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Positive Behavior Intervention

Soaring Along at Calvert Elementary with Positive Behavior Intervention Strategies (PBIS)

by Kathryn Coleman, Director of Student Services & Kate Stroh, School Psychologist Calvert County Public Schools, Prince Frederick, Maryland

"As a member of the Calvert Elementary School Community, I will be respectful, responsible, and ready to learn." These are the words that begin the day for each student and staff member at Calvert Elementary School in Prince Frederick, Maryland. The pledge is just one part of a new focus on promoting positive behavior at the school. Other interventions include a Calvert Elementary School Contract and "Eagle Eye" passes.

At the beginning of the 2000-2001 school year, contracts were sent home asking the students, their parents, and their teachers to sign a commitment to support a positive learning environment. The "Eagle Eye" passes were created for students to earn when any staff member noticed a student showing respect or responsible behavior or behavior indicating that he or she was ready to learn. The passes have both the student’s and staff person’s names on them so that they may be collected and a winning student from each grade can be drawn each week and a winning staff member can be drawn each month. Both students and staff members may earn rewards.

These new positive interventions were developed by a character education team comprised of the principal, a student services worker, school psychologist, guidance counselor, teacher, and a behavior specialist. The development of a characater education team was th result of a two- day training session led by Dr. George Sugai of the University of Oregon with the support of the Maryland State Department of Education. Dr. George Sugai is a nationally noted speaker and trainer on research based strategies for violence prevention. He has trained many school staff members in the State of Maryland in this program.

The goal of the new interventions is to emphasize positive behaviors, decrease student discipline referrals, and promote the student’s commitment to his or her school. The new strategies have already shown positive gains with a reduction in disciplinary referrals and suspensions. Student and staff participation in the program has been remarkable. A major contributing factor to the success of the program this year has been the principal’s support and promotion of new interventions. Dr. Gene Rizzo, the principal at Calvert Elementary School, has summarized data from the present and past years, led the committee to develop new strategies, and found funding to support the incentives that keep the enthusiasm high.

Because of the success of the positive behavior intervention strategies program (PBIS) at Calvert Elementary School, two additional schools will be trained in July and will implement the program in their schools in the Fall.