PBIS in Action in Southern Minnesota

PBIS logoAn Interview with PBIS team members from Morristown 5-8 School
Waterville-Elysian-Morristown Public Schools
The southern regional implementation project team supports school teams across southern Minnesota with implementation and sustainability of positive behavioral interventions and supports. PBIS is a framework or approach for helping schools select and organize evidence-based behavioral interventions into an integrated continuum that enhances academic and social behavior outcomes for all students.

Morristown 5-8 School has been actively implementing PBIS for more than nine years, starting their PBIS Bucs pride school logojourney in 2011 as part of Minnesota PBIS state training cohort eight. Morristown 5-8 School started small and implemented the evidence-based practice of PBIS at their school little by little, involving all stakeholders in the process to improve student behavior and academic outcomes. Their PBIS team members, Jenny Graham, Ashley Landru, Michelle Roethler and Anna Skidmore provided information about their schools’ journey from implementing PBIS to becoming a PBIS award winning school!

Morristown 5-8 School has been recognized as a PBIS leader in southern Minnesota. They have earned PBIS Sustaining Exemplar distinction for multiple years. This award is earned by sustaining PBIS implementation fidelity to PBIS core components. Further, they are an Ambassador PBIS school, providing necessary leadership on PBIS and classroom management expertise to state educator preparation programs.

The school implements the PBIS frameworks with behavior expectations of practicing Buc’s Pride. They are respectful, responsible, safe and positive. These behavior expectations are taught in all areas of the school and by all staff. Consistency of expectations and language was key to their success and this team took it a step further. They went out into the community to local businesses to educate them about PBIS and how they could support schoolwide PBIS efforts. Morristown 5-8 Schools’ PBIS expectations and feedback for following those expectations is a community affair, with local businesses providing feedback and appreciation to their students when visiting local businesses and restaurants. Additionally, the local newspaper highlights students monthly who demonstrate Buc’s Pride behavior expectations, not just athletic or academic excellence.

The school created a positive and predictable environment coming in to the 2020–2021 school year by readjusting the classroom behavior matrix. Their teaching matrix was adapted to include expectations for distance learning by identifying procedures for attending online meetings and creating a safe and productive classroom learning environment at home, similar to the positive environment created in the school classroom.

This model PBIS school recognizes good work from students, but also takes time to celebrate the accomplishments of staff by providing feedback with a traveling trophy given to nominated staff following the Buc’s Pride at monthly staff meetings. The proactive strategies, such as, determining and teaching everyone about expectations, providing structure and consistency with language, providing multiple opportunities for positive behavior specific praise, recognizing all stakeholders when they do great work, and honoring all voices to understand why they are doing this PBIS work, are reasons why this community is thriving!

It is no wonder this award-winning school is seeing positive student behavior and academic outcomes. They are an exemplary example of what a PBIS school looks like in action. To watch the entire interview, please visit: https://youtu.be/_ZxF_cWXNgU

For more information on PBIS, or if your team would like support and guidance with PBIS implementation, please reach out to one of our southern Minnesota regional coordinators:
Southwest Minnesota: Liz Deen, liz.deen@swwc.org or 507-529-7531
South Central Minnesota: Erin Toninato, etoninato@mnscsc.org or 507-389-1914 Ext. 2010
Southeast Minnesota: Hazel Ashbeck, hazel.ashbeck@swwc.org or 507-591-6296