High School PBIS


Thousands of high schools in the U.S. are engaged in implementing PBIS, but the research specific to high school implementation is still emerging.  The time required to achieve adequate implementation of PBIS in high schools is consistently longer than that reported for elementary and middle schools, and a growing literature base suggests that PBIS implementation at the high school level involves attention to a set of variables beyond those found in elementary and middle schools.  

It has been demonstrated that the key features of SWPBIS used in elementary and middle school implementation are of equal importance to high school implementation (Flannery, Frank, Doren, Kato, & Fenning, 2013).  At all school levels, this implementation framework includes a representative school leadership team that works with the staff, students and administrators to: (1) identify and monitor schoolwide outcomes; (2) develop systems to support implementation and sustainability; (3) implement evidence based practices to increase a positive social climate and learning environment; and (4) develop data management systems to monitor progress and make effective data based decisions based on the school context.

In high schools, it is instead the context that has a major impact on high school implementation.  There are three primary contextual influences in high schools that need to be taken into consideration when implementing PBIS in high schools: Size, Culture, & Developmental Level.  Research has demonstrated that for high schools to adapt the implementation process to these contextual influences, they must focus on key foundational systems (data, leadership, and communication), and that it is through these systems that high schools can successfully implement the core PBIS features to achieve desired student outcomes (Flannery, Frank, & Kato, 2012).


 (Flannery & Kato, 2012)


For detailed information on the implementation of SWPBIS specific to high schools, see the monograph School-wide PBIS Implementation in High Schools: Current Practice and Future Directions and Lessons Learned on Implementation of PBIS in High Schools.  For an overview and guide on implementing tiered systems in high schools, see the report Tiered Interventions In High Schools: Using Primary Lessons Learned to Guide Ongoing Discussion. Also, a range of High School Webinars are available in the Training section of the resource box below. Additional HS webinars are available on the Midwest PBIS Network 'Webinar Recordings' page (http://www.midwestpbis.org/events/webinar-recordings).


Lessons Learned on Implementation of PBIS in High Schools

This monograph (edited by K. Brigid Flannery, Patricia Hershfeldt, and Jennifer Freeman) was designed to provide information and strategies for emerging topics that can be used as needed by administrators, coaches and Leadership Teams to address unique needs of high schools.

Consider Context: Implementation in Secondary Schools

Considerations of size, culture, and developmental level for PBIS implementation in secondary schools. School and district level consideration points are listed for discussion.
by Hershfeldt (2018)

Starting Strong: Building Universal Supports for 9th Graders

This training session was designed to identify how PBIS systems can be utilized and amplified to increase support for 9th graders. The session focuses on three data factors to consider in the support of 9th graders and describes how to utilize upperclassmen to support 9th graders.

PBIS Technical Guide on Classroom Data: Using Data to Support Implementation of Positive Classroom Behavior Support Practices and Systems

by Jessica Swain-Bradway, Robert Putnam, Jennifer Freeman, Brandi Simonsen, Heather George, Steve Goodman, Kimberly Yanek, Kathleen Lane, & Jeffrey Sprague

This technical guide is designed to guide: 1) educators to use data for decision-making as they implement Positive Classroom Behavior Support (PCBS) practices and 2) school leadership teams to use data for decision making when implementing systems to support educators’ implementation of PCBS.

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

This technical brief summarizes proactive, efficient, and evidence-based systems for supporting teachers’ implementation of positive classroom behavior support (PCBS) practices school-wide (by Jennifer Freeman, Brandi Simonsen, Steve Goodman, Barb Mitchell, Heather George, Jessica Swain-Bradway, Kathleen Lane, Jeff Sprague, Bob Putnam)

Using Early Warning Data for Intervention Access

Introduce Early Warning Systems (EWS) / Establish purpose for implementing Early Warning Systems (EWS) / The Early Warning System Process / Wittenberg-Birnamwood High School EWS experiences and lessons learned (by Jill Koenitzer, Michelle Polzin, Jill Sharp, Kara Muthig)

Tier 2 in High School

Check in / Check out, Check and Connect, Social Academic Instructional Groups, Cognitive-Behavioral Intervention and skill-building (by Susan Barrett, Christina Jordan)

Advanced Tiers In High Schools

Describe how Illinois identified and trained 2 cohorts of high schools to participate in advanced tier implementation. / Identify lessons learned from a multiple year approach to training and supporting high schools in advanced tier implementation./ Review process and outcome data related to the advanced tiers implementation in Illinois (by Ami Flammini, Ali Hearn)

PBIS In The Classroom: Differentiated Instruction For High School

Describe the rationale for differentiating instruction within the high school content area classroom. / Describe 2-3 strategies for increasing differentiated content delivery (by Jessica Swain-Bradway)

