. They were displayed on the school lawn and parents were encouraged to make a visit to the school to see the display and acknowledge their children’s work.

March Madness Challenge.

  • All classes were informed of the challenge which would take place for the entire month of March
  • Classrooms teachers kept track of student attendance and homework each day
  • At the end of each week teachers turned a slip into the PBIS coach stating how many students in their classes were in attendance each day and turned in homework
  • These were converted into percentages and posted on a large chart in the front lobby of the school where students could see how their classes were doing
  • After 4 weeks the percentages were averaged to come up with the winning classes
  • The top three teams earned a special celebration with the PBIS team consisting of basketball, dancing, hula hoops, four square, and other activities
  • The 3 winning teachers were also motivated to help their class win by the promise of a free lunch from the principal
  • During morning announcements we made sure to make note of the chart and use it as a motivating factor for students to be in attendance and do their homework (ChandlerMagnet School)

Triple AAA Celebration. This occurs quarterly after each report card is issued. The Triple AAA's are:

  1. Attendance (No tardies, dismissals or absences for the quarter)
  2. Academics (Reading, Math, and Accelerated Reader which is at home reading)
  3. Attitude (1 girl and 1 boy from each homeroom who display a great attitude)

Because our school is so large we hold 4 assemblies (Kindergarten, Grades 1 & 2, Grades 3 & 4, Grades 5 & 6).

One of the components of the Triple AAA Celebration that we are most proud of is the parent component. Every winner's parent receives a letter informing them of their child's selection. The letter does not state which of the Triple AAA's they won.

At the assembly, the child is given a certificate, and the parents receive a poem about the parent/teacher/child relationship, they also receive information about the importance of reading and how to do it with your children, and they get a token gift. This year the theme is "Bursting with Pride". In a small bag, there are starbursts with a "Bursting with Pride" label. Next year, our theme will be "Smartie Pants", a small pair of pants with Smarties candies in the pocket.

During the assembly, when a child is called to the front to receive their certificate, the parent also comes up and stands with the child. The parents have loved this and it has been a great draw for them. During the assembly, I use this opportunity to talk about our Instructional Focus and the importance of reading (Quinsigamond Elementary)

Special Events Team. This intervention is appropriate for students who are at risk for suspension or who may be returning from a suspension.

Students who have persistent behavioral issues are included in the Targeted Check and Connect system and told that there is also "this other thing"... A Special Events Team. It is explained that the team is used for special events to get work done, for example, setting chairs up or stacking them after an event or doing community service activities around the school. The student are included on the Special Events Team if they are able to meet the Check and Connect goals. This is also effective when less problematic students are nominated for inclusion on the team. All students remain on the team as long they qualify based on their behavior. (Roosevelt School).

Punch Cards. Goddard uses numbered punch cards to acknowledge appropriate behavior. Monthly celebrations are tiered according to how many “punches” a child receives. Below is an example of Goddard’s tiered PBIS celebration for December:

Over 50 punches allow students to work on Gingerbread Houses. Between 25-49 punches earns students the privilege of making holiday trees with ice cream cones. Students with 6-24 punches can decorate holiday cookies.

Other monthly celebrations that are popular are:

  • Arts and crafts
  • Make your own sundae
  • Water balloon games
  • Treasure hunt in school yard
  • Bingo for prizes
  • Board games
  • Hawaiian Day
  • Pirates Day
  • Free play with bubbles and parachute
  • Stations in the gym – scooter races, parachute, musical chairs etc.