Editor's Note: Educators wrote to us asking how they could use PBISApps to collect and use information about behavior happening on their school buses. Is there an effective way to use SWIS to enter and review bus citations for decision making? We wanted to know the same thing. So, we reached out to veteran SWIS facilitator, Bob Koenig, to find out how he worked with the transportation department in his district to make SWIS an embedded part of their team’s decision-making process. Here is his story.
In 2013, the Vail School District Transportation department approached me about using the SWIS program to get a handle on the discipline issues they were facing. The PBIS program at Cienega High School had just won a statewide award and our Principal had mentioned SWIS at a district-wide meeting.
The new transportation director was a retired fire department chief. He wanted access to data to analyze their system over time. There were challenges to overcome, primarily related to servicing students across multiple schools. Some buses carry students from multiple K-12 schools; a single incident might involve students from two or more schools. For each incident, there could be different administrators and counselors involved in follow-up to discipline issues. With so many people involved, the department had difficulty tracking outcomes.
At our first meeting I discovered, in addition to the standard SWIS information, they wanted to track the students’ schools of origin, the students’ open enrollment status, and the number of days of bus suspension. Working with the team, we found all of this was easily tracked by creating custom fields.
As for the referral process, the referral starts with the transportation department. When it was important, they found using email as a way to communicate back and forth between administrators and counselor as the easiest way to pass along information to the school. When I met with our transportation department soon after implementing SWIS, the behavior specialist shared a high degree of satisfaction with the program.
The team regularly reviews the data to address behaviors and come up with ways to improve interactions on the bus. SWIS provides detailed information about the department’s history with a student and they can access that information in a single click. They know which parents, counselors, and administrators have been contacted, when, and by whom all in one place. Consequences, whether a bus suspension or something at the individual school, were easily reported.
If you have wondered, or have been asked to set up a district’s transportation department with SWIS, here is my advice: Follow the same path you would to set up a school with the application. Meet with the stakeholders, assess their needs, train those stakeholders, and follow up with them to see what adjustments might need to be made to make the application work best for them.
About Bob Koenig
Bob has been the Site Technology Coordinator for Cienega High School in Vail, AZ since the school opened in 2001. In addition to managing laptops, network and Google apps domains, he also teaches a math class. Bob was the proverbial “data guy” on the PBIS team; he managed referral data in Excel spreadsheets and manually generated reports for a few years. The school started using SWIS to track behavior, and as Bob says, “It changed my life.” In 2011, Vail School District sent Bob to Oregon to become a certified SWIS facilitator. He has been working with several schools ever since.