The Cougar Way (PBIS)

Cougar Way Mission Statement

Our mission is to provide a positive learning environment where students can be responsible, be respectful, be safe in order to become productive members of society.

The CCPS staff believes that students are successful when they grow academically, socially and emotionally. To be successful, our behavior program needs to be a partnership between home and school.

Student Handbook Cover

For more information, please refer to pages 28-38 of the Student Handbook.

Cougar Code

The Cougar Way..Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS)

Classroom PBIS

PBIS is an approach that CCPS uses to improve school safety and promote positive behavior. It also helps schools decide how to respond to a child who misbehaves. At its heart, PBIS teaches kids about behavior, just as they would teach about any other subject—like reading or math. PBIS recognizes that kids can only meet behavior expectations if they know what the expectations are. A hallmark of a school using PBIS is that everyone knows what appropriate behavior is. Throughout the school day—in class, at lunch and on the bus—kids understand what’s expected of them.

PBIS has a few important guiding principles:

  • Every child can learn proper behavior.

  • Stepping in early can prevent more serious behavior problems.

  • Each child is different and schools need to provide many kinds of behavior support.

  • How schools teach behavior should be based on research and science.

  • Following a child’s behavioral progress is important.

  • Schools must gather and use data to make decisions about behavior problems.

Keep in mind that PBIS is not a treatment or therapy. It’s a framework for teachers, administrators and parents to follow. It’s also important to know that when a school uses PBIS, it uses it for all students. That includes kids with IEPs and 504 plans. According to several studies, PBIS leads to better student behavior. In many schools that use PBIS, students receive fewer detentions and suspensions and get better grades. There’s also some evidence that PBIS may lead to less bullying

How PBIS Works

PBIS sets up three tiers of support for students and staff in a school.

  1. Tier 1 is a school wide, universal system for everyone in a school. Kids learn basic behavior expectations, like to be respectful and kind. School staff regularly recognize and praise kids for good behavior. They may also use small rewards, like tokens or prizes, to encourage kids.

  2. Tier 2 provides an extra layer of support for kids who continue to struggle with behavior. Kids get a set of evidence-based interventions and instruction. For example, some kids may interrupt class because they struggle with social interactions. A Tier 2 strategy might be a “social skills club” to help these kids learn how to get along with peers.

  3. Tier 3 is the most intensive level. It’s for kids who need individualized supports and services because of behavior issues.

Kids with IEPs or 504 plans can be in any of the tiers. If your child has an IEP or a 504 plan and your school uses PBIS, be sure to ask how the two will impact each other.

PBIS vs. Traditional Discipline

In a school with a traditional approach to discipline, teachers may try to correct behavior through punishment. Here’s an example:

During a class discussion, a student sitting in the back throws a spitball. With a traditional approach, the teacher might scold and send the student to the principal’s office. After the student is punished, the student returns to class and is expected to behave. But there’s no instruction on how to act appropriately. If there’s more bad behavior, they simply increase the punishment. A school using PBIS would handle this differently. With PBIS, the school looks for minor issues to prevent them from becoming bigger behavior problems.

 So before the student throws the spitball, a teacher might notice that the student is craving attention. The teacher might address that need positively before it grows into the urge to throw something. For example, the teacher could give the student a chance to share an opinion in a class discussion and recognize the contribution.

If the student still acts out and throws the spitball, the school would create a strategy to prevent the behavior from happening again. The strategy might include things like break time to cool off or a peer mentor. The school may even provide training for parents.

 The school follows the student’s progress in managing behavior issues and may change strategy if something’s not working. In PBIS, schools still use discipline, but punishment isn’t the focus. The focus is on teaching expectations and preventing problems. From the start, all students learn about how to contribute to a class discussion. They may learn through role playing or through actual lessons.

PBIS and Token Rewards

Nearly all experts praise PBIS for changing school discipline for the better. They like its focus on clearly teaching behavior and on prevention. But a few experts worry that PBIS allows the use of token rewards for good behavior. They say if a school rewards a child for good behavior, the child ends up focusing less on the behavior, and more on getting the reward. This can sap a child’s internal motivation.

 Another concern is that school wide reward systems may exclude kids with behavior issues. If a child who struggles never gets a reward or is rewarded less than other kids, it can feel like punishment. This can discourage kids who are trying their best to behave, but mess up from time to time. Advocates of PBIS have worked hard to make sure schools don’t overuse rewards. They say token rewards are simply one tool to help get kids started on the right path. Rewards also must be applied equitably, advocates say, to recognize kids who are struggling but improving.

Keep in mind that many schools—not just schools that use PBIS—may use token rewards. If you feel your child is being punished by a reward system, it’s important to take your concerns directly to the principal. The same is true if you feel rewards are hurting your child’s motivation.

 The U.S. Department of Education has created a center to train and offer information on PBIS. You may want to ask your child’s school to explain its approach to discipline and behavior. You could even ask the principal or your child’s teacher if there’s a way to reinforce what the school is doing at home.

PBIS Rewards

Students Rewarded through PBIS Rewards

What is PBIS Rewards?

PBIS Rewards is a digital PBIS management solution that assists schools in teaching appropriate behavior. Most PBIS programs use paper tokens as a way to keep track of student points. However, paper tokens are difficult for students to keep track of and can be a burden for teachers, as well. PBIS Rewards digitizes our token economy and helps make it easy to recognize students for acting responsibly. 

PBIS Rewards also makes the reward/track/redeem process easy to administrate. What’s more, PBIS Rewards provides a wealth of data to help demonstrate the effectiveness of the schoolwide PBIS framework. With PBIS Rewards, it is fast and simple to recognize a student for complying with the basic rules of conduct. It takes the concept of “Observe and Praise Appropriate Behavioral Actions” and extends it by making it easy to award points to students for positive behaviors. Students can then redeem their accumulated points in the school store for tangible and intangible rewards. Think of it as a student debit card for their PBIS points.

 PBIS Is Used at All Grade Levels

Implementing PBIS during students’ formative years is often the most effective way to develop lifelong positive behaviors, PBIS can work for all grades. PBIS Rewards operates much like a debit card system: students earn points for good behavior and then cash in those points for privileges and items. Everything is done electronically, just like a debit card. Just as we learn in the adult world that being responsible in our job is how we earn our paycheck, PBIS Rewards helps students learn that positive behavior earns rewards, establishing a lifetime habit of responsible behavior.

How PBIS Rewards Works

PBIS Rewards is a complete system that utilizes the technology you already have in place: computers and smartphones. Student ID badges with QR codes are used in our building which makes it easy to use PBIS Rewards to award points. We simply scan the code with a smartphone to award points. Our staff can award points this way no matter where they are – at recess, in the cafeteria, on a field trip, or even just walking down the hallway.