Every day, more than 25 million middle and high school students walk through the hallways and classrooms of public schools across the country. According to Iris Educational Media (IEM), break times, lunch times, and moments between classes create the campus climate – and the students’ behavior ultimately impacts whether the environment is safe and respectful or intimidating and negative.
Public school behavior programs encourage students to build healthy relationships, develop positive behavior, and foster a shared responsibility amongst the community. All of these factors contribute to a more productive campus environment, as well as better academic achievement for individual students.
As IEM further reveals, problems with negative student behavior occurs at all grade levels and can cause serious negative impacts on each student’s development and confidence. In fact, in specifically examining the pre-teen and high school years, the National Center for Education Statistics has reported that nearly 5 percent of all 12 to 18 year olds have avoided school-related functions due to feelings of fear and/or apprehension.
Exploring Positive Behavioral Strategies
Because negative behavioral problems can contribute to an array of school-wide detriments, researchers have developed systematic strategies that can boost student behavior and achievement.
The first study, examining the influence of SWPBS with 3rd grade students in Illinois and Hawaii, found that SWPBS methods improved student mastery in reading when compared with students in control schools (based on state-wide reading assessments).
The second study, exploring high school practices and methods for using SWPBS, found that SWPBS models were most effective when strongly encouraged by administrators, teachers, and students; a lack of commitment to the SWPBS methods resulted in less successful outcomes when compared with schools with a more shared agreement.
The EMSTAC, the Elementary and Middle Schools Technology and Assistance Center, has outlined core strategies for the successful implementation of positive behavior programs into school practices, including:
- Schools should develop positive behavioral teams to support the new strategies and practices.
- Parents, teachers, and administration should all be involved in the planning and implementation of behavioral strategies.
- Schools must work to develop a cohesive and shared behavior plan.
- Teachers and support staff must be provided with clear information and instructions to encourage positive strategies and results.
- Data should be reviewed and assess to verify students’ positive progress.
- The behavioral plan should be modified to meet the ongoing and evolving challenges of students / behavior problems.
- Leaders, teachers, and parents should receive and provide recommendations regarding individual behavior plans for a student’s unique circumstances.
As behavior programs become more popular amongst public schools, campuses should become a friendlier, healthier, and more productive environment that encourages positive academic and social development.