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Establish and Teach Positive Behavior Expectations If asked what the school behavior expectations are, could each teacher and each student in the building list them? Within an effective PBIS framework, one would expect to find that at least 80 percent of staff and students could answer this question. PBIS schools understand that all behavior needs to be taught and reinforced. While teaching and promoting positive behavior is an added effort, ultimately time is saved in that this approach results in less need for responding to inappropriate behavior. Developing clear behavioral expectations is an important first step in building an effective focused school wide behavior plan. PBIS schools establish, define, and teach three to five school-wide expectations on the first day of school and then re-teach and reinforce these expectations throughout the school year.The process of identifying school wide expectations is one that will also require consensus building among staff to determine three to five commonly agreed upon behavioral expectations.

Systems to Acknowledge Positive Behavior Once clear behavioral expectations are identified and taught, schools must ensure that all students receive positive acknowledgement for demonstrating these behaviors. Educators find an increase in positive behavior from students when attention and reinforcement is directed towards what students are doing well as opposed to what they are doing wrong. One of the simplest and most powerful reinforcement strategies involves all staff to agreeing to implement a simple process of providing students positive attention at least four times for every one correction for problem behavior. Schools implement many types of acknowledgement systems that range from a friendly teacher’s smile, fist bump, or high five to a more sophisticated token or lottery ticket system that can be earned by the student.

Corrective Procedures for Behavior Infractions In the same manner in which common systems of acknowledgment are

by assessing current practices, training opportunities and resources. Research indicates that the benefits of designing and implementing a school wide behavior plan include increased safety, positive school climate, less staff turnover, decreased office referrals and increased student achievement. Achieving these outcomes is a process that is accomplished over time, not as a result of a one time training opportunity or a building plan developed in the absence of staff commitment. Development of the plan is a process that will require staff, community and family participation and buy in to develop and implement.The benefits realized through consistent implementation provides motivation supporting ongoing commitment.

developed, school plans also include common approaches in response to problem behavior. Most PBIS schools choose to implement a uniform consequence sequence to ensure that staff are on the “same page” when correcting behavior.This promotes consistency among staff and creates predictability for students and families. Students are directly instructed on the consequence system and possible consequences of inappropriate behavior. Due to this systematic approach, students are more likely to assume that situations of misconduct will be handled similarly among staff. Developing a focused school wide behavior plan is not a quick fix for discipline problems.The process begins with strong administrative leadership and a well thought out approach. Most schools begin by exploring the implementation stages of PBIS, by assessing alignment of the framework with current building initiatives and goals. Schools typically begin slowly

As Behavior In Schools Staff Development and Training Director, Thomas J. Stacho, Ed.S. is responsible for the creation and implementation of the professional development services offered from Behavior In Schools. For more information visit

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Southeast Education Network issue 15.2

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Southeast Education Network issue 15.2