Getting Started with PBIS

Once you understand the basics of what is PBIS and why implement PBIS, it’s time to start—but where do you start? There are initial steps everyone can take to get started with PBIS, whether you are a classroom teacher, school leader, or a district or state leader.

Classroom Teachers

Students spend most of their day at school in classrooms. In that way, classrooms serve as a microcosm of your school-wide systems and your students’ primary exposure to expectations and rewards. For that reason, the PBIS strategies you implement in your classroom play such an important role in the overall implementation. Here are some resources for classroom practices:

Create a Classroom Support System Backed by Research

In the same way your school establishes systems to support PBIS practices, you need to establish systems for defining, teaching, and responding to the behaviors happening within your classroom. Check out the classroom practice guide to help you set up those systems within your context.

Use Positive Practices with Students

Set yourself up for success by intentionally establishing positive routines and practices for how you want to interact with students in your classroom. The effective classroom habits brief walks you through how to develop habits of effective classroom practices and how to expand those effective habits in schools, districts, and states.

Greet Students at the Door

One positive habit to incorporate into every day as a teacher is to positively greet students at the door. These greetings set a positive tone from the moment students walk through the door and create a welcoming space.

Get Support

Talk to your school leaders about your interest in PBIS and suggest the getting started steps listed below for them.

School Leaders

School-wide PBIS implementation depends on strong leadership guiding the way. Without it, things can easily fall apart. School leaders can begin by building a team and assessing what is already in place to plan next steps.

Gather a Leadership Team

PBIS is a team-guided approach [link to new TIPS practice brief]. Your leadership team steers your PBIS implementation, monitors its effectiveness, and provides continuity as people join – and leave – your school. You could build your leadership team from scratch, but it’s often best to start with an existing team (e.g., school improvement team, school climate team). No matter what, it’s important to include these folks in the group:

  • School administrator
  • Family representation
  • Classroom teachers
  • Student representation (more likely at the high school level)

In addition to these suggested roles, the team should have the following skillsets represented:

  • Behavioral expertise
  • Coaching expertise
  • Knowledge of student academic and behavior patterns
  • Knowledge about how the school operates across grade levels and programs

Assess What’s Already in Place

Even if PBIS is a new framework for your school, there are probably some PBIS practices you’re already doing. The Tiered Fidelity Inventory assesses how closely school personnel are implementing the core features of PBIS. As a leadership team, assess all three tiers together or separately to understand which features you’ve already implemented and where to focus your efforts next.

Solidify the PBIS Basics

If you aren’t sure which features to focus on, establish a solid foundation for your framework by focusing on implementing the basics. There are three videos available to guide you through implementing the core features of PBIS data, systems, and practices.

Get Support

Talk to your district or state leaders about your interest in PBIS and suggest the getting started steps listed below for them.

District or State Leaders

Schools wanting to implement PBIS look to district and state leaders to provide the time, people, and other resources needed to ensure that implementation is successful. Your role is essential to supporting PBIS at every level.

Get Connected

You’re not alone! Find out what supports are already available in your state to help you get moving with PBIS. Locate your state coordinator and give them a call.

Download the Blueprint

Every PBIS core component and practice is defined within the PBIS Implementation Blueprint Part 1. You’ll even find some helpful instructions on how to get started working on some of those important systems.