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School-wid e Positive Behavior Support. Tim Lewis, Ph.D. University of Missouri OSEP Center on Positive Behavioral Intervention & Supports pbis .org. Starting Point…. Educators cannot “make” students learn or behave

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School wid e positive behavior support

School-wide Positive Behavior Support

Tim Lewis, Ph.D.

University of Missouri

OSEP Center on Positive

Behavioral Intervention & Supports

Starting point

Starting Point….

  • Educators cannot “make” students learn or behave

  • Educators can create environments to increase the likelihood students learn and behave

  • Environments that increase the likelihood are guided by a core curriculum and implemented with consistency and fidelity

School wide positive behavior support

School-wide Positive Behavior Support

  • Problem solving framework

  • Systematic implementation of evidence-based practices

  • Layers in increasingly more intensive environmental supports to increase the likelihood students learn and behave

School wid e positive behavior support

Social Competence &

Academic Achievement









Staff Behavior





Student Behavior

Designing school wide systems for student success

Academic Systems

Behavioral Systems

  • Intensive, Individual Interventions

  • Individual Students

  • Assessment-based

  • High Intensity

  • Intensive, Individual Interventions

  • Individual Students

  • Assessment-based

  • Intense, durable procedures

  • Targeted Group Interventions

  • Some students (at-risk)

  • High efficiency

  • Rapid response

  • Targeted Group Interventions

  • Some students (at-risk)

  • High efficiency

  • Rapid response

  • Universal Interventions

  • All students

  • Preventive, proactive

  • Universal Interventions

  • All settings, all students

  • Preventive, proactive

Designing School-Wide Systems for Student Success







School wid e positive behavior support

Continuum of Supports




Soc skills




Essential features at the school level

Essential Features at the School Level

  • Teams of educators within the school (administrator)

  • Data-based decision making

  • Instructional Focus

    • Teach & Practice

  • Acknowledge student mastery of social skills

    • Positive Feedback

Universal school wide features

Universal School-Wide Features

  • Clearly define expected behaviors (Rules)

    • All Settings

    • Classrooms

  • Procedures for teaching & practicing expected behaviors

  • Procedures for encouraging expected behaviors

  • Procedures for discouraging problem behaviors

  • Procedures for data-based decision making

  • Family Awareness and Involvement

Tier ii small group

Tier II (small group)

  • Efficient and effective way to identify at-risk students

    • Screen

    • Data decision rules

  • Informal assessment process to match intervention to student need

    • Small group Social Skill Instruction

    • Self-management

    • Academic Support

  • Part of a continuum – must link to universal school-wide PBS system

Tier iii individualized support

Tier III (individualized support)

  • When small group not sufficient

  • When problem intense and chronic

  • Driven by Functional Behavioral Assessment

  • Connections to Mental Health and Community Agencies

  • Part of a continuum – must link to universal school-wide PBS system

Randomized controlled trials examining sw pbs

Randomized Controlled Trials Examining SW-PBS

Bradshaw, C.P., Koth, C.W., Thornton, L.A., & Leaf, P.J. (2009). Altering school climate through school-wide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports: Findings from a group-randomized effectiveness trial. Prevention Science, 10(2), 100-115

Bradshaw, C.P., Koth, C.W., Bevans, K.B., Ialongo, N., & Leaf, P.J. (2008). The impact of school-wide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) on the organizational health of elementary schools. School Psychology Quarterly, 23(4), 462-473.

Bradshaw, C. P., Mitchell, M. M., & Leaf, P. J. (2010). Examining the effects of School-Wide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports on student outcomes: Results from a randomized controlled effectiveness trial in elementary schools. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 12, 133-148.

Bradshaw, C.P., Reinke, W. M., Brown, L. D., Bevans, K.B., & Leaf, P.J. (2008). Implementation of school-wide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) in elementary schools: Observations from a randomized trial. Education & Treatment of Children, 31, 1-26.

Horner, R., Sugai, G., Smolkowski, K., Eber, L., Nakasato, J., Todd, A., & Esperanza, J., (2009). A randomized, wait-list controlled effectiveness trial assessing school-wide positive behavior support in elementary schools. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 11, 133-145.

