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School-wide Positive Behavior Supports. Tim Lewis, Ph.D. University of Missouri OSEP Center on Positive Behavioral Intervention & Supports The Challenge. Students with the most challenging behaviors in school need pro-active comprehensive and consistent systems of support

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school wide positive behavior supports

School-wide Positive Behavior Supports

Tim Lewis, Ph.D.

University of Missouri

OSEP Center on Positive

Behavioral Intervention & Supports

the challenge
The Challenge
  • Students with the most challenging behaviors in school need pro-active comprehensive and consistent systems of support
  • School-wide discipline systems are typically unclear and inconsistently implemented
  • Educators often lack specialized skills to address severe problem behavior
  • Pressure on schools to incorporate national and state initiatives such as Values Education, Anti-Bullying efforts, and Safe Schools. Many often have clear defined outcomes but fail to provide structures to reach outcomes or a framework for deciding what should be implemented when, for whom, and to what degree
typical responses to students
Typical responses to students
  • Increase monitoring for future problem behavior
  • Re-review rules & sanctions
  • Extend continuum of aversive consequences
  • Improve consistency of use of punishments
  • Establish “bottom line”
  • Zero tolerance policies
  • Security guards, student uniforms, metal detectors, video cameras
  • Suspension/expulsion
  • Exclusionary options (e.g., alternative programs)
the danger
The Danger….

“Punishing” problem behaviors (without a proactive support system) is associated with increases in (a) aggression, (b) vandalism, (c) truancy, and (d) dropping out. (Mayer, 1995, Mayer & Sulzar-Azaroff, 1991, Skiba & Peterson, 1999)

the good news
The Good News…

Research reviews indicate that the most effective responses to school violence are (Elliot, Hamburg, & Williams, 1998;Gottfredson, 1997; Lipsey, 1991, 1992; Tolan & Guerra, 1994):

  • Social Skills Training
  • Academic Restructuring
  • Behavioral Interventions
toward a solution
Toward a Solution

The answer is not the invention of new solutions, but the enhancement of the school’s organizational capacity to:

  • Accurately adopt and efficiently sustain their use of research-validated practices
  • Provide a Seamless continuum of behavioral and academic support for all students
  • Be part of a district wide system of behavior support
  • Increased focus, teacher training, community training, and funding for early intervention
school wide positive behavior support
School-wide Positive Behavior Support

PBS is a broad range of systemic and individualized strategies for achieving important social and learning outcomes while preventing problem behavior

OSEP Center on PBIS

pbs is not
PBS is not...
  • Not specific practice or curriculum…it’s a general approach to preventing problem behavior
  • Not limited to any particular group of students…it’s for all students
  • Not new…its based on long history of behavioral practices & effective instructional design & strategies

Tertiary Prevention:



Systems for Students with High-Risk Behavior







Secondary Prevention:

Specialized Group

Systems for Students with At-Risk Behavior


Primary Prevention:


Wide Systems for

All Students,

Staff, & Settings

~80% of Students


Social Competence &

Academic Achievement









Staff Behavior





Student Behavior

school wide positive behavioral support
School-wide Positive Behavioral Support
  • Incorporate best practice in professional development and system change (teams)
  • Emphasizes the use of assessment information to guide intervention and management decisions
  • Focus on the use of a continuum of behavioral supports
  • Focus on increasing the contextual fit between problem context and what we know works
  • Focus on establishing school environments that support long term success of effective practices {3-5 years}
school wide positive behavioral support12
School-wide Positive Behavioral Support
  • Expectations for student behavior are defined by a building based team with all staff input
  • Effective behavioral support is implemented consistently by staff and administration
  • Appropriate student behavior is taught
  • Positive behaviors are publicly acknowledged
  • Problem behaviors have clear consequences
  • Student behavior is monitored and staff receive regular feedback
  • Effective Behavioral Support strategies are implemented at the school-wide, specific setting, classroom, and individualstudent level
  • Effective Behavioral Support strategies are designed to meet the needs of all students
  • Focus on positive proactive programming
  • Emphasis on clearly defined working structures
  • Teacher/school takes ownership of student learning & behavioral challenges
  • Problem behavior = learning error
universal strategies school wide
Universal Strategies: School-Wide

Essential Features

  • Statement of purpose
  • Clearly define expected behaviors (Rules)
  • Procedures for teaching & practicing expected behaviors
  • Procedures for encouraging expected behaviors
  • Procedures for discouraging problem behaviors
  • Procedures for record-keeping and decision making
universal strategies non classroom settings
Universal Strategies: Non- Classroom Settings
  • Identify Setting Specific Behaviors
  • Develop Teaching Strategies
  • Develop Practice Opportunities and Consequences
  • Assess the Physical Characteristics
  • Establish Setting Routines
  • Identify Needed Support Structures
  • Data collection strategies
universal strategies classroom
Universal Strategies:Classroom

Needed at the classroom level...

  • Use of school-wide expectations/rules
  • Effective Classroom Management
    • Behavior management
    • Instructional management
    • Environmental management
  • Support for teachers who deal with students who display high rates of problem behavior
group cost benefit
Group Cost Benefit

Office Referral Reduction Across

12 PBIS schools= 5,606

If one Office Referral=15 minutes of administrator time, then 5,606 x 15=

84,090 minutes

1401.15 hours or

233 days

of administrator time recovered and reinvested.

group cost benefit26
Group Cost Benefit

Office Referral Reduction

Across 12 PBIS Schools =5,606

If students miss 45 minutes of instruction for each Office Referral, 5,606 X 45=

252,270 minutes

4204.50 hours or

700 days

of instructional time recovered!!!!!

small group targeted
Small Group / Targeted
  • Part of a continuum: Must link to school-wide PBS system
  • Efficient and effective way to identify students
  • Assessment = simple sort
  • Intervention matched to presenting problem but not highly individualized
small group targeted practices
Small Group / Targeted Practices
  • Social Skill Training
  • Self-Management
  • Mentors/Check-in
  • Peer tutoring / Peer Network
  • Academic support
individual students
Individual Students
  • Part of a continuum: Must link to school-wide PBS system
  • Quick supportive response to teacher
  • Plans based on a Functional Behavior Assessment
    • Clear process in place
    • Behavioral expertise available
    • All in school understand basic logic of FBA and PBS

Investing in SW-PBS results in:

  • Change in school discipline systems creates an environment that promotes appropriate behavior
  • Reduction in problem behavior resulting in less staff time dealing with problems, more student time in the classroom
  • Improved perception of school safety, mental health
  • Improved academic performance
  • Improved social behavior performance
  • Less recidivism to more restrictive placements
  • Improved effectiveness and acceptability of individual interventions
on school reform
On school reform…

Kauffman states “…attempts to reform education will make little difference until reformers understand that schools must exist as much for teachers as for student. Put another way, schools will be successful in nurturing the intellectual, social, and moral development of children only to the extent that they also nurture such development of teachers.” (1993, p. 7).

school wide positive behavior supports42

School-wide Positive Behavior Supports

Tim Lewis, Ph.D.

University of Missouri

OSEP Center on Positive

Behavioral Intervention & Supports