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Positive Behavior Supports | A Resource Collection

Teacher and schoolchildren in class

November 2017

Are you looking for training materials, videos, Powerpoint slideshows, or webinars on positive behavior support for students with disabilities? You can connect with many such resources here! The collection of materials listed below has been reviewed and recommended by a working team of Parent Center staff from different regions of the country, coordinated by NE-PACT, the Region 1 Parent Technical Assistance Center, in collaboration with NH Parent Information Center.

We’ve divided the resources by TYPE of resource for easier reference, as follows:

Good Reads on Behavior Basics and PBS

  • Webinars, Presentations, Videos


Woman with a folder of articles and readings on her lap.

Positive Behavior Support: An Individualized Approach for Addressing Challenging Behavior This 4-page  What Works  brief comes from the Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning.  It’s also available in Spanish.

English  |  http://csefel.vanderbilt.edu/briefs/wwb10.pdf Spanish  |  http://csefel.vanderbilt.edu/briefs/wwb10-sp.pdf


Tantrums, Tears, and Tempers: Behavior Is Communication A 3-page fact sheet from the PACER Center. http://www.pacer.org/parent/php/php-c154.pdf ____________________________________________________________

How to Understand the Meaning of Your Child’s Challenging Behavior  This 1-page fact sheet comes from the Technical Assistance Center on Social Emotional Intervention for Young Children (TACSEI) and is part of its Backpack Connection series. Available in English, Chinese, and Spanish.

English  |  http://challengingbehavior.fmhi.usf.edu/do/resources/documents/bkpk_understand_meaning.pdf

Chinese  |  http://cainclusion.org/teachingpyramid/materials/family/bkpk_challenging_behavior_chinese.pdf

Spanish  |  http://cainclusion.org/teachingpyramid/materials/family/bkpk_challenging_behavior_spanish.pdf

Planning Ahead for a Meeting About Your Child’s Behavior Needs A 2-page fact sheet from the PACER Center. http://www.pacer.org/parent/php/php-c144.pdf ____________________________________________________________

PBIS: How Schools Support Positive Behavior  Web article from understood.org, available in English and Spanish.

English  |  https://tinyurl.com/gtl29uo Spanish  |  https://tinyurl.com/yckht692

Top 10 Positive Behavior Tips 1-pager from the Milwaukee Public Schools, adapted from other sources. https://tinyurl.com/ybyq2z4y ____________________________________________________________

Dear Colleague Letter on Behavior Supports for Students with Disabilities  (US DOE 8/1/2016) This Dear Colleague letter (DCL) reminds school personnel that the authority to implement disciplinary removals does not negate their obligation to consider the implications of the child’s behavioral needs and the effects of suspensions (and other short-term removals) when ensuring the provision of a free appropriate public education (FAPE). The DCL also clarifies that the failure to consider and provide for needed behavioral supports through the IEP process and throughout a continuum of placements (including general education settings) is likely to result in a child not receiving a meaningful educational benefit or FAPE in the least restrictive environment.

Access the complete DCL at: http://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/school-discipline/files/dcl-on-pbis-in-ieps–08-01-2016.pdf

Access the 2-page summary for stakeholders on this DCL: http://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/school-discipline/files/dcl-summary-for-stakeholders.pdf

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Webinars, Presentations, and Videos

Improve Your Child’s Life and Future Using Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports Online Video Module | This 12-minute online captioned module is 1 of 5 from the Utah Parent Center. It’s available in English and Spanish.

