Setting limits is one of the most powerful tools that professionals have to promote positive behavior change for their clients, students, residents, and patients. Combining this technique with Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), a long-term approach that includes a range of intervention strategies designed to prevent inappropriate behavior while teaching socially appropriate alternative behaviors, often results in an enhanced quality of life for both students and staff.
Below is an excerpt from “Setting Limits in Schools: Successful Implementation of a School-Wide Positive Behavior Support Plan,” in which author Jacie Maslyk discusses the positive outcomes her school achieved by integrating these two important concepts.
Maslyk has served as the principal of Crafton Elementary School in the Carlynton School District in Carnegie, PA for six years. She has worked as a classroom teacher and reading specialist and has presented at several state and national conferences. Click here to download the article [PDF] in its entirety.
From the article:
“Over the course of the last year, our school district has implemented two components to enhance the overall climate of our building. The implementation of School-Wide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (SW-PBIS) coupled with Nonviolent Crisis Intervention® training has increased positive student behavior and served as a means by which we have strengthened staffs’ skills in addressing student behavior.
SW-PBIS is a proactive approach based on a three-tiered model of intervention. Taking a preventive approach first, this method then adds individualized supports for students that need more intensive behavioral interventions. Plans like these are being implemented in elementary, middle, and high schools across the country. The overarching goal is to create safe and effective schools in which teaching and reinforcing important social skills is common practice. This is achieved through the communication of student choices, the setting of reasonable limits, and both the positive and negative consequences that follow."
"In the summer of 2010, our core team included regular and special-education teachers, instructional aides, support staff, and myself. We developed a plan that would focus on preventing inappropriate behaviors by establishing clear expectations and setting limits. We worked collectively to define positive expectations for behavior. Our plan included procedures for explicitly teaching school-wide and classroom-wide behaviors. Our team also developed a continuum of procedures for encouraging expected behavior, as well as procedures for discouraging rule violations."
"Our core team created a matrix to identify appropriate behaviors for all areas of the school. The matrix served as a framework for our faculty and staff. It also helped students learn the rules, as well as how to interact with their peers in the classrooms, hallways, playgrounds, buses, and lunchrooms, etc. This served as a guide for implementing the initiative school wide. All classes reviewed the matrix and discussed the expectations. Since the expected behaviors were written, shared, and revisited, everyone had clarity on the desired behaviors."
"As a school, we have observed many positive outcomes through the implementation of SW-PBIS. Over the course of the first year, we had a 35% decrease in aggressive behaviors and suspensions, as well as a decrease in detentions. Student attendance has increased by almost eight percent across all grade levels. In addition to these quantifiable benefits, we have also observed many qualitative outcomes. The climate of the school has improved, evidenced through comments from teachers, parents, and students. Another encouraging outcome is the way that our students are responding to one another. They have demonstrated accountability and problem-solving skills when it comes to behavioral issues and student conflicts. Their ability to respond in difficult situations is a direct result of the explicit instruction by our teachers, who use the behavior matrix as a teaching tool.”
Download "Setting Limits in Schools: Successful Implementation of a School-Wide Positive Behavior Support Plan" [PDF] in its entirety.