Talking PBIS with Amber Pagua, KOI Training Academy Scholar
Amber Pauga, Physical Education Teacher and Behavior Coach at Sacaton Middle School, just completed the KOI PBIS Training Academy, She recently answered questions about implementing Positive Behavioral Supports and Interventions (PBIS).
KOI: Tell us a little about your school.
Amber: Sacaton is a small school with 179 students. We have 5th-8th grade and are 98% Native American, and 2% Hispanic. We are located on the Gila River reservation. Currently we have 31 staff members.
KOI: What were the challenges that led you to look to PBIS as a solution?
Amber: Being that I was put into a new position to deal with behavior, I was a bit overwhelmed at first. The year that I became the Behavior Coach, our school had 187 referrals (with only 179 students). I knew there needed to be a change and was open to try anything new; which led our school to become partners with KOI.
KOI: How did your district establish a partnership with KOI?
Amber: I attended the First Annual BET-C Conference (Behavior, Education, and Technology Conference), and knew that PBIS was the perfect thing for Sacaton. I brought the information I received from the conference and presented it to administration. We were in a position where we had funding because we were in school improvement, so PBIS fit right into that.
KOI: What is your role on the PBIS team?
Amber: I am a member of the district PBIS team. I am the PBIS trainer for all new staff who come to our school/district, I am the data profiler, and often facilitate our staff meetings/trainings relating to PBIS.
KOI: How has KOI helped the Sacaton Elementary District implement PBIS?
Amber: We have always received the training that we need. The information was taught to us in a way that we can put it to use right away. Our PBIS trainers have always been available between training sessions if we needed it.
KOI: What challenges has your team overcome in order to successfully implement PBIS?
Amber: Changing a school climate can be difficult for teachers and students. Getting all of your staff on board has its challenges. It is a change of mindset to address an issue in a positive tone rather than scolding the other person. Once that is mastered, it truly does make a difference around the school.
KOI: What changes have you seen since first implementing your PBIS framework?
Amber: We have seen HUGE changes here at Sacaton Middle School. Our numbers of referrals have decreased significantly. Because our kids are spending more time in classes learning instead of out of school suspended, the academic scores have also increased. Our AIMS scores jumped 71%.
KOI: What advice do you have for a school or district just starting out with PBIS?
Amber: The most important thing I would say is to have a good PBIS team. Without the team doing the legwork, nothing will get done. Another vital piece of PBIS is DATA, DATA, DATA!!! Look at your data, use your data, and share your data with the staff. It’s important that the staff see the system working school-wide.
KOI: Thanks for sharing your knowledge and congratulations on Sacaton Middle School’s success Amber. Your school is a true success story and KOI is privileged to work with such a wonderful partner as Sacaton Elementary District.