English  |  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPtUpa5Zr24&feature=youtu.be Spanish  |  https://tinyurl.com/y7qt4y5n


Workshop Resource | PBS: Addressing Challenging Behavior Workshop There is often a cycle of failure for students with behavioral challenges. This PDF of a slideshow (39 slides) is presented in “speaker notes” format (3 slides per page, with blank lines to the right for note-taking), suitable for sharing as a handout at your own workshop or for creating your own slideshow. The workshop presentation focuses on interventions for students who exhibit challenging behaviors. Identifying the function of behavior is discussed, emphasizing educational strategies to help students learn alternate behaviors that can lead to long-term change. Information on due process rights of children in the discipline process is also provided. From SPAN of New Jersey. http://www.spanadvocacy.org/sites/default/files/files/0%20PBS%20ppt%20-2010.ppt_0.pdf _____________________________________________________________________

screen capture from the Pyramid Model video

Listen/view the webinar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dyKenhDQbTg&feature=youtu.be

View/download the PowerPoint slides in PDF format http://www.vermontfamilynetwork.org/wp-content/uploads/PBIS-and-Families-Webinar-12.7.16.pdf

Webinar | Using PBiS at Home to Improve Family Life Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBiS) is a research-based, school-wide system of discipline. Thousands of schools in the U.S. successfully use PBiS including 33% of K-12 schools in Vermont. PBiS is not just for schools! Many parents are using the same ideas to create a better environment for the entire family. If you use positive parenting techniques and want to share your success stories, or want to learn how to get started, please join this webinar to connect with other parents. The 42-minute webinar is hosted by the Vermont Family Network, using the PowerPoint slideshow from the PACER Center.

Listen/view the webinar  |  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gdBQREh-zGk

View/download the PowerPoint speaker notes in PDF format  (1.8 MB) http://www.vermontfamilynetwork.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/PBIS-Using-PBIS-at-Home-and-in-the-Community.pdf

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English  |  http://csefel.vanderbilt.edu/resources/wwb/wwb7.html Spanish  |  http://csefel.vanderbilt.edu/briefs/wwb7-sp.pdf

Classroom Environment Resources This webpage provides resources, ideas, and strategies for making a classroom environment one that is supportive for all children, including those with challenging behaviors. From the Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. http://www.njpbs.org/Other/classrom_env_management.html _____________________________________________________________________

Supporting and Responding to Behavior: Evidence-based Classroom Strategies for Teachers This landing page provides an overview of the guide by the same name, as well as a link to the  PDF of the guide . The guide itself summarizes evidence-based, positive, proactive, and responsive classroom behavior intervention and support strategies for teachers. These strategies should be used classroom-wide, intensified to support small group instruction, or amplified further for individual students. The tools can help teachers capitalize on instructional time and decrease disruptions, which is crucial as schools are held to greater academic and social accountability measures for all students. https://www.osepideasthatwork.org/evidencebasedclassroomstrategies _____________________________________________________________________

Behavior at School This webpage at the Center for Parent Information and Resources will connect you with resources to answer questions such as:

  • What can teachers and administrators do to help children manage their behavior at school?
  • What’s recommended by disability and behavior specialists?
  • What does the law require?

http://www.parentcenterhub.org/behavior-atschool/ _____________________________________________________________________

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PBIS at Home Guide

How to Implement PBIS at Home

This is a guest post by Justine Hoch, a certified teacher mentor and PBIS admin in Pasco County, Florida.

Our new reality in this pandemic has changed the roles of parents and teachers. With the shift to virtual learning, parents are now working as support facilitators. Many of them are feeling overwhelmed by the curriculum and the challenges that come with teaching their children from home.

PBIS is a behavior management system adopted by many schools, and the premise is simple – teach expected behaviors and focus on the good behaviors that you see. I have put together this guide for parents on how to use PBIS at home to help manage behavior.

PBIS at Home Guide

1. expectations.

Create a list of 3 -5 POSITIVELY worded expectations for the whole house. Keep it simple!

  • Be respectful
  • Be understanding

2. Examples

Create a few examples of what each of those expectations looks like for the house. Ask your kids to contribute!

  • I can be respectful by… staying quiet when the adults are working.
  • I can be respectful by… waiting for my turn to use the computer/device.


  • I can be understanding by… recognizing our new reality and the challenges it presents.
  • I can be helpful by… cleaning up the messes I make or cleaning up a mess I see.

A PBIS at Home Tip

Make a mural together as a family that shows these expectations and what they look like in different situations. Then hang it up somewhere for all to see!

