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Jun 11, 2024

Teach by Design’s 2023-2024 Year in Review

Here are some of our reflections on a year’s worth of research findings, practical strategies, and a whole lot of GIFs.

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The 2023-24 school year has come to a close. Congratulations!

At the end of every school year, we like to take some time to look back on the ground we covered diving into journal articles and sharing evidence-based practices. Today is that day.

We came into the year with a mission to break down barriers to implementation. One of the biggest challenges we see happening in the field is a misconception of what PBIS really is. For some, it’s just a series of tickets, rewards, and parties. For others, it’s an acronym they’ve heard, but they couldn’t define. We wanted to clarify what it means to implement a PBIS framework, so we set out to explore its 15 foundational features one at a time. That’s 10 articles and nine podcast episodes. You could go back through the archives and check them out, but it’s June. We need easy, simple things!.

Here is your year-end wrap up of the articles and podcasts we produced in 2023-24. Enjoy your summer and we’ll catch you back here in August.

August 2023

Anatomy of a Framework: Demystifying the Elements of PBIS

Over the course of the 2023-24 school year, we’ve been on a mission to define the PBIS framework, element by element. The Center on PBIS defines PBIS as “an evidence-based, multi-tiered, problem-solving, and team-based framework educators use to build a continuum of supports to promote all students’ social, emotional, behavioral, and mental health.”1 In our August article, we explored what this definition means by introducing the framework’s essential elements – equity, systems, practices, data, and outcomes – and their 15 foundational features. If you’re implementing PBIS in your school, this is what you commit to doing.

The Lesson Learned: It’s easy to hear a word and assume you know what it means. Do the work to define it up front so you know everyone operates from the same starting point.

Listen to the accompanying podcast episode: Mythbusters – Students Don’t Need to Be Taught How to Behave, Do They? with guests Dr. Jessica Daily and Mimi McGrath Kato.

September 2023

Anatomy of a Framework Part 2: Teams

Two system-level features of every PBIS implementation are the schoolwide team and its operating procedures. While the Tiered Fidelity Inventory (TFI) defines roles and logistics to include for your team, research and experience tell us there are some practices worth considering. Check out these 15 tips and tricks to help organize your team.

The Lesson Learned: The best teams are the ones that fit seamlessly into their context. Find a balance between completing every logistic and building in flexibility for the process.

Listen to the accompanying podcast episode: The Fundamentals of Schoolwide Teams with guest Danielle Triplett

October 2023

Anatomy of a Framework Part 3: Creating Schoolwide Expectations

The schoolwide expectations you set represent the social, emotional, and behavioral skills you want to see from everyone in the building. They serve as a true foundation for so many of the other systems and practices you put in place. Whether your school has had the same five expectations for years or you need to create them, use these steps to ensure your expectations align with your school’s culture and context.

The Lesson Learned: A fundamental feature is always worthy of a second look. Take the time to revisit your expectations and consider whether there is room for improvement.

Listen to the accompanying podcast episode: Mythbusters – PBIS is Just About Rewards and Tokens with guest Dr. Kent McIntosh

November 2023

Anatomy of a Framework Part 4: Professional Development

I love that ongoing education is embedded as a foundational feature of PBIS implementation. The TFI tells us your school’s professional development plan should include opportunities to learn about four topics:

  • Teaching schoolwide expectations
  • Acknowledging appropriate behavior
  • Correcting errors
  • Requesting assistance

Professional development doesn’t have to look one way, but the goal should be to participate in high-quality events. These are the characteristics of high-quality professional development.

The Lesson Learned: All professional development is not created equal. No matter which event your add to your plan, look for ways to continue exploring what you learned long after the session is over.

Listen to the accompanying podcast episode: PBIS Conferences as Professional Development with guests Dr. Jessica Swain-Bradway, Kelly Perales, and Dr. Stephanie Martinez.

December 2023

Our Favorite Things 2023

It’s an annual tradition! This year’s list didn’t disappoint .  From puzzles to poetry prompts, these were some of the little things that brought big joy to our day in 2023.

The Lesson Learned: Make space for the fun stuff. You deserve to take things a little less seriously sometimes.