Horner, R. H., Sugai, G., & Anderson, C. M. (2010). Examining the evidence base for school-wide positive behavior support. Focus on Exceptionality, 42(8), 1-14.

  • Reduced major disciplinary infractions

  • Improvements in academic achievement

  • Enhanced perception of organizational health & safety

  • Improved school climate

  • Improvements in Social –Emotional outcomes

  • Reductions in teacher’s reports of bullying behavior

Missouri school wide pbs

Missouri School-wide PBS



  • University of Missouri Center School-wide Positive Behavior Support

  • OSEP Center for Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports

  • Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

    • Heidi Atkins-Lieberman

    • Stephen Barr

    • Chris Nicastro

  • Regional Professional Development Centers

Building classroom environments to support behavior

Building Classroom Environments to Support Behavior…

Stichter, J. P., Lewis, T. J., Johnson, N., & Trussell, R. (2004). Toward a structural assessment: Analyzing the merits of an assessment tool for a student with E/BD. Assessment for Effective Intervention, 30, 25-40.

Study basics

Study Basics

  • Subject:

    • Seven years old

    • Identified with EBD and ADHD

  • Setting

    • General education 2nd grade classroom with 19 other students

    • One licensed teacher and one student teacher

  • Concern

    • Student exhibits high rates of off-task

    • Student shouts out answers and questions and comments at high rates and often inappropriate

Function of behavior

“Function of Behavior”

  • Descriptive (interviews and teacher reported ABC/ Scatterplot data)

    • Function identified as Attention

    • Significant antecedents: multiple step direction and group settings

    • Very High rates of both problem behaviors reported/ inconsistency in accuracy of data collection

Environment assessment

“Environment Assessment”

Significant variables:

  • clarity of expectations & directions

  • consistency of expectations

  • accessibility of class schedules

  • lack of enforced procedures (especially regarding to hand raising and verbalizations or entire class)

Positive behavior support in the classroom

Positive Behavior Support in the Classroom

Tim Lewis, Ph.D.

University of Missouri

OSEP Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports

Positive behavior support in the classroom1

Positive Behavior Support in the Classroom

Tim Lewis, Ph.D.

University of Missouri

OSEP Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports

The challenge

The Challenge

  • Students spend majority of their school day in the classroom

  • Majority of “discipline problems” originate in the classroom and often result in removal from instruction

  • Remaining engaged in instruction essential to student academic and social success

  • “Culture” of education often reinforces ineffective practices and creates barriers to implementing effective practices

Basic steps

Basic Steps

  • Focus on what you want students to do “instead” (replacement behaviors)

  • Look for patterns of behavior that suggest “functional relationships”

  • Teach replacement behavior and provide multiple opportunities to practice

  • Deliver high rates of positivefeedback/same similar outcome as problem behavior when students display replacement behavior

Setting up the environment

Setting up the Environment

Establishing expectations (Kameenui & Simmons, 1990):

  • What do I want my classroom to look like?

  • How do I want children to treat me as a person?

  • How do I want children to treat one another?

  • What kind of information or values do I want to communicate to students about being an adult, an educator, a woman or a man in today's society?

  • How do I want children to remember me when the last day of school ends and I am no longer part of their daily lives?

  • How can I change my instruction to help pupils develop the skills I am trying to teach?

    Bottom line = ask yourself if students have pre-requisite and requisite skills to succeed based on each of your answers – if not, teach and practice



  • Classroom expectations & rules defined and taught (all use school-wide, create classroom examples)

  • Procedures & routines defined and taught

  • Continuum of strategies to acknowledge appropriate behavior in place and used with high frequency (4:1)

  • Continuum of strategies to respond to inappropriate behavior in place and used per established school-wide procedure

  • Students are actively supervised (pre-corrects and positive feedback)

  • Students are given multiple opportunities to respond (OTR) to promote high rates of academic engagement

  • Activity sequence promotes optimal instruction time and student engaged time

  • Instruction is differentiated based on student need



  • Make smooth, rapid transitions between activities throughout the class period or school day

  • Teach/practice transition behaviors

  • Establish predictable schedules - illustrate with icons, time, etc.