3. Celebrate It

When your child does one of these things, CELEBRATE IT! Tell them what you liked and appreciated about their behavior. Then give them a physical token to keep track of their positive behaviors – stickers, coins… whatever you have.

4. Set Goals

Come up with a “big picture” goal. If you earn 15 “points” or tokens, you can get 15 extra minutes of electronic time. Maybe they can buy their way out of a chore! You can check out this list of remote learning incentives from PBIS Rewards for ideas.

5. Patience

BE PATIENT! This type of system does not solve everything, but it definitely helps to define expectations and to focus on the positive outcomes. A small shift in what you observe can lead to a much larger change in the way you think and relate to your family members!

By implementing and practicing the steps in this guide, you will be well on your way to a positive environment for your PBIS at home experience.

Download this PBIS at Home Guide

About Justine:

justine hoch PBIS pasco county florida

If you would like to connect with Justine, you may contact her here .

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Early Childhood PBIS

Preschool class, boy looking to camera

What is Early Childhood PBIS?

Early childhood PBIS refers to PBIS implementation within early childhood settings – The Pyramid Model. The Pyramid Model is a multi-tiered framework with a continuum of evidence-based practices to promote expected behavior, prevent problem behavior, and intervene when students need more support. This model addresses the needs and contexts unique to programs serving infants, toddlers and preschoolers, including children in public school early childhood classrooms. It includes the practices, procedures, and data collection measures appropriate for young children and their families.

Why Address Early Childhood PBIS?

The Pyramid Model ensures programs attend to both the implementation of evidence-based practices and develop the infrastructure to sustain these efforts. Children have better social skills and less problem behavior in Pyramid Model classrooms. Practitioners are able to implement Pyramid Model practices better when they receive training and practice-based coaching. [1] According to the Technical Assistance Center on Social and Emotional Intervention , programs using this approach experience the following:

  • Reductions in child challenging behavior
  • Increases in children’s social skills
  • Increased satisfaction of program staff and families
  • Reduced turnover in the program
  • Increases in teachers’ competence and confidence in the support of children
  • Changes in classroom and program climate
  • Sustained implementation of the Pyramid Model

Foundational Systems of Early Childhood PBIS

Early childhood PBIS systems are very similar to the foundational systems guiding any PBIS framework. The primary difference is the way these systems adapt to serve the unique needs of younger children and their families.

Leadership Team

The team includes ( Some team members may fill more than one of these roles ):

  • The program administrator
  • Representation from teaching staff
  • Someone to provide coaching and support to teachers
  • A behavior specialist
  • A family member

The team ensures the systems and practices implemented provide support to children with challenges, professional development and support to teachers, and a plan for family engagement. This leadership team uses data to make decisions and meets monthly to guide implementation of the program-wide approach.

Staff Readiness and Buy-In

All program staff participate in implementation. They must agree to it and be willing to participate. The leadership team monitors and supports staff buy-in on an ongoing basis.

Family Engagement

PBIS implementation in early childhood works to establish partnerships with families. The program shares information with families, offers support around children’s social and emotional skill development, and includes families in program-level teams.

Pyramid Model Practices

Pyramid Model practices:

  • Promote healthy social-emotional development
  • Reduce challenging behaviors
  • Support families to promote their children’s social development in a home visiting program
  • Establish effective instructional routines in classrooms from infant-toddler to pre-kindergarten ages.

Staff Capacity

When programs implement the Pyramid Model, all staff must have the training, coaching, and resources to implement practices effectively. The leadership team develops strategies to provide ongoing support to staff as they implement the model.

Providing Interventions to Children with Persistent Challenging Behavior

Program-level policies and procedures support to staff to address challenging behavior. These include mechanisms for support in crisis situations, developing a problem-solving process for children with emerging challenges, and providing a system for identifying children who needa behavior support plan developed through a team driven process.

Monitoring Implementation and Outcomes

Data-based decision making is a pivotal component of the program-wide approach in the Pyramid Model. The team gathers and reviews implementation data using a variety of data tools.

