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Positive Behaviour Support Program (PBS)

Improving student academic and behaviour outcomes is facilitated when all students have access to the most effective and accurately implemented instructional and behavioural practices and interventions possible. At Ocean Reef SHS, PBS provides an operational framework for achieving these outcomes. It is a decision making framework that guides selection, integration and implementation of the best evidence based practices for improving academic and behaviour outcomes for all students. Schools implementing PBS build on existing strengths, complementing and organising current programming and strategies.

In general, PBS emphasises four integrated elements:

  • Data for decision making
  • Measurable outcomes supported and evaluated by data
  • Practices with evidence that these outcomes are achievable
  • Systems that efficiently and effectively support implementation of these practices

In our school, PBS aims to develop:

  • a consultative, collaborative community owned process which is facilitated through a representative PBS leadership team
  • a consistent, whole-school approach with a common language in regard to positive behaviour expectations
  • an array of procedures for responding to behaviour errors, with a re-teaching focus
  • clearly defined teacher-managed and office-referred behaviour
  • the use of discipline data to help track progress and identify areas to target for intervention and the effectiveness of selected interventions

The WA PBS Framework?

Positive Behaviour Support builds a continuum of supports for staff and students. At each level (or tier) there is an emphasis on outcomes in the form of agreed expectations for student and staff behaviour, data to guide decision making about what practices should be put in place to support student learning and social behaviour. There is equal emphasis on the system supports that will be needed to build fluency with new or revised practices among all teachers and staff within the school. The basic problem solving process of outcomes, data, practices and systems is then applied across the continuum of supports students will need to increase the likelihood of their academic and social behaviour success. Implementing the framework is a process that starts with universal practices for all staff and all students at school and classroom level. There are seven essential components that later form a foundation for more individualized interventions

The WA PBS seven essential components are:

  1. Leadership

    The PBS leadership team includes the principal and a team that is representative of the school staff. The team leads the school through a process of developing and gaining consensus on beliefs, expectations and procedures along with a written plan. This full staff involvement in the process is crucial.

  2. Defining Expected Behaviour

    Just as schools rely on the direction provided by their academic curriculums, success with student discipline begins with clear behavioural expectations- a behavioural curriculum. These expectations are a vision of responsible student behaviour and social competence.

  3. Teaching Expected Behaviour

    Systematic teaching of the expected behaviours must be a routine part of the school day. This teaching uses the same methods as teaching academic skills, through modelling, practice and feedback.

  4. Encouraging Expected Behaviours

    Staff provide regular feedback to students about their behavioural progress. Creating a school culture where expected behaviours are the norm requires that staff interact with students four times more frequently when they have engaged in appropriate behaviour than when the student is misbehaving.

  5. Essential Classroom Practice

    These practices impact academic learning time and ultimately student achievement while ensuring a positive and welcoming learning environment. They represent the facets of classroom teaching under the teacher’s control that have been identified as evidence based practices to maximise learning for all students while minimising discipline problems.

  6. Responding to Misbehaviour

    Inappropriate behaviour also requires feedback and should be viewed as a teaching opportunity – a chance to clarify and re-teach expectations. The same calm instructional approach used when students make academic errors should be used to correct behavioural errors. The development of a continuum of responses to misbehaviour provides staff with the tools to effectively respond to and change student misbehaviour.

  7. Ongoing Monitoring

    The use of data focuses a schools efforts by identifying areas in need of improvement as well as those operating well, and keep the effort alive by providing feedback or knowledge of results that promote consistent implementation and renewal. Data is used to monitor student behaviour and the PBS implementation process.

How is PBS educative?

In the past, school-wide discipline has focused mainly on reacting to specific student misbehaviour by implementing punishment-based strategies including reprimands, loss of privileges, office referrals, suspensions, and expulsions. Research has shown that the implementation of punishment, especially when it is used inconsistently and in the absence of other positive strategies, is ineffective.

PBS views inappropriate behaviour in the same manner that problems in reading or math are viewed…as a skill deficit. When a skill deficit exists, we must teach the appropriate skill. By doing so, a unified and positive school climate forms. This informs students and staff that appropriate behaviour is a priority in our school. The purpose of PBS is to establish a climate in which appropriate behaviour is the norm.

How does PBS provide support for all students?

PBS methods are research-based, proven to significantly reduce the occurrence of problem behaviours in schools and supported by a three-tiered model. The image below illustrates the continuum of support for PBS and its academic counterpart. The three tiered model organises practices and systems along a continuum of increasing intensity and/or complexity. Although the continuum is dynamic and blended the three tiers are generally described as follows:

Tier 3:
Intensive practices and systems for students whose behaviours have been documented as not responsive at tiers 1 and 2. Individualised to the specific needs and strengths of the student
Tier 2:
Specialised practices and systems for students whose behaviours have been documented as not responsive at tier 1. Generally provided in a standardised manner in small student groupings.
Tier 1:
Practices and systems for all students and staff implemented across all school settings.

What are some of the outcomes of PBS?

Students know what is expected of them and choose to do so because they:

  • Know what to do
  • Have the skills to do it
  • See the natural benefits for acting responsibly

Adults and students have more time to:

  • Focus on relationships
  • Focus on classroom instruction

There is an instructional approach to discipline:

  • Instances of problem behaviour are opportunities to learn and practice pro-social behaviour

What is needed for successful school-wide implementation of PBS?

  • at least 80% of school staff agree to implement PBS
  • student behaviour/pastoral care is identified as one of the schools priorities
  • the principal actively participates in the implementation of PBS
  • the school identifies and funds a coach who attends team training and guides the school team in the implementation of PBS
  • the school nominates a representative team to implement PBS
  • the principal and team members attend team training
  • the school collects data to assist with decision making

Ocean Reef SHS was one of the first schools in the state to implement a PBS Program in its school. It is recognised across the state as a leader in PBS initiatives. Our PBS teachers are regularly sought after by other schools to assist in their development of similar PBS initiatives.