Today I’m driving six hours north and east of Phoenix, deep into the Heart of the Navajo Nation in northern Arizona. I’m going to be sharing information about Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports with the Pinon Unified School District. I was asked to give a presentation on PBIS for their school leaders and administrators.
I hope that the district decides to adopt a PBIS system. Besides being a data-based and evidence-based practice, PBIS is also a culturally responsive approach to supporting student behavior in school. This means that it is not a program or set curriculum that requires schools to assimilate to the guidelines of the pre-packaged manuals. Instead, the PBIS culture is created by all the school stakeholders to adapt to the local school environment and to the community. I hope that the school chooses to forgo the typical/popular (though not required) school-wide expectations that usually include some variation on be Safe, Respectful, and Responsible. I hope that the school considers using traditional Navajo words or phrases as their core behavior expectations. I can’t think of a more culturally responsive approach to take when implementing PBIS in one of the oldest cultures in the Americas.
Please leave a comment if you have any suggestions for me or if you know of other tribes around the nation that have adopted PBIS in their schools or community.