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When fully implemented, B.I.S.T. empowers teachers, students, and families to partner in a positive manner that changes young lives. At our school, we use B.I.S.T. everyday with children. The students know all adults in the school will respond to hurtful or disruptive behavior in a predictable way. Students learn to self monitor their behavior and will move to safe places on their own to ensure success. And as we predicted, they soon understand that our intent truly is to “keep them out of trouble”.
When used with integrity, BIST permeates a school culture and promotes a positive, problem-solving mind-set. I see teachers partnering with one another and parents on an ongoing basis to implement protective plans to keep students safe and out of trouble. Parents appreciate the care and intentional planning provided for their children. They recognize we are working to shape behavior by teaching missing skills in lieu of delivering random consequences and punishment.
Key to our success has been the training and ongoing support from the BIST staff. The entire school staff participated in the week-long training. This in-service is a must. It gave us the time needed to learn the core principles of B.I.S.T. as well as time to discuss our common expectations for students, how we would teach the children routines and procedures, and a plan for our positive incentive program.
Our contract with Ozanam has provided support from trainers, Marty Huitt and Tom Kolbe. One trainer spends a full day each month in our building coaching teachers and myself as we work with children. I believe this on-going support is critical to the success of implementing and sustaining BIST. Also included in the contract was the opportunity for an evening parent meeting which was instrumental in providing information about BIST and giving the opportunity for parents to ask questions. We have had wonderful parent support. In fact, I have received emails and phone calls from parents thanking us for not giving up on their child’s chronic behaviors. As one parent said, “I would usually get the call from the teacher the third of fourth week of school. This year it came the third day. This is really hard, but I see my child making significant changes at school and at home. Thank you!”
As a principal, I can’t imagine leading a school without BIST. I remember how it used to be: students coming to my office for a myriad of reasons just waiting for me to deliver an “appropriate” consequence. Now we have very few office referrals because teachers have an understanding of how to identify missing skills, to process and plan with students, and a school team to support their work. BIST promotes an environment that allows us to fulfill our fundamental purpose as educators: Teachers can teach and students can learn!
As a new principal to a building where behavior was out of control, BIST was just what the doctor order!! We implemented BIST as a whole building and it made a world of difference. The key was total buy in from the staff. The Triage was huge! The whole school atmosphere is totally different. It went from being a sad place where no one wanted to be, to a very happy place where everyone wants to be!!
The Pembroke Hill Lower School has been associated with BIST program for the past ten years. We have been extremely pleased with the results. The philosophy and procedures the program establishes for working with children's behavioral choices, allows adults to remain calm and decrease frustration. It teaches a way to counsel children so they can learn from their mistakes, and make better choices in the future. It was easy to add to our school's "Character Development" program. I highly recommend schools using the BIST program.
Pembroke Hill Lower School
How BIST helps support our building: