How to Build School-Wide Behavior Management Systems

School-wide Behavior Management Systems

Do you want to build a safe and positive learning environment for students and schools? Do you want teachers who use every instructional minute in the classroom effectively focused on learning outcomes? Do you want to have students who feel safe, excited, and are engaged in learning? These outcomes are achieved by building and implementing a behavior management system that is clear, consistent, and executed well.

There are many benefits to having an effective behavior management system in schools. It produces an equitable environment that motivates students to change negative behaviors and encourages students already exhibiting positive behaviors to continue.

A behavior management system allows for improved classroom instruction because teachers are not constantly interrupting the lesson to correct negative behaviors. Higher academic achievement is a byproduct because instructional time is maximized, especially in schools and districts that implement school-wide behavior management systems with consistent expectations, procedures, and strategies.

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What is a Behavior Management System?

A positive behavior management system is a proactive approach used by schools to help all students be successful. Schools focus on the prevention of negative behaviors by teaching and reinforcing positive behaviors. By creating a learning space where students feel safe and predictable, positive interactions will allow students to thrive. Behavior management systems achieve these goals by helping motivate students to comply with school rules and procedures and focus the classroom on learning.

There are several types of school-based behavioral management systems like PBIS, Responsive Classroom, and Restorative Justice, but all focus on student outcomes by using some of the following systems:

  1. Teacher-Created System
  2. Reward System
  3. Centralized Database System
  4. Digital Tracking System

 Teacher-Created System:

This system is teacher-specific created for their own classroom. This allows autonomy for each teacher to create and use the system of their preference. If an entire school is using behavior management systems, using teacher-created systems is not the most effective. It hinders school leaders to support teachers with student behavior because each classroom functions differently with their expectations, language, rewards, and consequences.

 Reward System:

Reward systems can be individualized or be whole class rewards to track student behavior. Teachers use these systems or token economies to reward individual students or the whole class for exemplifying positive behavior, using specific language, or academic work. Reward systems are great motivators for student behavior and building a positive culture, but the reliability of these systems can come into question if not used consistently.

 Centralized Database System:

A centralized database can be used for classroom management by logging behaviors like roster paper trackers and paper-based referrals for each classroom or the entire school. The benefit of using this system is that more staff members can be involved in the writing, tracking, analyzing, and action planning from data, but it can become time-consuming to manage this paperwork. Without a simple digital system, it is also hard to compare data across classrooms, grades, behavioral trends, and more.

 Digital Tracking System:

Digital tracking like Kickboard is very effective because it simplifies the system for students, teachers, administrators, and families. Kickboard provides an easy interface, provides detailed data about behaviors, populates graphs for analyzing data sets, and connects staff and families to data in real time.

Why are Behavior Management Systems Important?

Behavior Management Systems are important because they create a safe school with a positive culture where academic learning is the focus. There are several strategies and techniques that can make them successful:

  1. Commitment from the whole school’s administrators and educators with the implementation of the system in place
  2. Students are a part of the creation process of parts of the behavioral management system for investment (i.e., classroom rules and specific rewards)
  3. Clear rules, behavioral expectations, procedures, and consequences are created and followed
  4. Time is allotted at the beginning of the school year and after breaks for teaching behavioral expectations
  5. Resources and tools are available to students for behavior management and behavior support
  6. Teachers reteach and practice expectations periodically.


When the behavior management system is successful, there is a positive change with behavior, and many behavior problems that disrupt learning are eliminated before they even happen. This helps create a positive culture where students are engaged in lessons, and teachers use procedures and strategies to manage their classroom effectively.

There are many benefits to why behavior management systems are important:

Increases Academic Performance

There is a direct correlation between academic performance and student behavior. Disruptive student behavior affects the classroom’s learning environment because teachers need to stop the lesson to remind, correct, and issue consequences for off-task behaviors. This can take up a large part of the instructional minutes of a classroom if there are a lot of disruptive behaviors and teachers are constantly giving students reminders, redirections, or consequences. Utilizing a behavior management system keeps the class’s attention on the academic content instead of shifting to focus on off-task behaviors. It helps improve a teachers’ classroom management and provides behavioral support for all students.

