Educationese: Translating the Terms from the Classroom

PBIS - Education is filled with acronyms. Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports is a systematic and proactive approach used by schools to encourage appropriate behavior and create a supportive environment. A cornerstone of PBIS is setting expectations and reinforcing, thorough positive responses, desired behaviors. Still confused? Take the school hallway as an example of a setting in which we expect students to act a certain way. With PBIS, schools first teach students that they should walk quietly keeping their hands to themselves. As students do this, staff members commend their appropriate behavior, provide rewards, and recognize those who set an example for others. When a student runs in the hallway, a school staff member might first take the opportunity to reteach the appropriate behavior and remind the student of the consequences should they continue to not meet the expectations for behavior. Consequences for students not adhering to expectations are consistent across the school.


Intervention - Sounds a little scary right? Don’t fear, intervention is just one of the tools schools can employ to meet the needs of students who are learning at different rates. For example, a third-grade classroom might have handfuls of students who are reading below grade level, at grade level, and above grade level. To help support each group of students, schools utilize intervention groups where small subsets of the classroom come together to work on a specific skill, concept, or content area that will propel their learning to the next level. Interventions might be a small group of students, an individual student, or a mixture of students from different classrooms, depending on the needs of the children in the class or grade level. You might also hear “differentiated instruction” used to explain the variety of ways teachers tailor their teaching methods, tools, or materials to meet the diverse learning needs of students in their classroom. 


Dual Enrollment/Dual Credit - These programs offer students the opportunity to enroll in college-level courses which are often taught at their high school by a qualified instructor or taken at a nearby college. The College of Southern Idaho partners with many area high schools to make this possible. These classes allow students to get a jump start on their college career. In Twin Falls, school counselors work closely with students and their parents to ensure that planning and consideration take place so that the child’s academic goals are met and that Advanced Opportunities funding is used to cover costs associated with these classes. In the last two years, nearly 80 students have graduated from TFSD high schools with their associate’s degree at little or no cost. 


CTE - Yet another acronym! Career Technical Education is not a new concept but you might be surprised at how many options exist under the CTE umbrella; it’s not simply the shop class that many grew up with. Generally speaking, CTE programs offer hands-on learning experiences, technical training, and opportunities to explore various career options. In Twin Falls alone students can participate in medical, business, construction, engineering, culinary arts, computer science, graphic design, agriculture, web design, and marketing programs on their high school campus. And, on the docket for next year, the TFSD will roll out an Individualized Occupational Training program, where students are partnered with actual employers to learn skills in the workplace.