Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) is a proactive approach to behavior. The goal is to establish the behavioral supports and social culture needed for all students in a school to achieve social, emotional and academic success. This is done with attention being focused on creating and sustaining primary (school-wide), secondary (classroom), and tertiary (individual) systems of support. These support systems will help improve lifestyle results for all youth by making desired behavior more functional, and making targeted misbehavior less effective, efficient, and relevant. PBIS is most effective when it is implemented school wide.
The above diagram illustrates the multi-level approach offered to all students in the school. These group depictions represent systems of support not children.
PBIS also focuses on teaching expectations, so frequently, the question is asked, “Why should we have to teach kids to be good? They already know what they are supposed to do. Why can we not just expect good behavior?” In the past, school-wide discipline has focused mainly on reacting to specific student misbehavior by implementing punishment-based strategies. These strategies often includes reprimands, loss of privileges, office referrals, suspensions, and expulsions. However, research has shown that the implementation of punishment, especially when it is used inconsistently and in the absence of other positive strategies, is ineffective. PBIS recognizes that reteaching, modeling, and reinforcing positive social behavior is an important step of a student’s educational experience. Teaching behavioral expectations and rewarding students for following them is a much more positive approach than waiting for misbehavior to occur before responding.