Empowering Staff and Fostering a Positive School Culture: Strategies for Administrators and Deans
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 track student behaviors.
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 monitor progress toward their goals and “use data to identify strengths, uncover needs,” and determine the next steps.
A key area of focus in PBIS is student behavior. And it is in the area of data management where a school can often go wrong when implementing PBIS. They may have too many data points to collect, unclear or incomplete data, or not enough time or resources to compile and analyze their collected data.
To combat this, schools are more often turning to solutions that integrate data collection and management within their other school platforms. Specifically, integrating with their Student Information System (SIS). While academic and attendance data is most easily stored in SIS, tracking behavior logs and referrals can also be made easier, too.
Streamlined and customizable behavior entries and referrals
Creating behavior logs in SIS accomplishes two things. First, it allows your staff to use a platform they already use regularly. There is no need to learn a new software, remember a new login, or export student information from one system to another. Secondly, your users are able to streamline their processes for creating behavior logs and/or referrals to track student behaviors. Every team member can efficiently create a positive or negative behavior log, include the same information in that log, and trust that it is securely stored and available to be referenced.
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 that next person to instantly access required information. They can take appropriate action and add to an established log, helping to close the communication loop with the original teacher and leading to improved transparency and accountability among staff.
Tiered Intervention to track student behaviors
PBIS systems can be meaningful change makers in a school’s culture if students and staff believe in its systems and trust in its processes. Integrating your behavior management tracking with your SIS using a solution like PureData’s Behavior Management Plugin enables schools to structure incentive rewards and consequences in a tiered and consistent manner. In this way, you can automate the assignment of consequences so that disciplinary staff are free to focus on implementing meaningful interventions, not just assigning those interventions, for student groups. And students will experience less of a delay between a positive behavior being logged and a reward being issued.
Analyzing behavior trends over time to maximize team effectiveness
The ability to collect, store, and analyze your data in one location helps streamline your processes, use more powerful reporting capabilities, and view student progress in context. Digital behavior tracking systems integrated within SIS can use the demographic information associated with their students to pull reports to analyze behaviors over specific time periods or by specific trends.
Digital behavior tracking within SIS also allows educators to engage in more informed reflection. PBIS teams 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 and effective action for students.
Involve families and other stakeholders in order to successfully track student behaviors
Outside of the school team, partnership with families is vital to supporting students. 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 and better positioned to support their student.
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, transparent, and helps school teams and student families be informed and collaborate will help them best support their students.
View our available options for behavior tracking within SIS here
Center on PBIS (2023). Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports [Website]. www.pbis.org
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