  • Schedule non-instruction time

    • administration time

    • personal time



Clear set-up and instructions

  • Student directed activities

  • Whole group activities

  • Independent activities



  • Transitions

    a) Clear expectations for student behavior

    b) Clear expectations for staff behavior

    c) Avoid interfering activities

    d) Smooth set up and implementation

    e) Consistent routines

    f) Acknowledgment of student mastery



  • Student directed activities

  • Small group

    • Teach group roles & responsibilities

      • Group leader - insures all have say/turn

      • Material manager - gets materials & distributes

      • Group recorder - writes up outcome



Small group

  • Teach group processes {"problem solving"}

    a)Define the task

    b) Brainstorm ideas

    c) Choose an idea

    d) Determine what is required to implement the idea

    e) Implement the idea

    f) Evaluate the outcome



  • Independent work

    • What materials/areas?

    • Minimal movement in classroom

Increasing opportunities to respond

Increasing Opportunities to Respond

  • Encourages everyone to become involved in learning.

  • Increases rates of responses of all learners.

  • Increases attainment of material presented.

  • Allows reluctant learners a secured environment to practice.

  • Decreases inappropriate or off task behavior.

Whole group oral response

Whole Group Oral Response

  • Choral responding

  • Strategy for reviewing or memorizing information

  • Students repeat information in unison when teacher prompts

Whole group written response

Whole Group Written Response

  • Written responses should be short (not more than one item)

  • A verbal signal to indicate completion should be given (e.g. put your pencils down and look up when you are finished)

  • Materials to use could include: Paper, whiteboards, iPads

Small groups partners

Small Groups / Partners

  • Used to give everyone a chance to:

    • Express thoughts.

    • Answer a question.

    • Verbally participate when there could be a variety of answers.

  • Answers can be shared with other groups or whole group.

  • Answers can be written on smartboard by the teacher and presented to group.

Challenge how to insure all staff are using effective practices

Challenge: How to Insure All Staff Are Using Effective Practices




Brief in-service, single topic focus

Practice (performance feedback)

Peer coaching

Principal “walk throughs”

Effective classroom practices mini modules

Effective Classroom Practices: Mini Modules


Center for PBS

College of Education

University of Missouri

Typical school day

Typical School Day

17%Direct Instruction



30%Discipline & OtherNon-InstructionalActivities

Cotton, 1995; Walberg, 1988



Discussion importance of expectations behaviors

Discussion: Importance of expectations & behaviors?

  • Pair Up

  • 2-Minute Frenzy – Discuss:

    • How has clarifying schoolwide/non-classroom setting behaviors/rules impacted student behavior in our school?

    • Why do you think it is important to clarify classroom behaviors/rules?

Guidelines for writing classroom behaviors or rules

Guidelines for Writing Classroom Behaviors or Rules

Consistent with school-wide expectations

O=Observable; behaviors that we can see.

M=Measureable–we could actually count the occurrence of the behavior.

P=Positively stated–things to do to be successful.

U=Understandable–student-friendly language.

A=Always applicable.



Activity classroom rule writing activity option 1

Activity: Classroom Rule Writing Activity Option 1

  • List problem behaviors in your classroom

  • List replacement behavior (what we want kids to do instead)

  • List schoolwide expectations

  • Categorize rules within schoolwide expectations

Goals of major study

Goals of Major Study

  • Identify/develop effective education and mental health interventions for students with emotional and behavioral problems

    • Maximize intervention feasibility

    • Maintain evidence based best practices approach

    • Develop interventions within existing school resources

Considerations for intervention development

Considerations for Intervention Development

  • Interventions must be multi-component to adequately address the diverse needs of students with EBD

  • Interventions must be delivered by practitioners after relatively little training and with minimal on-going technical assistance

  • Classroom and Mental Health Manuals

  • Assessment & Resources matched to interventions

Classroom instructional interventions

Classroom / Instructional Interventions

Basic logic

Basic Logic

  • All students enrolled in “check & connect”

    • Organization

    • Progress Monitoring

    • Mentoring / problem solving

  • Classrooms targeted for intervention based on combination of student failure and evidence of problem behavior

  • Classroom Assessment – interventions tailored to address weaknesses /missing components & reinforce strengths

Check connect

Check & Connect

  • Developed for high-risk urban students at the secondary level (Anderson, Christenson, Sinclair, Lehr, 2004; Evelo, Sinclair, Hurley, Christenson, Thurlow, 1996)

  • Utilizes a monitoring system with two components

    • Check

      • Systematically assess the extent to which students are engaged in school.

