I have been a Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports coach at the building, district and county level for a decade. I coach teams with three-year implementation plans that include universal, targeted and individual systems. PBIS at the school-wide level is a framework under which schools can create sustainable culture change in their building.
The magic in PBIS, from my perspective, is that it is a teaching model that creates a positive, consistent and proactive system for teaching and acknowledging the "right things" within the highly social context of a school. The kids know what is expected because they are taught. All adults give specific praise when they see positive interactions. There is a coherent and predictable system in place to guide students and teachers when students are off-track. The principal, teachers, bus drivers all teach what they expect and acknowledge when they see it. Kids can also acknowledge peers.
This is about consistency. Culture change. Social competence. Creating consistent routines in common areas and teaching them so kids don't have to learn via trial and error. Implemented as intended- PBIS can produce lasting change and calm, predictable environments.
Rewards, stickers and tangibles are not necessary, unless a building chooses to do so based on their population and unique individual needs. Specific praise is the issue. From the State Of Michigan's Manual (http://www.michigan.gov/documents/mde/SchoolwidePBS_264634_7.pdf):
"Generous quantities of positive adult/teacher attention and other kinds of reinforcement to students for demonstrating positive behaviors, especially specific behavior expectationsl" A smile is reinforcing! : )
Keep in mind that for children from impoverished communities discipline should be instructive. Teaching is paramount.
1. Teach what we want to see
2. Intervene early
3. Use multi-level model (so that suspension/special education are not the only option)
4. Use research based interventions
5. Use data to make decisions
The TA Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports has been established by the Office of Special Education Programs, US Department of Education to give schools capacity-building information and technical assistance for identifying, adapting, and sustaining effective school-wide disciplinary practices.
Great overview from PBIS.org http://pbis.org/school/primary_level/default.aspx
Via Mary Perfitt-Nelson