January 2024

Anatomy of a Framework Part 5: Classroom Procedures

Remember those foundational schoolwide expectations? Well, their connection to what you do in your classroom happens now. The expectations, routines, acknowledgements, and consequences you establish in your classroom have to align with the systems and practices you put in place schoolwide. The Center on PBIS has a perfect resource full of ideas so you know your classroom practices are evidence-based.

The Lesson Learned: Teachers balance decisions, responsibilities, priorities, and deadlines every day. Efficient practices are essential to improving any outcome in the classroom.

Listen to the accompanying podcast episode: Mythbusters – There are No Consequences in PBIS with guest Dr. Kent McIntosh.

February 2024

Anatomy of a Framework Part 6: Schoolwide Community Involvement

Your PBIS implementation needs to work for everyone: students, staff, and families. Intentionally and proactively recruiting feedback is an important data-level feature of PBIS.1 It’s also something that doesn’t often happen.1 If you’re looking for ways to get that feedback and make data-driven decisions from it, there is a step-by-step practice to try out.

The Lesson Learned: Asking for feedback is the first step. Acting on the feedback you receive takes practice and guts.

Listen to the accompanying podcast episode: Culturally Sustaining Practices with guest Dr. Ambra Green.

March 2024

Anatomy of a Framework Part 7: Fidelity Data & Decision Making

If only implementation were as easy as setting it up and letting it run itself. In March, we picked up the topic of fidelity data and the role it plays in our ability to continuously improve what we do. Your PBIS implementation will ebb and flow through various phases.2 It has to persist through teacher turnover, leadership changes, district initiative changes, budget fluctuations, and so much more. Implementing PBIS means you commit to the long -game, and when you do it with fidelity, you’ll see results.

The Lesson Learned: Implementation isn’t a straight line. Bouncing around between the first phase and the fourth is expected. Leaning on data can make that bounce feel a little smoother.

Listen to the accompanying podcast episode: Choosing the Right Application to Track Your PBIS Implementation with guest Diertra Lomeli and Seth May.

April 2024

Anatomy of a Framework Part 8: Discipline Data & Decision Making

This month we finally got to the feature we’ve all been waiting for: Outcomes. If you’re going through all the effort to implement these systems, practices, and data, you’re going to want to see the results of that work. When it comes to using discipline data to monitor outcomes and make decisions, the SWIS Equity Reports are a great place to learn how your systems and practices affect students differently in your building.

The Lesson Learned: Focusing on outcomes related to equity will improve your implementation across the board.

Listen to the accompanying podcast episode: Mythbusters – There are Some Students Skewing Our Schoolwide Data with guests Mari Meador and Rayann Silva

May 2024

Anatomy of a Framework Part 9: Annual Evaluation

At the end of the year, there is one last step to complete. Your school’s annual evaluation is your opportunity to reflect on all the things you’ve done, to make a plan for continuing the effort next year, and to share all of that with your larger schoolwide community. As you look to share your PBIS data, be sure to include data, visual representation of those data, and a narrative describing what you see. When you share all of that, you’re more likely to affect change in the people who read your data story.

The Lesson Learned: In the face of turnover and change, data work like memories. They tell stories about where we’ve been and help us build a path toward where we want to go.

Listen to the accompanying podcast episode: Action Planning with Year-End Data with guests Dianne LaMaster, Michele Cook, and Kim Barker.

1. Green, A. L., Hatton, H., Stegenga, S. M., Eliason, B., & Nese, R. N. (2021). Examining commitment to prevention, equity, and meaningful engagement: A review of school district discipline policies. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions,23(3),137-148.
2. Greenwald, A., Poed, S. (2024, March6-8). Expanding the Landscape: Navigating a World of Possibilities Within Positive Behavior Support.[Conference keynote presentation].APBS Conference, Chicago, IL, United States.

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Megan Cave


Megan Cave

Megan Cave is a member of the PBISApps Marketing and Communication team. She is the writer behind the user manuals, scripted video tutorials, and news articles for PBISApps. She also writes a monthly article for Teach by Design and contributes to its accompanying Expert Instruction podcast episode. Megan has completed four half marathons – three of which happened unintentionally – and in all likelihood, will run another in the future.

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