Behavior management is one of the key aspects of school culture and climate. Traditional disciplinary systems focused on punitive measures for infractions do very little to promote positive behavior. Their focus is on the response to negative behavior. “Good” behavior is expected but not defined, and for the most part not celebrated.
Many schools opt for a more proactive approach to student behavior by establishing positive behavior expectations. Paired with these expectations is a framework of interventions and supports that enable students to be successful. Encouraging positive behavior in the school setting has the potential to impact students and staff alike. A positive, encouraging atmosphere can result in improved academic achievement, higher graduation rates, reduced discipline referrals, and increased staff retention rates.
A schoolwide behavior plan can help you accomplish all of that and more. But where do you begin?
Building a Schoolwide Behavior Plan
If you want to develop positive school culture, building a schoolwide behavior plan focusing on positive behaviors can help you achieve that. Behavioral challenges and goals differ from school to school and a schoolwide behavior plan should be unique to the school it serves. That means creating a structure that meets the needs of your students and staff, with clearly defined goals.
The processes that make up your plan should be clear and easy to follow, with responses and responsibilities clearly defined. Managing behaviors schoolwide has the potential to impact everyone on your campus, from admin to staff to students. But for it to be effective, it takes commitment across the entire school community.
Benefits of a Positive Schoolwide Behavior Plan
When you establish a standard for behavior that is focused on the positive, you set your school on a path to profound change.
Increased focus on positive behaviors causes negative ones to lose some of their impact. Students who may lag behind their peers developmentally often get snared in a cycle of poor behavior and punishment. By providing these students with the scaffolding to develop positive behaviors, you improve the overall climate in your school.
A focus on positive behaviors, paired with a system for recognition:
- Meets struggling students where they are and enables them to improve
- Produces a positive work environment for staff
- Creates community
- Reduces discipline referrals, suspensions, and expulsions
- Improves school culture
- Positively impacts student self-esteem
Elements of an Effective Schoolwide Behavior Plan
Behavior management on a schoolwide level requires preparation and intentionality. Begin your schoolwide behavior plan with a rollout that occurs in stages, with room to adjust your implementation timeline as needed. Consider incorporating these important elements:
Having a group of individuals responsible for overseeing implementation as well as assessing progress can help keep your behavior plan moving forward. Create this team by selecting individuals from different areas of your school’s organizational structure, including admin, teachers, support staff, students, and/or families.
Set forth what you want to accomplish behaviorally by establishing your school’s key values and identifying the behaviors that demonstrate these values. What do these values look like in specific settings, such as in the classroom, the cafeteria, on the bus, and during off-campus school events like field trips?
The enthusiasm and cooperation of your staff will make or break your behavior plan. Your staff has a front-row seat to student behavior, both in the classroom and schoolwide. They want a behavior plan that is easy to understand and simple to deploy. Staff buy-in is critical to the success of any behavior initiative.
Establishing a common language around behavior expectations can help keep everyone focused toward the same goals. Positive behaviors will be expressed in different ways across a variety of settings. A baseline of common language allows staff and students to understand expectations regardless of environment.
Reporting and Analysis
How will you know if your behavior plan is working? Having a system to track and review behavior data will help you to see where you need to make adjustments. A behavior plan has the potential to generate a lot of information, and you need to be able to make sense of it.
A good behavior plan includes procedures to mitigate and limit misbehavior. These disciplinary practices should have established interventions and consequences so that infractions are handled with consistency.
Using PBIS Rewards to Manage Behavior Schoolwide
One of the most effective forms of behavior management is Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports, or PBIS. When implemented with fidelity, a PBIS initiative has the potential to impact your school’s culture and climate in numerous ways. As a schoolwide behavior management plan, PBIS focuses on the acknowledgment of positive behaviors and support of students struggling with behavior.
When it comes to implementing a PBIS initiative, many schools opt to begin with a manual program. However, physical tokens, manual tabulation, and inaccurate data can quickly overwhelm even the most dedicated staff. Fidelity becomes difficult to maintain. PBIS Rewards takes the challenges out of a physical token economy by making everything digital. Everyone on your staff can get in on the fun!
With PBIS Rewards, you can:
- Recognize – use a smartphone, tablet, or the web portal to recognize students with points
- Track – view dozens of reports to get an accurate picture of your initiative’s performance
- Redeem – students can use their points for incentives, events, and drawings
Schools using PBIS Rewards report greater success in the implementation of their PBIS initiative. Students feel supported, staff feels valued, and everyone feels encouraged!