- In 2014, the Antioch Unified School District, which had a suspension rate three times the rate of most in the county and a history of complaints regarding alleged discriminatory discipline based on race, signed on for training through Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), a system which is rapidly expanding in California, Ed Source reports.
- The PBIS system has a data-driven three-tier approach to discipline that sets clear expectations for behavior, focuses on positive messaging, and rewards students for compliance, resulting in fewer suspensions and better overall student behavior.
- PBIS is the most widely used behavior management program in California and is expanding rapidly in that state, but more than 24 other states also use it in a large percentage of their schools.
With growing concerns over the effects of zero-tolerance discipline policies and what some educators term the school-to-prison pipeline, many school districts are rethinking their discipline policies. The need for equitable but effective discipline strategies remains a challenge for many districts. And with the implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), schools are now faced with the need to create a positive school climate and to reduce suspensions and other practices that also often suspend learning.
The PBIS approach has several elements that appeal to school districts, First, it is data-driven, with a School-Wide Information System that tracks student discipline and allows schools to see individual student progress as well as overall trends. It is also based on clear, simple positive messages that provide a framework for overall discipline. In addition, it is designed to enhance equitable practices for school discipline. While some schools are also adding restorative justice practices into the mix, the PBIS approach offers a clear system of behavior management that is growing in popularity across the nation.