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How to run a PBIS store in 15 steps

Amanda ClarkOctober 14, 2021

Teacher reading with students

Introduction

Have you ever wondered how to run a PBIS store? Ten years ago, I did too. My first official teaching job was at an alternative school in New England, serving at-risk youth. Since we were always looking for ways to motivate our students, the idea of a PBIS store came up. 

But what exactly is it? In simple terms, a PBIS store is filled with goodies that students earn based on their behavior. Our dedicated staff learned how to run a PBIS store from scratch. Not only did the store improve behavior, but it was a fun project, too.

What is PBIS?

PBIS stands for Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports. The idea is to help all students succeed with an evidence-based, three-tiered framework based on data, systems and practices. 

Translation: PBIS is a technique used in schools to identify and support positive behavior.

Benefits and overviews of running a PBIS school store

PBIS school stores provide incentives for positive outcomes, but not all school stores are the same. And, as an educator, only you know how to make your school’s store tick. 

Here’s how sixth-grade teacher Bridget Foster made sure the PBIS store  at her school was a success : 

“Our store (in the land of in-person learning) exists on a cart,’’ she told Classcraft. ‘’It’s pulled outside each homeroom on a rotating basis every few weeks. It’s stocked by us – teachers- with our own funds – and our own creativity. In virtual and hybrid teaching, the store was put into a storage closet, and students could place an online order to be picked by their teachers and then delivered to the office for pick up-or their homeroom.”

Foster noticed numerous benefits after implementing the school store, such as more drive and less negative behavior and detentions. “The PBIS store allowed teachers to focus on more of the huge things than the everyday type of problems,” she explained.

And Foster’s not alone — Dewey Elementary’s Principal, Andrew Krugly, saw many changes after starting a PBIS school store. Test scores increased and referrals and disciplinary problems diminished. 

I also noticed similar positive changes after I set up a PBIS school store at an alternative school many years ago. 

The verdict: PBIS school stores work! So, to help you get started with a PBIS program  at your school, we’ve provided a list of materials and simple steps. Good luck!

Materials

  • Find the right space — My students used a small pantry with room for a fridge, but you could use a corner of a classroom or another unoccupied space.
  • Build up your inventory — Include kid-friendly items like healthy snacks, school-embossed water bottles, hats, shirts, T-shirts, fidget spinners, school supplies and more.
  • Advertise! — User fliers and/or signs  to publicize school-event hours, start dates, how to earn points, etc. 
  • Create PBIS rewards — These are rewards students could trade in for items such as poker chips, fake money, or digital points from a PBIS rewards organizational system like Classcraft.

Now that you have the right materials, here are 15 steps to start running your own PBIS store 

1. Find “employees”

Okay, we know you aren’t going to scour LinkedIn, but you need a crew of people to run the store effectively. Options for this include faculty, staff members, parent volunteers or students. Get the wheels turning by forming your team.

2. Furnish a school store space

When I ran that school store ten years ago, we transformed a walk-in pantry with a fridge into a school store space. Foster’s school uses a cart; other schools set up shop in a classroom corner. Finding your school store space depends on what you have available, but choose a place to run your PBIS school store, even with distance learning.

3. Create interest with announcement fliers

Before your school store is up and running, start the hype early by designing and printing announcement fliers to tell everyone that a school store is coming to “town.” The word will spread like wildfire, and kids will be excited to get on board.

4. Create your school store PBIS reward system

Sit down and hash out the PBIS reward system for your school store. My previous school did this by meeting as a faculty and creating a list of desired behavior, then listing what each behavior would equal in rewards. For example, more challenging behavior, like writing an extra credit essay, earned more points than cleaning up your workspace. 

Pro Tip: Start with desired behavior your school needs to work on, then go from there. And if you already have a list of behavior in place, integrate those into your school store PBIS rewards plan.

5. Start fundraising 

Most schools don’t have a lot of extra money laying around for dinosaur eraser tops. That’s why some teachers, like Foster, fund the store out of their own pockets. However, another option is to launch a fundraising campaign for your PBIS store. Car washes, magazine drives, bake sales and requests for parent donations are just a few ways you can raise money for your PBIS store.

6. Brainstorm free perks, then make coupons

In addition to fundraising, brainstorm and write up no-cost coupons that kids can “buy” at the school store. Examples include first-choice seating, DJing at the school dance (with some ground rules LOL), or extra recess time. You might find that these free perks are the most popular incentives.

7. Make fake money, gather PBIS tokens, or award points on Classcraft

Foster’s school store ran on tickets. My old school store ran on Monopoly money. I know other PBIS school stores that used poker chips. And there are even computer programs, like Classcraft, that keep track of PBIS rewards. Choose what works best for your school and go with it. Your kids need to know that they earned something they can trade in later at the store. 

8. Ask your students what they’d like to see in the school store

You want to stock your school store inventory with things that interest your students. Although YOU may love flashcards, your students probably don’t, and they might be more motivated to change their behavior if they know they can earn a fidget spinner or a school embossed sweatshirt, etc. So get the students involved in brainstorming items to put in the school store!

9. Buy and receive items

So you have your PBIS rewards, desired behavior, school store space, and item ideas. Sweet! Start shopping! School store magazines, Amazon and Walmart are just a few places to load up on products. And don’t be afraid to send out a letter asking parents for donated items. You might be surprised by the response! 

10. Set up a school store with items and decorations

Now it’s time to decorate and stock your store. Get the students involved! Assign kiddos to paint Open and Closed signs. Hang a clock. Organize shelves. It’s your blank canvas, so get creative!

11. Plan school store hours

Establish your school store schedule, pin it to the entrance and send email reminders home. Make sure all students receive access to the store at certain times.

12. Create a work schedule for staff and students

Know who is going to monitor the school store and create a schedule. Pass it out to all workers involved. Remind students of their responsibilities.

13. Start rewarding PBIS behaviors before opening day

If you open the store and students haven’t earned any “credits,” you’ll have unhappy students on your hands. But if you provide the opportunity for kids to earn rewards a week or two in advance of your PBIS store’s grand opening, you’ll see positive changes in behavior before your store even makes its first sale!

14. Open your store

Now it’s time to open up shop. Schedule an opening day and put all those moving pieces into play. It can be intimidating, but you should have the staff, items and rules in place. So get started!. Once you get into the swing of things, running a PBIS school store becomes second nature. 

15. Consider a school store club that holds regular meetings, or integrate the PBIS school store into your student council

Okay, once you open the school store, there are still a few odds and ends to running it. Tasks like replenishing products, fundraising and weekly work schedules come to mind. Consider starting a school store club or designate a Student Council school store branch for these ongoing tasks. Students will be biting at the bit to join! 

Pro tip: Offer community service hours or PBIS rewards for working at the school store.

Conclusion

So, as you can see, running a PBIS school store isn’t all that difficult. 

Follow our 15 easy steps and you’ll be surprised by how your PBIS store will promote a more positive school culture!

Find out how Classcraft can help your school with PBIS, get in touch with one of our representatives to learn more.

Photo credit: Google for Education

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