10th & Penn Elementary recognized for removing non-academic barriers to learning with PBIS program

10th and Penn Elementary School of the Reading School District has earned recognition from the Pennsylvania Positive Behavior Support (PAPBS) Network for implementing Positive Behavioral Interventions Support (PBIS) with fidelity at Tier I.

PBIS is an evidence-based three-tiered framework designed to improve social, emotional, and academic outcomes for all students.

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“With PBIS, we focus on behavior the same way we might focus on reading or math,” said Rowbee’C Kasisky, Principal at 10th and Penn Elementary School. “We teach students what we expect, we have lessons on positive behaviors, and we recognize or reward expected behaviors.”

Kasisky adds that PBIS is essential because “everyone comes from different backgrounds, cultures, countries, and communities. We need a common language of expectation. Students learn what it means to be responsible, respectful, and safe. We talk about what it might mean to be safe when you’re at recess or what respect might look like in the classroom.”

PBIS Tier 1 establishes a foundation of support for positive behaviors and a framework for preventing unwanted behaviors.

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Tier 2 and Tier 3 focus on further support for students who need more intensive and individualized support to improve academic and behavioral outcomes.

10th and Penn Elementary plans to continue PBIS work and solidify their Tier 2 and 3 interventions. These interventions may include individual support, behavior training, and reciprocal teaching, where students can help lead the instruction.

10th and Penn Elementary School was developing their PBIS program before the coronavirus pandemic struck, causing significant disruptions to classrooms.

“It has been a pleasure to work alongside staff to make our school community cohesive and supportive. Building our PBIS program before the pandemic was fortuitous,” shared Kasisky.

“Our program helped us reacclimate more quickly upon return to the classroom because our expectations and positive community were already a safeguard in place for students. PBIS helped kids feel safe and know what was expected and how to get help if they didn’t know what to do.”

PBIS isn’t a static framework; instead, it can be molded to fit each school and district culture, providing what those students need most.

“We began by determining areas of need,” said Kasisky. “We started with staff first—what are our goals? What areas are most important? Next, we looked at data: highest numbers of behavioral incidents, when and where incidents occur. Then we focused the conversation on what we expect and how to communicate those expectations to students. PBIS is not just from the principal or a specific team; it’s system wide. Every staff member has input into the goals and how the program runs. Even the students have an impact and can talk about goals and help define appropriate behavior. Our 4th graders are practicing leading roles. Students are already a part of the program, making it successful.”

The Pennsylvania Positive Behavior Support (PAPBS) Network will recognize schools that have implemented PBIS with fidelity at the 2022 PAPBS Implementers’ Forum held on November 30 – December 2, 2022, at the Hershey Lodge and Convention Center in Hershey, PA.

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