PRINCIPLES OF POSITIVE BEHAVIOR SUPPORT
Emphasize Academic Achievement
Every child is capable of academic success at some level. Schools
should provide all students with a strong emphasis on achievement
in the classroom. If students are struggling with their studies
on a regular basis, they are more likely to act in an undesirable
manner. Students are more likely to demonstrate appropriate behavior
at school when they are able to successfully focus their energy
on learning and are reinforced in doing so.
Implement a System of School-wide, Targeted Early and Targeted Intensive
All schools should develop and implement a comprehensive, school-wide
set of strategies for supporting positive behavior for all students.
This comprehensive system should include school-wide activities
and policies that work to prevent behavior problems and to reinforce
positive behaviors, classroom strategies and additional resources
to provide targeted early interventions and supports for at-risk
students, and targeted intensive intervention strategies to support
students with recurring behavioral challenges.
Clearly State Behavioral Expectations
Classroom and school-wide rules should be clearly stated and prominently
displayed throughout the school to assure that students, parents,
and staff are aware of behavioral expectations at all times. The
rules should emphasize appropriate behavior rather than listing
inappropriate behaviors. Staff should also provide regular feedback
to students regarding both positive and negative behaviors.
Provide Consistent Consequences
Consistency in consequences is a critical component in positive
student behavior. Students should understand that the same behavioral
consequences apply to every student. Every staff member should understand
the importance of maintaining consistent standards of behavior at
all times and arbitrary punishments and/or rewards for specific
students should be avoided.
Utilize Developmentally and Culturally Appropriate Interventions
All behavioral strategies and interventions utilized in the school
should be child-centered and appropriate for the age, gender, cognitive,
emotional, and cultural backgrounds of the students. A diverse team
of staff members and parents should review and agree on all behavior
policies, strategies, and interventions prior to their use.
Make Connections Across Individual, Classroom, and School-Wide Behavioral
Multiple layers of behavioral interventions require an integrated
approach in order to work together. Students should be made to understand
that their individual efforts to engage in positive behavior contribute
directly to the behavioral success of their fellow students, their
classroom, and the entire school. In addition, the consequences
that are applied to students (both positive and negative) should
be applied similarly across both the classroom and school-wide settings.
Listen to Students
It is important that students feel that their opinions and concerns
are considered when decisions on school policy and behavioral consequences
are made. Students will be more committed to meeting behavioral
expectations if they feel that they had some input into the rules.
It is therefore important that students feel safe talking about
their feelings. Positive relationships between staff and students
can also help to foster ongoing communication and students who feel
connected to staff will have a stronger sense of responsibility
for maintaining a positive school environment. In this environment,
staff will be more likely to have success with offering guidance
to struggling students and in modeling appropriate behaviors.
Provide Staff Training and Professional Development
Everyone on the school staff needs to feel highly qualified and
committed to successful implementation of the behavior support plan.
The entire staff should receive training and follow-up support to
ensure consistency in expectations, interactions with students,
and delivery of consequences.
Reach Out for Family Support
Students are less likely to engage in inappropriate behavior when
their families are actively involved in their school lives. If schools
and families can agree on common rules and expectations and enforce
them fairly, students will have a much better chance of success.
Parents should be encouraged to participate in all phases of the
school-wide behavior support planning and delivery.
Collect Data to Monitor Intervention Effectiveness and Student Outcomes
All programs, strategies, and interventions should be monitored
in order to determine their effectiveness. Implemented programs
and interventions should include a monitoring component that allows
for the collection of data on changes to student behavioral and
academic outcomes. Interventions that do not show improvements in
student outcomes should be modified or replaced. Additionally, support
should be provided to all teachers to ensure that interventions
are implemented as intended by the school improvement team.