One of the first districts in Wisconsin to implement PBIS, Fond du Lac School District (FDLSD) has seen some powerful results. Because of the district’s strategic planning, PBIS became integrated into every FDLSD school and into the community’s child-serving agencies, creating wide-ranging positive outcomes.
Building multilevel support. As part of its Response to Intervention Model, FDLSD’s strategic rollout of PBIS enhanced engagement among staff, parents, and high-level administrators. The district piloted PBIS at four elementary schools, which were selected based on their readiness and need. The pilot helped the team identify how PBIS needed to be adapted to fit the community, and thus “prepared the soil” to implement PBIS in additional schools.
Rather than send the school-based PBIS teams to off-site trainings, FDLSD trained its staff in-house. This localized approach contributed to a sense of ownership among staff and parents by creating opportunities for PBIS trainers to capture the attention of administrators. It also allowed trainers to directly integrate PBIS into the schools.
At the project’s start, SS/HS Project Administrator Marian Sheridan focused on educating administrators about PBIS and its benefits, gaining their support for districtwide implementation.
Innovating for success. FDLSD forged the way for other Wisconsin schools to adopt PBIS by contributing best practices and lessons learned as they adapted and implemented the framework. In 2012, nine of FDLSD’s schools were recognized as “Schools of Merit” by Wisconsin’s PBIS Network for meeting measures of fidelity and quality and producing effective outcomes. “Implement PBIS as it is intended to be,” advises Joyce Gau, FDLSD’s PBIS external coach. “Don’t take shortcuts. Follow the prescription. Slow and steady gets you to where you need to be.”
While implementing PBIS in high schools presents unique challenges and requires substantial time and resources, these efforts can pay off—as evidenced by the impressive results from the community’s high school, which introduced PBIS in the 2010–2011 school year. Marian explains that strong support from the staff and principal were key to the initiative’s success.
Tracking long-term results. FDLSD now implements PBIS in all of its schools. This has allowed the district to gather concrete longitudinal data on disciplinary referrals for incoming freshman—who were exposed to PBIS starting in middle school—to demonstrate its success. Most notably, there is increased time for students to learn, teachers to teach, and administrators to serve as school leaders.