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Stilwell’s PBIS Work Earns ‘Honor’ Status From Iowa Department of Education (03/09/21)

March 9, 2021

Stilwell Junior High has been recognized for its work toward implementing Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) during the 2019-20 school year.

The Iowa Department of Education (IDOE) on Monday, March 8, announced that Stilwell earned an “Honor” award for rolling out its PBIS plan to the school’s students, staff, and families. PBIS is a multi-tiered system of support for academics and behavior, providing school districts a framework to implement and monitor prevention and intervention practices for both virtual and face-to-face instruction, the IDOE explained in its news release highlighting the accomplishment.

“They have identified and taught behavioral expectations and implemented systems to develop a consistent response to appropriate and problem behaviors,” the IDOE said of Stilwell and the other schools that achieved “Honor” status. “The building team meets regularly and is using data to inform decisions.”

Stilwell’s PBIS approach centers around three cornerstones: Do your best, do the right thing, and treat others the way you want to be treated. Stilwell Principal Erica Whittle said PBIS expectations at the junior high are taught in student-friendly lessons during Tiger Time. Additionally, a group of Stilwell staff members meet regularly to discuss building-level needs and individual student supports. 

“These lessons provide an opportunity for all students to learn a variety of skills that not only help them in showing positive behavior but also impact their academic performance and relationships with others,” Whittle said, noting that students earn recognition items or activities based on the number of points they earn. “Each staff member continues to reinforce and recognize positive student behaviors in the classroom, in the hallways, and virtually.”

PBIS isn’t a curriculum that schools purchase, but rather a focus on creating conditions to support learning by providing positive, predictable, and safe environments, the IDOE shared. 

“PBIS has been shown to reduce major disciplinary infractions, reduce out-of-school suspension, improve prosocial behavior, boost academic achievement and improve school climate,” the IDOE said.

For Whittle, she is truly excited to watch Stilwell grow throughout its PBIS journey.

“This work truly takes a team approach with each staff member working together in partnership with students and families in order to make a positive difference” she said. “Our teachers and support staff have worked extremely hard this year to focus on the positive aspects of student behavior and recognize students for showing it.”

To learn more about PBIS, please visit the IDOE’s website.