Positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS) is not a program or a curriculum—it is a decision-making framework that guides the use of evidence-based practices to encourage pro-social behavior, improve academic performance, and establish positive school cultures. It can be applied at the student, classroom, or school level.
Understanding the PBIS framework
Parts of the framework
The PBIS framework is a continuum of behavioral interventions and supports that range from universal (for all students) to targeted (for some) to individualized (for a few). The tiers refer to the intensity of the interventions and supports, not to students.
The first tier of the PBIS framework establishes a universal system of prevention that involves all students and staff in all settings. The expectation is that first-tier prevention will be effective for 85 to 90 percent of a school’s students.
Universal interventions and supports are established in a school-based discipline plan that is created by a school-based leadership team with the guidance of a school’s PBIS coaches and PBIS Indiana staff.
Targeted interventions and supports are for the 10 to 15 percent of a school’s students who require more support than the universal system can provide. Having a clearly defined set of second-tier interventions and supports in place allows teachers to respond quickly and equitably to students who require more support.
Individualized interventions and supports are used with students for whom universal and secondary interventions and supports are inadequate. They require significant time and effort and typically are connected to existing district-wide systems.
Implementing the framework
The implementation process includes active administrator leadership; school-wide leadership teams; coaching; data-based decision making; and student, family, and staff input.
Active participation by district leaders is vital to the successful implementation of the PBIS framework in a district and/or school. District leaders play a key role in integrating PBIS with other work happening in the district, a task critical for successful adoption of the PBIS framework.
The district leaders also support and lead the school-based leadership teams in planning, implementation, and sustainability of PBIS. Those who act as the district coordinators attend all team trainings, serve as the liaison with PBIS Indiana staff, and coordinate tasks, trainings, and access to data.
PBIS is most effective when all stakeholders are committed to and engaged in the process. To ensure that all stakeholders are represented, each school puts together a school-based leadership team that leads the implementation process. School-based leadership teams include:
- Counselors, psychologists, and social workers
- Family members
- Students (at a secondary level)
Each school has at least one PBIS coach who helps facilitate the work of the school-based leadership team and serves as a liaison with PBIS Indiana. Coaches are selected from among district and school staff members.
The PBIS framework uses data to understand school-wide behavioral and discipline patterns. School-based leadership teams use the data to select and implement evidenced-based practices and to develop systems for supporting staff with high-fidelity implementation of those practices. The data also helps identify whether there is gender, racial, ethnic, or other disproportionality in discipline.
PBIS Indiana engages students and their families in a culturally responsive manner during the implementation process, taking into consideration their cultural values, needs, and interests.