How logging and tracking student behaviors in PowerSchool can help your school culture
Building and maintaining a positive school culture is no easy task. While “positive school culture” isn’t something that is easy to define or quantify, we do know some elements of what it feels like – students are eager and engaged in learning, staff feels supported and empowered to do their best work, and parents/guardians are meaningfully involved and invited into the school community. And implementing a Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) system can be a highly effective way to build positive school culture and support student achievement.
Schools that effectively implement PBIS use strategic teams to implement practices and tiered interventions that are informed by research and developed with student and family feedback. They regularly progress monitor towards their goals and “use data to identify strengths, uncover needs,” and determine next steps.
While every school context has unique needs, PBIS, or some elements contained within, are key to providing equitable student support and building a positive school culture.
A wide variety of data points and sources are used to accomplish this. One such key data element is around student behavior. There are numerous behavior tracking or incentive systems available to educators and school districts, but when deciding on a solution, it is important to keep three things in mind:
- Will this system allow me to gather and review meaningful data?
- Will this system help save my teachers and staff time and effort?
- Can I use this tool to engage and inform my students’ families?
Finding a solution that is integrated within your Student Information System (SIS) accomplishes this, while allowing schools to keep student data in one secure and familiar platform.
Schools benefit when they have a uniform method of tracking and logging student behavior. One teacher may create behavior referrals that may contain only the student name and a brief description, while another teacher may create a referral that also includes the date, location of the incident, the type or severity of the incident, and action steps they took. The second referral log contains much more information that would allow someone to categorize and track referrals over time.
Capturing similar and specific information each time better positions those who are interpreting the data to make accurate conclusions and reasonable comparisons. Digital behavior tracking systems, like PureData’s Behavior Management Plugin, allow a user to create an individual or multiple behavior logs at one time and capture the student name, date of incident, location, type of incident, and description. Then, because this information is stored in SIS, one can then use the demographic information associated with their students to pull reports to analyze behaviors over specific time periods or by specific trends.
Streamline workload and improve staff effectiveness:
You can also help streamline your staff’s work and preserve their time by integrating a behavior tracking system within SIS. Staff would not have to learn how to use a new solution but rather have access to enhanced features within the platform they are already familiar with and use regularly. They can then focus more of their time on implementing their school systems effectively to support students and other staff.
If your school’s behavior management system requires counselors, deans, or other administrators to follow up regarding specific behavior incidents logged by teachers, having a digital behavior log allows them to instantly access required information. They can then log the actions they took and any next steps, which can in turn help close the communication loop with the original teacher. This helps improve transparency and accountability among staff.
Digital behavior tracking within SIS also allows educators to engage in more informed reflection. They would be able to view data for specific students, identify true successes or areas of demonstrated improvement, pinpoint specific trends over time to inform future initiatives, and challenge any internal biases they may have or observe in school settings. This type of reflection informed by data leads to more meaningful actions.
Involve Families and other Stakeholders:
Many SIS platforms have portals for parents/guardians to view their students’ data and progress. By tracking behaviors within SIS, parents/guardians will have their student’s information at their fingertips. Additionally, systems like PureData’s Behavior Management Plugin allow you to enable and customize automatic notifications to parents/guardians, so they are informed of both negative and positive behavior logs. Partnership between schools and families is vital to supporting students. And ensuring transparency of student data and progress with families is a key part of building trust and engaging them meaningfully in the school community.
We know data plays a critical role in helping educators make student-centered decisions. They need to be able to view information, make comparisons, ask critical questions, and follow patterns to help identify root causes for successes and challenges. Having a system for tracking student behavior data that is consistent and transparent helps school teams and student families be informed and collaborate to best support their students.
1. Center on PBIS (2023). Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports [Website]. www.pbis.org