Anchoring Schoolwide Positive Behavior Support in Structural School Reform


 Schoolwide positive behavior support (SWPBS) exemplifies a longitudinal research program originating in the fields of special education and school psychology that has produced an extensive national database encompassing an evidence-based set of practices applicable to general education as well as special education students including those with severe disabilities. Schoolwide applications of evidence-based practices, however, are at some risk of falling victim to the ongoing bifurcation of education into the general and special education parallel and often noninteractive, professional systems of instruction. One potential solution to bifurcated practice is to embed (or contextualize) SWPBS in a broader, universal school reform agenda that coordinates and evaluates all educational intervention services and supports for the benefit of all students. A structural school reform process called the Schoolwide Applications Model (SAM) is described, which includes SWPBS as 1 of 15 critical features. Results from a 3-year, ongoing research project in a low-income, multicultural, urban school district in Northern California suggests that SWPBS, with its three levels of student support, guided by teams of general as well as special educators, can be an important contributor to academic as well as social achievement among students with and without disabilities and, as grounded within systematic school reform, can help to mitigate against the bifurcation of general and special education practices.


Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities


  • Jeong Hoon Choi
  • Amy McCart
  • Blair Roger
  • Wayne Sailor
  • J. Thomas
  • Nina Zuna

Prevention Level

  • Primary


  • Administrators
  • District Contacts
  • PBS Coaches
  • Specialists

System Impacts

  • District Team
  • Whole School


  • Elementary School
  • Middle School
  • Systems