PBIS FAQs

Brief Introduction and Frequently Asked Questions about PBIS

OSEP National Technical Assistance Center on PBIS, 29 June 2018

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POSITIVE BEHAVIORAL INTERVENTIONS AND SUPPORTS: BRIEF INTRODUCTION

1. What is Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS)?
  • Implementation framework for maximizing the selection and use of evidence-based prevention and intervention practices along a multi-tiered continuum that supports the academic, social, emotional, and behavioral competence of all students.
2. What is the PBIS Center?
  • Established by OSERS, U.S. DoE in 1997 to deliver high quality, direct and indirect technical assistance and implementation support to local and state education agencies across the United States and territories.
3. What do students and educators gain in PBIS schools?
  • All students develop and learn social, emotional, and behavioral competence, supporting their academic engagement.
  • All educators develop positive, predictable, and safe environments that promote strong interpersonal relationships with students through teaching, modeling, and encouragement.
4. What do students and educators experience when PBIS implemented with fidelity?
  • Reductions in major disciplinary infractions, antisocial behavior, and substance abuse.
  • Reductions in aggressive behavior and improvements in emotional regulation.
  • Improvements in academic engagement and achievement.
  • Improvements in perceptions of organizational health and school safety.
  • Reductions in teacher and student reported bullying behavior and victimization.
  • Improvements in perceptions of school climate.
  • Reductions in teacher turnover.
5. How does PBIS contribute to the development of positive school climate, school safety, and student-educator relationships?
  • PBIS implementation involves explicitly prompting, modeling, practicing, and encouraging positive expected social skills across settings and individuals. When students are taught to effectively use relevant expected social skills for themselves and with others, school climates are described as more positive, learning environments are designated as safer, and student-educator relationships are referred to as more trusting and respectful.

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Frequently Asked Questions about PBIS

  1. What is Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS)?
    • PBIS is an implementation framework for maximizing the selection and use of evidence-based prevention and interventions practices along a multi-tiered continuum that supports the academic, social, emotional, and behavioral supports of all students
    • The interplay of 4 implementation elements is considered in all decisions
      • Data – What information is needed to improve decision making
      • Outcomes – What students need to do for academic and behavior success
      • Practices – What students experience to support the learning and improvement of their academic and behavior success, e.g., teaching, prompting, and recognizing expected social behaviors
      • Systems – What do educators experience to support their use of evidence-based academic and behavior practices, e.g., school leadership teams, data-based decision making, continuous professional development and coaching
    • The multi-tiered “continuum” is comprised of carefully selected, evidence-based practices at three different levels of support intensity.  Specific practices are matched both to the level of support need, and the local cultural context
      • Tier 1: Universal practices are experienced by all students and educators across all settings to establish a predictable, consistent, positive and safe climate
      • Tier 2: Targeted practices are designed for groups of students who need more structure, feedback, instruction and support than Tier 1 alone
      • Tier 3: Indicated practices are more intense and individualized to meet the challenges of students who need more than Tiers 1 and 2 alone

  2. What is the PBIS Center?
    • Brief History
      • Initiated in 1997 and supported for the past 20 years by the Office of Special Education Programs, US. Department of Education.
      • Co-directed by Universities of OR, CT, and MO and comprised of a working group of 25 technical assistance providers
      • Began providing in 2013 TA support to 70 LEA and 20 SEA School Climate Transformation Grantees (OESE funding)
      • Currently (August 2017), the PBIS Center and it’s national network support 26,316 schools, representing 13,896,697 students
        • Of 14,324 reporting Tier 1 fidelity in 2016-17, 9564 (65%) report high fidelity implementation
        • Of 9407 reporting T2/3 fidelity, 3114 (33%) and 1837 (19%) report high fidelity, respectfully

  3. Technical assistance (TA)
    • Direct on-site TA to district and state leadership teams to enhance their capacity to establish and maintain a full continuum of implementation capacity for schools
    • Indirect TA to school, district, and state leadership teams through websites, on-line webinars, regional and national conferences and forums, research and practitioner briefs, national database, and collaborations with other TA Centers and national organizations
    • Facilitation of a national TA network of implementers comprised of (a) designated state contact person for each state, (b) assignment of PBIS Center partner to each state, and (c) regional coordination networks
    • Collection and development of published evaluation and research articles that support implementation practices and systems