  • Connect

    • Respond on a regular basis to students’ educational needs according to their type and level of risk for disengagement from school.

  • Establish an adult mentor at school to enhance school engagement

  • Classroom assessment targets

    Classroom Assessment Targets

    • Classroom Structure

      • Rules and routines

    • Improving Teacher-Student Interactions

    • Evidence-Based Academic Instruction

      • Opportunities to Respond (OTR)

      • Incorporating students’ choice and interests

      • Accommodations

    • Responding to problem behavior

    Accommodation guide

    Accommodation Guide

    Connecting universal and advanced tiers of support

    Connecting Universal and Advanced Tiers of Support

    Tier ii iii support process

    Tier II/III Support Process

    • Step 1 – Insure Universals, including Classroom, in place

    • Step 2 – Student Identification Process

      • Decision Rules

      • Referral

      • Screen

    • Step 3 Classroom Problem Solving Team

      • Classroom supports (function-based)

      • Progress monitor

    • Step 4 - Tier II/III supports

      • Non-responders to classroom supports

      • Match function of student behavior to intervention

      • Progress monitor

    • Step 5 - Evaluate Process

    Teams data practices systems

    Teams(Data, Practices, Systems)

    • School-wide PBS

      • Universals

      • Connect points to Tier II & III

    • Classroom Problem Solving Team

      • Review data

      • Develop function-based interventions

    • Tier II

      • Partner with Classroom Problem Solving Team Lead/Coordinator

      • Coordinate and monitor tier II supports

    Step 1 universals in place

    Step 1. Universals In Place

    • Specific Focus on Classroom

      • Review of essential features

      • Implementation Plan

    School wid e positive behavior support

    Classroom Quiz

    1. When the teacher , most students stop and listen.


    2. When class starts, the teacher has everything ready.


    3. Before we start a new activity, the teacher reminds us what we are supposed to do.


    4. When we are asked to work by ourselves, all students work quietly and do what they are supposed to do.


    5. I often finish my work and do not know what I should be doing while others are still working.


    6. Our classroom rules are:

    2 identifying students

    2.Identifying students

    • Current data

      • Confidence in numbers

      • Consistency across data points

    • Teacher Referral

    • Screening

      Approximately 10% of total students

    3 classroom problem solving

    3. Classroom Problem Solving

    • Grade level / combinations

    • Once a week focus of meeting = social behavior concerns when decision rule met

    • Standard problem solving steps

    Classroom problem solving

    Classroom Problem Solving

    • Student meets data decision rule

    • Classroom teacher completes preliminary forms (documents student progress to date)

    • Problem solving lead walks team through problem solving process

    • Tier II/III Team partner attends if team is unable to identify patterns leading to intervention or when significant concerns noted

    • Plan put in place

    • Student progress monitored and reported at weekly meetings

    Classroom problem solving1

    Classroom Problem Solving

    • Process leader

      • Classroom teachers, Specialist teachers

    • Tier II/III Team partner

      • School Psychologist, Counselor, Administrator

    • Process

      • Data-based decision making

        • Guiding questions

      • Function-based intervention

        • Teach replacement

        • Environmental alterations / supports

      • Monitor progress

    Classroom problem solving process

    Classroom Problem Solving Process

    • Develop intervention based on function of behavior

    • Environment changes

      • Student skills to teach/practice/reinforce

    • Monitor progress

      • Same data that brought them to your attention

      • Problem and Appropriate behavior

      • Teacher observations

    Classroom problem solving video

    Classroom Problem Solving Video


    Positive behavior support in the classroom2

    Positive Behavior Support in the Classroom

    Tim Lewis, Ph.D.

    University of Missouri

    OSEP Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports

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