This week I thought I would take the opportunity to talk about our College Wide PBIS framework through a trauma informed lens. St Mary’s College began implementing PBIS- Positive Behaviour Interventions and Support on primary about 6 years ago. During this time the impact on student life and staff morale has been dramatic. Students are empowered to stay on plan and make good choices while teachers are empowered to teach explicitly the behaviours we wish to see while being able to take into consideration the individual needs of children.
This year we rolled this approach out on secondary in an age appropriate way but with the same basic premise as primary. Both campus’ have a PBIS team of teachers and are supported by an external behavioural psychologist who helps the team to review student behaviour data and come up with new strategies that will specifically address trends in behaviour that we might be seeing across a particular year group.
What is Positive Behavior Interventions and Support?
PBIS is a process for creating safer and more effective schools. It is a systems approach to enhancing the capacity of schools to educate all children by developing research-based, school-wide, and classroom behavior support systems. The process focuses on improving a school’s ability to teach and support positive behavior for all students. Rather than a prescribed program, PBIS provides systems for schools to design, implement, and evaluate effective school-wide, classroom, non-classroom, and student specific plans. PBIS includes school-wide procedures and processes intended for all students and all staff in all settings. PBIS is not a program or a curriculum. It is a team-based process for systemic problem solving, planning, and evaluation. It is an approach to creating a safe and productive learning environment where teachers can teach and all students can learn.
What is PBIS at our school?
We have adopted a unified set of expectations. Our expectations of Being Kind, Being Responsible, Being Respectful and Being Your Best (secondary) inform how we talk about and teach the behaviour we wish to see in our College. You will see these rules posted throughout the school and your child will be learning about them and the specific behaviours that are required throughout their schooling experience. Our classroom expectations are found in every classroom and non-classroom setting in the College, include the following as an example:
- Follow adult instructions respectfully.
- Use kind words and actions.
- Keep hands, feet, and objects to self.
- Remain in your seat or area as directed.
- Be prepared for class
As part of our PBIS process, teachers and other staff members use evidence-based practices to increase student learning and decrease classroom disruptions. To keep students on the expectations in a positive manner, we do the following when teaching academics and behaviour:
- Constantly teach and refer to our College-wide expectations.
- Provide students with more praise than correction.
- Talk to students with respect, using positive voice/tone.
- Actively engage everyone in the class during instruction.
- Use pre-correcting, prompting, and redirecting as we teach.
- Look for the positive first and provide positive, immediate, frequent, and explicit feedback.
- Use dojo points and reward systems to acknowledge right behaviours and acknowledge students following expectations.
It is important for parents/guardians to understand that while the emphasis is on creating positive interactions with students when correcting behaviour and teaching behaviour there are also consequences for repeated unproductive behaviour that is not in keeping with our College wide expectations.
Such consequences include:
- Disruptive Rule Break #1= Warning
- Disruptive Rule Break #2= Warning
- Disruptive Rule Break #3= Class Pass to Another Teacher’s Classroom (Buddy classroom) [No More Than 10 Minutes] -
- WELCOME BACK [and the cycle is then repeated except for the 6th rule break]
- Disruptive Rule Break #4= Warning
- Disruptive Rule Break #5= Warning
- Disruptive Rule Break #6= Office Discipline Referral( Primary Admin or Head of House office)
Where an incident occurs that is more serious or requires a student to re-regulate we use the following process:
Student spends some time in a sort space such as: wellbeing room or wet areas on primary and the engine room/ Clontarf/ DSG or Head of House office on secondary, calming down and re-regulating often with assistance from student services or senior members of staff. Depending on the situation students may also be required to reset at home. In this case parents/guardians will be informed and asked to collect students to bring home for reset.
Once a student has regulated they will spend time with an adult- often a senior member of the leadership team such as an Assistant Principal on Primary or Head of House on Secondary discussing the incident, why their behaviour may not have been in keeping with our College expectations and what they might have done differently.
If a student has been required to go home then a more formal meeting may be required between the parents/guardians, student and the Deputy Principal Primary or Deputy Principal Pastoral Care- Secondary or in very serious situations with the Principal.
At this meeting there will a discussion of the situation, what the student has learned, why their behaviour was not in keeping with our College expectations and the expectations of them returning to the College ready to learn.
At the reflection interview there is also a discussion of what actions need to now occur in order to restore relationships and make amends to the community. Such actions below may occur:
- Restorative meetings with other students/ staff to recognise impact of actions on others and to apologise.
- Community service, particularly if College property has been damaged.
- Formulating a follow up PBIS plan or contract that the student has imput into and must agree to before returning to the College, with a clear understanding of the consequences of not staying on plan.
- Follow up support with Counsellor or referral to outside agencies for support if required.
At St Mary’s College we are passionate about teaching our students what we expect of them so that we can maximise the learning outcomes for all students. Students who are dysregulated or who do not understand what is expected of them do not learn well and disrupt the learning of others. As a Catholic College we take our pastoral care of each individual student very seriously and see our framework as a wonderful way of working with students and families in a positive, constructive manner that preserves the dignity of all and helps each child grow and develop to their potential, ready to take their place in the world when they leave us here at St. Mary’s College.
As parents/guardians you play a pivotal role in supporting this work in partnership with the College. I would appreciate you discussing our PBIS Framework with your child and if you have questions to discuss them with your classroom teacher on primary and Homeroom teacher or Head of House on secondary.
In partnership, as a community we work together to help each student to be their very best.
Student Representative Council Report from Primary