Creating an educational environment in which all students can learn, grow, and succeed takes more than academics. Behavior interventions and supports make it possible for students to develop the necessary skills to interact with peers and adults as well as form useful academic habits.
Tier 1 supports encompass every student in your school. As the foundation for regular, proactive support to all students in all settings, Tier 1 supports place emphasis on teaching, modeling, and recognizing positive behaviors. These supports also help to mitigate undesirable and unwanted behavior before it becomes problematic. For approximately 85% of students, Tier 1 supports enable them to form positive habits that will equip them to succeed long after they leave the classroom.
Schoolwide expectations are by necessity broad in scope. Most schools establish a baseline of three to five universal school values and build their expectations upon these. Various locations within the school – classrooms, common areas, etc. – require more specific actions that reflect these values. Regular, proactive support at this level helps to prevent unwanted behaviors and provides a foundation for expected conduct throughout the school. It is from this baseline that the school identifies students who need additional support beyond Tier 1.
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Schools that use a Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) framework begin by establishing universal supports, both academic and behavioral, for all students. Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) falls within the scope of MTSS and focuses solely on behavior. Within a PBIS framework, the tiers of implementation work together with interventions specific to each tier. These interventions meet the needs of students in that tier and enable them to develop positive behaviors.
Examples of Tier 1 Behavior Interventions
Because Tier 1 behavior intervention supports all students, it is the foundation for behavioral expectations and serves to identify students who may need more intensive support.
Tier 1 goes hand-in-hand with basic classroom management practices. The proactive and preventive nature of these supports establishes a classroom environment that is encouraging and beneficial. Many serve the dual purpose of classroom management as well as being Tier 1 supports. These include schoolwide expectations defined in the classroom, teaching and modeling appropriate behaviors, and establishing routines. Other Tier 1 supports can include:
- Non-verbal cues such as a nod, thumbs up, high-five, etc.
- Grounding exercises, including box breathing, mindfulness, guided imagery, and so on
- Taking a short break away from an activity that is producing frustration or boredom
- Movement, particularly to shake off fidgety behavior
- Classroom jobs, such as line leader, collecting papers, errands to the office, etc.
- Positive communication with home, such as a note or phone call to a parent or guardian
Acknowledgement of positive behavior as it occurs is also a key component of Tier 1 behavior interventions in schools. This recognition serves to reinforce specific actions and triggers the release of dopamine in the brain, which helps form neural pathways for positive behaviors.
Using PBIS and PBIS Rewards with Tier 1 Behavior Interventions
A PBIS framework is designed to help students develop positive behaviors, thus helping them to succeed academically, socially, and emotionally. Tier 1 supports in a PBIS initiative typically serve the majority of a school’s student population and form a baseline for behavior schoolwide. Most classroom management techniques double as Tier 1 supports, enabling educators to get the most out of PBIS in the classroom.
PBIS Rewards helps schools to manage their PBIS initiatives digitally, making it easier for educators to acknowledge students for positive behaviors. A simple click or scan is all it takes to quickly recognize a student or group of students. Each recognition in PBIS Rewards adds points to a student’s account, which they can use to purchase incentives from the school’s PBIS store. This process reinforces the schoolwide values outlined in the school’s behavior matrix and improves behavior overall.
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