  4. What do students and staff members gain in PBIS schools?
    • All students enhance their social, emotional, and behavioral competence by
      • Regularly reviewing their school’s agreed upon school-wide social values.
      • Frequently experiencing specific recognition when they engage in expected behavior
      • Extending expected behaviors to all parts of the school, especially in classrooms to enhance their academic engagement and success
      • Experiencing predictable instructional consequences (reteaching) for problem behavior without inadvertent rewarding of problem behavior
      • Using a common language for communication, collaboration, play, problem solving, conflict resolution, and securing assistance
    • All educators develop positive, predictable, and safe environments that promote strong interpersonal relationships with their students by
      • Prompting, modeling, teaching, and acknowledging expected student behavior
      • Actively supervising all their students across all settings
      • Maximizing academic instruction to enhance student achievement and support social, emotional, and behavioral development
      • Providing clear and predictable consequences for problem behavior and following up with constructive support to reduce probability of future problem behavior
      • Intensifying their PBIS supports (T2/3) if students are unresponsive to universal practices (T1)

  5. What do students and educators experience when PBIS is implemented with fidelity over time?
    • Reductions in major disciplinary infractions, antisocial behavior, and substance abuse.
    • Reductions in aggressive behavior and improvements in emotional regulation.
    • Improvements in academic engagement and achievement.
    • Improvements in perceptions of organizational health and school safety.
    • Reductions in teacher and student reported bullying behavior and victimization.
    • Improvements in perceptions of school climate.
    • Reductions in teacher turnover.

  6. How does PBIS contribute to the development of positive school climate, school safety, and student-educator relationships?
    • In the context of school and community violence, a majority of kids consider school a safe place.
    • Perceptions of safety are greater when students have an adult they can talk with, go to, receive support from, etc.
    • Adult-student trusting relationships are the result of positive school and classroom climate, experiences of academic and social success, predictable school routines and supports, positive adult modeling.
    • PBIS/MTSS framework provides a continuum of supports that enables educators to address the full range of student needs and experiences.

  7. What is needed to put PBIS in place?
    • At district level
      • Superintendent and school board endorsement
      • Data-based decision making and problem solving
      • Implementation leadership team
      • Integrated initiative priority
      • Implementation capacity
      • Multi-tiered systems approach and expertise
      • Policy supporting efficient and long term behavior support priority
      • Continuous and embedded professional development opportunities
    • At school level
      • School Principal participation and modeling
      • School leadership team
      • Data-driven decision making
      • 3-5 year implementation investment
      • Integrated initiative priority
      • Data-based decision making and problem solving
      • Implementation practice and systems capacity
      • Multi-tiered systems approach and expertise
      • Continuous and embedded professional development opportunities
      • Participation by all staff members across all settings
    • At classroom at classroom
      • Integration with school-wide expectations and classroom practices
      • Teacher participation in non-classroom settings
      • Effective instructional practices
      • Daily use of effective classroom management practices
      • Peer collaborations and support

  8. What is NOT PBIS?
    • PBIS is NOT an intervention or practice.
      • PBIS IS an implementation framework for selection and use of proven practices.
    • PBIS is NOT just for special education students.
      • PBIS support the academic, social, emotional, and behavioral success of ALL students.
    • PBIS is NOT a fad.
      • PBIS Center has been in place for 20 years and the PBIS framework is visible in all 50 states.
      • The practices within PBIS have been used successfully in schools and documented in research literature since the 1980s.
    • PBIS is NOT implementable in one professional development day.
      • PBIS develops local organizational structures (e.g., leadership teams) and implementation capacity (e.g., coaching and data-based decision making) that enables continuous and local professional development and technical assistance.
    • PBIS is NOT focused only on promoting positive behaviors.
      • PBIS develops preventive supports to enhance and align with the procedures outline in discipline handbooks and codes of conduct.
    • PBIS is NOT implemented independently of academic instruction.
      • PBIS practices and systems are aligned with and integrated into academic instruction, professional development, school improvement goals, etc.
    • PBIS is NOT a replacement for other effective social, emotional, and behavioral curricula and practices.
      • PBIS establishes a continuum framework that guides alignment and integration of practices aligned with prioritized student outcomes.
      • PBIS provides the systems and organizational structure that align with social emotional learning, restorative practices, the Good Behavior Game, and other proven practices.

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Selected References

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Horner, R. H., Ward, C. S., Fixsen, D. L., Sugai, G., McIntosh, K., Putnam, B., Little, H. D. (in press). Resource leveraging to achieve large-scale implementation of effective educational practices. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions.

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