It doesn’t take a great leap of logic to know that bad behavior is a distraction in the classroom.
To help stem the number of such incidences, Dearborn Schools has introduced the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports program, which will provide a data-based model educators and administrators can implement to identify where misbehavior occurs, who the perpetrators are and what controls should be put into place to create a better atmosphere for all students.
Eight Dearborn Public Schools social workers explained how the program works to the school board at a recent Board of Education meeting.
“We looked at out office referrals, out-of-school, where were most of our behavior problems occurring, and what was happening and were able to develop a behavior expectations matrix, and it focuses on the core values of being respectful, responsible and safe," explained Mona Berry, a social worker at . "It’s an opportunity for students to learn from their mistakes, and accept responsibility for choices they made."
PBIS was created by the Office of Special Education Programs at the U.S. Department of Education to assist educators and administrators in implementing effective disciplinary codes within school facilities. The program is in place at about 500 Michigan Schools, 23 of which are in Dearborn.
Dearborn’s PBIS schools include , , , , , , , , , , , and elementary schools. The program is also in place at McCullough-Unis, , , , and , as well as the ninth grade academy.
In total, the program reaches 11,702 Dearborn students. The program is funded by three-year grants provide by the Wayne Regional Education Service Agency.
Data Driven Program
PBIS is a complex program that works by creating a systematic framework teachers and administrators can use to document, measure, correct and evaluate behavior at schools. School social workers will serve as coaches at PBIS buildings.
Data is collected by everyone–from the principal to the lunch lady–at the schools who observes such behavior. The compiled data is then used to craft solutions for the behavior. This approach allows educators to identify what factors cause bad behavior, and what situations seem to increase negative attitudes among the student population.
This data is then used to develop a continuum of policies so that a better environment can be fostered. For instance, if data confirms that most bad behavior occurs in the hall before or after class, teaches will be deployed to better monitor students during those times.
The district’s estimates indicate that about 80 to 90 percent of students will need no or minimal intervention. Another 5 to 10 percent of students will receive targeted intervention.
One to 5 percent of students will receive intensive interventions.
“At tier three, it’s kind of like a wrap-around model of support," said Nicole Chubb, a social worker at Snow Elementary. "We wrap the student in services whether they’re academic (or) behavioral.
“We rely a lot on the parents and sometimes outside agencies–their physician, if they’re seeing a therapist, anything like that–to really come up with an individualized plan to help the student that is having the most difficulty."
Interventions at all levels will include providing corrective feedback to students, teaching students to engage in positive social interactions, acknowledging positive behavior, and arranging consequences for problem behavior.
Starting to See Results
So far, the program seems to be having a positive impact–locally and nationally.
For the 2009-10 school year, 745 discipline referrals were logged. There were 11,027 recorded tardies, and absences reached 53,388 incidences.
By 2010-11, the figures were reduced to 356 discipline referrals–a drop of 53 percent. Tardies were reduced by 40 percent to 6,696 incidents, and absences were reduced by 18 percent to 43,893.
Nationally, all grade levels have shown a 22 to 44 percent reduction in office discipline nationwide.
In 2006, the Michigan State Board of Education required district to have a plan to encourage students in place. However, teaching students about the importance of respecting others has typically been beyond public schools’ traditional mandate of educating students.
However, it is a part of ensuring an overall, positive culture at area schools, said Linda Wacyk, a spokeswoman for the Michigan Association of School Administrators.
"It's not something that we monitor, but anti-bullying programming is something our membership is concerned about," she said. "It's certainly something our members are paying attention to."