PBIS Defined

The screaming was almost unbearable…

Filling our classroom, and making it almost impossible to think… most certainly impossible to Interact with the other children in the room.

It went on for what seemed to be hours…

Finally, he calmed down and became open to a discussion.

He began to paint a story filled with bullying, destroyed self-confidence, and emotional chaos…

His behavior that day, was his way of coping with the myriad of things going on his life that he felt little to no control over.

This conversation happened after months of intolerable behavior, and almost daily meltdowns.

But we broke through!

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Moving forward, we were able to work on the cause… not the symptoms.

This was great because punishment only amplified the root cause, pushing the behavior issues to a new level…

The method used is Positive Behavior Interventions And Supports… otherwise known as PBIS.

Have no clue what that means?

Well, let’s change that!

Positive Behavior Interventions And Supports (PBIS)

Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) can be described as methods used to identify and support desired behaviors in the educational setting.

The purpose of PBIS is to create a positive school environment where all students can learn and grow. PBIS is based on school climate, which varies from school to school.

PBIS utilizes a three-tier approach.

  • Tier 1 – Includes Most Children (80%)
  • Tier 2 – Includes Some Children (15%)
  • Tier 3 – Includes A Few Children (Less Than 5%)

Let’s start with explaining Tier 1 of Positive Behavior Interventions And Supports (PBIS)…

Tier 1- PBIS

In Tier 1, a behavior matrix is developed that outlines the positive behaviors they want to establish schoolwide. Depending on the school, positive behaviors could include simple acts of kindness (i.e., walking calmly in line, throwing trash away).

When the school staff and students focus on the behavioral goals, the negative behaviors begin to decrease. In turn, teachers are spending less time disciplining students, which allows instructional time to increase.

Tier 1 is used as the universal or primary prevention tier and is considered to be schoolwide, involves all students, staff members, and settings, designed to reduce problem behaviors, and helps increase instructional time.

Tier 2- PBIS

In Tier 2, students who are struggling with Tier 1 interventions and supports are moved to this tier. In this tier, the at-risk behavior is addressed.

Specialized interventions and supports implemented to help prevent the worsening of problem behaviors. The efforts are focused on specific groups of students and what is causing the behavior.

Tier 2 interventions phase-out hidden causes behind negative behavior and provides support in changing the behaviors. This tier is considered secondary prevention, which offers group support for some students and prevents the worsening of problem behaviors.

Tier 3- PBIS

In Tier 3, students who are not responding to Tier 2 interventions and supports receive further individualized supports. These interventions target students who exhibit high-risk behaviors.

Some of these interventions might include an individual plan which addresses specific academic and/or behavioral concerns. The plan may consist of efforts by special education teachers and/or school psychologist. This tier is also designed to reduce the severity of ongoing problem behaviors.

Secrets To Creating A Positive Behavior Intervention And Supports (PBIS)

Establishing a PBIS framework relies on a commitment from the entire staff, administration, and educators.

Identify Behavior Expectations

Each school must identify behavior expectations they want to develop among their students.

The school identifies the core values and decides how those values look in various settings. Instruction is included in this by posting setting-specific actions that align with behavior expectations as well as intentional instruction in behavior that reflects those values.

Assessing Throughout The Year

As the school moves through the year, they assess the effectiveness of the framework. When used schoolwide, PBIS changes the focus of discipline from punitive measures to positive interactions between students and staff.

Benefits Of School-Wide PBIS

There are many benefits of school-wide PBIS. Some of them include:

  • Improving School Culture
  • Building Social-Skills
  • Reducing Office Discipline Referrals
  • Reducing Suspensions
  • Increasing Instructional Time
  • Improving Classroom Management
  • Increasing Student Engagement
  • Increasing Family Involvement

This design has the potential to create change in a struggling school’s climate.

If you’re a teacher or a parent… have you witnessed a PBIS put into place? We’d love to hear about your experience!

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Amanda Wagoner, MAT

Amanda Wagoner, MAT

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