Behavior Modification Specialist and PBIS (Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports) District Coordinator, Dr. Marsha Jackson presented the PBIS status report at the Liberty County Board of Education work session Aug. 28.
Liberty County School System’s 12 schools have implemented Tier 1 school-wide PBIS with success, Jackson said. Tier 1 includes all students in Liberty County. This success is measured by the TFI (Tiered Fidelity Inventory), which provides valid, reliable, and efficient measures of the extent to which school personnel are applying the core features of school-wide PBIS, according to pbis.org.
“LCSS has exceeded the yearly goal of five percent reduction in ODR’s (office discipline referrals), ISS (in-school suspensions) and OSS (out-of-school suspensions) by 8, 11, and 24 percent,” Jackson said.
Discipline data from educator’s handbooks is trending down, with exponential decreases in ODR, ISS and OSS, Jackson continued. Since implementation of the handbook in 2014, ODR’s have decreased by 31.1 percent, ISS days by 24.9 percent, and OSS days by 16.5 percent. The handbook is a record of incidents and ODR’s submitted by teachers, Jackson said, as a way for administration to track discipline data and use it to make informed decisions and solve problems.
“LCSS is also on track to meet the three-year goal of all schools being emerging or better,” Jackson added. The Georgia Department of Education looks at three levels of PBIS, she said, which is installing, emerging and operational being the highest level.
Installing means schools are implementing PBIS, Jackson said. When a school is installing, she said, the school doesn’t meet criteria on two or more of the measurements. The state wants the school to remain the same or report better discipline numbers in order to become emerging or operational.
Measurements include: ODR’s, ISS and OSS days must be stable or declining, TFI tier one score, which is the implementation measure, and tier one students, that have one or less ODR’s, she said.
When a school is emerging, one or two criteria haven’t been met, but it’s further in its implementation than installing schools, she said. The PBIS team has completed approved DOE training, the team has implemented PBIS tier one elements, the team continues to meet monthly, and the TFI tier one score is 70 percent or better, according to the DOE.
Operational schools meet all criteria, meaning ODR’s decreased, ISS and OSS days decreased, the administration meets monthly and all measures are 85 percent or better on the TFI, Jackson added.
As of 2017-2018, 9 out of 12 schools in the district are operational, two are emerging, and one is installing.
“For that installing school, we have some state representation coming to do some extra training for the school that’s installing,” Jackson said. “I also have our regional representation coming in to do some training, and I’ve been doing some training as well at schools that are emerging and installing.”
District 2 board member Carolyn Carter asked Superintendent Dr. Franklin Perry what measures are being taken to improve the installing school.
“We wanted to share this information because when you hear this, there are some people that believe it should be done the old way,” Perry said. “We know that this will work, and that we need to keep children in school. We know that PBIS works.”
Perry said that the system is demanding that the principals implement and participate in PBIS. 85 percent of the teachers are on board, he said, but that leaves 15 percent or so that aren’t quite on board yet.
“We’re demanding schools participate in this,” Perry said. “To answer the question, it’s already rolled out, there’s plenty of support, and those that have tried it, love it.”
PBIS has also been implemented in classrooms, Jackson said. She trained a team at every school, and that team has trained all the teachers.
“The goal for this year was to have all faculty trained in PBIS in the classroom,” she said. “We’re trying to address how teachers are working in their classroom, so we can address what happens before students get a discipline referral.”
The next steps include school implementation plans that are due for submission at the end of August, Jackson said. Those plans will outline continued training, and Jackson will review them and render assistance to those having difficulty with the training.
“I created modules for each one of the separate training pieces, so that the teachers have something to pull from,” Jackson said.
Tier 2 is the next step, she said, and several schools are ready for that. However, it is by invitation only, requiring regional and state representatives to visit and conduct training.
“The schools have to want to do it because it requires some extra training, but I have some schools and staff that are interested,” Jackson added.
Perry commended Jackson’s efforts for her work in schools, and her work with PBIS, saying that there is no question Jackson is dedicated to what she does.“I just want to thank Dr. Jackson,” Perry said. “She is committed to PBIS. I can truly say when I first got here, she was pushing me to push principals, but that has certainly paid off. I want to tell you that we appreciate you and everything you do.”