PBIS stands for positive behavioral interventions and supports. It’s an evidence-based, three-tiered framework that focuses on encouraging positive student behavior, preventing negative behavior, and creating a more positive school climate.
Because the PBIS framework is designed to address negative student behavior before it happens, educators can be preventative rather than relying on punishment. This makes PBIS highly powerful for supporting students and fostering a positive learning environment.
PBIS can be tailored to fit the needs and expectations of individual schools or districts, including those serving students with special education needs. Not all implementations are the same, but they’re all built around the same guiding principles. Examples include:
Clear expectations for student behaviors
Explicit encouragement and instruction of positive behaviors
Early intervention methods for preventing serious behavioral issues
Individualized behavior support for those who need it
The use of data to track students’ behavioral trends and measure progress
Consistent implementation across the entire school or district
With schoolwide implementation of the PBIS framework, it’s possible for schools to significantly decrease the rate of disciplinary referrals and improve both behavioral and academic outcomes.
Schoolwide PBIS is simply the practice of implementing PBIS consistently across an entire school. It helps educators and administrators create safe and positive learning environments, while also improving the social-emotional outcomes for students.
Positive behavioral intervention and supports is a fantastic framework for helping teachers manage student behavior within the classroom. However, in order to build on this, the ideal way to implement it is schoolwide. Not only does this keep behavioral expectations consistent for all students within any context at school, it also establishes consistent language and practices for all educators and staff.
To ensure that schoolwide PBIS is implemented effectively, schools often provide professional development opportunities for teachers and staff to learn about the framework and evidence-based practices.
Schoolwide PBIS has the power to cultivate positive and encouraging interactions between students and staff. Those positive interactions lead to stronger and more respectful relationships across the board, and the end result is a school culture that meets everyone’s unique needs.
Tier 3 is reserved for the small percentage of students who display particularly disruptive or problematic behavior. In this tier, educators work with the relevant specialists to create plans for individualized support that can improve student behavior in lasting ways.
Tier 2 is for the students who need some extra support. When these students are identified, the goal is to help them improve enough that they can be moved back to Tier 1.
Tier 1 sets the foundation for all the other levels of support. It defines the behavior expectations and support practices that apply to the entire student body.
While every PBIS tier has its own set of systems and practices, certain components appear at each level. Each of these needs to be present for positive behavioral interventions and supports to be implemented successfully.
With PBIS, it’s possible for improved student behavior to lead to significant decreases in discipline referrals. When it comes to implementing the PBIS framework, the process is based on four major elements that guide schools as they implement their programs.
SYSTEMS to support accurate, sustainable implementation of practices and the effective use of data
DATA to select, monitor and evaluate outcomes, practices, and systems across all three tiers of PBIS
PRACTICES like interventions and strategies that are backed by research to enable the outcomes that a school wants to achieve
OUTCOMES schools achieve through the data, systems, and practices they put in place
Students most often struggle with their behavior when they don’t have the right guidance. Relying on punishment also makes it more difficult for students to develop important social-emotional skills.
When educators clearly and consistently communicate behavioral expectations to students, improvement becomes far more likely. This is a major part of what goes into positive behavioral interventions and supports.
Many educators and experts believe in the powerful benefits of positive behavioral intervention, and it’s been adopted in countless school across the country. However, some educators may wonder if rewarding students for positive behavior makes them focus more on the reward than the actual behavior.
It is important to remember that using an acknowledgement system like rewards is not the same as bribing a student. PBIS does not use bribes — it acknowledges and reinforces positive behavior as it happens. A well-implemented PBIS initiative doesn’t rely excessively on rewards, it helps students understand the relationship between their behavior and the people around them. This helps to foster the positive relationships that lead to positive behavior.
Managing student behavior has traditionally been focused on punishment, but punitive discipline has not been found to consistently improve student outcomes, and can even be detrimental to student success. PBIS represents an important shift away from punishment and toward support and prevention.
When PBIS is implemented schoolwide with consistency and fidelity: