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What is PBIS?

Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) is an evidence-based three-tiered framework that promotes positive behaviors and prevents and reduces problem behaviors.  A PBIS system works within a school’s Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) to address the behavioral needs of all students. The key features of a PBIS are:

  • Creating school-wide behavior expectations
  • Developing school-wide procedures
  • Altering the physical arrangement of spaces identified as problem areas
  • Establishing rewards and consequences that encourage expected behavior and discourage problem behavior
  • Implementing increasingly incentive levels of behavioral supports
  • Establishing procedures for collecting and evaluating data to monitor fidelity of implementation

Within a PBIS system, students are taught appropriate behavioral expectations and provided increasingly intensive levels of support for behavior as needed.

Infographic with three stacked triangles that overlap to represent the 3 tiers of a Multi-tiered system of Support. The stacked triangles are set on top of a rectangle labeled as Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports. The rectangle includes the text "Building partnerships with families/schools/communities," "building teacher capacity," and "strengthening shared leadership." The largest triangle is labeled 1: Universal, the second triangle is labeled 2: Targeted, and the third triangle is labeled 3: intensive.


Day-to-day operations are a school's foundational systems. In PBIS, these systems support accurate, durable implementation of practices and the effective use of data to achieve better outcomes. When making systemic change, it is important to consider multiple factors and include all stakeholders to ensure change is effective and sustainable.


Within the PBIS framework, schools use data to select, monitor, and evaluate outcomes, practices, and systems across all three tiers. Student data can be collected in many ways throughout each school day and this information is essential to making effective, data-based decisions for positive behavioral support and intervention.


The strategies implemented to support students at every level are key to improving outcomes. In a successful PBIS, the strategies and interventions selected are backed by research to target the specific outcomes schools want to see for their unique student population. Student data inform the selection of practices, strategies, and interventions.


The data, systems, and practices put in place in a PBIS directly impact school outcomes. Families, students, school personnel, and other stakeholders set goals based on what is important to their learning community and work together to see them through. Desired outcomes for a PBIS might be improved student behavior, fewer office discipline referrals, and/or increased academic achievement.


Everyone has a role to play in developing and implementing a successful PBIS system. Consider the resources below for classroom teachers and school administrators/district leaders to take steps to establish and support PBIS in your role and setting.