What is PBIS?

Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) is a proactive approach to establish a framework of behavioral supports and a social culture needed for ALL students in a school to achieve social, emotional and academic success.  Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) is a way for schools to encourage good behavior.  With PBIS, kids learn about behaviors, just as they learn other subjects like math and science.  The key to PBIS is prevention, not punishment.

Why develop a system for teaching behavior?  Why do we need something like this at Postville?  We can no longer assume students know the expectations or rules in a school.  We can no longer assume students will learn appropriate behaviors without practicing and modeling them in school.

At Postville Community School we simply refer to PBIS as “The Pirate Way.”  Our goal is for the entire Postville Community School District to be unified in the expectations for behavior and committed to educating our students on the specific positive behaviors in order to be successful in school and the world.  Our beliefs are that all students should be treated with dignity and respect, students should be taught the skills and behaviors necessary for success, staff members should encourage motivation through positive interactions and building relationships with students, and student misbehavior provides a teaching opportunity.

In order to accomplish our goals we are committed to being proactive, being positive, and providing behavior instruction.  We will be proactive by preventing problems before they happen.  We will be positive by building relationships with students and providing positive feedback.  We will also directly teach and review expectations throughout the year.

“The Pirate Way” expectations have three main categories:  BE SAFE, BE RESPONSIBLE, BE RESPECTFUL.  A matrix has been developed to explicitly indicate the positive behaviors associated with specific locations throughout the district.  One example is in the classroom.  In the classroom, students will be safe by walking, using furniture appropriately, and keeping hands and feet to themselves.

One component of PBIS is an acknowledgement system.  At Cora B. Darling Elementary, students will be receiving “gold bars” for being safe, being responsible, and being respectful.  They will be allowed to bring them home for the parents to see them.  Every month each homeroom will have a designated “Student of the Month.”  There will also be a drawing each month for a student to receive a larger prize.

In the JR/SR High, the students will receive “Positive Post-It” notes.  Students have the choice to take them home or place them in a container in the office.  Routinely there will be drawings for students to be recognized and receive a surprise.

There is also a specific consequence system as part of PBIS.  Behaviors are categorized as minor or major behaviors.  Teachers handle minor behaviors on their own by talking with the students and re-teaching the expected behaviors.  Major behaviors are referred to the office through an “Office Behavior Referral” system.  The Administration then deals with the behaviors and handles the consequences associated with the behaviors.

“The Pirate Way” has created a positive climate of learning throughout the entire Postville Community School District.  There are clear, unified expectations for all.  We are excited to share all the components with our students as the year progresses.  This framework has established the behavior support and social culture needed for our students to be successful.  Ask your child today if they have received a “Pirate Bar.”


Jennifer Schutte

Curriculum Director / Dean of Students

Postville Community School District