Eight St. Lucie Public Schools have been recently recognized by the University of South Florida and Florida Department of Education as outstanding Positive Behavior Support (PBS) Response to Intervention B model schools by meeting specific criteria and utilizing innovative, creative, and functional ways of supporting PBS behavior approaches in their respective school. The PBS process results in the creation of effective intervention plans that will impede problem behaviors, teach new skills, and create support systems for the student. The PBS process is a team-based approach that relies on a strong collaboration between families and professionals from a variety of disciplines regardless of the level implemented. Pictured, from left, are Bayshore Elementary principal Lori Reid, St. Lucie Elementary principal Bernadette Floyd, district PBS coach Dawna Guiel, Superintendent Michael Lannon, Allapattah Flats K8 principal Jonetha Maness, Weatherbee Elementary principal Mike Hitsman, school board chairman Carol Hilson, Lawnwood Elementary principal D’Jion Jackson, Garden City PBS coach Lisa DeCosa, Student Services director Barbara Casteen, Forest Grove Middle dean Beth McGee, Dale Cassens principal Ellen Harden, Assistant Superintendent Bill Tomlinson, and Garden City principal Teri Barenborg.
St. Lucie County schools that are recognized at the Gold level are Forest Grove Middle School, Garden City Early Learning Academy, and Lawnwood and Weatherbee elementary schools. Silver level model schools include Allapattah Flats K8 and St. Lucie Elementary schools, while Bayshore Elementary and Delaware School have attained bronze status. As one of the annual leading PBS school districts in Florida, the transition from PBS to the more comprehensive RTI:B initiative has been more easily developed because the PBS models are so firmly entrenched in school operations.
The Florida Department of Education initiated the PBS Response to Intervention initiative during the 2009-2010 school year with two specific components: RtIA for academic improvement, and RtIB for behavior interventions. Specific characteristics of PBS:RtIB Model Schools are their consistent methods of utilizing data to better serve the students and staff, teaching PBS:RtIB to new students throughout the school year, creative and engaging reward systems, extending PBS:RtIB throughout the campus and partnering with the community and parents, and including PBS:RtIB into daily activities across all available teaching opportunities.
Bronze level model schools report a comprehensive system of support at Tier 1. Critical elements of Tier 1 PBS:RtIB are implemented with fidelity, and data are utilized within a problem-solving framework in order to improve the outcomes of students. Bronze level schools have developed innovative, creative, and functional ways of implementing Tier 1 PBS:RtIB that set them apart from other schools.
Silver level schools report all of the characteristics of bronze level schools and implement with higher levels of fidelity. Visibility, political support, parent involvement, and funding strategies are in place to ensure continued success with their implementation efforts. Silver level schools “drill down” into their data to ensure that their Tier 1 system is effective for all groups of students, and have taken steps to build systems of support for behavior at Tier 2.
Gold level schools report all of the characteristics of bronze and silver level schools, implement with the highest levels of fidelity, and have developed systems of support at Tiers 2 and 3. Gold level schools exceed their peers in both the quality and depth of implementation across all three tiers of support. Practices that are consistent with positive behavior support are evident in decision making, and steps are taken to ensure PBS:RtIB systems are supported. Positive outcomes for students are evident at the Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3 levels of behavior support.