Practice Briefs

Practice briefs summarize the research PBIS practices and offer strategies for implementing them across lots of settings. Think of these as how-to resources with references, citations, and practical applications.

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Systematic Screening for Behavior in Current K-12 Instructional Settings

Data-based Decision Making
Screening
Tier 1
With the new range of instructional contexts being offered, many educators are seeking guidance regarding how to conduct systematic screenings for behavior across these different environments. In this brief, we offer three considerations for those preparing to screen for the first time and for those continuing with screening within a tiered system for in-person, remote, or hybrid instructional environments.
Published
11/23/2020

Adapting PBIS Practices for Rural Settings: Remote Instruction Strategy Matrix

Classroom PBIS
School-Wide
Rural
Behavior
Implementation
Social relationships
Academics
Rural education settings often have accessibility strengths and weaknesses that can make virtual instruction challenging. A range of resources are needed that can be tailored in intensity to meet various student needs (social, emotional, behavioral well-being, academic engagement) adapted to different types of technology. The Remote Instruction Strategy Matrix with corresponding resources provides educators with a continuum of learning support strategies that can be followed by adaptations for implementation based on available technology. 
Published
11/20/2020

Building Momentum for PBIS Implementation in High Need Districts

Coaching
Data-based Decision Making
District/State PBIS
Fidelity
PBIS Foundations
Urban Implementation
Rural
Building district capacity for implementing PBIS in high need school districts is challenging. This practice brief summarizes the lessons learned one year into an intensive 5-year partnership with Southbridge Public Schools, a district identified as high-need. The intent of the brief is to provide district leaders, trainers, and state leaders with lessons learned and suggestions they may consider when supporting high need LEAs.
Published
10/23/2020

Remote Learning for Families: Keeping it Accessible, Keeping it Positive

Family
Academics
Special education
This practice brief describes information and tips for families regarding accessibility during remote learning.
Published
10/13/2020

Conducting the Tiered Fidelity Inventory and Walkthrough Remotely

Data-based Decision Making
School-Wide
Action plan
Evaluation
Fidelity
Implementation
Evidence-based frameworks, such as positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS), provide a critical foundation to meet the needs of students, families, and educators in this new context, but only when implemented with fidelity. This practice brief (a) provides a rationale for conducting the Tiered Fidelity Inventory (TFI)l; (b) shares guidance on how to complete the TFI, including the walkthrough, remotely; and (b) responds to frequently asked questions related to conducting the TFI remotely.
Published
9/11/2020

Supporting Students with Disabilities in the Classroom within a PBIS Framework

Classroom PBIS
Disability
Behavior
Special education
Tier 1
Students with disabilities are more likely to experience exclusionary and reactive discipline practices than students without disabilities. Fortunately, when educators implement positive, proactive, and evidence-based practices within a Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) framework, students with disabilities benefit. In this practice brief, we describe the “top ten” intervention strategies effective educators implement to support all students, including students with disabilities, in their classroom.
Published
9/1/2020

Improving Attendance in a Remote Learning Environment

Data-based Decision Making
High School PBIS
School-Wide
Administrator
Assessment
Behavior
Outcome
Tier 1
This brief adapts the suggestions and strategies provided in Improving Attendance and Reducing Chronic Absenteeism to guide practice during remote instruction.
Published
8/17/2020

High School Acknowledgement Systems

High School PBIS
School-Wide
PBIS Foundations
Social relationships
Youth Voice
This practice brief focuses on effective ways to build an acknowledgement system that works in high school. We start by suggesting why considering a formal acknowledgment system is appropriate in high school, and then review examples of strategies that have been demonstrated (descriptively or empirically) to be effective.
Published
8/14/2020

Adjusting PBIS for Students New to School: Starting the Year with Increased Support

Classroom PBIS
Data-based Decision Making
Behavior
Implementation
Social skills
Tier 1
Young students new to school experience a shift in their typical environment. This practice brief provides strategies for how school teams can increase behavior support at the beginning of the school year to support these students.
Published
6/8/2020

Guidance on Adapting Check-in Check-out (CICO) for Distance Learning

Classroom PBIS
Family
Mental Health/Social-Emotional Well-Being
Behavior
Screening
Tier 2
This brief provides considerations and suggestions for adapting Check-in Check-out (CICO), an evidence-based Tier 2 school intervention, for situations where students are learning from home.
Published
5/8/2020

