I believe that first the environment must be safe and supportive before learning can take place. Both teachers and students gain self-efficacy from a positive school environment. Discipline can be designed to support all students through a multi-tiered system. This all begins with collaboration in defining rules, expectations and norms, then making it a priority to teach and support positive behavior for all stakeholders.
I believe this because as an Education Specialist and member of Association of Positive Behavior Support, I extend beyond my instructional professional development to learning positive behavior support and how to design and implement Functional Behavioral Assessments and Behavior Support Plans for the “third tier of support” to “first-tier” school-wide support. I currently work at a school which does not implement Positive Behavior Intervention and Support (PBIS,) but I am able to design my classroom with preventative strategies and positive behavior support. My data is evidence that the positive behavior support approach creates success for all students.
In the past decade, discipline and school/climate culture has become a priority as traditional consequences, such as visits to the office and suspensions/expulsions are cause a severe loss in instructional time. Positive Behavior Intervention and Support (PBIS) and the professional development to implement it, buy-in, collaboration and fidelity in practice, as well as the budget to support this shift is a debated issue once the California Department of Education joined other states in implementing a Multi-tiered System of Support (MTSS) that aligns with CCSS and other systems for academic, behavior and social success.
I would like to discuss the impact that discipline and school culture/climate has on the Special Education Department and students access to the least restrictive environment. Schools not implementing PBS have an over representation of students with disabilities and behavioral referrals as well as a placement risk. Our district has yet to implement a MTSS to support behavior and social needs, so students are not receiving evidence-based strategies to identify their social/emotional needs. This can increase of time students spend in Special Education because their needs are not met in general education. At the middles school where I transferred my 5th graders, the number of students in a self-contained special education class (most restrictive environment) has increased 110% in ten years. Districts in other states who began implementing MTSS like PBIS, have seen a decline in the number of students with or without IEPs placed in a more restrictive placement (self-contained special ed class, juvenile hall, alternative or residential facility) and those with “third-tier” supports in appropriate placements based on their students’ needs.