Student Behavior Management Systems: Development & Implementation

Instructor: Kristilynn Turney

Kristilynn has a doctorate in Educational Leadership and Management. She has taught high school English, Public Speaking and Theater; served as instructional coach; consultant, assistant principal, principal, asst. director and college professor.

Student behavior has a direct link to student success. There are important steps in developing and implementing a positive and equitable behavior management system. Continue reading to learn more about these steps as well as how to develop a positive culture of learning.

Student Behavior Management System

Schools all across the country have adopted some form of student behavior management system. This system is typically supported by a school or district code of conduct and includes consequences for a number of infractions. These infractions range from disruption in the classroom all the way to bringing weapons or drugs onto school property. A student behavior management system is designed to maintain order in classrooms and schools. It is in place to ensure that schools can serve their purpose, to educate students, with little or few interruptions.

There is a direct correlation to student behavior and academic performance. When students are disciplined and miss regular classroom instruction they get behind thus creating a domino effect of misbehavior, absence and poor academic performance. In this lesson we will review the student behavior management system, the link to student success, how to develop a positive and equitable system and the overall effect that behavior has on developing a positive culture of learning.

Developing a Fair System

Developing and implementing a positive and equitable behavior management system that promotes and supports a collaborative, positive culture of learning can be challenging but not impossible. The four elements of PBS, Positive Behavior System, are:

  1. Supporting Social Competence and Academic Achievement
  2. Supporting Teacher Behavior
  3. Supporting Student Behavior
  4. Supporting Decision Making

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These elements all work together to ensure a positive and equitable behavior management system that is focused on outcomes using systems, outcomes, and practices.

School leaders must seek collaboration and ideas from staff, students and parents to ensure that the system is fair and focuses on creating a positive culture of learning that is not punitive nor abuses the power of the school leader. This can be accomplished through a focus group of select stakeholders. In small groups and over an extended period of time, they can review the current student code of conduct and make suggestions based on the needs and challenges of the students. School leaders should review the suggestions and determine the feasibility for the school prior to implementation. Some things to consider are:

  • Size-The size of the school as well as the size of the leadership team matters. In a large school, it may be difficult to target small scale behaviors such as excessive tardies to class or dress code because that could be the entire student body. Conversely, in a small school staff resources not may be great enough to have after school or in school detention.
  • Classroom Behavior Plans-When thinking about school wide behavior expectations the classroom setting should be considered first. Questions such as 'What behaviors can be addressed by the teacher?' and 'What options for discipline are available to the teacher?' will help guide the development of an equitable behavior management system while promoting a positive culture of learning.

Student Success

Research has consistently shown the strong link between student discipline and academics. Students who had been suspended from school were more likely to fail one or more classes that same term. Student Success is the primary goal of a student behavior management system. Whether the focus is on the student committing the infraction or the student sitting next to him/her, strong behavior expectations should be in place so that there is a positive culture of learning. Some ways for school leaders to ensure student success and a positive learning environment through the student behavior management system are:

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