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Positive Behavior Support Systems

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Positive Behavior Intervention & Support Systems:
A Longitudinal Study of Diverse Student Populations
Amanda Longhini – Halbin
American College of Education

Abstract
Positive behavior intervention and support systems (PBISS), also referred to as Positive Behavior Support Systems (PBSS), are research and evidence-based systems implemented into various educational settings in order to increase positive behaviors among diverse groups of students within its facility. By implementing a productive responsive classroom approach, where social skills strategies are explicitly taught, modeled, and reinforced to students within the school on a frequent basis, schools experience growth in positive behaviors, reduction in negative behaviors, and an improved climate for parents, students, staff and administration. Understanding the ideology of PBISS, one should be able to analytically examine longitudinal data in order to delineate a renewed focus on behavioral goals within the structure of a school.

Positive Behavior Intervention & Support Systems:
A Longitudinal Study of Diverse Student Populations
For many years, research had been collected to analyze the effects of implementing reward systems for positive behavior in children with emotional and behavioral disorders. With swift interventions and creative incentives, the study demonstrated that such student populations can and do experience a more effective educational experience. Because the studies focused on students with disabilities, advocates began fighting for specific requirements to be completed within the realm of an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). Thus, the development and utilization of Functional Behavioral Assessments (FBA) and Behavior Intervention Plans (BIP). The reauthorization of IDEA in 2004, with these additions, demonstrated the government's "recognition of potential benefits" of Positive Behavior Intervention Support Systems (PBISS) (Fitzgerald, Geraci, & Swanson, 2014). Shortly thereafter, funds were allocated to the development of school-wide intervention and incentive programs, professional development opportunities were created, and programs began to grow across the nation. As a result pf successful implementation of such programs, schools began to experience growth in student ownership of behavior, classroom teachers reduced their disciplinary actions that resulted in missed classroom time for the students, and the climate of schools began to improve for all who would interact with them.
Recalibrating a school's discipline system is an undertaking that requires numerous factors in order to create effective alternatives to current policies. Qualities of effective disciplinary intervention and support systems should include respect all individuals equally, be fair for everyone involved, require individuals to be held accountable for their actions, have the ability to restore positive growth, and be attainable and viable for all who are involved. In order to meet such requirements, a principal must be knowledgeable of the school's climate, "the collective perceptions, mood, and morale of the staff and students" (Lieber & Tissiere, 2015). As the principal leads the change, the culture of the school must incorporate the "beliefs, norms, and shared practices" in order to contain positive rapport with the parents, students, and staff so that the idea of change "feels stable and cohesive, inspiring and engaging, and welcoming and affirming (2015).
In analyzing the data of various PBISS implementations, it was determined that there are common factors in whole school and classroom implementation that determine its success. First, the school vision should incorporate direction as to how "goals for discipline align with" a school's vision. This requires the careful consideration of and verbalization of the communities beliefs about discipline. The U.S. Department of Education identifies a second factor, the Code of Conduct. This well-known and publicized manual should articulate "schoolwide discipline policy that sets high expectations for behavior; provide clear, developmentally appropriate, and proportional consequences for misbehavior; and uses disciplinary incidents to help students learn from their mistakes, improve their behavior, and meet high expectations" (U.S. Department of Education, 2014, p. 3). Another consideration is the development of teams, fundamental groups created from administrative members, grade-level or subject-areas, student support personnel, intervention mentors, and discipline staff. Each team will be mandated to represent roles, fulfill responsibilities, and embrace well-structured requirements to demonstrate the espousing of anticipated changes. The fourth element of success in PBISS is the "collecting, disaggregating, analyzing, and using an identified set of data" in order to meet goals outlined in the school vision (Lieber & Tissiere, 2015). Planning and promoting schoolwide initiatives to impinge student behavior with favorable outcomes should follow shortly after the identification of the most important behaviors being addressed. Before the final step of instructional implementation is begun, the development of an allied relationship between administration, staff, parents and students must be developed. The proactive engagement of parents is essential for students when supporting "academic progress, their health and well-being, and their aspirations for the future" (2015). Finally, classroom instruction should be consistent and implemented schoolwide in order to achieve maximum success.
Part 1: Summary of Longitudinal Data
The following information has been gathered over the course of three years, from 2004 to 2007. The data collected is categorized by disciplinary incident, disciplinary repercussion, gender of offenders, and ethnicity of offenders. The graphs also report the percentage comparison of offenders to percentage of total ethnic population in the reporting group. Each behavioral concern reported is recorded in total accounts having occurred and percentage per one hundred students enrolled.
Table 1 represents the disciplinary issues report over the course of three years. The noted behaviors include bullying, disorderly conduct, explosives, insubordination, weaponry, staff assault, student assault, use or possession of tobacco, vandalism, and other. One of the first, and most notable, paradigms is the percentage of black males being reported compared to their white or Hispanic counterparts, despite the growth in the white male population and decrease in black male population. No less than 50% of the black male population is being referred for disciplinary action in most of the above mentioned infractions. No more than 22% of the black females are being reported for the same issues.
Table 2 contains a summary of the disciplinary actions taken by the administration in response to the reported inappropriate behaviors over the same period of time. Such actions include alternative classroom settings, corporal punishment, expulsion for weapons, in-school suspension (ISS), out-of-school suspension (OSS), and other. One alarming and disturbing trend immediately identified in the chart is that for both corporal punishment and out-of-school suspension, there was a drastic increase in corporal punishment with the black male population, beginning with 41% and increasing to 60% and 81% each year after. The same can be noted for the increase in OSS with 70%, 71%, and 77% each year. In contrast, an equivalent decrease was reported in corporal punishment (27%, 18%, and 0%) and OSS (13%, 9%, and 5%) for white males.
