SWPBIS for Beginners


This section of the website is dedicated to those individuals who are interested in learning more about Schoolwide Positive Behavior Support. Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) when applied at the Schoolwide level is frequently called: SWPBS or SW-PBIS. For the remainder of this article SW-PBIS will be used when referring to Schoolwide Positive Behavior Support. SW-PBIS refers to a systems change process for an entire school or district. The underlying theme is teaching behavioral expectations in the same manner as any core curriculum subject. Typically, a team of approximately ten representative members of the school will attend a two or three day training provided by skilled trainers. This team will be comprised of administrators, classified, and regular and special education teachers. The school will focus on three to five behavioral expectations that are positively stated and easy to remember. In other words, rather than telling students what not to do, the school will focus on the preferred behaviors. Here are some examples from other schools:

  • Respect Yourself, Respect Others, and Respect Property
  • Be Safe, Be Responsible, Be Respectful
  • Respect Relationships and Respect Responsibilities

After the SW-PBIS team determines the 3-5 behavioral expectations that suit the needs of their school, they will take this information back to the staff to ensure at least 80% of the staff buy into the chosen expectations. Consistency from class to class and adult to adult is very important for successful implementation of SW-PBIS. The team will then create a matrix of what the behavioral expectations look like, sound like, and feel like in all the non-classroom areas. This matrix will have approximately three positively stated examples for each area. Here is an example column from one school:

Respect Property

  • Keep feet and hands where they belong.
  • Throw unwanted items in wastebasket.
  • Keep food and drinks in backpack.
  • Place tray on kitchen window shelf after scraping leftovers into wastebasket.
  • Wipe table with sponge provided.
  • Clean food spills off floor.
  • Flush toilet after use.
  • Use two squirts of soap to wash hands.
  • Throw paper towels in wastebasket.
  • Report any graffiti or broken equipment to adult on duty.
  • Return playground equipment to proper area.
  • Use equipment as it was designed.
  • Put belongings away when you enter the room.
  • Keep your work space clean and organized.
  • Use materials for their intended purpose.

This would be filled out for each non-classroom area and each behavioral expectation. The SW-PBIS team would take the matrix back to the whole staff to ensure 80% buy-in from the entire staff on what expectations are taught in each area.

Then, the SW-PBIS team would work with teachers to create matrices for each classroom that include examples of what it looks like, sounds like, and feels like to follow each expectation within each classroom routine (e.g., entering/exiting the classroom, teacher instruction, group work, independent work, transitions).

Another primary activity for the SW-PBIS team is determining how the behavioral expectations and routines will be taught in classroom and non-classroom settings. This website has many example lesson plans available under the primary level. Many schools choose to use several days at the beginning of each year to take the students around the school to stations, where the skills are taught in setting specific locations. For example, a bus may be brought to the school and the children will practice lining up, entering the bus, sitting on the bus, and exiting the bus using hula hoops to denote proper body space distance in lining up to enter the bus. Similarly, teachers may choose to teach expectations within each classroom routine as they introduce each routine at the start of the school year.  In addition, the SW-PBIS team may work with teachers and school staff to plan opportunities to review and re-teach expected behavior throughout the year.

The next activity the SW-PBIS team will begin is the fine tuning of the office discipline referral form. The team will decide "What behaviors are an instant trip to the office and what behaviors are taken care of in the classroom." It is very important that every staff member is consistent. If it is not permissible to use a cell phone in band class then it has to not be permissible in art class.

Many schools choose to use School-wide Information System (SWIS). This is a web based program which graphs office discipline referral data. This program creates instant graphs for behavioral incidents per day- per month, time of day, specific behaviors, location and by specific student. The graphing program provides many other options. For more information on SWIS, please visit pbisapps.org.

Another activity for the SW-PBIS team is to determine a way to recognize student behavior.  Although specific praise is likely the most critical component of the recognition system, many schools choose to develop a "gotcha" program. The gotchas are a system for labeling appropriate behavior, and they often serve as prompts for adults to remember to catch kids engaging in appropriate behavior (rather than catching them when they engage in inappropriate behavior). This website has many examples of gotchas in the primary section. Some schools use NCR paper for gotchas with one copy going home to parents, one to the classroom teacher, and one to the principal for weekly drawings.

