Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support (PBIS) at TMS
The staff at Thurston Middle School has a strong belief in educating the whole child, and that when a child feels connected and cared for, he is better equipped for the academic rigors of school and later, for challenges in life. In recent years, we have layered in a focus on student social-emotional health and Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports (PBIS), which enhances the tiered supports we provide and the positive culture we foster on campus. As a team, our staff is committed to supporting students’ diverse needs and providing targeted, direct interventions specific to each child. At Thurston Middle School, student achievement, student needs, positive student/staff relationships, and individual supports are the keys to our distinguished success.
So what is PBIS? PBIS is an evidence-based framework that improves and integrates all of the data, systems, and practices that affect student outcomes every day. PBIS helps schools create environments where all students can succeed. There are three tiers within an effective PBIS system:
- Tier 1 practices and systems establish a foundation of regular, proactive support while preventing unwanted behaviors. Schools provide these universal supports to all students, school-wide.
- Tier 2 practices and systems provide support for students who are at risk for developing more serious problem behaviors, before those behaviors start. These supports help students develop skills which, in turn, help them access and benefit from the core programs of the school.
- Tier 3 practices offer students more intensive, individualized support in order to improve behavioral and academic outcomes. At this level, schools rely on formal assessments to determine students’ needs.
TMS implements PBIS with fidelity and acknowledges that the well-being of students is based not only on their academic success, but also their social-emotional health. Students cannot learn unless they feel a sense of safety and belonging. Therefore, we focus on development and maintenance of positive staff/student relationships, and work tirelessly to build meaningful connections with our students.
Positive behaviors are consistently recognized and rewarded on our campus. With the support of PTA funding, we have instituted many ”SMART Rewards” for students who exhibit positive behavior in class and across campus, including:
- SMART Lunch - on a monthly basis, students are nominated by teachers for demonstrating SMART behavior.
- Student of the Day - students are recognized on a daily basis for demonstrating SMART behaviors, through teacher recommendation.
- SMART Breakfast - once each semester, our Assistant Principal (Mrs. Hammer) hosts a breakfast for students and the teachers who nominated them for demonstrating exemplary SMART Behavior.
- SMART Cards - teachers and staff give tickets to students who exhibit SMART behavior. The cards are entered into a monthly raffle for exciting prizes.
- LiveSchool Points - teachers and staff give points to students who demonstrate SMART behaviors. These points can be used to purchase items from the School Store each month.
SMART goals are another way in which we support positive behavior on campus. Early in the school year, our entire student body participates in a presentation called “Be an Upstander,” led by our assistant principal. During this presentation, students are taught about our SMART goals: Solve Problems, Make Great Decisions, Achieve, Respect, and (be) There and Ready. In addition, students are given information on current trends and undesirable or unhealthy activities, including vaping and cyber-bullying. This presentation opens the door to communication with our administrators in a non-threatening manner. It is a first step toward building trust and personal accountability between staff and students.
Students are introduced to the WeTip: See Something, Say Something tip reporting service, which allows students, parents, staff, and community stakeholders to submit anonymous (or non-anonymous, if the reporter selects this feature) tips to site safety team members, who may launch an investigation, provide support, intervene, and resolve school-related safety matters.
Tips may be submitted in three ways:
- Live Call Center - The call center operates 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, 365 days per year. Phone calls or texts can be placed using a dedicated LBUSD tip line. These tips are received by trained WeTip staff, triaged, and forwarded to the appropriate responding authorities, which may include emergency responders after school hours or on weekends.
- Website Links - Links to reporting forms are available on all four school site and district office pages.
- See Something, Say Something Posters - Posters are displayed in multiple areas around each school campus with a QR code that links into the cloud-based tip reporting platform. This enables reporting from any internet-connected device, including smart phones.
- As always, in an emergency or crisis, call 9-1-1.
At Thurston Middle School, we are invested in fostering a positive school culture and climate. We have taken on numerous initiatives in support of this mission, including restorative practices. Restorative practices, which include restorative circles and conferences, build classroom and school communities where students feel a sense of safety and belonging. When students feel a sense of belonging, it becomes easier for them to learn - both from an academic and social-emotional standpoint. Restorative practices may also address conflict and wrongdoing by restoring relationships between students, and between students and educators, enhancing skills for collaboration and cooperation. Through proactive community building and equitable responses to misbehavior, students are treated with dignity and learn to treat others with dignity. The use of restorative practices has been proven to decrease antisocial behavior and the need for disciplinary actions, while increasing perceived safety and academic achievement campus-wide.
Restorative circles are used proactively to create positive relationships between students and between students and staff. Circles use icebreakers and open dialogue to determine shared values, build community, spark empathy, and support a sense of belonging. Circles allow all parties to practice open, effective communication, and help build a positive culture.
Restorative conferences are one on one or small group conversations through which participants are empowered to take responsibility for their actions. These conferences provide a safe space for open, honest conversation following a challenging interaction or incident. Restorative conversations focus on sharing personal impact with participants using “I” statements. The team works together to identify the root causes of problems, determines accountability, and promotes healing.
For more information, please refer to the PBIS Behavior Matrix and Progressive Discipline Flowchart below: