Porters Point School Pioneers PBIS Initiative at CSD

There is an effort underway in education that is helping to transform schools, and Colchester School District is in on the action.

Have you heard about Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS)?

Designed to be a school-wide approach to creating positive learning environments, the basic idea around PBIS is to recognize students who make good choices—those who follow rules and directions and those who are productive members of their school community—rather than providing attention to those who do not, and the program is gaining momentum across the country.

Porters Point School is spearheading the PBIS initiative in the Colchester School District. A delegation of volunteers recently attended the BEST initiative—Building Effective Strategies for Teaching—a four-day workshop in Killington hosted by the Vermont Department of Education that focused upon the implementation of PBIS. Porters Point School intends to roll PBIS out at the start of the school year this fall.

Part of the theory around PBIS and behavior management in schools today is that approximately 80 percent of the students follow the school rules, and the strategy of PBIS is to recognize those students, as well as the approximately 15 percent of the “fence sitters” in the student population—those students who sometimes make good choices and sometimes do not. The idea is to bring those fence sitters into the 80 percent category.

Furthermore, PBIS works to minimize the challenging behaviors exhibited by the remaining 5 percent or so of the students whose actions result in disruptions in the learning environment.

Porters Point School has three essential rules:

o Be safe
o Be respectful
o Be ready to learn

By introducing research- and training-based approaches to behavior management and methods of documenting and analyzing progress, Porters Point School—and CSD as a whole—intends to firmly establish innovative ways of creating positive and respectful environments that foster healthy growth, development, and academic excellence in addition to those already in practice.

While CSD’s PowerSchool data management system can track behavior information, PBIS also uses its own software, called SWIS, to track and analyze behavior-related data in a number of different ways. Because of this, decisions about interventions and evidence relating to PBIS’s effectiveness are data driven rather than subjective.

The subject of PBIS is vast, and as such, we will bring you more information about it as the implementation process takes root. Stay tuned for those updates! In the meantime, for more information, you may contact Jim Marshall, Porters Point School’s principal, at marshallj@csdvt.org. You may also visit the national PBIS website or Vermont’s PBIS website.

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