What makes this book unique, from my perspective, is that it takes two commonly used “school improvement” approaches (Positive Behavioural Interventions & Supports & Professional Learning Communities) and makes them accessible to practitioners looking to bring safe and positive learning environments to their school communities.
While I have written about PLC's and our school's academic pyramid of interventions in the past, I have to admit that I am not too familiar with PBIS.
The authors make the argument, successfully I think, that for schools to successfully implement PBIS and PLC’s they should focus on the following seven keys:
1. Common Expectations
2. Targeted instruction
3. Positive reinforcement
4. Support strategies & interventions
5. Collaborative teams
6. Data Driven dialogue
7. School wide systems approach
I really appreciated some the practical and research based interventions and strategies that the book references.
Perhaps some of the more “controversial” strategies that the book references under the domain of “positive reinforcements” and creating “common expectations” are the use of extrinsic rewards (merit points, cards, etc.)
While my own attitudes around extrinsic rewards have evolved and changed over the past two years (more towards intrinsic motivation), I think the book handles the issue with enough sensitivity. As the authors state:
“Over time, the goal is to move to more intrinsic and less extrinsic reinforcement, when students make good decisions for the sake of satisfaction it instills instead of the rewards it brings.
I want to thank Tom for sharing his book with me. It reaffirmed some of the practices that I hold "near and dear" as a high school principal and also challenged me to consider some others.