What is SWPBIS?
SWPBIS is a comprehensive and preventative approach to discipline. The main goal of SWPBIS is to decrease unwanted student behavior in schools and classrooms and to develop integrated networks that support students and adults at the school, classroom, family, and individual student levels. Under SWPBIS, serious behavior problems and overall school climate improves because faculty and staff actively teach positive behavior, through modeling expected behavior and rewarding positive behaviors, such as academic achievement, following adult requests, and engaging in safe behavior.
The overarching and continuous goal of SWPBIS is to establish a positive school and classroom climate, in which expectations for students are predictable, directly taught, consistently acknowledged and actively monitored.
What are some of the key features of successful SWPBIS policy?
- Focus on specific behavioral expectations and rewarding youth for desired behavior
- Defining and teaching a common set of positive behavioral expectations throughout the school,
- Acknowledging and rewarding expected behavior, and
- Establishing and using consistent consequence for problem behavior.
- Multi-tiered Support
- Primary or Universal Intervention: school-wide support and positive behavior instruction for all students
- Secondary or Selective Interventions: support catered to students who are at risk, and
- Tertiary or Indicated Intervention: intensive support focused on students who are the most chronically and intensely at risk of anti-social behavior
- Data-based Decision Making
- Collecting and recording when, where and to whom suspensions are given and where problems occur in order to make smart decisions about resources and assistance
What does SWPBIS look like in a school?
SWPBIS emphasizes uniform and continuous instruction for all students concerning desired and expected social behaviors.
- All classrooms in SWPBIS schools have the same set of common classroom-level rules and positive reinforcement systems that are consistent with the school-wide plan
- Behavioral problems that are handled in the classroom versus those that are handled by administrators with higher level interventions are clearly defined
- Data on patterns of problem behavior are regularly summarized, presented, and discussed at faculty meetings and new strategies utilized
Why is SWPBIS a proven and better approach than quick removals?
In general, schools that adopt a proactive approach to improving school climate through the creation of positive behavior incentives, classroom management and conflict resolution training for teachers and staff, and encouragement of greater parental involvement demonstrate low rates of suspension and reductions in office discipline referrals of up to 50% per year.
A 2008 study of 28 K-12 schools and early childhood programs indicated that implementation of SWPBIS resulted in a significant reduction of office discipline referrals and suspensions, with middle and high schools experiencing the most benefit. These reductions helped recover 864 days of teaching, 1,701 days of learning, and 571 days of leadership. Implementation was associated with academic gains in math for the vast majority of schools who implemented with fidelity. Secondary benefits of SWPBIS include improved academic achievement, reduced dropout rates, higher teacher retention and a more positive school culture.
Are there other districts and schools in California effectively implementing SWPBIS?
- Pioneer High School in Woodland Unified School District, where implementation of the system of PBIS has resulted in a 62% reduction in suspensions and significant increases in school attendance and achievement. See how Pioneer High School did it!
Los Angeles Unified School District adopted a school discipline policy requiring all of its schools to put in place SWPBIS and develop a school plan. While implementation is not consistent, those schools that have embraced SWPIS are seeing remarkable improvements:
- At Edison Middle School in Los Angeles, where the district’s PBIS policy is being implemented, the school experienced an 87% reduction in suspensions, 29 in 2009-2010, down from 255 in 2005-2006.
- Similarly at Garfield High School, PBIS resulted in a reduction from 510 suspensions during the 2007-08 school year to 1 suspension during the 2010-11 school year. Additionally, the school experienced significant improvement in API points: 597 points in 2007-08 to 707 in 2010-11. Learn more about how Garfield High staff made it happen!
McAuliffe School at Camp Challenger, a juvenile camp facility in Lancaster, California began implementing PBIS during the 2011-2012 school year and it has already seen reductions in suspensions and classroom removals. See how Christa McAuliffe School is implementing PBIS!
To help you get started, read the highlights on the various schools and districts implementing SWPBIS and you will also be able to find training materials, policies and procedures, handbooks, and tools used by these school districts and schools. Take a look!
Where can I go for additional information, resources and research?
California Services for Technical Assistance and Training– www.CalSTAT.org
Office of Special Education Programs Technical Assistance Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports – www.PBIS.org
California Technical Assistance Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports – www.pbiscaltac.org
Safe and Civil Schools – http://www.safeandcivilschools.com/
Adapted from Osher, D., Bear, G.G., Sprague, J.R., Doyle,W. (2010), How can we improve School Discipline; Technical Assistance Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (2012), What is Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports, www.PBIS.org.
Raffaele Mendez, L.M., Knoff, H.M., &Ferron, J.M. (2002).School demographic variables and out-of-school suspension rates: A quantitative and qualitative analysis of a large, ethnically diverse school district,Psychology in the Schools, 39 (3), 259-277
Losen, D. J. (2011), Discipline Policies, Successful Schools, and Racial Justice, The Civil Rights Project at UCLA and National Education Policy Center, citing Muscott, H.S. et al. (2008), Positive behavioral interventions and supports in New Hampshire: effects of large-scale implementation of schoolwide positive behavior support on student discipline and academic achievement, Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 10, 190-205.