High School PBIS

Thousands of high schools in the U.S. are engaged in implementing PBIS, but the research specific to high school implementation is still emerging.  The time required to achieve adequate implementation of PBIS in high schools is consistently longer than that reported for elementary and middle schools, and a growing literature base suggests that PBIS implementation at the high school level involves attention to a set of variables beyond those found in elementary and middle schools.  

It has been demonstrated that the key features of SWPBIS used in elementary and middle school implementation are of equal importance to high school implementation (Flannery, Frank, Doren, Kato, & Fenning, 2013).  At all school levels, this implementation framework includes a representative school leadership team that works with the staff, students and administrators to: (1) identify and monitor schoolwide outcomes; (2) develop systems to support implementation and sustainability; (3) implement evidence based practices to increase a positive social climate and learning environment; and (4) develop data management systems to monitor progress and make effective data based decisions based on the school context.

In high schools, it is instead the context that has a major impact on high school implementation.  There are three primary contextual influences in high schools that need to be taken into consideration when implementing PBIS in high schools: Size, Culture, & Developmental Level.  Research has demonstrated that for high schools to adapt the implementation process to these contextual influences, they must focus on key foundational systems (data, leadership, and communication), and that it is through these systems that high schools can successfully implement the core PBIS features to achieve desired student outcomes (Flannery, Frank, & Kato, 2012).


 (Flannery & Kato, 2012)


For detailed information on the implementation of SWPBIS specific to high schools, see the monograph School-wide PBIS Implementation in High Schools: Current Practice and Future Directions.  For an overview and guide on implementing tiered systems in high schools, see the report Tiered Interventions In High Schools: Using Primary Lessons Learned to Guide Ongoing Discussion. Also, a range of High School Webinars are available in the Training section of the resource box below. Additional HS webinars are available on the Midwest PBIS Network 'Webinar Recordings' page (http://www.midwestpbis.org/events/webinar-recordings).


Positive Behavior Support in High Schools: Monograph from the 2004 Illinois High School Forum of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports

This monograph was prepared as a result of the Illinois High School Forum of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports on May 18-19, 2004 in Naperville, Illinois. Preparation of this material was supported through several Federal Grants #H324D020031, and H326S030002; and the Loyola University of Chicago School of Education and Project Gear Up.

School-wide application of positive behavior support in an urban high school: A case study

The nuances of the application of schoolwide positive behavior supports (PBS) in an urban high school setting were investigated. Impact of implementation was measured using qualitative interviews and observations, including the School-wide Evaluation Tool (SET), Effective Behavior Support Survey, Student Climate Survey, and office disciplinary referrals. The results indicated that schoolwide PBS was implemented in an urban high school setting with some success. The overall level of implementation of PBS reached 80% as measured by the SET. Staff and teachers increased their level of perceived priority for implementing PBS in their school. A decrease in monthly discipline referrals to the office and the proportion of students who required secondary and tertiary supports was noted. These findings seem to indicate that PBS may be an important process for improving outcomes for teachers and students in urban high school settings.

Focus on High Schools I: Secondary Level Supports Within a School-Wide Framework (Chicago Forum-07)

The presentation describes secondary level support in high school PBS system.

SWPBS and Urban High Schools: Results and Issues Realized Across Implementation Years (APBS 08)

The presentation provides research-based strategies on systems-change efforts utilized at the high school level from addressing administrator buy-in, overcoming faculty reluctance, motivating young adults, and increasing parent participation across these settings.

The High School Behavior Education Program (HS-BEP): A Secondary Level Intervention

This handbook presents a secondary level intervention program for high school students. The high school behavior education program (HS-BEP) is designed to decrease the instructional "punishers" and increase positive adult interaction and specific behavioral prompts. The handbook provides: 1) a daily check in, class by class checks, and check out with teachers, 2) organizational, social and academic prompts, 3) establishment of regular communication with families of students, 4) organizational skills, and 5) assistance for homework completion.

Relationships Between Academics and Problem Behavior in the Transition from Middle School to High School

Given the increased risk factors in the transition from middle school to high school, this study tracked academic and school discipline records for students as they transitioned from Grade 8 to Grade 9. Results indicated significant interactions between academic scores and office discipline referrals, both within and across grades. Results are discussed in terms of improving school environments and academic instruction to prevent school failure.

