* formerly known as Effective School-wide Discipline (ESD)

Ashland continues to implement a system of supports with discipline using the PBISV approach. This is aligned with our tiered system of supports to address academic and behavioral needs of the students. See below for more information about behavioral support systems.


Schools throughout Virginia are striving to ensure that schools offer a safe and effective instructional environment in which all students are successful learners. The Virginia Department of Education is working closely with education personnel to accomplish that goal by means of Effective School-wide Discipline (ESD).

As part of that effort Effective School-wide Discipline supports priority projects throughout the Commonwealth and works in a collaborative partnership with Virginia Department of Education Training and Technical Assistance Centers. The ESD project is headquartered at Old Dominion University (ODU) in Norfolk, Virginia, with ODU serving as the fiscal agent and providing logistical support and resources.

The major purpose of Effective School-wide Discipline is to build the capacity of schools to develop, implement, and sustain School-wide, classroom-level, and pupil-specific research supported strategies and procedures. In introducing Effective School-wide Discipline, administers, general educators, special educators, and support personnel—along with school staff, are able to increase educational achievement and promote social skills that allow students to access academic content. At the same time, Effective School-wide Discipline decreases or eliminates the vast majority of behavior problems that impede the teaching and learning process.

School personnel spend less time on discipline and more time on instruction. With Effective School-wide Discipline, schools throughout VA are able to incorporate a Response-to-Intervention approach so that education personnel are highly qualified to respond positively to every student by matching the level and intensity of intervention to each student’s academic and social skills needs.

Above information obtained from http://www.ttac.odu.edu/esd/about.htm


Five Universal ESD Guidelines:
By following these 5 universal guidelines, schools are more likely to create a more positive, productive, and proactive school culture. Having a plan for the adults to align their responses to behavioral errors creates predictability for students. While no two adults will ever be the same, we can anticipate more consistency and purpose from teacher to teacher. Student discipline is about teaching and for teachers, it’s about being thoughtful. After-all, as the saying goes, undisciplined discipline is not discipline!

1) Every school-wide discipline plan is designed to be an instrument of support and inclusion, not removal and isolation. To be clear, a proactive, systemic approach to student discipline has nothing to do with inventing new and creative ways to suspend and/or expel students. Be clear that discipline and punishment are two very different constructs. A systemic approach to discipline is about teaching, guiding, and supporting; it’s about recognizing which social skills students are lacking and being able to address them through an instructional approach, not a punitive one. It’s what Ross Greene refers to as lagging skills. 

2) Be clear about expected behaviors and what success can/should look like. If we’re going to expect students to behave appropriately then we should be clear about what that means. Not only should students know what is expected, but they should know the contextual differences between appropriate behaviors, even within the same setting. How students behave during an assembly built around a formal ceremony/service is quite different from one involving an interactive musical theatre group. Behavior is always contextual and we need to be clear – crystal clear – about what, how, when, where, and (most importantly), why?

3) Be reasonable, consistent, and fair when responding to inappropriate behaviors. Two important points here. First, the policy that should override all other policies is the policy of reasonableness. All of our rules should pass the reasonable test; is it a reasonable expectation for our students? As well, how we respond to inappropriate behaviors should also be reasonable. The second point is that fair is not equal. Fair means being fair given a student’s individual circumstance and level of behavioral competence. Using equal as a starting point requires no thought; being fair allows us to respond to the student while considering the overall context.

4) Pre-correct for anticipated behavioral errors. If there is one strategy that is most effective while being the easiest to implement it’s the pre-correction. Many of us have been pre-correcting students for years but have never thought to identify it by name. We do this before assemblies, before fire drills, before field trips, before science labs, etc. We identify potential sources of tension for students (either as individuals or whole groups) and remind them of how to respond appropriately. When the source of tension does arise, the student is more likely to appreciate the fact that you were able to anticipate it for them and will more likely respond as you had suggested. Even more effective would be to have the students participate in the process of identifying more prosocial ways of responding to aversive situations.

5) Respect the uniqueness of each student, each incident, and each set of circumstances. This principle speaks to the notion that there are no automatic responses to any behavioral error. While your responses may end up being similar (or the same) as previous incidents, no steps are skipped and no detail is overlooked. I learned a long time ago that the more you agonize over a decision before you make it, the less likely it is that you’ll live to regret the decision once it’s made. While you’re not likely to treat every behavioral error as a major crisis, the idea is to simply consider the situation and, without comparing it to anything else, determine the most appropriate response. Precedence can play a role; however, the point is to respond to the student, not just the behavior.

Having said all of that, we also know that there are students who require more intensive and/or individualized approaches to improving their behavior. While a school-wide discipline plan is necessary, we must know that it won’t be an effective process for all students. Fundamental to success with students who demonstrate negative behaviors is to make sure the intensity of the interventions matches the intensity of the presenting behavioral challenge; for some students, the general school-wide approach simply doesn’t match the necessary level of intensity.

Above information obtained from http://tomschimmer.com/2013/02/07/5-guiding-principles-for-effective-school-wide-discipline/