Tiers of the Pyramid Model

pbis presentation for parents

The Pyramid Model promotes young children’s (birth to five years old) social-emotional competence and prevents and addresses challenging behavior, through a tiered promotion, prevention, intervention framework.

Tier 1 promotes nurturing and responsive caregiving relationships and high-quality environments. At this level, practitioners focus on their relationships with children and their families by providing nurturing and responsive support and engaging children in relationships with others. Practices at this level involve supportive environments to prevent problem behavior, engage all children, and develop social-emotional skills. For many children, Tier 1 may be all that is needed to support their healthy social-emotional development.

Tier 2 serves as a prevention level. It focuses on explicit social skills instruction like:

  • Self-regulation
  • Expressing and understanding emotions
  • Developing social relationships
  • Problem-solving

Tier 3 Intensive intervention

Tier 3 focuses on individualized, intensive interventions for children who have the most persistent challenging behavior. Even with Tier 1 and Tier 2 systems in place, there may be children who need an individualized behavior support plan. These plans typically include prevention strategies, instructions of new skills, and guidance on how to respond in order to reduce challenging behavior and increase new skill use.

Assessing Early Childhood PBIS/Pyramid Model

There are multiple tools to assess implementation and outcomes in early childhood settings.

Early Childhood Program-Wide PBS Benchmarks of Quality (EC-BoQ)

A self-report checklist designed to help programs evaluate their progress toward implementing the Pyramid Model program-wide. A companion assessment evaluates its implementation’s cultural responsiveness [INSERT LINK: https://www.pbis.org/common/cms/files/pbisresources/ECBoQ_Cultural-Responsiveness-Companion.pdf ].

Pyramid Model Early Intervention (Part C) Benchmarks of Quality (EI-BoQ)

This assessment helps programs evaluate their progress toward implementing the Pyramid Model program-wide. 

Teaching Pyramid Observation Tool (TPOT) and The Pyramid Infant Toddler Observation System (TPITOS) 

These tools assess classroom implementation in early childhood settings

Coaching Logs

Coaches can use coaching logs to track implementation activities as well as document each activity's focus.

Get Started with Early Childhood PBIS

The first steps to implementing PBIS in early childhood settings involve training and building staff capacity. Leadership teams attend a multiple-day training on program-wide implementation to develop implementation plans. Staff receive training on the Pyramid Model and coaching for classroom-level implementation . Training is offered in a variety of formats, including e-modules and in-person training.

The Pyramid Equity Project Fact Sheet

This fact sheet defines the Pyramid Model and how to implement it as a way to address suspensions/expulsions of young children, particularly children of color.

Aligning and Integrating Family Engagement in PBIS : Chapter 6

This chapter describes practices and strategies for engaging families in early childhood settings.

[1] Hemmeter, M. L., Snyder, P. A., Fox, L., & Algina, J. (2016). Evaluating the implementation of the Pyramid Model for promoting social emotional competence in early childhood classrooms. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 36 , 133-146.

Resources in this section include assessments, blueprints, examples, and materials to aid in implementing PBIS.


Publications listed below include every eBook, monograph, brief, and guide written by the PBIS Technical Assistance Center.


Presentations about their experiences, published research, and best practices from recent sessions, webinars, and trainings

Recordings here include keynotes and presentations about PBIS concepts as well tips for implementation.

This website was developed under a grant from the US Department of Education, #H326S230002. However, the contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the US Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government. Project Officer, Mohamed Soliman.

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family guide to pbis


Apr 03, 2019

390 likes | 520 Views

FAMILY GUIDE TO PBIS. POSITIVE BEHAVIOR INTERVENTIONS AND SUPPORTS. Developed by:. In Cooperation With:. Problem Behavior. What do we do?. MOST OFTEN WE:. Get Angry Punish. Does That Work?. POLL QUESTION. 1. I know a lot about PBIS and could explain it to someone else.

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Presentation Transcript


Developedby: In Cooperation With:

Problem Behavior What do we do?

MOST OFTEN WE: • Get Angry • Punish • Does That Work?

