Ketchikan Gateway Borough is implementing the PBIS program into all schools in the district. The PBIS program web page describes the program as a multi-tiered approach to behavioral support.
“PBIS supports schools, districts, and states to build systems capacity for implementing a multi-tiered approach to social, emotional and behavior support. The broad purpose of PBIS is to improve the effectiveness, efficiency, and equity of schools and other agencies.”
Program coordinator Ruth Reynoso described the program as a new way to manage culture and climate in public schools.
“The PBIS program is a systematic way of changing the culture and climate and improving that in the school, so reducing things like bullying, and helping all the teachers to become more consistent with the way they manage behavior and communicate the expectations to the students for their behavior,” said Reynoso. “We also teach the behaviors directly to the students that are tied to that common language.”
This “common language” refers to key phrases that will represent the program, and were brought forward by students and staff. These words are safe, respectful, responsible, and kind.
Kayhi SPED teacher, Sally Stockhausen, explained that the new program won’t drastically change anything, but it will start to infuse the new common language into the staff and students’ minds.
“We really want to infuse the common language everywhere to show what it should look like to be respectful in the different classrooms, and to some kids, ‘respectful’ might mean something completely different than what the teacher is thinking,” said Stockhausen. “The point of the program is to get kids to know what’s expected of them because kids will usually live up to your expectations depending on if they know what they are.”