Provides Well-Defined Behavioral Expectations and Responses

A classroom management plan is beneficial because behavioral expectations are laid out in detailed steps depending upon which system the classroom or school uses. If a child blurts out without raising their hand, refuses to do academic work, or fights with another student, there is a consistent and clear response from the teacher and administration and corrective action is taken. Conversely, if a child corrects their behavior or exceeds expectations set, there is a clear action to acknowledge or reward that consistent behavior across all students and classrooms. Read more about this in our article, “Why Student Behavior Management Programs Work.”

This will also help special education teachers who support a group or small groups of students in different classes. An important part of their work is supporting students in routines and tasks for both behavior and academics. Special education teachers will be able to use a whole school behavior management system from the beginning of the school year with predictable routines and disciple structure to support students that they teach.

Fosters a Positive Classroom Environment

The classroom environment will be more positive because staff and students will be more positive in their language and actions. Staff will set the example for students by using positively framed common language and structured ways to respond logically and calmly to misbehavior. Students will know exactly what is expected of them and can easily follow the rules and expectations because they are known, practiced, and consistent. Disruptive lessons won’t happen as frequently, and many won’t because the plan is being executed effectively. The overall tone of the teacher, students, and classroom will be positive.

Improves Family Engagement

Using a behavior management system increases positive family communication. Families will receive positive notes like in Kickboard’s app about their kids, both positive and negative, and not just when they are misbehaving and needing discipline. Schools must engage families in authentic ways and have regular contact with families to truly increase family engagement.

Teacher Satisfaction and Retention

When schools use a school-wide behavior system, it will help unite the staff and improve teacher satisfaction. Teachers do not need to work in a silo to create their own systems for managing behavior or struggle with managing disruptive behaviors. Teachers have support in place and can focus on learning objectives and developing impactful lessons for their students. In addition, it prevents teacher burnout or leaving the profession because they are not battling severe behaviors alone or feeling high stress or anxiety during lessons because of continual disruptions.

Building a School-Wide Effective Behavior Management System

Building a school-wide behavior management system takes a crystal clear vision and transparency from the administration about their expectations, as well as the whole staff’s commitment to implementing the system correctly and consistently. The benefit of having the entire school use the same system is a well-defined set of common rules, expectations, procedures, and consequences that every leader, teacher, student, and parent can adhere to.

Schoolwide systems need structures and procedures in place to be successful. School leaders should provide:

  • Common rules that the entire school follows
  • Common language that the entire school uses
  • Behavioral matrix that details the expectations for behavior throughout the entire school, including common spaces like hallways, auditorium, cafeteria, bathrooms, and the playground
  • School-wide support detailed for all staff members and what that looks like in action
  • Space for feedback and input in decision-making from teachers, students, parents, and district leaders. Kickboard helps schools in this by providing monthly SEL and climate surveys for students to complete for feedback.

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Kickboard’s Digital Tracking

Kickboard supports schools and districts nationwide in many ways, like implementing a successful school-wide culture and behavior systems and initiatives. Kickboard assists schools in using research-based practices in their behavior system. The school store feature of the app even allows teachers to monitor the student reward system like their purchases and balances of their token economies.

School leaders can immediately act upon the data logged into Kickboard, like approving or denying referrals for behaviors or assigning teacher and student action steps following a behavior incident. Leaders can use the data logged to identify students who need more support early in the school year, analyze rich data sets about ideal behaviors, and monitor students and specific behaviors.

Kickboard helps streamline parent communication as well. Families with multiple children in the school will know how the discipline structure is organized, the routines, rewards, and how administrators handle behavioral issues. Parents can use the Kickboard app to see notes on their kids’ behavior, school resources, and contact teachers.

Ultimately, Kickboard provides structure to a school or district’s behavior management system with digital tracking and its features. This will help create a safe, positive culture where learning can take place for all students.