PBIS “Positive Peer Pressure” Program Changes School Culture

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Todd A. Ward, PhD, BCBA-D

bSci21Media, LLC

WSLS News in Roanoke, Virginia recently reported on a Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports (PBIS) program aimed to boost school attendance and academic performance across Henry County schools.  One principle reported that “teachers spend a lot less time on discipline problems now and more encouraging kids and focusing on academics.”

The program achieves said outcomes based on positive reinforcement and feedback strategies, such as praise from teachers catching students acting well, and students can also “ear their way to fun days filled with games and food at the elementary and middle schools.”

Other reinforcers include “the golden spatula, golden plunger, and the golden ruler for behavior in the cafeteria, the bathrooms in the hallway, the lines.”

Administrators described an effect of “positive peer pressure” emerging, wherein students are more likely to support each other in ways that earn incentives.

What do you think about the program? Do you have experience with PBIS? Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to subscribe to bSci21 via email to receive the latest articles directly to your inbox!

Todd A. Ward, PhD, BCBA-D is a science writer, social philosopher, behavioral systems analyst, and the President and Founder of bSci21Media, LLC, which aims to connect behavioral science to the world in an engaging, non-academic way.  Dr. Ward received his PhD in behavior analysis from the University of Nevada, Reno under Dr. Ramona Houmanfar.  He has served as a Guest Associate Editor of the Journal of Organizational Behavior Management, and as an Editorial Board member of Behavior and Social Issues.  His publications follow a theme of behavioral systems analysis, organizational performance, theory & philosophy, and language & cognition.  He has also provided ABA services to children and adults with various developmental disabilities in day centers, in-home, residential, and school settings, and previously served as Faculty Director of Behavior Analysis Online at the University of North Texas.  Dr. Ward can be reached at [email protected]

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  1. I have direct experience with this. You will start to see kids encourage each other or even advise one another against bad decisions.

  2. I’ve been helping my district implement PBIS for the last 5 years and it takes a lot of work and patience in terms of making sure adults are doing what they are supposed to do and with fidelity. Once schools have bought in and shown a willingness to participate, the positive impact is clear.

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