A Commitment to Racial Equity from the Center on PBIS

June 1, 2020

School behavior support systems can serve to perpetuate oppression or be a force for dismantling systemic racism and promoting equity. At the Center on PBIS, we are committed to improving outcomes for each student, and given centuries of oppression, violence, and segregation, we must increase our commitment to improving outcomes for each Black student. To dismantle systemic racism, we must:

  • Increase the voice of students and families in their educational systems
  • Use strategies to make every student feel safe and welcome
  • Examine school-wide expectations and teaching matrices for hidden biases and to increase cultural responsiveness
  • Disaggregate data to assess and address disproportionality in exclusionary discipline
  • Use engaging instruction that builds on students’ prior knowledge
  • Support educators in replacing exclusionary responses to problem behavior with instructional responses
  • Revise punitive policies that disproportionately harm students who are Black, Indigenous, and people of color
  • Identify our own biases about student behavior and replace deficit thinking with a strengths-based approach

The Center on PBIS is committed to partnering with Black communities and providing resources to help educators make Black lives matter.


PBIS Cultural Responsiveness Field Guide: Resources for Trainers and Coaches

This field guide outlines an integrated framework to embed equity efforts into school-wide positive behavioral interventions and supports (SWPBIS) by aligning culturally responsive practices to the core components of SWPBIS. The goal of using this guide is to make school systems more responsive to the cultures and communities that they serve. This guide is part of a 5-point intervention approach for enhancing equity in student outcomes within a SWPBIS approach.

Centering Equity within the PBIS Framework: Overview and Evidence of Effectiveness

Racial and ethnic inequities in school discipline are widespread and persistent, even in schools implementing PBIS with fidelity. Yet integrating components of a multicomponent equity-centered approach into existing tiered frameworks is showing promise for improving equity in student outcomes. This brief describes the Center on PBIS’s 5-Point Equity Approach and the evidence for its positive effects on discipline disproportionality.

Do Schools Implementing SWPBIS Have Decreased Racial and Ethnic Disproportionality in School Discipline?

The purpose of this study was to examine discipline disproportionality among schools implementing SWPBIS compared to the entire population of schools in the U.S. Examining patterns in a large-scale evaluation of schools implementing and not implementing SWPBIS could help determine the extent to which implementation of SWPBIS is related to lower, higher, or unchanged discipline disparities.

Do Wisconsin Schools Implementing an Integrated Academic and Behavior Support Framework Improve Equity in Academic and School Discipline Outcomes?

This evaluation brief describes how Wisconsin is implementing an equitable multi-level system of supports (MLSS) framework, also known as a multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS), and how schools implementing this framework with both a behavior and reading focus have shown positive outcomes for all students. The data analyzed in this brief were derived from a small, Wisconsin RtI Center staff directed project. The focus was on the impact of an equitable multi-level system of supports (MLSS).

Key Elements of Policies to Address Discipline Disproportionality: A Guide for District and School Teams

This guide is designed primarily for use by district teams seeking to reduce racial and ethnic disproportionality in school discipline, regardless of whether they are implementing SWPBIS. It provides examples of content that could be included in board policies or district administrative rules and regulations. School teams may also use this guide in developing school- specific policies and procedures. This guide is not intended to replace legal counsel for policies required by local, state, and federal legislation.

Maintaining a Positive Learning Climate in the Aftermath of Tragedy: Lessons Learned in the Ferguson-Florissant School District

Presentation explaining the steps the Ferguson Florissant School District took to maintain a positive learning climate using trauma informed practice and PBIS after Michael Brown was fatally shot in their community.