Positive Behavior Support and Mental Wellness

Positive Behavior Support and Mental Wellness

Positive Behavior Intervention and Support

Berrien County is in the process of integrating Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) in our schools. PBIS is an implementation framework for maximizing the selection and use of evidence-based prevention and intervention practices along a multi-tiered continuum that supports the academic, social, emotional and behavioral competence of all students.

The goal of PBIS is to make sure every child is engaged in learning at high levels in a safe and healthy environment. PBIS teaches students how to behave, so they can navigate life with social and emotional awareness. PBIS is also about using data to improve schools, and ensuring every child develops the skills they need to lead a meaningful life.

Berrien County superintendents encourage legislators to work with schools and members of the greater community to create a positive behavior environment in all areas of a child’s life - school, home and eventually, the workplace.

Mental Wellness

In addition to positive behavior, mental wellness plays a large role in a child’s well-being. Students are coming to school not only with educational needs, but social and emotional needs too. Additionally, schools are having to deal with trauma at ever-increasing rates. Therefore, schools need additional resources to best support students - more school counselors, school social workers and behavior interventionists, as well as programs aimed at supporting the “whole child” so that they can be successful in school.

Providing for the mental wellness of students also includes resources for suicide prevention, bullying prevention, stress and anxiety relief, and the overall well-being of children.

Call to Action

  • Support an increased investment in mental health-related programming, including increasing the effectiveness of the reimbursement process under Medicaid and investment in ESSA Title IV.
  • Provide funding for research-based positive behavior programs such as PBIS or Michigan’s Integrated Behavior and Learning Support Initiative (MIBLSI).
  • Work to build relationships between state departments to support student mental health.
  • Provide programs that train administrators, teachers and support staff in trauma-informed care.
  • Encourage law enforcement and other emergency responders to work collaboratively with schools so that they can partner to support the best interest of students. (This is already occurring in Berrien County.)
  • Provide funding for more specialized staff (like behavior consultants) to support the “whole child”.
  • Work to end the stigma around mental health issues so that students seek help if needed.
  • Continue to support restorative justice programs.

Did you know?

Berrien RESA received a grant from Michigan’s Integrated Behavior and Learning Support Initiative (MIBLSI) in November 2017. MIBLSI uses a multi-tier framework to implement best practices with the goal of improving behavior and academic outcomes for students. While the goal is the same as previous MIBLSI grants, the implementation strategy focuses on building capacity in the schools. Berrien RESA is working with local school districts to infuse the PBIS training (which includes Social Emotional Learning, trauma-informed care and mindfulness) as part of their school systems.

In the past, school-wide discipline has focused mainly on reacting to specific student misbehavior by implementing punishment-based strategies, including reprimands, loss of privileges, office referrals, suspensions and expulsions. Research has shown that the implementation of punishment, especially when it is used inconsistently and in the absence of other positive strategies, is ineffective. Introducing, modeling and reinforcing positive social behavior is an important step of a student’s educational experience. Teaching behavioral expectations and rewarding students for following them is a much more positive approach than waiting for misbehavior to occur before responding. The purpose of school-wide PBIS is to establish a climate in which appropriate behavior is the norm. (Source: PBIS.org)

Current Legislation

Bill Number
 Description
SB 41
Includes mental health training in requirements for teacher continuing education and professional development.
 SB 228 Establishes a 25 member commission with a priority to study the cause and possible underlying factors of suicide in Michigan.
 SB 532 Makes instruction and professional development on warning signs and risk factors for suicide and depression mandatory for educators. 
HB 4054
Establishes a minimum number of school counselors to be employed by a school district, intermediate school district, or public school academy at a ratio of one counselor for every 450 students.
HB 4133-4146 and SB 90-102
“Raise the Age” bills aimed at modifying the numerous statutes grading the age of juvenile offender programs and services to age 18.
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