Heritage named a PBIS Ambassador School
Heritage E-STEM Magnet School named PBIS Ambassador School for 2019
Posted on 03/15/2019

Over the past five years, PBIS Coach Leah Martin has seen office referrals and suspensions decrease at Heritage E-STEM Magnet School. 

Heritage ExpectationsOne of the primary reasons, according to Martin, is students' desire for HABITS-Worthy tickets. Students receive these tickets from their teachers and other staff members for obeying school rules, and meeting and exceeding the school's expectations. Each week, students then have the opportunity to trade the tickets in for rewards, along with earning the chance to participate in quarterly, school-wide events.

At Heritage, there is no excuse for not knowing the rules. Expectations for behavior during the school day are regularly taught and are visibly displayed in hallways and classrooms. The rules and rewards strategy is the cornerstone of Positive Behavior Interventions & Supports (PBIS), a school-wide approach to behavior management. 

While every school's PBIS program looks different, Heritage students and staff know the school’s specific rules and expectations as outlined by their Heritage HABITS. The HABITS acronym stands for: Honesty, Academics, Behavior, Integrity, Teamwork and Support. Teachers and staff members work to incorporate the HABITS into daily practice for students. 

"It might seem little, but it makes a big difference in the grand scheme of how our school is able to function," said Martin. "We never used to have hall passes, so students would be all over–in the hallways and in the bathrooms. A couple of years ago we implemented a sign-out sheet in each classroom. That eliminated so many wanderers. It's the simplest thing, but it helps eliminate those negative behaviors that we don't want to see." 

IHeritage Expectations Postern addition to the HABITS expectations, Heritage has an At-Promise Room for students who get sent out of class. While there, students receive support from a staff member as well as space from the situation. This creates the ability for staff members to better assess the best course of action, while giving students a chance to regulate their own emotions. The purpose of the room is to help eliminate unnecessary office referrals. 

"I keep track of all of our Office Discipline Referrals (ODR) in a detailed database," said Martin. "We're able to compare data year-to-year, and I would say every single year we go down in ODRs, which is great."

Heritage's success in implementing PBIS has been recognized by other educators around the state. In 2017, the school was named a Minnesota PBIS Exemplar School for continuing to achieve positive student outcomes, and was featured as a stop on the Metro PBIS Exemplar School Tour. On this tour, nearly 50 educators visited Heritage, and other schools around the Metro, to learn how to better implement PBIS.

Most recently, Heritage was 1 of only 11 schools in the state to be named a PBIS Ambassador School for the 2018-19 school year. As a PBIS Ambassador School, Heritage staff will visit a number of Minnesota colleges and universities with teaching preparation programs and help train future teachers on implementing PBIS in classrooms. This program is a way for Heritage to receive grant money for PBIS supports and the At-Promise Room, which are almost entirely funded through yearly fundraising.

Learn more about Minnesota’s PBIS initiative at http://pbismn.org/.