Barriers And Solutions To SWPBIS Implementation In High School

Strategies in implementing SWPBIS in high school (by Brigid Flannery, Ryan Ruggles, Nicole Toepfer)

An Examination Of Cultural Considerations And The Impact On High School Classroom Management

The benefits of incorporating cultural responsiveness in classrooms / culturally responsive teaching / development of a classroom culture that embraces diversity (by Patricia Hershfeldt, Michael Ford, Kristine Larson)

Effective Coaching For High School

Review tools and strategies for implementation with fidelity at the high school level / Understand how to collaborate with current high school systems when implementing new EBP / Learn about successes, challenges, and barriers when implementing PBIS and/or EBPs in high schools (by Patricia Hershfeldt, Rebecca Piermattei, Rebecca Philbrick)

The Vital Role School Climate And Social/Emotional Supports Play In Academic Success

Describe the importance of concurrent social and academic supports for high school students. / Describe strategies that promote a school climate that is focused on the "whole" student (by Jessica Swain-Bradway, Mike Muempfer, and Brian Tureck)

Building High School Capacity For Tier 3: RENEW

Practice and implementation features of RENEW (Rehabilitation, Empowerment, Natural Supports, Education and Work) (by JoAnne Malloy, Ami Flammini)

Student Voice In High School: A Critical Component In The Change Process

The presentation discussed the challenges and the benefits of including youth voice (by Patricia Hershfeldt, Dustin Hartwigsen, Kim Crawford, and Christina Knepper)

Do High Schools Implementing SWPBIS Have Lower Rates of Illegal Drug and Alcohol Use?

To examine the effects of SWPBIS implementation on reported illegal drug and alcohol use in high schools (by Eoin Bastable, Angus Kittelman, Kent McIntosh, and Rob Hoselton)

Implementing PBIS in High Schools- Core Features Handout

Implementing PBIS in High Schools Core Features handout

Implementing PBIS In High Schools

The presentation reviews major outcomes of SWPIBS and discusses its application in high schools.

The Effects of SWPBIS on High School Dropout Rates and Specific Dropout Risk Factors

Research presentation for effects of SWPBIS on High School dropout rates. Findings from prior research reviews and results of growth modeling are presented.

Supporting and Responding to Behavior

Evidence-based, positive, proactive, and responsive classroom behavior intervention and support strategies for teachers

Two Strategies to Increase HS Success: Freshmen Success & Academic Seminar

This presentation from the IL Leadership Forum in October 2014 discusses two different strategies for focusing support on specific groups within the high school. Freshmen success is a universal, freshmen-wide system of support and Academic Seminar is a targeted system designed for students at any grade level with identified academic and behavioral support needs.

Investing in Freshmen: Data, Systems & Practices to Support 9th Graders

This presentation from the IL Leadership Forum in October 2014 addresses the research around focusing on freshmen within our schoolwide multi-tiered systems of support. Features of a variety of freshmen support strategies are outlined.

Tiered Interventions In High Schools: Using Primary Lessons Learned to Guide Ongoing Discussion

This report summarizes what we have learned thus far and how those lessons learned can advance the ongoing discussion about effective RTI implementation in high schools. This report is grounded in available research and the professional wisdom of leading researchers and practitioners, including staff members from eight high schools implementing tiered interventions.

School-Wide PBIS Implementation in High Schools: Current Practice and Future Directions

The purpose of this monograph is to describe the outcomes from the 2nd HS PBIS Forum on SWPBS implementation. Although the number of highs schools who are implementing SWPBS is relatively small compared to elementary and middle schools, the results from the five working groups and the dedicated and knowledgeable representatives from nominated high schools clearly suggest that SWPBS implementation has promise for improving the scocial culture and outcomes of all students.

Academic Seminar, the High School Behavior Education Program, 2nd Edition

Academic Seminar is a 45 minute daily class designed to address work avoidance behaviors for middle and high school students at risk of poor school outcomes. The curriculum targets teaching, practicing and reinforcing organizational and self-advocacy skills, termed "academic self - management." The overarching goal of the class is for students to become fluent in the organizational and self-management skills required for successful completion of cla ss work, homework, tests, and projects. The relevance and applicability of the organizational skills extend past high school to post-secondary, real-world settings.