PBIS in Juvenile Justice Programs: Planning for Long-Term Implementation Juvenile Justice

Juvenile Justice
Alternative Settings
Secure Care
Residential
This Practice Brief was developed as result of the roundtable dialogue that occurred at the 2019 PBIS Leadership Forum in Chicago, IL and is intended to be a practical tool and resource for anyone who is leading or supporting PBIS in juvenile justice programs or other types of alternative, residential programs. Common reasons that can prevent sustainability of PBIS over time and recommendations for enhancing sustainability will be described.
Published
5/6/2020

PBIS in Early Childhood Classrooms on School Campuses

Early Childhood PBIS
Implementation
Tier 1
This Practice Brief was developed as result of the roundtable dialogue that occurred at the 2019 PBIS Leadership Forum in Chicago, IL for the purpose of exploring how all classes on school campuses can meet the developmental needs of students, specifically our youngest students.
Published
5/6/2020

Advancing Family-School Collaboration in PBIS Through the FSCA

Family
Community
Implementation
This Practice Brief was developed as result of the roundtable dialogue that occurred at the 2019 PBIS Leadership Forum in Chicago, IL with the purpose to describe the Family-School-Community Alliance (FSCA) and the FSCA’s recent work focused on family-school collaboration in Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS). An introduction to the FSCA is provided, followed by the rationale and current challenges of family- school collaboration. Finally, the features of the FSCA’s model for family-school collaboration are reviewed along with suggestions for integrating and aligning family-school collaboration efforts within existing practice.
Published
5/6/2020

IDEA & Students with Disabilities

Disability
School Climate Transformation Grant (SCTG)
Special education
Policy
Tier 3
Climate
This Practice Brief was developed as result of the roundtable dialogue that occurred at the 2019 PBIS Leadership Forum in Chicago, IL and is not intended to provide comprehensive legal guidance. Districts/schools should consult with their district’s legal resources for deciding on legal actions and procedures.
Published
5/6/2020

Universal Screening – Systematic Screening to Shape Instruction

Data-based Decision Making
Screening
This Practice Brief was developed as result of the roundtable dialogue that occurred at the 2019 PBIS Leadership Forum in Chicago, IL.
Published
5/6/2020

Supporting Families with PBIS at Home

Family
Classroom PBIS
Implementation
PBIS Foundations
Families and caregivers should consider using positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS) in their homes on a daily basis. It is especially helpful when events disrupt normal routines – events like worldwide health pandemics. This practice brief provides recommendations for families and caregivers on how to use PBIS to continue to support their students’ social and emotional growth and minimize behavioral disruptions in the home.
Published
3/31/2020

Supporting Families with PBIS at Home (Versión en español)

Family
Classroom PBIS
Implementation
PBIS Foundations
Families and caregivers should consider using positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS) in their homes on a daily basis. It is especially helpful when events disrupt normal routines – events like worldwide health pandemics. This practice brief provides recommendations for families and caregivers on how to use PBIS to continue to support their students’ social and emotional growth and minimize behavioral disruptions in the home.
Published
3/31/2020

Positive Greetings at the Door

Classroom PBIS
Equity
Social relationships
Tier 1
Positive greetings at the door is an effective strategy for increasing academic engagement, decreasing unwanted behavior, and improving student-teacher relationships. This strategy brief breaks it down into easy steps for daily implementation.
Published
3/27/2020

Creating a PBIS Behavior Teaching Matrix for Remote Instruction

Classroom PBIS
Implementation
PBIS Foundations
Tier 1
This practice brief shares tips for maintaining continuity of learning through defining classroom expectations for remote (i.e., distance) instruction and online learning environments. With a few adaptations, teachers can use a PBIS framework to make remote learning safe, predictable, and positive.
Published
3/27/2020

Creating a PBIS Behavior Teaching Matrix for Remote Instruction (Versión en español)

Classroom PBIS
Implementation
PBIS Foundations
Tier 1
This practice brief shares tips for maintaining continuity of learning through defining classroom expectations for remote (i.e., distance) instruction and online learning environments. With a few adaptations, teachers can use a PBIS framework to make remote learning safe, predictable, and positive.
Published
3/27/2020

