Frequently Asked Questions about PBIS

Your child and PBIS!

A Question and Answer Guide to Positive Behavior Supports at Erwin Middle School for Parents

About the PBIS program:

Q:  What is PBIS?
A:  PBIS stands for “Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports.”  This is a program designed to reward students for positive behaviors, and to really guide children in understanding the part that their behavior plays in their learning at school.  When students are experiencing difficulty in exhibiting positive behaviors, PBIS allows us to make interventions for students in a systematic way.  Using PBIS means that all students are being treated equally and fairly, with emphasis on their learning rather than on the day to day “drama” of being a teenager.  PBIS also means that students with excellent behavior are rewarded, and not neglected in the stream of things.   We chose PBIS for our school because we value learning, and know that a student’s ability to learn is directly related to the classroom climate and how students are behaving.  We hope to encourage positive behaviors in all students  by having them understand clear expectations, and by being rewarded when they follow these expectations correctly and consistently.  

Q: How do my child’s teachers / team manage PBIS?  
A: Every team, and sometimes every teacher, treats PBIS differently, but everyone here at CAEMS uses PBIS.  Some teachers use daily rewards, such as tickets, marbles or paper money, to track positive behaviors in the whole class and/or for individual students.  In general, when a kid shows an “above and beyond” effort at learning, or when they exhibit a strong positive character here at school, we use PBIS to recognize that achievement.  PBIS also exists outside of the classroom, in hallways, the cafeteria, during U/A classes, and even on the bus and at athletic events.  Our students are students every time they are on campus, and we want them to carry a strong character and high behavioral expectations every time they are associated with our school.    

Q:  I’ve heard of TIPS... is PBIS related?
A:  TIPS is short for “Tiered Interventions, Prevention and Support” and is meant to act as an academic intervention, similar to how PBIS is used as a behavioral intervention.  TIPS and PBIS are often interrelated because academic struggles can result in behavioral struggles, and visa versa.  However, a student can be on a PBIS plan, or a TIPS plan separately or simultaneously depending on what that team of teachers has determined, through observations and data, to be the cause of your child’s struggle here at school.  We want to find the best “fit” of interventions, and that will change from student to student.  

Q:  Why are we using PBIS? Are other schools using PBIS?
A:  All Buncombe County Schools are beginning to use PBIS systems because they are proven to work in improving classroom climates and student achievement.  Our school is one of the first to begin PBIS in Buncombe County and we have successfully decreased the number of referrals school-wide by around 80% over the past few years.  That’s right, 80%!  As long as this continues to be a successful intervention, we will continue to use our resources to support the program here.

Q:  What are “major” and “minor” referrals?
A:  “Major” referrals are given for “Major” behavior problems such as skipping class, fighting, weapons possession and so on.  “Minor” referrals are given for tardies, horseplay, disrespect and other “Minor” problems.  These offenses are listed in your child’s school agenda, and teachers reinforce these behavior expectations and consequences with students routinely throughout the year. .  Another good thing to know is that all data for major and minor referrals is tracked at our school, so we can discuss “trends” in behavioral concerns and use that data to guide our school-wide structure.  Part of our PBIS policy is contacting parents when their child is showing a behavior concern and we will often reference this data in parent/teacher conferences.

About PBIS Incentives and Rewards:

Q:  What are “AAA” Cards?
A:  “AAA” stands for “Academics,” “Attendance,” and “Attitude.”  These cards will give the students special privileges on certain days of the school year, such as special assemblies, or afternoon treats like our “popsicle” day earlier in the year.  “AAA” cards really showcase our students that are doing the right thing day in and day out, so they feel like we acknowledge their great effort and hard work here at our school.  

Q:  How do students earn them?
A:  Students who show strong academics, few missed days of school, and few behavioral infractions will earn “AAA” cards each nine weeks.  Last  year, we offered a special reward for “AAA” card holders that had earned this card each nine weeks.  We are always looking for new opportunities and ideas for “AAA” card rewards, so if you have suggestions, please email a PBIS team member (see below).  To see the formula used to determine "AAA" status, click here.

Q: What is with the wristbands?
A:  Wristbands are given out more frequently than PBIS cards and give students privileges such as preferred seating in the cafeteria or more frequent passes from class. Wristbands are turned in to the office at the end of each day and Mr. Hathaway draws from these for students to receive prizes from the “prize box” in the main office.  Students are pretty excited to receive wristbands and may bring them home to show you.  If they do, please make sure that they bring them back to school so they can be put in our “prize box” drawing!  

About PBIS and Parents:

Q:  How can parents support PBIS with kids at home?
A:  Parents can help the most by discussing the importance of positive behavior with your child at home.  Give your kid some “for instance” scenarios of how to deal with stress or disagreements in a positive way.  Let them know that their teachers care about their learning and that their learning is the purpose of their coming to school each day.  Ask them about their PBIS track; are they getting wristbands or referrals?  How do they feel about the PBIS system and are they trying to do the best they can do be a “AAA” card holder?  

Q:  How can parents support PBIS at the school?  
A:  We are always looking for new, creative and cost-effective ways to reward our students for their hard work.  Guest speakers, special lunch items, or small toys/prizes can come from our community and parents for PBIS rewards.  If you are interested in becoming part of our PBIS team, please contact a PBIS team member (see below).  

Q:  How can I find out more about PBIS?
A:  A great website to discover more information about PBIS is pbisworld.org.  Also, you can ask your child’s teacher, a school counselor, or an administrator if you have questions.  You can also take a moment to talk to your child about PBIS and how they are doing in this system.   

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