Schoolwide Positive Behavior Supports

This article discusses the high school principal’s role in effective implementation of SWPBIS. High schools implementing SWPBIS have improved attendance, reduced discipline referrals, and improved academic engagement. Although the demands of the schools' different contexts and cultures have led to innovative strategies for achieving the core features of SWPBS, a central component of successful implementation has been the active engagement of the principal. The principal has the role of establishing the learning climate, hiring and supporting personnel, and modeling instructional leadership. The principal can use the SWPBS framework to establish a positive school climate and support students and staff members. Investing in the social culture of a high school through implementation of SWPBS is one proven approach for building the predictable, consistent, positive, and safe setting that will increase student academic engagement and lead to improved performance and graduation rates.

High Schools: Getting Started

This presentation was from a full-day workshop at NW PBIS Conference in the Spring of 2015. Topics include How High Schools are Different: Contextual and Systems considerations for High Schools; Data Based Decision Making; Teaching System; Consequence Systems (including both discipline & acknowledgement systems); and Communication. All topics are presented specifically for implementation in the high school context.

Implementing Schoolwide Positive Behavior Support in High School Settings: Analysis of Eight High Schools

This article describes a study that examined implementation of SWPBIS in eight high school serving 15,525 students across a three-year period. Findings were that improvements in implementation were evident, but that implementation took longer than at the lower grades. Results suggest that unique aspects of the high school context present specific implementation challenges.

Effects of School-Wide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports and Fidelity of Implementation on Problem Behavior in High Schools

This article describes a study that examined the effects of School-Wide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (SW-PBIS) on the levels of individual student problem behaviors. Participants were 36,653 students in 12 high schools. Results are discussed in terms of effectiveness of a SW-PBIS approach in high schools and considerations to enhance fidelity of implementation.

A Descriptive Study on Office Disciplinary Referrals in High Schools

This article describes data about Office Discipline Referrals (ODRs) in a sample of 112 high schools that used the School-wide Information System (SWIS) database to collect discipline data during the 2005-2006 academic year. The findings were that tardies, defiance/disrespect and skip/truancy were the most common types of ODRs generated at the high school level. Those in the freshman class were the most likely of all students to receive an ODR, and the majority of those students who generated multiple referrals requiring intensive behavior supports (e.g., 6 or more ODRs), did so by mid-winter of the academic year.

Relationships Between Academics and Problem Behavior in the Transition from Middle School to High School

Given the increased risk factors in the transition from middle school to high school, this study tracked academic and school discipline records for students as they transitioned from Grade 8 to Grade 9. Results indicated significant interactions between academic scores and office discipline referrals, both within and across grades. Results are discussed in terms of improving school environments and academic instruction to prevent school failure.

Bullying Prevention in PBIS: Expect Respect (Middle & High School Level)

The purpose of this handbook is to improve the success of schools as effective learning environments. Aggression, violence, threats, intimidation, and isolation compromise the ability of students to learn and perform in school. Establishing a school-wide expectation for common respect, teaching what that means, and ensuring that all students and faculty and staff members share in the responsibility of making schools respectful settings can make a difference.

The High School Behavior Education Program (HS-BEP): A Secondary Level Intervention

This handbook presents a secondary level intervention program for high school students. The high school behavior education program (HS-BEP) is designed to decrease the instructional "punishers" and increase positive adult interaction and specific behavioral prompts. The handbook provides: 1) a daily check in, class by class checks, and check out with teachers, 2) organizational, social and academic prompts, 3) establishment of regular communication with families of students, 4) organizational skills, and 5) assistance for homework completion.

Achievement in Dropout Prevention and Excellence (APEX II): High School Implementation (Chicago Forum-08)

This presentation discusses PBIS implementing high schools. While the components of the process are largely similar across grade levels, issues unique to high schools and the vision of implementation at the high school level will be examined.

SWPBS and Urban High Schools: Results and Issues Realized Across Implementation Years (APBS 08)

The presentation provides research-based strategies on systems-change efforts utilized at the high school level from addressing administrator buy-in, overcoming faculty reluctance, motivating young adults, and increasing parent participation across these settings.

Focus on High Schools I: Secondary Level Supports Within a School-Wide Framework (Chicago Forum-07)

The presentation describes secondary level support in high school PBS system.

School-wide application of positive behavior support in an urban high school: A case study

The nuances of the application of schoolwide positive behavior supports (PBS) in an urban high school setting were investigated. Impact of implementation was measured using qualitative interviews and observations, including the School-wide Evaluation Tool (SET), Effective Behavior Support Survey, Student Climate Survey, and office disciplinary referrals. The results indicated that schoolwide PBS was implemented in an urban high school setting with some success. The overall level of implementation of PBS reached 80% as measured by the SET. Staff and teachers increased their level of perceived priority for implementing PBS in their school. A decrease in monthly discipline referrals to the office and the proportion of students who required secondary and tertiary supports was noted. These findings seem to indicate that PBS may be an important process for improving outcomes for teachers and students in urban high school settings.