Positive Behavior Interventions & Supports (PBIS):

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): PBIS (Positive Behavior Interventions & Supports)

The intent of the FAQ is to introduce you to this strategy and serve as a starting point for further investigation.

Overview

Implementation

Research

Resources

 

Overview

 

What is PBIS?

School-wide Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports (PBIS) is a proactive, team-based framework for creating and sustaining safe and effective schools. The focus of PBIS is to prevent problem behavior, develop pro-social skills, and use data-based problem solving for addressing existing behavior concerns. School-wide PBIS will help schools educate all students with the use of research-based, school-wide classroom, and individualized interventions. (MDE Guide, p. vii)

School-wide PBIS provides a comprehensive framework that can be used by any school to design their own system of behavioral supports for all students. It also provides informed decision making, based upon data analysis that guides the process of assessing student needs and providing additional levels of behavioral support to students in need. School-wide PBIS provides a positive focus to encouraging desirable student behaviors. A set of universal expectations for behavior, positively stated, are established for all students in all locations of the school. These expectations generally promote core values such as respect, responsibility, and safety. Interventions and strategies are implemented to teach and reinforce these expectations. (MDE Guide, p. 2)

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What needs can PBIS address?

Implementing PBIS will increase time for instruction and decrease disciplinary incidents. PBIS addresses the behavioral needs of all students with proven, easy to implement strategies and helps to create a positive school climate.

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What are the goals and primary student outcomes of PBIS?

PBIS is a skill-building approach that will strengthen social skills for any student. Positive interventions such as PBIS that support adaptive and pro-social behavior and build on the strengths of the student lead to an improved learning environment. Students are offered methods that help them learn and maintain appropriate behavior and discourage violation of codes of student conduct.

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Effective secondary interventions produce measurable changes in behavior and improvements in a student's quality of life (e.g., participation in integrated activities, improved social relationships, independence and self-sufficiency). (http://www.pbis.org/school/secondary-level/faqs)

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Implementation

 

What are my first steps for implementation?

The following steps illustrate the general process of primary level (Tier 1) implementation of PBIS:

  • Establish commitment from administration and staff
  • Form the school's PBIS team, made up of an administrator, grade level representatives, support staff and parents
  • Establish data collection system
  • Establish and teach positive behavior expectations
  • Design systems for positive acknowledgment and reinforcement
  • Designing predictable consequence systems for behavior infractions
  • Data-based decision making (MDE Guide, p. 6) (http://www.pbis.org/school/primary-level/faqs)

The following steps illustrate the general process of secondary level (Tier 2) implementation of PBIS:

  • Create process for identifying students in need of Tier 2 supports
  • Create several interventions that address various needs of students
  • Allocate resources to implement the interventions
  • Sort students into the Tier 2 interventions
  • Collect data on progress of students receiving interventions
  • Evaluate success and modify program

The following steps illustrate the general process of tertiary level implementation of PBIS:

  • Create a process for identifying students in need of Tier 3 supports
  • Create a team to develop an individualized behavior support plan
  • Allocate resources to implement the behavior plan
    • Conduct a functional behavior assessment
    • Link functional assessment results to the development of a behavior intervention plan
  • Allocate resources to implement the behavior plan
  • Collect data on student interventions
  • Evaluate success and modify the program

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What structures need to be in place for a successful implementation?

A PBIS school incorporates a few simple systems practices that are crucial to sustaining the program over time. These include:

  • The establishment of a representative, school-based PBIS team with a strong administrative presence and support. The PBIS team uses the "framework" of school-wide PBIS to design that school's unique set of practices.
  • PBIS activities are embedded into existing school activities such as school improvement and student assistance teams.
  • The school establishes a system for using behavioral data (e.g., office discipline referrals or some other method of incident reporting). These data are analyzed and used in a robust way to guide the design and implementation of additional behavior supports, especially at the targeted and intensive levels. (MDE Guide, p. 2)

The PBIS team should be representative of the school and include the following:

  • Grade level representatives
  • Special education staff
  • Specials teachers (e.g., art, physical education, etc.)
  • Administrators
  • Parent representatives
  • Staff with expertise in PBIS and classroom management
  • Staff with skills in data analysis and other technologies
  • Staff with enthusiasm for PBIS (MDE Guide, p. 8)

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What should I keep an eye on to help ensure an effective implementation?

