What is PBIS?
What is PBIS – a Definition
In 1997, an amendment of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) included the language, “Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports,” which described methods used to identify and support desired behaviors in the school setting.
The educational research community has been developing and studying Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) ever since. PBIS seeks to reduce or eliminate poor behavior schoolwide through the encouragement of positive behaviors.
Improving School Climate
The goal of PBIS is to create a positive school climate, in which students learn and grow. However, school climate can vary widely from school to school. A number of factors affect school climate, including school location, neighborhood culture, instructional methods, student diversity, and school administration.
School climate has bearing on attendance rates, academic achievement, and graduation rates. Regardless of socioeconomic status, students in a positive school climate are more likely to have higher test scores and greater academic success. In addition, positive school climate helps students to develop the social and emotional skills they will need to become productive members of society.
In short, positive school climate includes:
- A feeling of safety
- Engagement in learning
- Involvement in school life
- Shared vision
- Involvement of teachers, students, and families
What is PBIS – Tiers of Implementation
PBIS uses a three-tier approach. Each of these three tiers has applications to a specific subset of students.
Tier 1 – Most Students
The bulk of PBIS supports fall within Tier 1. Schools begin at Tier 1 by creating a behavior matrix outlining the positive behaviors that they wish to establish schoolwide. Depending on the school, positive behaviors might include simple actions such as walking calmly in line, throwing away trash in the cafeteria, or keeping a neat and tidy locker. As the school staff and students focus on these behavioral goals, negative behaviors begin to lessen. And because teachers are spending less time in disciplining students, instructional time increases.
Approximately 80% of students never need to move beyond Tier 1 in interventions and support.
Characteristics of Tier 1 – Universal or Primary Prevention:
- For all students, staff members, and settings
- Designed to reduce problem behaviors
- Increases instructional time
Tier 2 – Some Students
For that subset of students (roughly 15%) who struggle with the Tier 1 interventions and supports, Tier 2 addresses at-risk behavior. The specialized interventions and supports at the Tier 2 level help to prevent the worsening of problem behaviors.
These efforts focus on specific groups of students and the underlying issues that may be causing the behavior. Disruptive students may be dealing with social, emotional, or academic issues that result in poor behavior in the classroom. Tier 2 interventions parse out the hidden causes behind negative behavior and provide support in changing those behaviors.
Characteristics of Tier 2 – Secondary Prevention:
- Group supports for some students
- Specialized interventions for students demonstrating at-risk behavior
- Prevents worsening of problem behaviors
Tier 3 – Few Students
Students who do not respond to the interventions and support in Tier 2 receive further individualized supports in Tier 3. These interventions target students who exhibit high-risk behavior. Such interventions might take the form of an individual plan created to address specific academic or behavioral concerns.
The individualized plan for each student at this level may include efforts by special education teachers or school psychologists. Typically, less than 5% of students require Tier 3 interventions.
Characteristics of Tier 3 – Tertiary Prevention:
- Individual support for a few students
- Specialized interventions for students with high-risk behavior
- Designed to reduce severity of ongoing problem behaviors
Establishing PBIS Schoolwide
A successful PBIS framework relies on a commitment from the entire staff, from administration to educators to support staff. It is most effective when adopted schoolwide.
Each school must identify the behavior expectations they want to develop among their students. Ideally, this is a short list of three to five behaviors. As the school identifies these core values, it also decides how those values might look in a variety of settings. For example, showing respect might mean that a student raises his hand in the classroom, follows rules on the playground, and uses table manners in the cafeteria.
The next step in the establishment and identification of these values is instruction. This is accomplished by posting setting-specific actions that align with the behavior expectations as well as intentional instruction in behavior that reflects these values. When students exhibit the desired behaviors, teachers offer recognition of these actions by awarding points. Students can redeem their accumulated points for rewards and/or privileges.
As the school moves through the instructional year, they consistently assess the effectiveness of their PBIS framework. This can include analysis of data such as office discipline referrals, teacher commitment to the program, attendance, and academic achievement.
PBIS at RES
We have a Tier 1 committee that meets monthly to review the PBIS information from our SWISS report. The committee reviews the data to make suggestions about the implementation of ways to improve our PBIS procedures. This committee also reports their findings to the staff and to the SBDM committee each month.
This year the committe has decided to send home a quarterly newsletter to parents to keep parents informed on what PBIS is, how it looks in our building and some of our findings. Our hope is parents see the value in what we are doing to help promote a positive interaction of students and adults in our building.
Home Behavior Expectations