Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) gives people a new way to think about behavior. PBIS is based on understanding why problem behaviors occur – the behavior’s function. This approach to behavior can occur on a school-wide level, in a specific setting, classroom, or with an individual student. PBIS is the application of evidence-based strategies and systems to assist schools to increase academic performance, increase safety, decrease problem behavior, and establish positive school cultures.
On an individual level, PBIS uses functional behavior assessments to understand the relationships between a student’s behavior and characteristics of his or her environment. The functional behavior assessment identifies multiple strategies to effectively reduce problem behavior including changing systems, altering environments, teaching skills, and focusing on positive behaviors. The PBIS process results in the creation of effective intervention plans that will reduce problem behaviors, teach new skills, and create support systems for the student.
On a school-wide level, PBIS relies on accurate and reliable discipline referral data for information about behaviors occurring across campus. An analysis of the data allows a school team to identify the problem areas, brainstorm interventions such as where and what to teach, reinforcing the students exhibiting the expected behavior, and communicate findings to the staff, students, and families. The PBIS process is a team-based approach that relies on a strong collaboration between families and professionals from a variety of disciplines.
PBIS provides a positive and effective alternative to the traditional methods of discipline. PBIS methods are research-based and proven to significantly reduce the occurrence of problem behaviors in the school, resulting in a more positive school climate and increased academic performance. It is consistent with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which advocates the use of positive behavior interventions and school-based disciplinary strategies that reduce or eliminate the need to use suspension and expulsion as disciplinary options.