POLL QUESTION 1. I know a lot about PBIS and could explain it to someone else. 2. I know what PBIS stands for and some of the basic parts of it. 3. I know what PBIS stands for but that’s about it. 4. I have no idea what you’re talking about.

What is Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports?(PBIS)



HOW? Demonstrate the behavior that is expected Have students practice the behavior Watch them do it Give positive feedback Recognize good behavior

A School Using PBIS: What Does it Look Like?

The School Creates a PBIS Team

3 to 5 Expectations Posted Taught Demonstrated Practiced

Teaching Behaviors Using PBIS Talk About the Good Behavior that You Want to See Recognize and Give Attention to Good Behavior When You See It

Changing Behavior Teaching is not enough to change behavior Planning a program for recognizing positive behavior is very important. A program of planned consequences for negative behavior is very important.

Examples of Planned Positive Recognition and Incentives Tickets to spend at a school store Lunch with the principal Picking two friends and eating lunch in a special place Getting picture on a positive poster in the hallway

Examples of Planned Negative Consequences Rule reminders Changing seats Time‐out in class Timeout-out of class Phone call home Lunch detention Office referral

Three Important Parts of PBIS Provide Recognition and Incentives for Good Behavior Teach the Good Behavior you Expect to See Provide Planned Consequences for Negative Behavior and Re-Teach Good Behavior

PBIS at HOME • Set ROUTINES and EXPECTATIONS • Regularly TALK about them with your child, DEMONSTRATE and PRACTICE • Be firm about following the expected behavior • Recognize when your child is showing good behavior with verbal praise • Plan positive incentives for showing good behavior • Have a PLAN for fair consequences if negative behavior happens • Be a good role model

Home Expectations You can use a chart to tell your children what you expect of them.

Step or Tier 1 – Universal Level What the school is doing for ALL students What about the students that still don’t “get it”?

Step or Tier 2 – Targeted Level Some kids need more Interventions – the more, the extra Extra supports for kids who are still struggling to show the good behavior we expect

Who Needs It? Use Data (Information) office referrals minor incidents attendance being late

Targeted Level - Interventions Check in/Check out (CICO) Daily Home/School Communication Extra Support in the Classroom Social/Academic Intervention Group (SAIG)

Check In/Check Out (CICO) The intervention that is most-often used at Tier 2 Student “checks in” with a trusted adult each morning Trusted adult works to build a strong relationship with the student Adult makes sure the student is physically and mentally ready for class Student may also “check in” with the classroom teacher or other adults during the day to talk about behavior Student “checks out” with trusted adult at the end of the day to review the day and make sure he/she is ready to go home

What Happens Next? Review Data Regularly Slowly Take Away Support if Student is Responding to Intervention Recommend Student for Next Step (Tier)

Step or Tier 3 - Intensive Level Few students Students who are still struggling even with extra support Tier 3 can include students receiving Special Education

Who Needs It? When? Students who are not Changing Their Negative Behavior, even with Extra Support When the Data Shows that More Intensive Interventions are Needed

Intensive Level Even More Support Functional Behavioral Assessment Behavior Intervention Plan

Steps to Functional Behavioral Assessment Put Together a Team (Include Parent) Define the Problem Behavior (Stick to One or Two) Observe and Record Data Meet Together to Discuss Observations and Data Make Your Best Guess as to Why the Behavior is Happening Come up With a Plan to Reduce the Negative Behavior and Teach Replacement Behaviors Review the Plan

Behavior Intervention Plan State the Problem Behavior in a Way Everyone Can Understand Change the Environment and Put Supports in Place to Keep the Behavior From Happening Teach Positive Replacement Behaviors Give Student Opportunities to Practice the Replacement Behaviors Review the Plan

PBIS and Special Education Parents can Request a Special Education Evaluation at any Time PBIS is for ALL Students, those without IEPs, and those with IEPs Parent Involvement is a MUST

Ask Questions What are the school-wide and classroom behavioral expectations in my child’s school? How will I be notified and involved if my child needs a behavioral intervention? What can I do to help my child who is showing at-risk behavior?