The above activities are just a few of the steps a school begins to implement SW-PBIS. For further study check out these links in the resource box:


School-wide Evaluation Tool Implementation Manual

The SET Implementation Manual was developed to provide guidance and technical assistance to those who would like to use the School-wide Evaluation Tool (SET) to assess a school’s fidelity of implementation of school-wide positive behavior support.

School-wide Positive Behavior Support: Features, Practices, & Outcomes (MDPBIS - Turf Valley, MD)

The presentation provides overview of features, practices, and systems of positive school culture. It includes core elements, general implementation process, and examples.

Overview of Positive Behavior Support (San Jose, California)

Critical features of Implementing School-wide Positive Behavior Support

The Number of Schools Implementing School-wide PBIS

Short presentation on number of schools implementing school-wide PBIS as of November 1, 2008.

SWPBS Getting Started (Feb, 09 CT SWPBS- Cromwell, CT)

The presentation provides overview of SWPBS and review of critical features including critical features of dealing with escalating behaviors.

PBS, RtI, and Targeted Group Support (Iowa Positive Behavior Support Conference)

The presentations include: 1) Skill Building for Small Group / Targeted Interventions, 2) Systems to Support Social and Academic Success: Positive Behavior Supports Meets Response to Intervention, and 3) Building School-based Systems to Support Small Group / Targeted Interventions for At-risk Students.

SWPBS Review and Function-based Support: SWPBS Rationale, Readiness, Features (Colchester Leadership Teams-Colchester School District, CT)

Review of School-wide Behavior and Function Based Support for Schools in Colchester School District.

School-Wide Positive Behavior Support: Rationale, Readiness, Features (CT New Team Principal's-UConn and Hartford)

Critical features of PBIS Overview geared for principals. The presentation describes SWPBS rationale, features, & examples and reviews readiness commitments & agreements.

New Team Action Planning and SWPBS Getting Started in MS/HS (MN PBS New Team Training-St. Paul, MN)

Overview of New Team Action Planning and action planning for starting SWPBS in the MS and HS Setting.

School-wide Discipline and Positive Behavior Support (Administrative Class-University of Oregon)

The class session includes: 1) defining SWPBS, 2) core features of SWPBS, 3) examples and outcomes, 4) evaluation of SWPBS, 5) targeted interventions, 6) check-in/check-out, 7) bully-proofing in SWPBS, 8) SWPBS and RtI.

Data-based Decision Making Across the Continuum for State, District, and School Planning (APBS 08)

The presentation shares various issues on data and data-based decision making.

School-Wide Positive Behavior Support: Year One (RI PBS Team Training- Providence, RI)

General overview of school-wide positive behavior support for year 1 schools.

Impacting Outcomes for Students with the Most Challenging Behaviors through Schoolwide PBS: OSEP’s Model Demonstration Projects (CEC-Boston, MA)

The presentation introduces tertiary level model demonstration project (K-I SWPBS tertiary demonstration) and current implementation status.

School-Wide Positive Behavior Support: Overview (Connecticut LEARN-Old Lyme, CT)

The presentation provides overview of rationale, features, & outcomes of school-wide approach to positive behavior supports.

SWPBS: Readiness & Commitment (LEARN PBS Project-Old Lyme, CT)

The presentation reviews SWPBS, readiness requirements, and participation agreements. General PBS implementation process and application of RtI are addressed.

Extending RTI to School-wide Behavior Support (Missouri PBS Conference)

Response to Intervention translates well into School-wide.

Discovering School-wide PBS: Moving Towards a Positive Future

This DVD contains a 24 minute awareness video on school-wide PBS that can be shared with districts and schools to solicit interest and buy-in. There are also 5 video segments on getting buy-in, using data for decision-making, teaching expectations and rules, providing effective consequences, and developing reward systems. The DVD can be ordered from the Florida DOE at: http://www.firn.edu/doe/bin00014/clermail.htm

School-wide Positive Behavior Support SW-PBS

This is a powerpoint presentation that helps school with understanding challenging behavior and it also explains how to develop effective discipline practices.

PBIS School-Wide Team “YEAR-AT-A-GLANCE"

This form provides a layout of when specific tasks should be completed.

PBIS School-Wide Team Meeting Form

This form allows teams to formally document events that take place during PBIS meetings.

