Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports (PBIS)

The goal of PBIS is to promote and teach appropriate pro-social skills and behaviors to maximize academic success for all students.

What is PBIS?

PBIS is an acronym for Positive Behavior and Intervention Supports. It is a school-wide integration of:

  • A systems and process approach for teaching behavior
  • A continuum of behavioral supports
  • Prevention focused efforts to reduce behavioral problems
  • Specific instruction of academic and personal/social behavior
  • Research-based practices
  • Ongoing use of data to make decisions regarding needs and successes at the building level

Positive behavioral support is an approach to enhance the capacity of schools, families, and communities. PBIS improves the link between practices and the environments in which teaching and learning occurs. Attention is focused on creating and sustaining primary (school-wide), secondary (classroom), and tertiary (individual) systems of support that provide positive results (personal, academic, health, social, family, work, recreation) for all children and youth by making desired behavior more functional, and problem behaviors less effective.

What are the three tiers of intervention?

PBIS offers three tiers of behavioral supports to students. In the first tier, behavioral expectations are established and taught to all students. In the second tier, students needing additional support are offered group level interventions. Students needing significant support for behavioral challenges are provided evidence-based interventions tailored specifically to their needs in the third tier.

PBIS Tier Chart

In the past, school-wide discipline has focused mainly on reacting to the specific student misbehavior by implementing punishment-based strategies including reprimands, loss of privileges, office referrals, suspensions, and expulsions. Research has shown that the implementation of punishment, especially when it is used inconsistently and in the absence of other positive strategies, is ineffective. Teaching, modeling, and reinforcing positive social behavior is an important step of a student’s educational experience. Teaching behavioral expectations and rewarding students for following them is a much more positive approach than waiting for misbehavior to occur before responding. The purpose of a school-wide PBIS is to establish a climate in which appropriate behavior is the norm.

  1. Intervene early. It is best practice to intervene before problem behaviors occur. Universal teaching of expected behaviors allows for early and effective intervention.
  2. Use of a multi-tier model. PBIS uses an efficient system to match behavioral resources with student need. To achieve high rates of student success for all students, instruction in the schools must be differentiated. To efficiently differentiate behavioral instruction for all students, PBIS uses tiered models of service delivery.
  3. Use research-based interventions. Research-based interventions provide our best opportunity to implement strategies that will be effective for a large majority of students.
  4. Use data to make decisions. A data-based decision regarding student response to the interventions is central to PBIS practices. Decisions in PBIS practices are based on student Office Discipline Referral (ODR) and performance data. School-Wide Information System (SWIS) is used to make informed planning decisions for individual students and to determine building needs.
  5. Monitor student progress to make data-based decisions about interventions. As in academics, the best method to determine if a student is improving is to monitor the student’s progress. The use of assessments that can be collected frequently and that are sensitive to small changes in student behavior are used. Determining the effectiveness (or lack of) an intervention early is important to maximize the impact of that intervention for the student.

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Written policies, procedures, and expectations are some of the systems put in place by schools implementing PBIS. These systems help maintain a consistent approach to behavior.

The data collected helps school teams make informed decisions about managing behavior and measuring outcomes. The data is also used to find the right mix of practices and systems for each school.

Classroom lessons teaching desirable behavior help students to understand what is expected of them. Likewise, educators follow a set of ‘best-practices’ that have been identified for their school. These practices keep both students and staff moving forward with PBIS.

The results of PBIS can be measured by both academic and behavioral changes in students. These outcomes are measured using the PBIS data collected and academic achievement data.

What Are The Outcome of a PBIS Schools?
  • 80% of students (and staff) can tell you what is expected and give a behavioral example because the expectations have been taught, actively supervised, practiced, and acknowledged
  • Positive adult-to-student interactions exceed negative
  • Function based behavior support is the foundation for addressing problem behavior
  • Data- & team-based action planning and implementation are operating
  • High rates of continuous active supervision and positive reinforcement
  • Administrators are active participants.
  • Full continuum of behavior support is available to all students

Success of PBIS = Increased Academic Time

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