Washington Unified is excited to announce that both of the district’s elementary schools achieved Gold Level recognition for their Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) programs.  PBIS is a nationally recognized program that aims to help schools improve efficiency and equity when it comes to promoting positive behavior. According to the West Fresno’s website, “The main focus of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) is to provide a clear system for all expected behaviors.” If students, staff, and families have a clear idea of what expectations are for school behavior, then all stakeholders can work as a team to maintain a safe learning environment for students.

Each April, participating schools can submit a Model School Application for recognition by the Fresno County Superintendent of Schools.  Applications must contain data that shows the school’s progress towards reducing problem behaviors, maintaining a positive environment, and reducing inequities in discipline practices.

A strong PBIS system requires the effort of every member of the school community. Both American Union and West Fresno have chosen to focus on three main tenants to improve behavior:  

  • Be Safe
  • Be Respectful
  • Be Responsible


School PBIS teams work with staff, students and families to create behavior expectations that align to each tenant.  Then teams take it one step further, but defining each expectation for every area of the school. For example, “use kind language” is one way that students can “be respectful.”  This tenant can be seen posted around campuses, including on the playground, in the school library, and in the office. The idea is to teach students appropriate ways to act in every school setting, instead of waiting until they do something wrong to punish them.  Students are rewarded with “Eagle Bucks” that can be spent on fun items at a student store. These incentives help reinforce positive behaviors and have proven effective in reducing problem behaviors.

Washington Unified is proud of American Union and West Fresno Elementary for earning Gold Level status this year!