Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support

Emerging Leader Fellow: Kelly Siegel McGinnis, 2008-2009

Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBS) has already proven to be an effective tool in reducing non-academic barriers to student achievement. Many states have adopted PBS systems statewide with great success, including Illinois and Maryland. It has also been proven to be effective when implemented in large school districts, including Detroit, New York City, and the Los Angeles Unified Districts.

The U.S. Office of Special Education Programs describes PBS as a valuable means of achieving a reduction in problem behavior and enhanced learning environments. It requires the cooperation of every individual in the school to comply with the rules for positive and negative behavior established by each school. Research shows that this comprehensive approach to behavior leads to decreases in the time spent on discipline issues and drop out rates, and increases in the perception of school safety, among others. For more information on PBS practices, click here.

Pennsylvania began implementing PBS when the Pennsylvania Department of Education provided $900,000 in grants to sixteen schools to enhance and develop effective school-based mental health programs in Pennsylvania schools. Six of the sixteen projects then implemented school-wide positive behavior support. Currently, PBS systems are in 25 schools throughout Pennsylvania.

PCCY and other organizations, including the United Way, the School District of Philadelphia, Devereux, Education Law Center and the Office of the Mayor, are working with a citywide leadership group to develop support for a three-year plan for PBS to be implemented in 16 schools throughout the School District of Philadelphia. The long-term goal of this effort is to create infrastructure within the School District of Philadelphia that will continue to support PBS as a sustainable, successful system to improve school climate across all schools in the district.

Through her work at PCCY, Junior Fellow Kelly Siegel will also be representing PCCY on the statewide leadership team to help bring PBS to 100 schools across the state, through securing state funding and informing policy makers on the effectiveness of the program.  For more information, click here for a recent report on PBS in Pennsylvania from the Education Law Center and Disability Rights Network.