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School-Wide Positive Behavior

School-Wide Positive Behavior (SWPB) is a framework that educators use to create positive school culture through evidence-based interventions and supports. It is a system of tools and strategies for defining, teaching, acknowledging appropriate behaviors, and correcting undesirable behaviors.

SWPB was first developed as a response to a growing need for improved selection, implementation, and documentation of effective behavioral interventions for students (Gresham, 1991; Sugai & Horner, 1999; Walker et al., 1996). In response, researchers at the University of Oregon began a series of applied demonstrations, research studies, and evaluation projects. These efforts indicated that greater attention should be directed toward prevention, research-based practices, data-based decision-making, school-wide systems, explicit social skills instruction, team-based implementation, professional development, and student outcomes (Biglan, 1995; Colvin, Kame’enui, & Sugai, 1993; Horner, Sugai, & Anderson, 2010; Lewis & Sugai, 1999; Mayer, 1995; Sugai & Horner 2002).

As a “framework,” the emphasis is on a process or approach that can be accessible to all students, rather than a curriculum, intervention, or practice.  The SWPB approach to modeling behavior is positive and preventative, and it changes the paradigm of focus from negative behaviors and exchanges to positive expectations and interactions.

Two young girls on the playground wearing winter coats

Systems Approach

In the past, school-wide discipline 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 behavior.

4 Positive Behavior Support (PBS) Elements

  • Outcomes: Academic and behavior targets endorsed and emphasized by students, families, and educators.
  • Practices: Evidence-based interventions and strategies.
  • Data: Information used to identify status, need for change, and effects of interventions.
  • Systems: Supports that are needed to enable the accurate and durable implementation of the practices of PBS.

Multi-Tiered Approach

School-Wide Positive Behavior interventions and supports represent a tiered approach made up of three areas of prevention: Primary, Secondary and Tertiary. This support happens along a continuum from Tier 1 for all students, Tier 2 for a small group of students and Tier 3 for individual students. The purpose is to create an environment that provides an opportunity for ALL students to succeed.

An important aspect of SWPB is the understanding that appropriate behavior and social competence requires explicit and direct teaching and modeling to students just like math and reading. There is no assumption in SWPB that students will learn social behavior automatically or pick it up as they go through life. This critical feature in SWPB leads to its effectiveness.

Girl in red vest speaking to younger smiling girl


Fifth-grade students have the opportunity to apply to the WES Ambassador program. Ambassadors help other students to create and maintain a school-wide positive environment. They hold themselves to the highest standards to exemplify the WES core values to be respectful, responsible, safe and caring to help everyone learn and grow. Ambassadors act as liaisons between students and adults assuming additional roles throughout the community. Our Ambassadors have been a vital component in building our community and creating peer-to-peer relationships.

2023-2024 WES Ambassadors

Noa Carbajo-Torres
Stella Cooper
Nathalie Hildebrand
Zoey Huang
Akhilesh Kampally
Caroline Kelly
Ellie Marx
Brijesh Panigrahi
Millie Piatt
Oliver Quarberg
Juliet Roberts
Claire St. Leger

Systems for Acknowledging Behavior

At the individual student level:

  • Every teacher has an individual classroom system in place to acknowledge behaviors (Dojo, marble jars, etc.).
  • WESBEE Tickets are distributed throughout the year by adults in the building to acknowledge appropriate student behavior.
    • The student takes the left half of the ticket home.
    • The right half of the ticket goes into the classroom ‘Hive’ bucket.
    • Students who earn a special WESBEE ticket (one with a bee punch) will automatically have their name added to the Swarm Board.
      • These tickets are distributed by bus drivers, paraprofessionals, cafeteria workers, and substitutes.
  • Throughout the year, students collect their tickets and have the option of turning in their tickets to attend after school celebrations. Please refer to the incentives section of the handbook to learn more about these options.
  • At the end of each week, the classroom teacher draws a ticket from the ‘Hive’ bucket and the winner puts his/her name onto a ‘BEE” and puts his/her bee onto the Swarm Board.

The Swarm Board

Winners will receive a postcard to let parents know that their name was selected to go onto the Swarm Board.

Student names will be read at lunch to acknowledge those who made it onto the board. A picture and names of our winners will be also listed in the Radnor Reader.

Behavioral Expectations

The Wayne Elementary School mission is: "At Wayne Elementary School, we create a safe and caring place for all to grow and learn."

To support this mission, WES has three main behavior expectations:

  1. Be Respectful
  2. Be Responsible
  3. Be Safe and Caring

Scheduled Celebrations

Built into the calendar are several “Ticket Celebrations”.  Students may opt to spend their tickets to join in on the fun. These celebrations are optional and will take place during the school day.  Student who chose to keep their tickets or spend them on other incentives, will stay in the classroom and watch an educational virtual field trip.

Daily Menu Items

Students will also have opportunities to use their tickets at any time throughout the year. Below is our Incentive Menu:


  • Mystery Box - 10 tickets (Rotating Wednesdays)
  • Rock Wall - 20 tickets
  • First to Be Dismissed (3:35 p.m.) - 20 tickets
  • Feed the Fish/Birds - 10 tickets
  • Water the Plants - 10 tickets
  • Chalk the Walk - 20 tickets
  • Whole Class Recess - 150 tickets

Lunch Options

  • Lunches
    • Mrs. Ferguson - 20 tickets
    • Mr. Smerecky - 20 tickets
    • Mrs. Tracy - 20 tickets
    • Specialists - 30 tickets for grades K-2, 50 tickets for grades 3-5

Systems for Correcting Behavior

It is best practice to intervene before targeted behaviors occur. The interventions are more manageable if they take place before problematic behaviors escalate.

Behavior Incident Report

A Behavior Incident Report (BIR) is a quick way to document behaviors. The form can be filled out electronically or as a hard copy.  A BIR for a minor behavior is completed by the teacher who is present during the incident.  The teacher has the option of filling out a minor BIR at the time of the incident or at the end of the week to document the undesirable behavior.  A team of support staff will review the minor reports each week and offer interventions to help extinguish the unwanted behavior.

If the behavior by the student is considered a major, meaning the behavior violates the rights of others, puts others at risk of harm, or minor behavior continues, the report will be completed by the staff member involved; however, communication to home (email or phone call) will be made by administration.  Consequences for a major are tiered.  The first major consequence starts with a call from the main office and the student fills out a reflection sheet.  If the behavior continues, parents will receive a phone call from the student in the presence of an adult, a reflection sheet will be sent home and a parent meeting may be scheduled. 

Minors and Majors

At WES, inappropriate behaviors will be categorized into two groups: minors and majors. Minors can be defined as any low intensity problem behavior that violates a behavioral expectation (rule) but is not of sufficient intensity to warrant an immediate office visit. A major is defined as any problem behavior which is intense enough to warrant concern for the well-being of the student or other students involved.   Majors require immediate attention by administrative staff.

Prior to behaviors being identified as minors or majors, teachers will use their own classroom behavior management systems to support SWPB social behavior is an important step in 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 our School-Wide Positive Behavior framework is to establish a climate in which appropriate behavior is the norm (San José Unified School District).

Minor Behaviors Major Behaviors
  • Disruptions
  • Lying
  • Cheating
  • Unkind Actions
  • Horseplay
  • Insubordination
  • Foul Language
  • Fighting
  • Physical Aggression
  • Vandalism- Cannot be repaired by student
  • Tech Violation-Explicit Content
  • Profanity at an adult
  • Spitting in face