What is PBIS

Key Terminology: PBIS

Most of us have heard of PBIS, but few know what it means. Here’s what you need to know. What is it?

According to the Center for PBIS, “Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) is an evidence-based, tiered framework for supporting students’ behavioral, academic, social, emotional, and mental health.” PBIS is intended to improve the school climate as a whole by meeting the needs of both students and teachers.


One of the key principles of PBIS is the use of data to inform decision-making. Schools and organizations that implement PBIS use data to identify areas of need, track progress, and make adjustments to the intervention strategies as needed. This allows for a continuous cycle of improvement and ensures that the intervention strategies are tailored to the unique needs of the individuals and the organization.


Why is it used?

PBIS is a proactive approach to school-wide behavior management intended to prevent problems before they occur. Schools that implement PBIS with integrity are able to reduce reactive measures, like exclusionary punishment, out-of-school suspension, and expulsion.

 How does it work?

The PBIS framework consists of three tiers, each representing a different level of support.


Tier 1: Universal Support

This is the first level of support and is provided to everyone, including students, teachers, and staff. It involves setting school-wide expectations for behavior and teaching social-emotional skills. To do this schools use strategies such as school-wide assemblies, classroom lessons, and systems of positive reinforcement.


Tier 2: Targeted Support

 This level of support is provided to students who have specific behavior or social-emotional needs that have not responded to Tier 1 strategies. These targeted interventions often involve small group or individualized support. There are a multitude of Tier 2 strategies used by schools. Examples include mentorship, social skills groups, behavior contracting, visual schedules, and organizational tools.


Tier 3: Individualized Support

This level of support is provided to students who engage in persistent and severe behaviors. Intensive intervention strategies at this level include functional behavior assessments, individualized behavior plans, and wraparound services. Both general education and special education students can access support at this level.


PBIS is an effective approach to behavior management that has been implemented in schools across the country. It promotes a positive and supportive school environment that is conducive to learning and promotes pro-social behavior. By focusing on prevention and positive reinforcement, PBIS helps students develop the social and emotional skills they need to succeed in school and in life.



Center on PBIS


Author: Jessica Baldwin, M.S.Ed, BCBA


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Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog is for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as professional advice. The content is based on the author's personal experiences, research, and opinions. It is always recommended to consult with a qualified professional or expert before making any decisions or taking action based on the information provided in this blog.

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