Illinois PBIS Implementation Recommended Job Descriptions for INTERNAL Coach

This document lists the job goal, qualifications requirement, and performance responsibilities of the PBIS internal coach.

PBIS Problem Solving Steps

This document details the objectives of each step of the Problem Solving method.

PBIS Staff Kickoff

This form explains how PBIS helps staff to build a school-wide social-culture.

Designing School-Wide Systems for Student Success

This chart shows how the universal, targeted, and intensive behavioral system pairs with the academic Response to Intervention (RTI) system.

Working Smarter with PBIS: Establishing School-Wide Systems of Positive Behavioral Support

This powerpoint presentation is used to train new PBS teams.

Sample PBIS Exemplar School

This powerpoint provides information about the effect of PBIS at Indian Head school.

Draft Proposal for Implementation of PBIS in Baltimore City Public Schools

This document is a drafted implementation plan that describes procedures that could be used to implement PBIS in Baltimore Public Schools.

Phase I Planning Checklist/Timeline

This document provides a detailed timeline for completing task in Phase I ( March-July: Year 1).

Application for New Team Training Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports (PBIS)

This document provides the names of inidividuals on the PBIS team that will be representative of their school.

Experienced Coaches Training - Coaching 101

This powerpoint is intended to cover the areas of: 1) Using your data effectively 2) Requesting technical assistance for your team 3) Problem solving with the team 4) Creating your yearly plan for training and implementation 5) Completing your product book 6) Establishing effective team meetings and team roles; and 7) Coaches' role and responsibilities

Classroom PBS Overview for Coaches

Provides an overview of application of PBS at the classroom level. The introduction is best used with experienced coaches to describe the possible next steps after establishing a school-wide behavior support system.

Sample Reinforcer Inventory

This is a checklist of possible reinforcement tools that could be used within the school.

School-Wide Positive Behavior Support: Fast Facts!

This is a brief survey designed to assess what aspects of the school environment can best benefit from school-wide positive behavior support

General Data Decision Rules

This worksheet is a tool used to give guidance in the implementation of an intervention with the referral process.

Facilitating the Problem Solving Process

With the help of a group facilitator, this details the process that groups can use in order to engage in meaningful dialogue in order to reach a resolution to a problem.

School-wide Postive Behavior Support: Action Planning Guide

This guide allows school faculty and administrators to give a coherent listing of the purpose, goals, and action plan for promoting an action plan needed for school-wide impovement.

Kansas Institute for Positive Behavioral Support Modules

These materials are used to train professionals to facilitate teams implementing individualized positive behavior support plans. The content is meant to be completed in conjunction with onsite case study support and field-based activities.

Facilitator's Guide for School-wide PBS

The Facilitator's Guide supplements the three-day training provided to school teams in Florida. The guide is intended to provide additional references and support to coaches and teams when they go back to their school to begin the development and implementation of their school-wide system. The guide is in PDf format and links to additional forms and resources. http://flpbs.fmhi.usf.edu/pdf/OriginalFacilitatorGuideComplete11.25.03.pdf

Action Planning Guide for School-wide PBS

This is an initial action plan for implementing SW-PBS based on results of PBS-CAT.

School-wide PBS: PBS Coaches Training

Gives overview of PBS, role of a coach, teaming and collaboration, responsibilities of coaches, details about PBS team meetings, SWIS readiness, problem solving process.

Behavior Support Plan

Blank form to do a behavior support plan for an individual student after a functional assessment has been conducted.

SWIS: Reviewing the 8-step process

Goes over: Conducting SWIS readiness tasks, submitting license agreement and school info form, setting up for SWIS taining, conducting SWIS training, follow-up, maintenance, facilitator boosters, license renewal process.

PBS for At-Risk Students: An Overview

This is an introduction to working with At-Risk populations-how to identify giving examples and non-examples and using data-based decisions to select appropriate interventions.

Schoolwide Positive Behavior Support: An Overview

Very comprehensive overview of schoolwide PBS, reviews levels of PBS, PBS teams and member roles, discusses faculty buy-in, establishing data-based decision making, establishing rules and expectations, developing lesson plans, creating rewards, refining consequences, and monitor/evaluate effectiveness.

