Getting Started with Tier 1 PBIS

Last month, I shared the start of our PBIS journey in hopes of improving student behavior through a tiered system of support. Over the last quarter, we have been piloting our PBIS program to determine if this is something that we want to implement in the following school year. As I mentioned in my last post, I was apprehensive about implementing PBIS in our school. However, our pilot has been so successful that I have become a believer that these systems (when implemented strategically and effectively) can make a huge impact on student behaviors and, ultimately, student learning.

Below, I will be sharing our first steps – the foundation – of our PBIS program. Specifically, the focus will be on Tier 1 of our PBIS program because this is the area where we were lacking the most support. So…here we go!

Step #1: Forming Our PBIS Teams

Implementing a PBIS program is a huge undertaking. To get started, it was critical that we pick the right people to be a part of these teams. Our teams are broken up into two groups: PBIS Core Team and the PBIS Team.

Our PBIS Core Team is a smaller group of educators. The Core Team is responsible for the guidance of the implementation of the PBIS strategies. This team regularly meets to evaluate the BOQ (more on that below) and determine the direction of the larger team. The Core Team consists of the following people:

  • Vice Principal
  • School Counselor
  • SEL Intervention Teacher
  • iMTSS District Coordinator
  • District iMTSS Psychologist

Our PBIS Team (AKA, our RISE Team) is a larger group of educators that helps with developing the ideas, creating structures, and the implementing of PBIS strategies. The PBIS Team consists of the following people:

  • Everyone from the Core Team
  • All Admin from the Site
  • 5 Teachers (Different subjects/grades)
  • Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA)

We have been incredibly fortunate to have an amazing group of educators on this team. I am constantly amazed by the ideas that come from this group as we develop our PBIS program. Without the right people in place, I do not believe we would be making the progress we are currently on our campus.

While our PBIS teams our developing this program, everything that we do is taken to our Site Leadership Team (AKA, Think Tank) for input. These are the leaders on our campus, therefore, their input, insight, and approval is of the utmost importance. After this, Think Tank takes this information to their departments (AKA, PLC’s) for more input. Finally, the PBIS team gathers all of the input to add to the PBIS program.

Step #2: Reading the Book

Over the years, I have started to become a bit skeptical about educational books. I have found that they are often written from a place of theory, rather than real-life application. A lot of time I read these books and think, “When was the last time this person was in a classroom or on a school campus?”

This is not how I feel about the PBIS Handbooks – which is AMAZING!

Our focus this year is through implementing Tier One supports at our school, so our team has only dived into the Tier 1 Handbook. However, there is SO much in here that it will probably take us a year to properly implement all the ideas and strategies. The book is practical, clear, and gives teams an easy guide on how to get started. If you are planning on implementing a tiered PBIS system in your school, I highly recommend these books.

Amazon: Tier 1 HandbookTier 2 Handbook, and Tier 3 Handbook.

Step #3: Rating Our Tier 1 Supports through the BOQ

The Benchmark of Quality (BOQ) helps PBIS teams examine their Tier 1 implementation by identifying current strengths and weaknesses. In addition to this, it also provides guidance and support for creating better PBIS systems within a school. The BOQ is embedded within the PBIS Tier One Handbook, however, you can find it for free on their website: PBIS Champion Model System.

Since I am a spreadsheet person, I took the BOQ from their website and turned it into a spreadsheet that automatically tabulates a school’s total score. In addition to this, I created a section where teams can add ideas and next steps during the planning process. If you would like a copy of this, click on the Google Sheet icon to the right or this link: Tier 1 – PBIS Assessment & Next Steps.

When we went through the BOQ, I was amazed at how much we have not done. While this may seem discouraging, I found it exciting. There were so many ideas, strategies, and structures that could be put into place to support students. Even if we scored low, we could easily see our next steps. At the end of scoring our BOQ, we picked the top 3 areas of growth. From there, we analyzed what we were doing, what could be improved, and piloted some of these strategies during the 4th quarter. Now, we have a very clear plan and vision for sitewide implementation during the next school year.

Right now, I am so excited for the next school year and to see how we continue to develop our PBIS program. If you have done this at your school site, please share in the comments below any tips, tricks, or strategies!

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