APS Column: PBIS at Southgate Elementary

Published 4:49 pm Friday, January 13, 2023

Principal Derik Gustafson

Southgate Elementary Principal

As we slowly return to what a “normal” school year looks like after three not so normal years, Southgate Elementary staff and students are working with the Minnesota Department of Education in the implementation of a program called Positive Behavior Incentives and Supports (PBIS).

As taken from the U.S. Department of Education office, “Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) is an evidence-based, three-tiered framework to improve and integrate all of the data, systems, and practices affecting student outcomes every day. PBIS creates schools where all students succeed!”

Our PBIS program centers around the idea that at Southgate we strive to be “GREAT Gators” every single day. The cornerstone of that work is that our whole Southgate family including students and staff strive to be: Respectful, Responsible, Caring, and Safe every day. Like with anything in education, if we want students to master a subject area, we need to explicitly teach and practice anything we want students to learn. If we are learning about subtraction, we teach what subtraction is, give examples, and then practice together and individually how to subtract. The idea behind PBIS is that we need to do the same when it comes to consistent behavior expectations.

Another important part of PBIS is that while we need to recognize when students need coaching it is also important that we recognize and acknowledge when they are doing the things we expect at school. Last month, we used December to promote a “positive behavior push” where we asked students to be thinking about the 4 expectations and practice them through their actions. Our staff recognized over 500 instances of positive behavior from our students. We are all very proud!

Our team meets monthly to look at student behavior data and identify areas of need in our building so we can continue to work to ensure that students are in class learning and have a strong understanding of what the expectations are each and every day. This work by our students and staff is just one more reason why I am happy and proud to be a Southgate Gator.