If you’re confining PBIS to just the classroom, you’re missing out on all the other places students can benefit. Common areas such as the cafeteria, library, playground, or courtyard can also be places to acknowledge positive behavior in action. Recognizing and reinforcing positive behaviors across all areas of your school campus can make a significant impact on school culture.
However, you can take your PBIS initiative a step further by encouraging families to participate at home.
Extending PBIS into the home environment can help students build on the behavioral skills they develop at school. A family-school partnership extends the support students need to be successful. Interactions between students and their family members, when viewed through a PBIS lens, can create a positive home atmosphere. Applying schoolwide expectations to the home environment can give the adults in the home a playbook for reinforcing positive behaviors.
Many times, the families of students in Tier II or Tier III are the only ones with an awareness of PBIS in your school. These students may be part of a Check-In/Check-Out program or have had discipline referrals. However, ALL of your students and their families can benefit from the inclusion of PBIS in the home environment.
Implementing PBIS at Home
In order to build a family-school partnership for PBIS at home, you must communicate your schoolwide matrix to families. Parents and guardians must understand your school’s behavioral expectations and what they look like in action. You can share this information in any number of ways, but it’s often helpful to send a printed handout home. Making your behavior matrix a prominent part of your school website or family portal allows families to access it electronically, as well.
Ask your students and their families to create a home matrix that mirrors the behavioral expectations of your school. For some families, this may be an opportunity to change the focus of at-home discipline. Encourage them to create a short list (3-5 items) of expectations that are positively worded, such as:
- Be encouraging
- Be helpful
- Show respect
Once they have established expectations, the adults and students in the home can brainstorm examples of these values. Creating these examples together will give students ownership of their actions. Encourage families to be very specific when developing examples, such as:
- I can be encouraging by being patient with my siblings as they try new things.
- I can be helpful by hanging up my jacket and putting my shoes away.
- I can show respect by not interrupting someone when they are speaking.
Recognition and Celebration
As your students and their families adapt to their home matrix, encourage the adults to acknowledge their student whenever they meet these expectations. They can do this in any way they choose, but it’s often helpful to award points or tokens for positive behaviors. It’s also helpful for the adult to be specific about the action they are acknowledging. This lets their student know their positive actions are seen and appreciated by the adults in the household.
A family-school partnership might also include a note from the adult to the teacher about the student’s positive behavior at home.
Just as students accumulate points or tokens in a schoolwide PBIS initiative, the same concept can apply at home. In the school setting, a student’s points can be used to purchase items or privileges in the school or classroom PBIS store. At home, students can work toward a goal that they and their adult(s) have set together. This can be as simple as earning more time to read or play or as significant as a special meal. It’s up to the student and their family to establish obtainable goals.
Building a Family-School Partnership With PBIS Rewards
The more you include families in your school’s PBIS initiative, the more successful your students can become, both at school and at home. Parents and guardians want their students to develop the skills that will serve them well throughout their lives.
For schools using PBIS Rewards, encouraging a family-school partnership can be simple. PBIS Rewards includes a family of apps that allow both students and families to view goals in your school’s PBIS initiative. The PBIS Rewards Student App can help generate excitement and create connection with your initiative. The PBIS Rewards Family App allows families to see their student’s behavioral development and directly contact their child’s teacher(s). Positive behaviors that develop in the school setting can form a foundation for positive behaviors and growth at home.
Connecting the behavioral expectations of a schoolwide initiative with behavioral goals at home can benefit students in numerous ways. A family-school partnership can act as a unified structure to support students in all aspects of their lives.
Let PBIS Rewards help you work in partnership with families to improve school climate and culture. Our digital token economy enables you to manage your PBIS initiative more accurately from beginning to end. We’d love to show you how it works! Just contact us for more information or request a demo!