Return to Headlines

Five Sarasota County Elementary Schools Receive PBIS Model School Designation

SARASOTA COUNTY, September 16, 2019 – Five elementary schools in Sarasota County have been designated as PBIS Model Schools for their universal adoption of a positive behavioral intervention and supports (PBIS) program. PBIS is a prevention program for schools to encourage good behavior and reduce discipline. Instructors teach students about positive behavior as they would any other subject such as reading or math, and that learning is extended throughout the school day – in class, at lunch and on the school bus. When schools adopt a PBIS program, students receive fewer detentions and suspensions and get better grades. There is also evidence that PBIS may lead to less bullying. All schools in Sarasota County have PBIS plans; however, these five elementary schools are the latest to be recognized for their emphasis on preventative strategies using the PBIS program model.

Schools in Sarasota County receiving Model School designation include:

“Our children and teachers benefit from the extraordinary efforts of the staff who are a part of PBIS teams in all of our schools,” said Dr. Laura Kingsley, chief academic officer, Sarasota County Schools. “I am so proud of these five schools who submitted their exceptional PBIS plans to be considered for this recognition. This award highlights our District's focus on preparing our children to be socially adept and emotionally strong. Creating positive and supportive learning environments maximizes children's abilities to learn and teachers' abilities to teach.”

“We are really proud of the progress our schools have made toward earning Model School status,” noted Debra Giacolone, supervisor of Student Services. “Sarasota County Schools uses the principles of PBIS to integrate a variety of strategies that support a safe and positive school climate. We use strategies embedded in The Civility Squad, CHAMPS, trauma-informed care, high expertise training and restorative practices to enhance a culture that promotes success for every student, every day.”

PBIS utilizes a three-tiered approach to reinforce positive behavior to students who are meeting and exceeding expectations and provides a system of support for students who need additional assistance. This three-tiered approach includes:

  • A universal prevention system for all students that reinforces basic behavior expectations such as being respectful and kind, and uses rewards to encourage students.
  • An added layer of support for students who struggle to show good behavior.
  • An individual prevention support and service plan for students who demonstrate continued behavioral issues.

Schools across Sarasota County promote positive behaviors through initiatives such as The Civility Squad, a program in partnership with the Gulf Coast Community Foundation that supports the belief that all students should be able to attend a safe and positive school environment each day. PBIS Model Schools go one step further to reinforce positive behavior to promote safer schools and encourage good behavior, one student at a time.

“Ashton Elementary has a student-centered PBIS program that focuses on The Civility Squad’s primary message, Because it Matters,” commented Kristi Jarvis, principal at Ashton Elementary. “Our students proudly wear buttons on their PBIS badges that signify their accomplishments and stellar character. Through the application of these core beliefs as well as social emotional lessons delivered by implementing Restorative Strategies, Ashton Elementary has established itself as a Gold Model PBIS school.”

The five PBIS Model Schools completed all data entry requirements as part of the program. In addition, they participated in district walkthroughs and submitted outcome data for student discipline. The walkthroughs include student and teacher interviews, observation of posted expectations and a review of data. The outcome data was analyzed to show the equity and effectiveness of discipline outcomes used to determine the various levels of gold, silver and bronze designations.


About Sarasota County Schools

Sarasota County Schools is committed to providing unrivaled academic, emotional and civic growth to every student, every day. As one of the leading employers on the Suncoast, Sarasota County Schools boasts 54 schools that expertly cater to the diverse needs of over 43,500 students. We are one of two Florida school districts to consistently earn an A-grade every year since 2004 and have been awarded the Mid-Sized School District of the Year by the University of Cambridge. Our passionate educators empower students to take charge of their academic and personal success, a practice we believe fosters lifelong growth and achievement. We actively maintain the district’s tradition of excellence and ensure that tradition extends to all students. Our commitment to our students extends beyond graduation to make sure they not only graduate on time, but do so college and career ready. Want to take your student’s education to the next level? Connect with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, or visit


Three little girls and a boy celebrating their school's PBIS success

PHOTO ATTACHED:  Ashton Elementary students taking part in PBIS celebrations.