The School-wide PBIS Tiered Fidelity Inventory assesses the implementation efforts of Tier I, Tier II, and Tier III in one tool. The purpose of the School-wide PBIS Tiered Fidelity Inventory (TFI) is to provide a valid, reliable, and efficient measure of the extent to which school personnel are applying the core features of school-wide positive behavioral interventions and supports. Included below is a link to the TFI, as well as a link to a brief video tutorial on using the tool:

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How do I help my staff implement PBIS effectively?

The primary role of the administrator is to support the PBIS team, not to do the work of the team. The administrator should:

  • Ensure that the team is composed of a representative group of staff
  • Make sure that new members are added to the team over time so as to prevent burn out and keep ideas fresh
  • Ensure that PBIS remains a priority for the school and that sufficient time and resources are allotted to make it successful
  • Be a spokesperson for the program-use the language of PBIS, be enthusiastic, give it time at staff meetings, talk it up, let it be known to others that your school is a PBIS school

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Research

 

What does research say about PBIS?

  • A three-year randomized control trial involving elementary schools in Hawaii and Illinois found that having state personnel provide regular training and technical assistance in school-wide positive behavior supports (SWPBS) was linked to improved implementation of universal-level SWPBS practices.
    • The study also found that a stronger implementation was also linked to improvements in the perceived safety of the school setting and the proportion of third graders meeting or exceeding state reading assessment standards.
    • While results also document that levels of office discipline referrals were comparatively low, the absence of experimental control for this variable precludes inference about the impact of SWPBS (Horner et. al., SWPBS in Elementary Schools, p. 133).
  • An analysis of tier-reviewed articles published between 2000 and 2009 that included an experimental analysis of SWPBS or component practices found the following (Focus on Exceptional Children, p. 7-10):
    • Schools, districts, and other typical agents can implement the primary prevention tier of SWPBS with fidelity in a wide range of contexts.
    • Implementation of the primary prevention tier of SWPBS is associated with
      • Improved organizational health
      • A reduction in reports of problem behavior
      • Improved perception of school safety
      • Increased academic outcomes, though less strongly
    • Check and Connect is related to fewer students dropping out of school.
    • According to strong research support, Check-in/Check-out (CICO) and a well-implemented First Step to Success (FSS) program, each help reduce problem behavior.
    • The USED's Expert Panel on Safe, Discipline, and Drug-free schools designated Think Time as a promising strategy.
    • Schools can implement interventions guided by functional behavioral assessments (FBA) with fidelity and directly reduce problem behaviors and increase desired behaviors.
  • A five-year longitudinal randomized controlled effectiveness trial of School-wide PBIS was conducted in 37 elementary schools to examine the impact of training in School-wide PBIS on implementation fidelity, student suspensions, office discipline referrals, and academic achievement. School-level analyses indicated that the schools trained in School-wide PBIS implemented the model with high fidelity and experienced significant reductions in student suspensions and office discipline referrals (Bradshaw et. al.).

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What is an example of an effective implementation?

"Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports (PBIS) has made a difference in our building. During the 2006-2007 school year, Keppen Elementary began developing a PBIS plan that would work for our student population. The plan was administrator supported and staff developed. In the spring of 2007, it was implemented. Since then, there has been a noticeable difference in student behavior. There is a real sense that staff members are discovering new ways to handle problems in their classrooms, the number of referrals is down, and students are communicating to each other in improved ways. Overall, the building is more positive and student discipline incidents have dropped. The year-to-date total amount of office discipline referrals in comparison to this point last year is down 21 percent" (Keppen Elementary, Lincoln Park).

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Resources

 

Where can I learn more?

  • Michigan's Integrated Behavior and Learning Support Initiative (MiBLSi)
    Michigan's Integrated Behavior and Learning Support Initiative (MiBLSi) provides a statewide structure to create local capacity for an integrated behavior and reading Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) that can be implemented with fidelity, is durable over time, and utilizes data-based decision making at all levels of implementation support.
  • Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports OSEP Technical Assistance Center
    This technical assistance center was established by the USED's Office of Special Education Programs to help states, districts, and schools implement the PBIS framework. The site includes resources, additional research, and training modules.
  • PBIS World
    This website provides suggestions for immediate responses to problem behaviors that are relevant for each tier of intervention. The site also provides a series of linked to data tracking tools available online.

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