Understanding Problem Behavior (An Interactive Tutorial)

An on-line beginning level tutorial on the foundations of applied behaivor analysis. An excellent precursor to functional assessment training.

Family Engagement Checklist

The checklist measures the climate of the school for parent involvement, learning activities at home, communication with parents/families, and parent involvement at school.

Self-Assessment of Contextual Fit in Schools

The purpose of this interview is to assess the extent to which the elements of a behavior support plan fit the contextual features of your school environment. The interview asks you to rate (a) your knowledge of the elements of the plan, (b) your perception of the extent to which the elements of the behavior support plan are consistent with your personal values, and skills, and (c) the school's ability to support implementation of the plan.

Functional Behavior Support Plan (F-BSP)

The F-BSP is a planning tool for used by school personnel who are building a behavior support plan using function based behavioral assessment. This form was written by Horner and Crone 2005. This also has a Competing Pathway Chart or Competing Behavior Chart available for planning purposes.

Functional Assessment Checklist for Teachers and Staff (FACTS)

The FACTS is a two-page interview used by school personnel who are building behavior support plans for tertiary level supports. The FACTS is intended to be an efficient strategy for initial functional behavioral assessment. The FACTS is completed by people (teachers, family, clinicians) who know the student best, and used to either build behavior support plans, or guide more complete functional assessment efforts. The FACTS can be completed in a short period of time (5-15 min). Efficiency and effectiveness in completing the forms increases with practice.

Oregon School Safety Survey v 2.0

The Oregon School Safety Survey is an instrument developed to obtain an efficient index of perceived school safety. This survey provides a summary of "risk factors" and "protective factors" that can be useful in determining training and support needs related to school safety and violence prevention.

Benchmarks of Quality for School-Wide Positive Behavior Support (SWPBS) - Scoring Guide

Scoring guide for Benchmarks of Quality for SWPBS.

The Benchmarks of Quality for SWPBS has been developed in Florida's Positive Behavior Support project. The tool is designed to access and monitor PBS team activities.

School-Wide Evaluation Tool (SET) - v 2.1

The School-wide Evaluation Tool (SET) is designed to assess and evaluate the critical features of school-wide effective behavior support across each academic school year. The SET results are used to: 1) assess features that are in place, 2) determine annual goals for school-wide effective behavior support, 3) evaluate on-going efforts toward school-wide behavior support, 4) design and revise procedures as needed, and 5) compare efforts toward school-wide effective behavior support from year to year. Information necessary for this assessment tool is gathered through multiple sources including review of permanent products, observations, and staff (minimum of 10) and student (minimum of 15) interviews or surveys.

Effective Behavior Support (EBS) Survey (v 2.0)

The EBS Survey is used by school staff for initial and annual assessment of effective behavior support systems in their school. The survey examines the status and need for improvement of three behavior support systems: (a) school-wide discipline, (b) non-classroom management systems, and (c) systems for individuals students engaging in chronic behaviors.

The Team Implementation Checklists (v 3.1)

This self-assessment tool has been designed to serve as a multi-level guide for (a) creating school-wide PBS action plans and evaluating the status of implementation activities on a quarterly basis.

School-wide Positive Behavior Support: Implementers’ Blueprint and Self-Assessment

The purpose of this blueprint is to provide implementers with definitions, descriptions, and guidelines that allow for accurate and durable implementation of school-wide positive behavior support (SWPBS) practices and systems.

School-wide Positive Behavior Support Evaluation Template (Oct. 05)

This document is prepared for individuals who are implementing School-wide Positive Behavior Support (PBS) in Districts, Regions or States. The purpose of the document is to provide a formal structure for evaluating if School-wide PBS implementation efforts are (a) occurring as planned, (b) resulting in change in schools, and (c) producing improvement in student outcomes.

Classroom Checklists, Effective Classroom Plan, Environmental Inventory Checklist

The document includes 1) Top 17 Classroom Management Strategies that should be emphasized in every classroom, 2) Effective Teaching Strategies, 3) Promoting Positive & Effective Learning Environments Classroom Checklist, 4) Effective Classroom Plan, and 5) ENVIRONMENTAL INVENTORY Checklist.

