It’s January and we’ve got some good news/bad news. The good news: winter break is over, and you are already halfway through the school year. The bad news: winter break is over, and you are only halfway through the school year.
Which of these two statements rings true for you? Depending on your perspective, this halfway point can be energizing or draining. If your school is using a PBIS initiative, however, you can use it to your advantage. PBIS can help combat challenging behaviors at this time of year.
Routines, Behavior, and PBIS
The period after winter break can sometimes be referred to as “the doldrums” – the excitement of the holidays is past and spring is a long way away.
In many ways, coming off a long break can be a great deal like starting the school year all over again. Without the structure of a classroom routine during their time away from class, students may need a refresher on expectations.
Maintaining the routine you established in the first half of the year can be a challenge after a long break from the classroom. Your students may behave as if they have never heard of the PBIS expectations. Now is not the time to abandon your PBIS initiative!
Benefits of PBIS After a Long Break
Hopefully, you were able to shake off the mid-year slump that generally comes before the holidays. What you were able to accomplish before the break can go a long way toward reestablishing cooperation and participation in your classroom for the remainder of the year.
You won’t have to start all over. In the spirit of positivity, hold on to what went well in the first half of the year. Maybe some routines or strategies didn’t quite work out, but invariably a few things surely did. Reinforce those and even think about if there might be a way to apply them towards similar behaviors. If you wanted, you could even engage your students and get their opinion as to what proved effective. Typically, this exercise will help with student buy-in.
More than that, though, maintaining your PBIS initiative into the second half of the year can reap big rewards for your students and staff:
If you have seen growth in your school in the short term due to PBIS, imagine how it can improve your school’s climate in the long run. By this point in the school year, you should have a wealth of data to assess so that you can continue to fine-tune your initiative. This is where ongoing progress monitoring is helpful.
PBIS Over the Long Term
Teacher buy-in is critical to the success of PBIS in your school. Most schools that begin a PBIS initiative see improvements within the first weeks. The challenge can be in maintaining the momentum after the excitement and newness have worn thin. The practice and use of PBIS schoolwide is a long-term effort, and it must be done with fidelity for it to be effective. Be patient with your efforts. PBIS doesn’t come in a box. You don’t unwrap it and set it up in the middle of your school or classroom. Most PBIS initiatives take 3-5 years to get up and running at full capacity. Understand that you will go through the growing pains of finding out what works for your students AND staff.
Above all, maintaining your PBIS initiative throughout the school year allows you to build an effective culture. It is this culture that will benefit your staff, students, and the community at large over the long term. Strong, successful schools build strong, successful students. Your commitment to PBIS after winter break can help your school to accomplish great things!