PBIS at Pinacate: Putting the "P" in Positive

Pinacate Middle School
PBIS stands for Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports. It is a framework for how schools plan to improve school culture and discipline practices. This year, Pinacate Middle School has revamped their PBIS system, putting the “P” in “Positive”.

The school year began with 3 days of school-wide instruction on social skills. Every teacher at Pinacate in every class period, explicitly taught lessons on how to use and practice social skills. These lessons were developed by Pinacate’s PBIS committee. Some of these social skills include working well with others, accepting ‘No’ for an answer, using appropriate voice tone, and greeting others. Students learned how to apply 21 different social skills in various settings, especially a classroom setting. Rather than focusing on what not to do, social skills are worded positively in order to reinforce what the right action is to take in a situation. In this way, students have been explicitly taught how to act like responsible young adults and what positive behavior looks like.

Pinacate PBIS
Another positive change this year is the establishment of the Student Success Center.  This room replaced the existing On Campus Suspension (OCS) room and is located in Pinacate’s discipline office. The Student Success Center (SSC) is staffed by a full time credentialed teacher. This teacher’s title is the “SSC Teacher”. If a student is showing repeated misbehavior, and after all classroom interventions have been tried, a teacher can refer a student to the Student Success Center. The SSC teacher meets with and counsels the student regarding the student’s misbehavior and the social skill(s) he/she has failed to practice. The SSC teacher then sets up a Teacher/Student Conference with the referring teacher. In this conference, the student is given an opportunity to “own up” to his/her behavior and commits to what behaviors he/she will change in the classroom. The teacher has a chance to talk to the student face-to-face, without other students around, and let the student know what is expected of them in the classroom. In a Teacher/Student Conference, the SSC teacher acts as a facilitator, ensuring that the student understands what the teacher is communicating. In these conferences, the SSC teacher also communicates to the student what the next steps are in the discipline procedures should the student’s behavior fail to change after the conference.

Teacher/Student Conferences have been successful in decreasing repeated referrals. Over half of the students who have had a Teacher/Student Conference with a teacher have not been referred to the discipline office again by that same teacher. The face-to-face conference with the referring teacher and the SSC teacher requires students to have a real and honest conversation about their behavior. Often times, teacher and student relationships are restored from these conferences, and misunderstandings between teachers and students are made clear.

To reinforce the practice of using proper social skills, a behavior tracking system was purchased. Pinacate is using a software platform to track positive behavior in the classroom. Teachers were trained on how to use the software and how to award students “Puma Points” for effectively practicing social skills in the classroom. Students also have been shown how to create a student account. Once they log in to their student account, students are able to check how many points they have earned, how many they’ve spent, and which teachers have awarded them points.

Pinacate Incentive Store
The students can spend these points at the newly opened Student Incentive Store. The Incentive Store is located in the Student Success Center. Various school supplies and snacks are sold during students’ lunches at the incentive store. The store opened on November 10, 2015. Since that time, over 200 students have visited and purchased items from the store using their Puma Points. On one particular day, over 45 students purchased items at the store during their lunches. As the school year progresses Pinacate is looking to see the number of students visiting the Incentive Store to grow.

What is next for PBIS at Pinacate? Next semester, every campus supervisor will have a portable device to track student behavior, both positive and negative. Tardy sweeps will take place where campus supervisors will use their devices to  issue tardy passes using the behavior tracking system. One tardy equals a loss of one Puma Point. This will help motivate students to get to class on time. Also, campus supervisors will be looking for students who are being good role models around campus. These students will be awarded Puma Points for demonstrating positive behavior.

Pinacate Middle School continues to improve its PBIS framework. The PBIS committee meets monthly to discuss needed changes and tweaks to the system. All teachers are invited to have a voice on the PBIS committee. The committee has worked diligently to develop a school-wide PBIS framework that will be sustainable, data driven, and has an emphasis on positive intervention.