Further examination of the data reveals an overall increase in each category of unacceptable behaviors over the course of the three year period, for each reported disciplinary issue reported with an exception of insubordination. However, the overall number of problems ascribed decreased from the first year to the second, with a slight increase in the final year of reference.
Part 1: Hypothesis and Confirmation of Longitudinal Data
In deciphering the given information, I would have to conclude that a climate change has occurred within this school. It appears as though a specific class of students are being held accountable for their behaviors more so than other classes. I presume the black males are being treated unfairly, and are acting out because of such. Efforts would need to be conjured and acted upon in a premeditated and prompt manner in order restore their faith and respect in the leaders and teachers of the school. To best promote a response to a PBISS plan, the students affected must be encouraged to speak without constraints, made to feel safe within their school and classroom, and become a member of the environment in which they learn. The principal should lead the initiative by delving into the expressed feelings and ideas of the targeted population, with teachers quickly changing their perceptions of these students. Teachers must expose the students to deeper learning experiences while demanding higher than before expectations to be fulfilled. Counselors could continue to scrutinize data and ensure that balance and equity is being instilled into the disciplinary procedures of the reported offenses.
Part 2: Identifying Major Disciplinary Issues
According to the School Survey on Crime and Safety (SSOCS) data collected from the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) and the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE), disciplinary incidents are categorized into six specific groups: crime; student threats of possible crime such as a physical attack or robbery; the possession, distribution, or use of alcohol, drugs, and prescription drugs; hate or gang related crimes; daily disciplinary issues; and cyber bullying. Except for the table of daily disciplinary issues and cyber bullying data, each of the other tables in the publication report the number of occurrences and number of schools reporting. In order from least to greatest, the most prevalent issues not dealt with on a daily basis in schools today are violent incidents to include rape, sexual battery other than rape, physical attack or fight with or without a weapon, and robbery with or without a weapon (7). 61,100 schools reported 1,183,700 cases (7). Nearly 74% of all 82,800 public schools reported an issue during the 2009-2010 school year. Other instances of crimes being committed were reported on 434,700 occasions as possession of a firearm or explosive device; possession of a knife or sharp object; distribution, possession, or use of illegal drugs or alcohol; vandalism; and inappropriate distribution, possession, or use of prescription drugs. Theft, along with larceny, was the third most reported crime with more than 258,000 cases (7).
Threats of violence is a second grouping reported. The threaten of physical attack without a weapon was most prevalent at 405,900 incidents (8). Actual threats of violence with a weapon were minute in comparison, with only 19,180 threats being reported (8). Robbery without a weapon was disclosed on 14,340 different occasions (8). Robbery with a weapon was committed only 410 times (8).
Illegal drugs continues to be the most prevalent offense related to drugs, alcohol, and prescription medication. Nearly 116,000 reports were made for the possession, distribution, or use of illegal drugs while alcohol was reported 40,000 times and prescription medication had 29,000 reports (9).
The day to day reported behaviors include racial tension, student bullying, sexual harassment, harassment, verbal abuse of teachers, widespread disorder in the classroom, acts of disrespect for teachers other than verbal abuse, gang activities, and cult or extremist group activities (11). Of these, student bullying is tops the charts in middle school grades with 38% of the schools reporting it as a common target behavior while high school reports its highest percentage in the gang related activities area with 38 % as well(11). Primary grades most often reported bullying as well, with almost 20% having made reports (11).
Part 2: Data & Research Reflection
It is apparent that as children advance through the grade levels, they are increasingly becoming involved in and performing inappropriate behaviors within the confines of the school yard. There are numerous factors to consider. Some are appropriate assumptions across the levels, while others are being reported by school teachers about the climate and environment of the school. Obviously, the older the student is, the more likely he or she is to have more freedom to walk around school by his or herself or with friends, sit at a place of his or her liking at lunch or in between classes. Whereas the younger student is being closely monitored, corrected, and applauded for self-awareness of behaviors. While educators who work with older students have expectations, they may not be modeling the common-sense behaviors that are expected. Teachers have also reported that there is a lack of inadequate alternative placement programs for 'disruptive' students, and therefore have developed dangerously low expectations after repeated incidents with the same student (18). We as teachers, need to remember that the developing minds we teach in the older grades have bad days as well. Sometimes, day after day after day. But it takes tough love and careful consideration to deal with disruptive students instead of sending them out without concern.
A lack of parental support was also largely an issue that prohibited the positive interactions with children. As much as 37% of teachers reported that this parental void played a part in the efforts to reduce unwanted behavior (18).

References
Cobb, N. (2014). Climate, culture, , and collaboration: The key to creating safe and supportive schools. Techniques, 89(7). 14-19.
Fitzgerald, C.B., Geraci, L.M., & Swanson, M. (2014). Scaling up in rural schools using positive behavior interventions and supports. Rural Special Education Quarterly, 33(1), 18-22.
Lane, K.L., Menzies, H. M., Ennis, R. P., & Bezdek, J. (2013). School –wide systems to promote positive behaviors and facilitate instruction. Journal of Curriculum & Instruction, 7(1), 5-31.
Lieber, C. & Tissiere, M. (2015). Recalibrating climate, culture, and discipline. Principal Leadership, 16(2), 46-51.
Matthew, N. (2014). The courage to lead change. Education Canada, 54(4), 40-42.
Neiman, S. & Hill, M. R. (2011). Crime, violence, discipline, and safety in U.S. public schools: Findings from the school survey on crime and safety: 2009-10. U.S. Department of Education.…...

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