Jan 02, 2020
Building Upon PBIS Successes
Lisbon K-12 Associate Principal Eric Ries, Lisbon Instructional Coach Amelia Kibbie, and Grant Wood AEA External PBIS Coach Jane Feldman.
Middle school students in the Lisbon Community School District are benefitting from the modification of a successful program from its elementary school that has made it equally effective for its middle school students.
The Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) program at the elementary level is in its ninth year of implementation. “Every week a team of administrators and teachers review student data to look for trends, and like clockwork you can see teachers using that data to seek opportunities to praise the positive and reinforce expectations,” said Grant Wood AEA’s Jane Feldman, a speech-language pathologist who served as an external PBIS coach to help the district staff with PBIS implementation. “The building has lots of creative, vested teachers that encourage kids to follow expectations for social, emotional, and behavioral skills. Their instructional coach, Amelia Kibbie, has done a great job helping build the foundation for this at both the elementary and middle school buildings. The program has been really effective at offering constructive interventions as an alternative to punitive discipline.”
Seeing the strength at the elementary level, the Lisbon board encouraged the school district leaders to look for a similar model to implement at the junior high level.
“We had good, healthy discussions with our staff as we worked through how we could build a successful program for middle school students that was age appropriate,” explained Eric Ries, associate principal for Lisbon Community School District. “Jane was key in helping staff feel comfortable with modifying the framework to make it fit Lisbon. What we have today might not fit every district, but it’s a great compliment to our culture in Lisbon.”
Today, students who are familiar with the PBIS program from their elementary years see a more mature, slightly different program once they enter middle school. “We made a lot of modifications to ensure the program was age-appropriate for an older student population,” explained Eric.
At the elementary level students were recognized several times every day, and received positive reinforcement on a more frequent basis. The design for the middle school allows recognition for the students on a regular basis, but empowers them to save the “Becker Bucks” - the Monopoly money they earn through the program that’s named for the building principal - to purchase age appropriate snacks. “It’s really, really simple, but that’s what the kids got excited about,” said Eric.
The middle school program has netted positive outcomes in surprising ways in the four years it’s been implemented. “We never really had a lot of behavior problems, so that wasn’t our goal with this program,” explained Eric. One positive outcome was that the middle school program ensured students experienced a similar culture in the middle school to what they were accustomed to from the elementary school. The program also helped students understand building expectations if they were a recent transfer to Lisbon from another school district. “This program isn’t just about teaching expectations and talking with kids in a more positive way and guiding their decisions. It’s helped provide a common language and shared expectations for our entire building, and that’s especially important for kids who are new to our schools or not familiar with our culture,” said Ries.