PBIS: Whole-school, all-in problem-solving

Blurred background of blackboard and school supplies. Title text: PBIS: Whole-school all-in problem-solving.

by Tim Grivois, Ed.D., Executive Director

Once you’ve built the basic infrastructure for school-wide PBIS, your team stops focusing on posters and starts focusing on whole-school problem-solving. And, your data is the best place to start.

Before your Tier 1 PBIS meeting, your data analyst should prepare the monthly Data Drill Down. The Data Drill Down summarizes last month’s behavior data into the most critical problem. While some PBIS teams do the Data Drill down together, completing the worksheet and developing the precision problem statement before the meeting saves time and allows the team to focus on solution components.

Use your data to answer “who,” “what,” “when,” “where,” and most importantly, “why?” Having a data-based answer to these questions allows for effective solutions. An example is below:

Data Drill Down

Facts from Data
Who Sophomores and Juniors 
WhatMinor Physical Contact
WhenPassing periods, especially before and after lunch
WhyObtain peer connection
Precision Problem StatementSophomores and juniors engage in minor physical contact during passing periods, especially before and after lunch in the hallways in order to obtain peer connection.
This is an example data-drill down worksheet.

Often, though, PBIS meetings stop at the data. While meeting about behavior data is great, unless the team develops and implements solutions, all they did was have a good talk. 

Solution components describe what adults will do to address the problem, and the best solutions are effective (it works) and realistic (we can do it). When teams commit to solution components that are too hard to implement, they usually discover that no one does anything. This wastes time. Instead, focus on smaller, “classroom-possible” actions that the team knows they can support.

An example Solution Component worksheet is below:

Solution Components

Solution ComponentsDefinitionExample 
PreventionAn action school adults take that makes the unexpected behavior unlikely to occur.Admin and non-classroom staff provide extra supervision along hallways before and after sophomore and junior lunch.
TeachingAn instructional activity we use to equip students to live school values out loud.Classroom teachers to reteach Hallway PBIS Lesson plan to Sophomores and Juniors during homeroom class.
Recognition (+)How we plan to recognize students with positive feedback when we see them living school values out loud.Admin and non-classroom staff to recognize students for being safe by keeping hands the themselves: 10 tickets per passing period per day.
Corrective ConsequenceWhat school adults will do to correct behavior after seeing unexpected behavior Say: “Your hands were on another student’s body, and the expectation is to keep them to yourself. Would you like me to explain why we keep hands to ourselves, or are we good here?”
If behavior continues, note on referral form and follow discipline flowchart.
While all solution components are helpful, I often recommend that teams only use one or two, especially if they’re concerned about over-committing.

If your school uses SWIS to track discipline data, your SWIS facilitator trained someone at some point how to do this in 20 minutes or less. If you don’t have a SWIS facilitator or use something other than SWIS, call me, and I’ll show you how to do this with whatever data system you use.

Let me know what you think in the comments below, and as always, find a beautiful way to live your values out loud today!

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