Putting the Positive in Positive Discipline Support Plan

Focus. Have we lost it? As a system we are transitioning to the Positive Discipline Support Plan (PDSP) and away from Traditional Discipline. But why?

The tenets of Traditional Discipline were designed to put the utmost value on the ability to maintain order and instruction within the classroom, and PDSP is no different. The core mission is the same, however PDSP puts the effort into school-wide prevention and tiered intervention as opposed to a punitive system.

Developing a positive school culture is a large task. As educators, we already know and understand that use of positive feedback in our classrooms creates a positive classroom environment. Now we are looking to use that same practice to foster a favorable school culture.

By now you have experienced, or at least heard about, the Positive Discipline Support Plan. All of our Choice schools are in the process of adopting the PDSP as their tool to create and acknowledge positive school culture. The PDSP uses a tiered approach to addressing the behavioral needs of the school by first implementing school-wide supports for students.

Given the fact that the PDSP is a tiered system, we must first look at what needs to be done at a school-wide level in order to set the stage for success.  Tier one, the most important part of a successful implementation, is defining the behavioral expectations and teaching those expectations to the students in the building. The staff within the building develops and publishes the procedures as expectations for the students, and then takes the time to teach those expectations to the students. This practice sets the bar for the students, and explains to them what is needed in order to be successful within the school setting.

Tier two of the PDSP is intended to develop supports for students based on the behavioral data collected throughout the school.  By following the behavioral red flags, the team can begin to develop tier two interventions.  The school staff may be able to isolate issues within a certain grade level or area of the school, and with this information they can design interventions that address those needs.  It may be as easy as adjusting a recess schedule or as involved as adding personnel to aid in supervision.  Tier two is successful when the data shows a decrease in behavioral referrals with the behaviors the teacher was addressing.

Tier three interventions involve intensive individualized interventions. This starts with a team in the building that meets regularly and focuses on the current climate and behavioral needs of the students within the school. This Behavioral Response to Intervention (RtI) team is responsible for driving the tiered behavioral interventions at each school. Students benefit from the work of the Behavioral RtI team when their behaviors become more problematic and disruptive. The team meets and completes a Functional Behavior Assessment. This assessment helps to guide the Individual Student Behavior Plan. When the team can focus in on the causes and motivations behind individual student’s behaviors, interventions can be put into place to support the success of that student.

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