Preventing & Responding to Violent Behavior in Schools

District/State PBIS
Mental Health/Social-Emotional Well-Being
Community
Implementation
Systems Alignment
This practice brief is intended to be a practical tool and brief overview resource for educators interested in leveraging the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) framework to support school and district-level prevention and recovery efforts related to school violence and other trauma-inducing critical incidents.
Published
3/1/2020

DITCH THE CLIP! Why Clip Charts Are Not a PBIS Practice and What to Do Instead

Classroom PBIS
Mental Health/Social-Emotional Well-Being
School-Wide
Behavior
Implementation
Trauma
Clip charts have been a common classroom strategy for many years. Once considered an effective tool for displaying behavioral progress and adherence to classroom rules, they may not be as helpful as once thought. In this practice brief, we describe how such strategies are inconsistent with a PBIS approach and, more importantly, can be harmful. We also provide alternative strategies that are evidence based and more likely to improve student behavior while promoting a safe, positive classroom.
Published
2/5/2020

Using the PBIS Framework to Address the Opioid Crisis in Schools

Opioid Crisis and Substance Misuse
Family
School-Wide
Behavior
Community
Interconnected Systems Framework (ISF)
In October 2017, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declared a public health emergency to address rising overdose deaths related to the opioid epidemic. With the effects of the opioid crisis affecting students at multiple levels, it is important to identify clear targets for school-based interventions. We describe here the ways students and families may be affected, and how school teams can leverage the PBIS framework to support them.
Published
1/28/2020

Improving Attendance and Reducing Chronic Absenteeism

Data-based Decision Making
High School PBIS
School-Wide
Academics
Alignment
Systems Alignment
This brief provides guidance for schools or districts looking to integrate strategies for improving attendance within the PBIS framework.
Published
1/16/2020

Four Key Actions for State Education Agency Teams to Support Implementation of Multi-Tiered Systems of Support

District/State PBIS
Administrator
Fidelity
Implementation
As states and districts adopt policies that address the “whole child,” many look to multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS) that attend to academic and social-emotional-behavioral needs of students. Key features of MTSS include a continuum of supports with increasing intensity matched to student need, the use of research informed practices, and data for decision making. School-wide positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS) is an example of an effective MTSS for behavior.
Published
12/20/2019

Using Outcome Data to Implement Multi-tiered Behavior Support (PBIS) in High Schools

High School PBIS
Data-based Decision Making
Outcome
Evaluation
In this Practice Brief we propose that there are at least four core types of data needed by high school PBIS Leadership Teams and that these data can be used to problem-solve at the (a) whole school, (b) at-risk group, or (c) individual student levels.
Published
9/25/2019

High School PBIS Implementation: Student Voice

High School PBIS
Youth Voice
Implementation
This brief discusses the importance of student voice, describes the unique features of high school settings that can make it challenging to include students, and offers strategies to address these barriers.
Published
9/12/2019

High School PBIS Implementation: Staff Buy-In

High School PBIS
School-Wide
Buy-in from stakeholders is important for the successful adoption, full implementation and sustainability of any school-based initiative. It’s also one of the critical elements for implementation of Tier 1 PBIS included in the TFI, BoQ, and the Blueprint. This brief describes the unique features of high school settings that can make building buy-in more difficult and identifies strategies that have been successful for securing staff buy-in in high schools.
Published
4/1/2019

Family-School Collaboration in Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports: Creating a School Atmosphere to Promote Collaboration

Family
Community
Tier 1
The purpose of this practice brief is to describe family-school collaboration in Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) and review approaches that help to create conditions that promote collaboration. A brief background on family-school collaboration is provided, followed by guidance on a schoolwide approach for collaborating with families that strengthens family-school connections and improves student performance.
Published
2/1/2019

Facility-wide PBIS Implementation: Possible Barriers and Potential Solutions for Six Salient Topics as Viewed by Roundtable Participants and Facilitators

Juvenile Justice
Secure Care
The 2018 PBIS Leadership Forum juvenile justice roundtable dialogue gave a voice to the conference participants who work with youth in restrictive settings. This is a summary of their ideas to spur additional conversations and to continue the growth of FW-PBIS with this population of vulnerable and marginalized youth in restrictive settings.
Published
1/31/2019

Cultivating Positive Student-Teacher Relationships

School-Wide
Social relationships
The significance of the student-teacher relationship is substantial. The brief discusses key elements of positive student-teacher relationships and approaches for strengthening teachers' relational skills with students.
Published
1/31/2019