Get Involved Learn About PBIS Offer to Help Use PBIS at Home Ask Questions if Your Child has been Recommended for an Intervention Insist on Being Involved with any Meeting Regarding Your Child

NEED MORE IDEAS? Contact your child’s teacher Contact someone from your school’s PBIS Team Visit the web @ http://www5.milwaukee.k12.wi.us/dept/rti/resources/parents http://www.wisconsinrticenter.org/ http://www.wifacets.org/ http://www.pacer.org/

PBIS is Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports Questions???

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It requires teamwork and buy-in, but the rewards can be remarkable.

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At the middle school where Maria teaches, test scores are way down and behavior problems have skyrocketed. Maria feels like she spends a lot more time writing discipline referrals than teaching these days. She’s ready for some change, but her district’s announcement that this year they’ll be implementing a PBIS program has her concerned. Isn’t that just a program where you give points and hand out gimmicky prizes? Not at all, her principal assures her. OK, says Maria, then what is PBIS, and how is it going to help me and my students?

What is PBIS?

Diagram showing children at blackboards, demonstrating equality vs equity

Source: Florida PBIS

PBIS stands for Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports. The concept has been around for decades, but the actual phrase/acronym comes from the 1997 amendments to the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Learn more about the history of PBIS here.

PBIS started as a way to help students with behavioral disorders but has since found its way into the wider educational field. The Center on PBIS describes it as “an evidence-based, tiered framework for supporting students’ behavioral, academic, social, emotional, and mental health.” It’s not a curriculum; rather, it’s a fundamental system that supports students, school staff, and families as they work to make positive behavior changes.

This program provides a common language throughout different grade levels for students, teachers, and staff members. The purpose is to promote and maintain positive relationships among students and staff members while reducing the number of disciplinary actions through preventative measures. It’s not about punishment and fear, it’s about change and intervention. When done correctly and with fidelity, it can have positive effects on a school’s culture.

What are the basics of PBIS?

3-D pyramid showing the 3 tiers of Positive Behavior Intervention Systems

Source: PBIS Rewards

Whether used at the classroom, school, or district level, PBIS is a very tailored program, right down to the student level. Student participation in the program differs based on their personal needs. Explore the tiers in detail here.

  • Tier 1: These practices and systems establish a foundation of regular, proactive support while preventing unwanted behaviors. Schools provide these universal supports to all students school-wide.
  • Tier 2: Practices and systems in tier 2 support students who are at risk for developing more serious problem behaviors before those behaviors start. These supports help students develop the skills they need to benefit from core programs at the school.
  • Tier 3: Students receive more intensive, individualized support to improve their behavioral and academic outcomes. At this level, schools rely on formal assessments to determine a student’s needs.

Venn diagram showing the five elements of PBIS: systems, equity, data, practices, and outcomes

Source: Center on PBIS

At all tiers, the same basic elements apply. These elements are interconnected, and all focus on providing positive outcomes for every student across the board.

The best educational systems provide a good experience for every student. That means adapting practices to meet individual needs, which may vary widely. PBIS equity focuses on discipline, which often is applied disproportionately across cultural and socioeconomic groups. PBIS seeks to address and correct that issue, providing all students with an environment that allows them to learn and succeed. Learn more about equity in PBIS here.

Implementing PBIS in a school or district requires a commitment to creating and maintaining systems that support the program. Teachers and administrators must receive the coaching and training they need, not just once but on an ongoing basis. Families are a part of the system too, since consistency and persistency matter. Learn more about the importance of PBIS systems here.

One of the real strengths of PBIS is its focus on meaningful data. Schools and districts can tailor that data to help them make productive decisions and understand what works—and what doesn’t. Learn more about using PBIS data effectively here.

PBIS practices are those that teachers and administrators undertake to administer the program. There’s no single approved set of practices, though many do include point systems and rewards. Instead, educators work to choose evidence-based methods that fit within their community’s culture and expectations. This means that PBIS can look different in various schools, but the ultimate goal is always the same: meaningful outcomes for students. Learn more about classroom PBIS practices.

What’s the evidence behind PBIS?

