Is there a difference between STRIVE and PBIS? How do they work?
STRIVE (Webster Hill students who Support, Trust, Respect, Inquire, Value education and each other, and Excel) started in 2009. There wasn’t a system in place to recognize students for good behavior and no system to communicate our expectations to students and families. STRIVE was born. Any staff member can complete a STRIVE form when they see a student demonstrating STRIVE behavior. We share STRIVE recognition each Friday during morning announcements, the principal visits each student’s classroom and delivers the STRIVE certificate and a STRIVE pencil, and each student’s name appears in The Connection. This has continued and continues today. When the district began to phase in PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports), we began to meld the two. Our PBIS team, made up of classroom teachers, specials teachers, and support staff, received training and meet throughout the year to implement PBIS. The goal is to clearly communicate a consistent set of behavioral expectations for students to follow and for staff to teach and reinforce. Lesson plans are created to teach what Respectful, Responsible, and Safe behavior looks like in all areas of the school day (bus, hallway, bathroom, lunchroom, recess, classroom, and auditorium). Through teaching, re-teaching, and acknowledging positive behaviors, we work to extinguish negative behaviors by focusing on what children are doing right. When children struggle to meet our expectations, we treat this as we would when a child is struggling with math, reading or writing. We teach. There are times when consequences are necessary and a protocol is in place to help children meet our expectations. When reminders of our expectations don’t work, students complete a reflection sheet (drawing for our youngest students and writing for our older ones). This helps students identify what expectations they are not meeting and what they can do to get back on track. Often times, this is all a student needs to be successful. If after a reflection sheet, students are still not meeting with success, they bring their work to a neighboring classroom and parents/guardians receive a phone call home. With family support, we look to quickly curb the behavior and support our students through a team effort. Students are rarely sent to the office, but if they are, parents also receive a phone call home. The 2013-2014 school year represented year 2 of PBIS implementation. The training took place over 3 years and we still meet regularly to find the best method of implementation. There are many facets to PBIS. One difficult area lies in reinforcement/rewards. Some staff and parents believe in a more extrinsic system where children are given something tangible for meeting our expectations. They believe this creates a very clear message that children are making a good choice or doing the right thing. Others struggle with this philosophy and believe we should be promoting more of an intrinsic system and that children should not be rewarded for doing what is right. There are pros and cons to both approaches and no one system will satisfy all teachers or parents. Our PBIS team works hard to find the system that will best benefit our children now and in the future. One area we seem to agree is Whale Tails. When an entire class is showing strong PBIS behavior, any staff member can recognize them with a Whale Tail. When a class earns ten, they choose a class celebration (stuffed animal day, pajama day, etc.). This promotes working together as a team and supporting one another to succeed. Whale Tail “shout outs” are given during morning announcements when a class earns ten.