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4J PBS Schools

PBS Status of 4J Schools

Evolution of PBS in 4J

University of Oregon researchers developed Positive Behavior Interventions & Supports (UO PBS) to help establish a school-wide response to the threat of destabilizing disruptive behavior. While PBS can be successfully implemented in individual schools, the Eugene School District has chosen to focus on the central role that school districts must play if the impressive gains we see reported by individual schools are to become the standard for the nation.
The Eugene School District educates 18,437 students across 50 schools. We were introduced to the principles of school-wide behavior support by George Sugai and his colleagues in the early 1990s, and have moved gradually from implementation by individual schools, to active and targeted district coordination and implementation. In the process, we have learned much about the role that school districts may play in the coordination, implementation, and evaluation of school-wide behavior support efforts.

School-wide behavior support efforts in Eugene began when five school teams self-selected to receive University of Oregon-based training and support. The effects of that effort were clear within a year. Students and staff were better prepared to be active contributors to their school climate. The staff agreed on school rules and behavioral expectations along with procedures for teaching, acknowledging, correcting and monitoring student performance across academic and social areas resulting in a more respectful social climate within each school. Most compelling was that designing school discipline with a focus on teaching appropriate behaviors resulted in changes that students liked as much as the staff and administration. The successes and challenges of these five schools resulted in a shift in district goals to make this process available to all schools within our district. This shift moved the training and support from university personnel to a district-managed coordinating council.

As far as administration of PBS, we learned that school districts bear a direct and immediate responsibility to make new systems and technology available to schools. We did this through the following steps. A district-level coordinating council was established to manage any and all initiatives dealing with behavior support. The council meets monthly, and is led by a staff member with dedicated time to the coordination and development of effective behavior support across schools. The council developed a training curriculum and incentive structure for schools that were willing to allocate time, effort and priority toward the development of school-wide behavior support. The coordinating council defined a list of requirements that a school needed in order to receive district support. These requirements included (a) school-wide behavior support as one its top three school improvement goals for the year, (b) a representative team, including active administrative participation, (c) attendance at three to four team-based training events, and (d) collection of data on the impact of the effort. The incentive structure included (1) $2000 per school per year, (2) coordinated training events, (3) release time for the team members to attend the training events, (4) technical support and facilitation from the district coordinating council and (5) access to free or reduced professional development credit through the University of Oregon or the School District. The training events included skill building, systems development and team meeting time. An overview of the training curriculum can be made available by contacting the Marilyn Nersesian at the nersesian@4j.lane.edu.

By district design, the effort was kept small during the first years and has begun to expand as schools have demonstrated success. During the first year of this effort (1996-97) five schools participated in school-wide behavior support efforts. Six more joined the second year (1997-98), seven in the third year (1998-99), two in 1999-00, four in 2000-01 school year and four more in 2001-2002 for a total of 30 schools. A satisfying result of the process has been the durability of change. After schools have spent three to five years with district-level support to establish discipline systems, they continue to maintain the structures to keep the systems going.

Marilyn Nersesian (2001)