Fix School Discipline Toolkit for Educators - Page 20

Highlight: Pioneer High School Woodland Joint Unified School District School snapshot: Pioneer High School (PHS), located in Woodland, CA in the Woodland Joint Unified School District, serves 1,585 students. 60% of the schools’ students are Latino, 26% are white, and 10% are Asian. African American, American Indian, and multiracial students each account for 1% or less of the school population. Before the implementation of SWPBIS and youth development strategies, PHS suffered from tensions between student members of rival gangs and high levels of suspension. Since the implementation of these alternative discipline practices, there have been no gang-related fights at the school and suspensions have gone down significantly. The first four years of implementation were led by former Principal Kerry Callahan. This year implementation is being led by Principal Angelina Arias. Why did you decide to implement a Schoolwide Positive Behavior Intervention and Support (SWPBIS) system for your school? Former Principal Kerry Callahan: During my second year as Principal, the Woodland Joint Unified School District (WJUSD) Director of Student Services, Debbie Morris, was engaged in PBIS, through Placer County Office of Education (PCOE) and the Building Effective Communities Together (BEST) curriculum, which is based on the School Wide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports model developed at the University of Oregon and the National Center on PBIS ( We were introduced to BEST at a curriculum instruction meeting which all principals attend. Schools were given the choice whether to be part of phase one, and we jumped right on. What was the climate of the school like before you implemented the PBIS system? Former Principal Kerry Callahan: There were a lot of gang issues at the school. The first year I was here, there was a huge riot. We had a big issue with bystanders. There were only ten kids actually in the fight but we were unable to break it up because of all the kids around who were excited to watch. That’s a school climate issue. So we had to deal with it. Our suspensions were mostly to Latino boys, some of the boys were in special education and some of those in special education were emotionally disturbed. About six students per day were being suspended, primarily for drugs, fights and “willful defiance.” Parent involvement was pretty non-existent. There How we can fix school discipline were 60 members of the Parent Teacher Association (PTA), but only about three would come to meetings. Additionally, there were tensions between students and teachers. For instance, we have a rule that no cell phones are allowed on campus and one student had his cell phone out in class but told the teacher it was an emergency. The teacher let him use his cell phone, only to find out that the kid called his mother to bring his tennis shoes for gym. Of course, the teacher referred him to the office. When did you put in place alternative discipline practices and can you describe some of them? Former Principal Kerry Callahan: In 2010-2011, we made several significant changes. We did a training to get every teacher in the school on the same page and then implemented SWPBIS with the 9th grade team. We taught the 9th graders the three rules --- be safe, be respectful and be responsible. Teachers actively pushed strategies, such as creating classroom or hallway rules that fit our big three rules and sending home positive notes. We also actively reinforced good ninth grade behavior with Patriot Pats, play money that can be redeemed for prizes, which are given to a student who is exhibiting positive behavior. By the time Year 1 of PBIS was over, we saw much more parent involvement because we had had hundreds of parent conferences. We utilized our three tiered intervention protocol. In 2011-12, after learning all the lessons we learned in Year 1, we made adjustments and rolled out SWPBIS systemically to all grades.