Since PBIS touts itself as “evidence-based,” you might be asking just what that evidence is. Schools have been collecting data on PBIS for many years. Here are just a few of the conclusions from a report by the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law :

  • Over a five-year period, standardized math and reading test scores in Maryland’s Anne Arundel County were higher in schools using PBIS.
  • In Illinois, 62 percent of third grade students in PBIS schools met the Illinois State Achievement Test Reading Standard, compared with 47 percent in non-PBIS schools.
  • A 2004 study of a PBIS urban elementary school found that the annual rate of office discipline referrals decreased by 562 and suspensions fell by 55 over a two-year period.

Read the full report to learn more.

Is PBIS right for my school?

Infographic regarding the implementation and benefits of PBIS in schools

It’s obvious that problem behaviors and a disruptive school climate interfere with academic progress. PBIS has been proven to change factors that help students and their achievement. In PBIS schools, students have increased time in schools and more time for learning. What successful PBIS schools have in common is full implementation. Behaviors cannot be changed and morale lifted if all tiers of support are not in place. It is a three- to five-year process of coaching for teachers and staff, as well as a three- to five-year process of change for the school.

While any school can potentially benefit from PBIS, it’s not a decision to be taken lightly. True success requires buy-in and participation from students, staff, administration, and families. It takes time to implement the program and can initially require more work on the part of staff. When everyone works together and makes a commitment, though, the results can be real and rewarding.

A PBIS success story

One teacher shared their school’s experience on the WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook :

“This is our second year with PBIS, and it’s been a slow process but it is working. I always see a lot of posts about PBIS being bribery, but if that’s how your school is doing it, you are doing it wrong. Our PBIS team has gone to massive amounts of training and we meet regularly to create common language and actions based on the student data that I am actually in charge of collecting.

“We do have tickets that can be used to buy school supplies and a few fun things like school clothing, but the tickets are handed out quietly, and a reason is always given as to why that student has gotten it. We use the terms ‘Be respectful, responsible, engaged and safe,’ which is on the ticket, and we circle what trait the student is excelling in. For example, one of my classes is chatty. If our hand-up signal isn’t working fast enough, I will continue teaching while silently handing out tickets to those who are doing what they should. We’ve also made matrices for behavior in every area of the school, which we review with all grades regularly.

“It is working. It is about staff using the same language and building teams for student support. You cannot start with the most difficult kids, you have to start with the 80%, then move to your other tiers to make it work. Rushing through the tiers or simply buying into the rewards is not going to work. But the kids definitely see that we as teachers are all backing each other with language and actions, and the differences between the HS kids that got PBIS and those that didn’t in the upper grades is unbelievable!”

It’s not for everyone

Unfortunately, PBIS programs can fail, especially when the support and buy-in just don’t exist. Here are some thoughts shared by another HELPLINE teacher:

“At a rural middle school, I have used it for 3 years, and I don’t like it. If administration doesn’t follow up with discipline and parents, the system is moot. We have a class that doesn’t get any referrals, and the other two that rack up a whole bunch. Some kids don’t care about signing a piece of paper. There are no consequences for getting a minor. When a student accumulates 3 then there are consequences and they get a major. However, there’s no consequence for accumulating majors. It’s a pointless system if administration isn’t strict about consequences.”

Ultimately, these two opposing stories show that every school needs to do the research and make the decision that feels right for themselves.

How do we get started with PBIS?

Infographic describing the steps of implementing PBIS

First of all, understand that this is going to take time. You can’t do a one-day training rollout and expect the program to succeed. It will require professional development, school leadership, and careful planning. Ideally, administrators and teachers will work together to develop the program, then share it with students and their families.

Many states have their own PBIS programs and websites, so do a search to see if yours can help you get started. Otherwise, here are a few respected resources to try:

  • Center on PBIS
  • PBIS Rewards

Has your school tried PBIS? Come share your experiences and ask for advice on the WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook .

Plus, check out what teachers need to know about restorative justice ..

What Is PBIS? An Overview for Teachers and Schools

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