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August 27, 2018

4 Levels of School-Wide Behavior Management

School-wide behavior management can be tough to implment, but can change the trajectory of a school. What level would you rank your school?
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Three words that can change the trajectory of an entire school: school-wide behavior management. If your school implements Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) or has created its own school culture program, you know that a proactive, team-based approach to behavior management can be transformational.

At LiveSchool, we’ve had the privilege to work with schools across the country, both to streamline existing school-wide behavior management systems and implement systems from scratch. Based on this experience, we’ve developed a four-level system for understanding how your team currently approaches behavior and planning your next step.

Level 0: Every Teacher for Herself

How it works In this approach, each teacher in the building develops his or her own management systems. This includes technology-based systems like ClassDojo that do not facilitate collaboration between teams.

Advantages

  • Requires no administrator bandwidth and does not drain school financial resources.

Disadvantages

  • Does not create school-wide supports or a common school vocabulary for expectations
  • Does not facilitate strong managers supporting and collaborating with teachers struggling with negative student behavior 

Level 1: Paper Tokens and Bucks

How it works In this approach, the school creates a ticket or “behavior buck” currency that teachers award in recognition of great student choices. Tickets or bucks can be redeemed for incentives at the school store.

Advantages

  • Effective at creating a school-wide vocabulary for reinforcing and rewarding positive student behavior
  • Requires basic school-wide administration, preserving administrator bandwidth

Disadvantages

  • This approach does not generate actionable data for progress monitoring at the student, teacher, grade, and school levels
  • Prone to “inflation,” in which some staff devalue the school-wide currency by over awarding tickets or bucks
  • Students losing their bucks, creating administrative headaches for teachers 

Level 2: Centralized Database

How it works In this approach, the school creates a centralized Excel, Access, or Google Docs spreadsheet to centralize positive and negative classroom behavior data. Teachers track behavior on paper during the class, and transfer data to the centralized tracker on a daily or weekly basis. Parent reports can be generated programmatically from the shared database.

Advantages

  • Effective at creating a school-wide vocabulary and methodology for enforcing consistent expectations
  • Generate data required to monitor progress and set goals.
  • Powerful opportunities to show students their growth over time, which helps students internalize the connection between their choices and outcomes
  • Consistently communicate behavioral progress to parents.

Disadvantages

  • Requires double-entry by teachers, first in class and then at the end of the day or the week. This double entry takes amounts to an average of two hours per teacher per week, or the equivalent of an FTE in a school staff of just 20
  • Requires substantial administration, often falling on a key school administrator
  • The “achilles heel” problem — if the system designer leaves school for any reason or has conflicting demands on their time, the entire school culture system can be negatively impacted.

Level 3: Digital App

How it works In this approach, the school designs its behavioral expectations, incentive program, and weekly reports before rolling out the system to teachers, then to students and parents. Teachers record behavior in real-time from any tablet, laptop, desktop, or smartboard. All information mechanics are handled in real-time by the platform, and advanced data analytics are available instantly.

Advantages

  • Effective at creating a school-wide vocabulary and methodology for enforcing consistent expectations
  • Generate data required to monitor progress and set goals.
  • Powerful opportunities to show students their growth over time, which helps students internalize the connection between their choices and outcomes
  • Consistently communicate behavioral progress to parents
  • Requires very basic management

Disadvantages

  • Requires financial resources

Summing It Up

There’s no single way to approach school culture, but one thing is certain: on some level, every school must address student behavior, whether that responsibility is pushed out to individual teachers — a viable approach in many school settings — or you develop a proactive school-wide system.

If you need help designing or implementing a system that is right for your staff, give us a call. Even if LiveSchool isn’t the right solution for your team, we are happy to help you evaluate the best next steps. We’re standing by at (877) 612-1086.

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