Wyoming — Gladiola Elementary School students are the stars of a monthly broadcast, “PBIS on the Street,” in which they talk about what it means to be a Wyoming Wolf.
As interviewees, they define “safe”, “responsible” and “respectful”, describe how those words look in action and offer advice to their peers. Directed by Kent School Services Network coordinator Anna Rivera, with interviewing by Principal Cheryl Corpus, the videos are part of efforts to encourage student voice at Gladiola and put ownership of the school’s Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports program into students’ hands.
PBIS– implemented in many districts– sets common language and behavior expectations school-wide to create a positive academic environment. Fourth-grader Perla Vasquez, who has been interviewed for “PBIS on the Street”, knows why it’s important for students to share what good behavior looks like.
“The first-graders and kindergartners, when they see it, they are probably going to be like, ‘I’m going to copy what they are doing.’ Because normally everyone copies what each other is doing.”
Added fourth-grader Audrey Grego: “Since we’re the oldest kids in the school, the third-graders, second-graders, first-graders and kindergartners, like, look up to us. Basically, we are role models.”
Audrey was named classroom leader in teacher Dan VanWyk’s class that morning. “If they see us doing good behavior, they know those are the oldest kids and we should probably do what we’re doing,” she said.
Sharing the Word
Rivera, who is part of the PBIS Tier 1 Team, helped launch the videos as a way to deliver messages around expectations school-wide. Started in 2019, the team has produced them more consistently this year. Rivera uses her iPad to record students after brainstorming themes with Corpus. Every classroom watches the videos.
‘If they see us doing good behavior, they know those are the oldest kids and we should probably do what we’re doing.’— fourth-grader Audrey Grego
“We thought student voice was very important. Like, what the fourth-graders said, the messaging goes out to the younger students and they can learn from every single student that is in that video,” Rivera explained. “They get very excited to watch the video and it prompts them to be a role model in the classroom so they can be in the next video.”
PBIS at Gladiola has grown to include more direct student involvement. Students announce classroom leaders, and compliment them during monthly ceremonies. Classroom leaders set a new goal for the month for the whole class to work on. Audrey’s goal: for the class to listen to their teacher while seated on the carpet.
“I had to think real quickly, ‘What does the class need to work on? Mr. VanWyk’s been saying how people get a little squirmy on the carpet and get really (unfocused) and stuff, so I thought maybe we can do better at focusing on the teacher.”
Rivera said she sees the impact of more student involvement in PBIS.
“It certainly has become more powerful. It’s similar to when you’re learning in school. It’s been proven that if you write things down you are more likely to remember them, so by including student voice, it is showing them how they are learning and applying it.”
Corpus said she had to rethink PBIS post-building shutdowns. The program was in development phases before the pandemic. They directed their focus on having each classroom involved so every student feels a part of it and plays a role in recognizing leadership and good behavior.
“Now we have more of a unity around the building about ‘what does it mean to be a leader and have more voice in giving students ownership to compliment their classmates and to recognize their strengths.’”