SWPBS: Leadership Team Guidelines (Making Connections Conference)

The presentation was made to give SWPBS leadership teams extra organizational tool for reviewing & planning their current & future implementation activities and provide information on self-assessment to guide teams in their action planning.

School-wide Positive Behavior Support: Annual Outcomes (Ver. May 7, 2006)- SWPBS Team Monthly Planning Guide

The purpose of this guide is to give SWPBS leadership teams a supplemental organizational tool for reviewing and planning their implementation activities. A self-assessment is provided to guide teams in their action planning.

Creating School Environments to Prevent Problem Behaviour and Support Students At-Risk and Those with Disabilities through School-wide Positive Behaviour Support (Australian Association for Special Education)

The presentation describes all levels of SWPBS implementation strategies and RtI logic application for student success (for academic and behavior). Essential elements and practical resources of SWPBS are presented with data.

Classroom Management: Self-Assessment Revised (version: April 7, 2006)

Revised version of classroom management checklist. Classroom Management Self-Assessment measures extent to which effective classroom management practices are in place. The assessment consists of 10 items to check.

Positive & Responsive School Environments: Getting Started (Opening day training in Conventry & Willimantic)

The presentation was made to provide critical features of school-wide PBS for getting started with PBIS. The content includes behavior support system building at all three levels, rationale of PBS, general SWPBS implementation process, function-based approach, and so on.

Classroom Management Self-Assessment

Classroom Management Self-Assessment measures extent to which effective classroom management practices are in place. The assessment consists of 10 items to check.

School-Wide Positive Behavior Support: Getting Started- Secondary Schools (Maryland SWPBS New Team Training)

The presentation was made to provide critical features of school-wide PBS for getting started with PBIS. The content especially focuses on secondary school behavior support system building including rationale of PBS, general SWPBS implementation process, function-based approach, and so on.

SWPBS Coaching: Functions & Fidelity of Implementation (Maryland PBS Summer Institute)

The presentation was made for PBS coaches to provide information on 1) importance of establishing coaching capacity, 2) coaching basics, and 3) coaching to support fidelity of SWPBS implementation. The content includes self-assessment plan, activity guide, school-wide systems for school staff, and so on.

How is My Classroom Management? (Rhode Island training)

Review of critical features & essential practices of behavior management in classroom settings. The presentation describes basics & context for self-assessment & SW action planning.

School-Wide Positive Behavior Support: Getting Started (Colorado PBIS new team training)

Critical features of getting started with Positive Behavior Support. The main objectives include 1) Establish leadership team, 2) Establish staff agreements, 3) Build working knowledge of SW-PBS practices & systems, 4) Develop individualized action plan for SW-PBS using Office Discipline Data, EBS Self-Assessment Survey, and Team Implementation Checklist.

The Implementation of Behavior Instruction in the Total School

The video describes 'Behavior Instruction in Total School' program. The Behavior and Reading Improvement Center at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte is now implementing positive behavior approach for 7 elementary schools in Mecklenburg, Charlotte. The video clips shows practical implementation examples and success stories from school staff.

Positive Unified Behavior Support: A Model of School-Wide Positive Behavior Support

The behavior and reading improvement center at the University of North Carolina provides examples of positive unified behavior system (PUBS) in the video clip. The PUBS implies 1) unified positive attitude, 2) unified clear expectations, 3) unified positive corrective teaching, and 4) unified team approach.

School-Wide Reading Model

The video clip is about reading and behavior improvement program from the Behavior and Reading Improvement Center at the University of North Carolina. The video shows critical components of reading model and process of comprehensive school model for reading.

Creating the Culture of Positive Behavior Supports

A film by Gray Olsen and Paula Baumann. This video clip includes lots of successful stories and examples on school-wide positive behavior support implementation at schools.

Discovering School-Wide PBIS: Moving Towards a Positive Future

Overview of Florida's School-Wide Positive Behavior Support (SWPBS) project funded by Florida state department of education. The video describes essential elements of SWPBS with actual school implementation examples.

PBIS for Youth Involved in Juvenile Corrections

EDJJ (Education, Disability, and Juvenile Justice) professional development series. General overview of schoolwide positive behavior intervention and support implementation. The video describes what PBIS is, how PBIS is working at the public schools, and why PBIS makes sense. It also shows school examples and interviews with school administrators and teachers.