A Descriptive Study on Office Disciplinary Referrals in High Schools

This article describes data about Office Discipline Referrals (ODRs) in a sample of 112 high schools that used the School-wide Information System (SWIS) database to collect discipline data during the 2005-2006 academic year. The findings were that tardies, defiance/disrespect and skip/truancy were the most common types of ODRs generated at the high school level. Those in the freshman class were the most likely of all students to receive an ODR, and the majority of those students who generated multiple referrals requiring intensive behavior supports (e.g., 6 or more ODRs), did so by mid-winter of the academic year.

Effects of School-Wide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports and Fidelity of Implementation on Problem Behavior in High Schools

This article describes a study that examined the effects of School-Wide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (SW-PBIS) on the levels of individual student problem behaviors. Participants were 36,653 students in 12 high schools. Results are discussed in terms of effectiveness of a SW-PBIS approach in high schools and considerations to enhance fidelity of implementation.

Implementing Schoolwide Positive Behavior Support in High School Settings: Analysis of Eight High Schools

This article describes a study that examined implementation of SWPBIS in eight high school serving 15,525 students across a three-year period. Findings were that improvements in implementation were evident, but that implementation took longer than at the lower grades. Results suggest that unique aspects of the high school context present specific implementation challenges.

High Schools: Getting Started

This presentation was from a full-day workshop at NW PBIS Conference in the Spring of 2015. Topics include How High Schools are Different: Contextual and Systems considerations for High Schools; Data Based Decision Making; Teaching System; Consequence Systems (including both discipline & acknowledgement systems); and Communication. All topics are presented specifically for implementation in the high school context.

Schoolwide Positive Behavior Supports

This article discusses the high school principal’s role in effective implementation of SWPBIS. High schools implementing SWPBIS have improved attendance, reduced discipline referrals, and improved academic engagement. Although the demands of the schools' different contexts and cultures have led to innovative strategies for achieving the core features of SWPBS, a central component of successful implementation has been the active engagement of the principal. The principal has the role of establishing the learning climate, hiring and supporting personnel, and modeling instructional leadership. The principal can use the SWPBS framework to establish a positive school climate and support students and staff members. Investing in the social culture of a high school through implementation of SWPBS is one proven approach for building the predictable, consistent, positive, and safe setting that will increase student academic engagement and lead to improved performance and graduation rates.

Academic Seminar, the High School Behavior Education Program, 2nd Edition

Academic Seminar is a 45 minute daily class designed to address work avoidance behaviors for middle and high school students at risk of poor school outcomes. The curriculum targets teaching, practicing and reinforcing organizational and self-advocacy skills, termed "academic self - management." The overarching goal of the class is for students to become fluent in the organizational and self-management skills required for successful completion of cla ss work, homework, tests, and projects. The relevance and applicability of the organizational skills extend past high school to post-secondary, real-world settings.

School-Wide PBIS Implementation in High Schools: Current Practice and Future Directions

The purpose of this monograph is to describe the outcomes from the 2nd HS PBIS Forum on SWPBS implementation. Although the number of highs schools who are implementing SWPBS is relatively small compared to elementary and middle schools, the results from the five working groups and the dedicated and knowledgeable representatives from nominated high schools clearly suggest that SWPBS implementation has promise for improving the scocial culture and outcomes of all students.

Tiered Interventions In High Schools: Using Primary Lessons Learned to Guide Ongoing Discussion

This report summarizes what we have learned thus far and how those lessons learned can advance the ongoing discussion about effective RTI implementation in high schools. This report is grounded in available research and the professional wisdom of leading researchers and practitioners, including staff members from eight high schools implementing tiered interventions.

Investing in Freshmen: Data, Systems & Practices to Support 9th Graders

This presentation from the IL Leadership Forum in October 2014 addresses the research around focusing on freshmen within our schoolwide multi-tiered systems of support. Features of a variety of freshmen support strategies are outlined.

Two Strategies to Increase HS Success: Freshmen Success & Academic Seminar

This presentation from the IL Leadership Forum in October 2014 discusses two different strategies for focusing support on specific groups within the high school. Freshmen success is a universal, freshmen-wide system of support and Academic Seminar is a targeted system designed for students at any grade level with identified academic and behavioral support needs.