Posted: Thu, 09/13/2018 - 9:55am Updated: Wed, 10/02/2019 - 12:48pm

Background on this Tool

Positive Behavior Intervention Systems (PBIS) is a framework for enhancing the adoption and implementation of a continuum of evidence-based interventions to achieve academically and behaviorally important outcomes for all students (Sugai et al., 2000). While originally established to address behavioral interventions for students with behavior disorders, the focus has shifted to school-wide behavior supports of all students, and an emphasis on implementation practices and systems. The goal of PBIS is to support schools, districts, and states in establishing strong systems for improving social, emotional, and academic outcomes for all students through implementation of a multi-tiered approach to behavioral supports. The tool here is not just one tool, but rather a link to the suite of supports outlined on the website. The PBIS program is funded and supported by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP).

Guidance on How to Leverage this Tool

The PBIS website provides a wide range of support tools for district leaders, school leaders, and teachers. Schools interested in improving the climate of their building in regards to student behavior should strongly consider implementing PBIS for their students and staff. The website includes simple directions, examples, and tools to utilize during the design and implementation phases of PBIS. This website is a great resource for anyone implementing PBIS - it provides a page of resources aimed at beginners as well as resources for each step of the multi-tiered supports. 

Getting Started with the PBIS Toolkit

Implementation of PBIS is no easy feat - it requires a diverse team of school staff (approximately ten representative members of the school) to serve on a PBIS team. This team should be comprised of administrators, general, and special education teachers. The school should start with a focus on three to five behavioral expectations that are positively stated and easy to remember, and that will directly support the school vision and goals. Below is an example of these schoolwide expectations from the website:

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

After the PBIS team determines the three to five 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-in to the chosen expectations. Consistency from class to class and adult to adult is very important for successful implementation of 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 should have approximately three positively stated examples for each area.

As the matrix is being created, the PBIS team should also begin designing the multi-tiered system of supports, which is critical to the success of the schoolwide expectations. The PBIS team must ensure that all teachers are clear on the Tier 1, 2 and 3 practices and that all teachers are motivated and invested in these practices. The PBIS website provides all of the core principles for each of the tiers of supports. 

PBIS is a system that must be consistently implemented, monitored, and adjusted to ensure supports are meeting the needs of all students. 


Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports. For more information, please visit this website.