School-wide Positive Behavior Support (SWPBS) is a system for recognizing positive behavior and teaching behavioral expectations to students. It is based on a three-tiered model of support. At this time, all Cannon County Schools are implementing one of the levels of SWPBS.
Level one or “Primary Level” is for all students in the school. At this level, all students are provided clear rules and expectations for all environments in the school: cafeteria, playground, hallway, buses, etc. All staff members implement a method of rewarding students for exhibiting the expected behaviors. A clear method for discipline referrals and a consistent use of consequences for different types of misbehaviors are also implemented. Research shows that with this level of support in place, about 80% of students can be successful.
Level two or “Secondary Level” support is for students who may need additional adult guidance and reminders of the behavioral expectations in the school. Currently, four of the Cannon County schools are implementing the “Check-in/Check-out” system. Students check in each morning with an adult and are encouraged to follow all expectations and rules. Teachers record how well the students follow the rules throughout activities during the day. At the end of the day, students check back in with their designated adults and are recognized for doing well. Research shows that about 15% of students need this level of support to succeed in school.
Level three or “Tertiary Level” is support for the final 5% of students who need intensive interventions to learn positive behaviors. Cannon County is one of the few districts in Tennessee who are implementing supports at this level. Students at this level have the most chronic and/or challenging behavioral issues. A team of adults meets to determine the specific behavior assessment and plan for working with the student in the classroom. On a regular basis, the team meets to review the student behavioral data and, if necessary, to modify the system of teaching and rewarding appropriate behaviors.
SWPBS has made a positive impact on Cannon County Schools. The K-8 school which has implemented SWPBS for the longest number of years is seeing a steady decline in office referrals. Overall, the Cannon County School System has seen three benefits to initiating SWPBS: safer schools, more effective instructional time and an increase in achievement test scores.
(Barbara Parker is the Director of Schools for Cannon County)