Our Framework

Proactive and preventive

The positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS) framework is designed to effect behavioral change through the use of evidence-based practices that promote academic and social success and establish positive school cultures.

The PBIS framework

Traditional behavior management is reactive. It involves identifying unwanted behaviors and deciding how to respond to them. Most responses involve removal and exclusion.

In contrast, PBIS is proactive and preventive. Instead of relying on negative consequences for unwanted behaviors, PBIS focuses on encouraging desired behaviors. PBIS prioritizes prevention; rearranging environments; clarifying, teaching, and reinforcing expected behaviors; and responding to problem behaviors in ways that don’t reinforce them.

Traditional school discipline asks, “What do we do when problem behavior occurs?” PBIS asks, “What do we do before and in between episodes of problem behavior?”

Learn more about the PBIS framework

Restorative practices

When problem behavior does occur, PBIS focuses on finding effective ways to respond to it, including the use of restorative practices, which aim to repair harm and restore relationships after conflict has occurred. They are most effective when explicit attention is given to building relationships and developing the social capital necessary to motivate others to make positive changes.

Restorative practices can be integrated into the PBIS framework or used on their own.

Learn more about restorative practices

Why use the PBIS framework in your district or school?

The PBIS framework creates a shift from a reactive, punitive environment to one that empowers students. There are clear expectations for student behavior, and students receive support to meet those expectations.

Nearly 24,000 schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia have adopted the PBIS framework. Schools that have implemented the framework successfully have experienced:   

  • Increased attendance and instructional time
  • Reduction in unsafe incidents, office referrals, and suspensions
  • Decreased dropout rate

We have witnessed a fundamental impact on student achievement as evidenced by significant decreases in behavior referrals.

Laura A. Hammack, superintendent, Brown County Schools

Misconceptions about PBIS

Myth: PBIS is only about giving students stuff to reward good behavior.

The truth: A reward system is just one part of a multifaceted plan.

Myth: PBIS is just about being nice.

The truth: The “positive” in PBIS refers to emphasizing desired behaviors instead of responding to negative ones.

Myth: PBIS has no negative consequences for unwanted behavior.

The truth: An infraction plan is part of the framework.