Getting Involved with Positive Behavior Support at Your Child’s School
Positive Behavior Support is becoming common practice in schools across the nation and has been successful in improving students’ social and academic performance. Unfortunately, parents are often unaware of how positive behavior support is being used and how they can take an active role in their children’s schools. This article describes this model and how parents can partner with educators to help students.
Positive behavior support was originally developed to overcome serious behavior problems of individual children. It offered a refreshing alternative to reactive and often demeaning strategies that were traditional procedures for educators trying to manage student behavior. Positive behavior support involves identifying the purposes behavior serves for a child (e.g., attention, avoidance of difficult tasks) and the circumstances in which these behaviors are most likely and least likely. With this information, educators and parents can develop strategies to 1) prevent problems, 2) teach skills to replace problem behavior, and 3) encourage appropriate behavior.
What is School-Wide Positive Behavior Support?
More recently, these basic principles have been applied to entire classrooms and schools. School-wide positive behavior support (SWPBS) is now viewed as a multi-level approach to student support and discipline. SWPBS is a team-based process for planning and problem solving that targets all students and staff on a particular school campus. The goal is to create environments where appropriate behavior is more effective and efficient than problem behavior, leading to a more positive school climate.
SWPBS is managed by a team of individuals representing the administration, faculty, support staff, students, and their families. This team gathers and reviews data on student behavior and progress and then uses this information to change the environment to prevent typical problem behavior from occurring (e.g., by posting written reminders of school expectations or increasing supervision in particular areas around the school). The team encourages staff – and families, when possible – to teach students social skills such as conflict resolution and encourage appropriate behavior with praise and rewards. They also develop consistent consequences to discourage problem behavior. These strategies are incorporated in the school’s overall plan, with the team monitoring progress.
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