Savannah in the summer is captivating in many ways, and we had the distinct pleasure of attending the 2015 Southeastern PBIS Conference (SEPBIS), hosted by Georgia Southern University. The vast majority of the conference’s attendees were seeking an easy solution for the management of their PBIS initiative, and we were excited to be able to demonstrate PBIS Rewards as the answer to their PBIS management system needs. The schools at SEPBIS were eager to learn more about PBIS Rewards, and we were happy to spend time with each school’s representatives, sharing this simple and straightforward solution. We also came away from the conference with some great new ideas for making PBIS Rewards an even better solution for schools, and have already begun working on enhancements based on what we learned.
We had three primary takeaways from the conference – and these takeaways are what have influenced our summer enhancements: Recognition; Sustainability; and Data.
When people mention PBIS, “reward” comes to mind, closely followed by the question, “Why should we reward students for doing what they’re supposed to?” If you’ve found yourself asking that same question, then you’re making an assumption that the student was taught the “right” way to do something by an adult in their life. Unfortunately, for most students this isn’t the case. Behavior is learned. Without the adults in their lives teaching it, students don’t know what good behavior looks like. As one of the keynote speakers at the SEPBIS Conference noted, in many cases educators are forced to teach good behavior to their students. This is the sad but true reality of the school environment of today. Once you come to terms with the reality of this new generation of students, you understand the importance of teaching students positive behaviors in school.
Rewarding good behavior means nothing if the student doesn’t know what they did right, and they have no idea what they should try to do in the future. Imagine your boss leaving a five dollar bill on your desk. Wouldn’t you want to know what you did that made them reward you… so you can do it again and get another five dollar bill? PBIS Rewards allows you to easily reward points to students for good behavior, but it is up to the teacher/staff member to do the recognition. All it takes is, “Hey, Johnny. Here’s a point because you walked safely down the hallway.” Recognizing positive behavior is part of the process of rewarding points; otherwise the points are ineffective.
Sustainability is a large factor to consider when implementing PBIS. For example, if your school chooses to create an actual store, have you considered:
- How will you restock items when they run out?
- Where can you get PBIS reward ideas?
- What will you do to keep students engaged?
- Do you have methods in place to ensure PBIS effectiveness with the staff as well as the students?
- How will you keep track of your school’s fidelity in the program?
Starting PBIS is easy, maintaining it takes thought.
PBIS Rewards helps to preserve the positive climate and culture you first created because the drudgery of maintenance is removed. Our app keeps track of your store and purchases, so you don’t have to. Students will remain interested in following your school’s expectations because they want recognition and rewards. Setting up a store can be simple: choose free or inexpensive PBIS incentives that students like, such as iPad time, extended lunch/recess, and other special privileges. Students love these items as much as novelties, food, and other items that must be purchased or donated. This keeps them excited and the store “full,” which will encourage them to do the right thing. To guarantee effectiveness continues, PBIS Rewards has several different reports to keep you up to date. You can effortlessly monitor your school’s fidelity to PBIS Rewards by viewing the reports. Sustaining a school’s progress with PBIS will be a simple task with PBIS Rewards.
To get the most out of your PBIS program, you have to know what is going on and what you are seeing in results. It would be great if every teacher followed your conventions equally well and every student responded with greatly improved behavior, but that won’t happen. However, with the right data collection and reporting, you can see where successes are happening and where there is room for improvement. Reports within PBIS Rewards aid PBIS program administrators by showing them all of the details so that they can make continual adjustments. You can see where students are falling short and where teachers are using the rewards inconsistently. This helps ensure that there is fidelity across the program, a critical component to ensure continued schoolwide enthusiasm for PBIS.
How does PBIS Rewards do this? By tracking every reward given; by student, by teacher, and when. Reports give a high-level overview of what is taking place and allows administrators to dive down into the details. Exception reports show where students and teachers are outside of expectations. Early recognition of a problem provides an opportunity for an early intervention.
And just as importantly, administrators can see where successes are taking place so that positive feedback and recognition can take place at the staff level. Teachers love positive recognition as much as students.
The Southeast PBIS Conference was valuable not just from the plethora of information we received, but also from connecting with schools and talking to educators. It is rewarding knowing that our app can solve some of the major problems schools face when adopting the PBIS framework. By using PBIS Rewards schoolwide with fidelity, you can teach students positive behaviors that will eventually come naturally. PBIS has been proven to work; PBIS Rewards can help make it successful.