Classroom Integrated Academics and Behavior Brief

Classroom PBIS
High School PBIS
Coaching
Alignment
This brief was developed to provide core features and strategies for integrating academic and behavior practices to support students in a “whole child” approach at the classroom level.
Published
3/20/2018

A 5-Point Intervention Approach for Enhancing Equity in School Discipline

Equity
The results of decades of research consistently show that students of color, particularly African American students (and even more so for African American boys and those with disabilities), are at significantly increased risk for receiving exclusionary discipline practices, including office discipline referrals and suspensions. We describe here a 5-point multicomponent approach to reduce disproportionality in schools.
Published
2/1/2018

PBIS Technical Brief on Systems to Support Teachers' Implementation of Positive Classroom Behavior Support

Classroom PBIS
High School PBIS
Coaching
Tier 1
Implementation
The purpose of this technical brief is to summarize proactive, efficient, and evidence-based systems for supporting teachers’ implementation of positive classroom behavior support (PCBS) practices school-wide. Specifically, this technical brief is designed to inform and support school and district leadership teams as they address the following questions while implementing PCBS school wide.
Published
2/3/2017

Aligning and Integrating Mental Health and PBIS to Build Priority for Wellness

Mental Health/Social-Emotional Well-Being
Interconnected Systems Framework (ISF)
Alignment
The purpose of this document is to summarize the Mental Health Integration strand, including the roundtable dialogue, from the 2017 PBIS Leadership Forum in Chicago, Illinois. Recognizing that the ISF provides an example of effective alignment of initiatives, programs and practices in schools, this summary will be organized around the steps included in the Technical Guide for Alignment (see Figure 1 below). Illustrations from sites working to implement the ISF are included as examples of the alignment process. Input and discussion from presenters and participants at the 2017 PBIS Leadership Forum Mental Health Integration sessions and roundtable dialogue, including responses to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), are included in this Brief.
Published
1/1/2017

School Climate: Academic Achievement and Social Behavior Competence

School Climate Transformation Grant (SCTG)
An operational and applied overview of school climate that can guide decisions related to policy, professional development, and practice and systems implementation at the classroom, school, district, and state levels.
Published
9/15/2016

District Level Coaching

Coaching
District/State PBIS
Implementation
PBIS Foundations
Coaching is important and necessary to maximize transfer and translation of skills and practices acquired during training into sustainable and high fidelity implementation of evidence-based practices and systems. Coaching has been identified as the most critical factor in successful implementation. This brief quickly defines coaching at the district level. It includes a graphic representation of how the role fits within a district structure and outlines the functions a district coach is expected to conduct.
Published
12/1/2015

Classroom PBIS: Discussion of Outcomes, Data, Practices, & Systems

Classroom PBIS
Tier 1
PBIS Foundations
This document is intended to be a practical tool and resource for educators interested in implementing, sustaining, or enhancing PBIS in the classroom practices. (RDQ)
Published
10/22/2015

The Role of the Clinician in a Multi-Tiered System of Support

Mental Health/Social-Emotional Well-Being
Data-based Decision Making
For the purpose of this brief, clinicians are considered school social workers, school psychologists, school counselors, guidance deans and community mental health clinicians based in the school setting. These clinicians play an integral role in helping build, support, and sustain a MTSS framework in schools and districts. (RDQ)
Published
10/22/2015

PBIS Forum in Brief: TIPS

Data-based Decision Making
Action plan
Rural
Team-Initiated Problem Solving (TIPS) is a model that addresses these barriers by breaking down problem solving into six critical steps to guide teams through a data-based decision making procss that leads to desired outcomes.
Published
10/1/2015

Examples of Engaging Instruction to Increase Equity in Education

Equity
This technical brief is based on the 5-point multicomponent approach to reduce disproportionality. This brief elaborates on point one, regarding academic instruction, by defining key principles of evidence-based instructional practices.
Published
9/1/2015

Coaching For Competence and Impact—Brief 1: Defining Coaching

Coaching
Implementation
The purpose of this brief is to help build a common language and a common understanding of the critical role Coaching plays in ensuring the EBP/EIIs can be implemented as intended (fidelity) and sustain over time.
Published
10/17/2014
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