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How to get teacher buy-in for PBIS (with free guide)

Morgan HugoboomOctober 5, 2022

How to get teacher buy-in for PBIS

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Recent surveys show that 50% of teachers have seriously considered changing their jobs. Today’s teachers face growing workloads with rewer resources. Their students also experience higher rates of anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. 

It’s essential for schools to implement evidence-based frameworks like PBIS to support both students and educators. Positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS) is a three-tiered system that fosters better behavioral outcomes in students and healthier school environments.

Schools that implement PBIS have reported less teacher burnout, more engaged students, and lower rates of behavioral referrals.

A successful PBIS program relies on extensive teacher involvement. Administrators can maximize their school’s PBIS outcomes by investing heavily in gaining teacher buy-in. Through a shared partnership, administrators and educators can work toward a better school experience for everyone.

Looking for more information on how you can foster teacher involvement and implement a strong PBIS strategy? Check out our free PBIS teacher buy-in guide for more information on creating the best system of support for your school.

How to get teacher buy-in for PBIS in schools

Just as PBIS is not a one-size-fits-all approach for behavior management, there is also no uniform way of generating teacher involvement. Instead, there are a multitude of approaches that can all be layered with one another for the best fit. Together, they create a comprehensive method for ensuring successful PBIS implementation.

Outline clear goals and expectations

Maximizing PBIS buy-in begins with a clear understanding of the objectives. Well-defined goals allow for consistency and transparency while preventing confusion and miscommunication. This helps teachers implement a PBIS program more easily because everyone is working from the same expectations towards a common goal. 

Educate teachers on how PBIS benefits them

When generating teacher buy-in for PBIS, it is important to explain how the program benefits educators. For example, you can share data and research with teachers to highlight how PBIS promotes a better teaching environment. 

PBIS benefits teachers by:

  • Saving them time on behavioral management paperwork
  • Increasing learning times in the classroom
  • Reducing teacher burnout
  • Improving student engagement
  • Helping teachers feel more connected to their students
  • Encouraging social-emotional development in school

Include teachers in PBIS development

One of the most critical methods for encouraging teacher buy-in for your PBIS program is to involve educators in its development. Collaborating directly with teachers in the planning phase of your school’s PBIS initiative ensures that the program is more robust, targeted, and relevant. Teachers bring unique insights to the planning process, offer vital avenues for collecting data and tracking success, and are important partners in a successful PBIS implementation.

Benefits to teacher participation in PBIS planning include:

An in-depth understanding of needs

Not all teachers face the same challenges in their classrooms. By including teachers in the planning process, you receive a more exhaustive set of feedback. 

A more tailored and targeted PBIS program

The thorough feedback mentioned above allows you to create a more tailored PBIS framework. When you have a complete assessment of your current program, you can more accurately gauge where you’ll direct resources, goals, and other details in your future PBIS initiative.

Fostering collective action with teachers

When teachers are included in the development of a PBIS program, they’re more likely to prolong their investment through the initial rollout phase. It’s especially important to continue this collective involvement after the first wave of excitement has worn off and interest or motivation is at risk of declining. 

Administrators can foster continued PBIS investment by:

  • Sharing survey results and data with teachers
  • Inviting teachers to participate in program updates
  • Soliciting ongoing feedback from teachers on PBIS successes and challenges

Audit your current programs

The initial adoption of a new PBIS framework will require additional time and resources from teachers who might already be overextended. Even if they’re interested in implementing PBIS in their classrooms, it might be too difficult or intimidating for them to manange it.

By auditing your current program, you can identify ways to streamline systems and eliminate unnecessary burdens for teachers. This gives them more room to buy into PBIS because they now have additional bandwidth to adopt and commit to the right practices.

You can maximize the potential for teacher buy-in to PBIS by inviting them to participate in the audit with you. This sense of partnership boosts investment and leads to valuable insight for creating a more targeted program. This specialized program has a better chance for continued success and implementation because it’s designed with your school’s unique needs in mind.

Encourage and incentivize PBIS buy-in for teachers

PBIS helps to create a cultural shift in school climate that requires a long-term commitment. When everyone becomes accustomed to a new PBIS program, maintaining teacher buy-in requires ongoing incentivization. A simple mentorship program among teachers can help establish a community of support for the continued support of PBIS. 

Establishing teacher PBIS mentorship can promote::

  • Collaboration
  • Helpful professional feedback
  • Peer support
  • Cheerleading and encouragement

Provide PBIS support through resources

At its core, PBIS is a data-driven framework. You can boost both teacher buy-in and the overall success of your program by giving educators the right tools for harnessing the power of evidence-based practices. Provide them with resources like analysis tools for student engagement data. Then, support teachers by adding opportunities for them to submit and analyze their data daily. Even a brief period at the start of a day can help teachers review information, understand what’s working, and brainstorm where they can make improvements.

Free PBIS Teacher Buy-In Guide

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Photo Credit: Google Education

Your toolkit for a successful year

FREE PBIS TEMPLATES to lighten your workload and effectively manage your classroom

Download now


Your toolkit for a successful year

FREE PBIS TEMPLATES to lighten your workload and effectively manage your classroom

Download now