Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports in Union Maine


By Todd A. Ward, PhD, BCBA-D

Founding Editor, bSci21.org

The Bangor Daily News recently reported on the efforts of Union Elementary School, in Union Maine, to change the culture of the school through Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS).

The PBIS program is based on building student behavior centered around the four values of Ready, Safe, Responsible, and Respect.  School staff unpacked said values into concrete behavioral examples for students to model.

The key feature of the program is its focus on encouraging positive behavior through positive reinforcement of various types.  In the first six weeks of the program, teachers teach examples of “the four Rs” and have the students complete projects demonstrating their meaning.  When staff catch a student behaving in a positive manner, the student is given an “Eagle Feather,” which is publicly displayed with the students name.  Moreover, students have the chance to dispense feathers to their peers as well as adults.

Staff found that the program has changed the culture of the school, as demonstrated in one case by a student-initiated “Buddy Bench” that was placed outside for students wanting someone to play with during recess.  Other examples of the shifting culture include “family style lunches” with students mixed across grades, and a “Royalty Table” for kids noted for their positive behavior for the week.

Be sure to read the full article at the Bangor Daily News for more details on the program.  Do you think a similar program could be implemented at your school?  Let us know in the comments below!

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Todd A. Ward, PhD, BCBA-D is President of bSci21 Media, LLC, which owns bSci21.org and BAQuarterly.com.  Todd serves as an Associate Editor of the Journal of Organizational Behavior Management and as an editorial board member for Behavior and Social Issues.  He has worked as a behavior analyst in day centers, residential providers, homes, and schools, and served as the director of Behavior Analysis Online at the University of North Texas.  Todd’s areas of expertise include writing, entrepreneurship, Acceptance & Commitment Therapy, Instructional Design, Organizational Behavior Management, and ABA therapy. Todd can be reached at todd.ward@bsci21.org.

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