Three High Desert schools recently earned the second highest honor in the state for their implementation of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS).

PBIS, which was originally established to help students with behavior disorders, is now a national framework for applying behavior support to all students through evidence-based interventions.

One local school at each level has been honored with a “Gold” PBIS title for 2016-17: Westside Park Elementary, Pinon Mesa Middle School and Goodwill Education Center.

This year is the first that the California PBIS Coalition (CPC) initiated a statewide recognition system to acknowledge schools for implementing PBIS aligned with the national framework, according to the CPC website.

While no schools in the area reached “Platinum,” a total of 32 earned a “Silver” title and nine earned “Bronze.”

In San Bernardino County, PBIS was first implemented in the Snowline Joint Unified School District (SJUSD), and it has since been adopted by 44 percent of all county schools.

Along with gold-earning Pinon Mesa Middle, SJUSD had six schools earn silver and two bronze. Adelanto Elementary School District (AESD) also had one gold school, six silver and two bronze, while Victor Valley Union High School District (VVUHSD) had one gold, three silver and one bronze.

“The climate and culture of each campus has improved dramatically with the implementation of the program, and the state coalition has recognized that success with four silver or gold medals for our district,” VVUHSD Superintendent Dr. Ron Williams said. “A special congratulations goes to the Goodwill staff and students for being the only high school in the High Desert to earn gold.”

According to Goodwill Education Center Dean of Students Dr. Benisha Carr, since implementing PBIS in the 2014-15 school year, there has been more than a 60 percent decrease in office discipline referrals.

“School culture has changed for the better since the implementation of PBIS. You can see how the students help each other learn the behavior expectations and help new students adjust to our school,” Goodwill Assistant to the Principal Kathie Randall said. “They become more respectful campus citizens.”  

Of the other High Desert school district, Apple Valley Unified had one silver and two bronze schools, Barstow Unified had six silver and two bronze, Helendale had two silver, Hesperia Unified had three silver, Silver Valley Unified had three silver and Victor Elementary had two silver.

Charity Lindsey may be contacted at clindsey@vvdailypress.com or 760-951-6245. Follow her on Twitter @DP_Charity.