Enhancing SEL through whole-school systems change: School-wide Positive Behavior Support (SWPBS)

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School-wide Positive Behaviour Support (SWPBS) refers to a systems change process involving the entire school community. SWPBS is not a typical program. Rather, it is a set of ‘blueprints’ for creating and implementing positive learning environments, preventing problem behaviors, and promoting positive behaviours.

Typically, a school sends a project team of administrators and educators for training provided by skilled SWPBS trainers. Together, they decide on three to five behavioral expectations on which the school will focus, and create positive, easy-to-remember statements around them, and a matrix of what the behavioral expectations look, sound, and feel like on the ground. Other components of this program include addressing how behavioral expectations are taught in classrooms, fine tuning school discipline referrals, and strategies for recognizing positive behavior.

The philosophy behind SWPBS is that behavioral expectations can be taught and modeled in the same manner as core curriculum subjects. Available for primary, secondary and post-secondary levels, research has shown SWPBS to be effective in reducing misbehavior, particularly in urban schools.