Frequently Asked Questions


    Frequently Asked Questions


    What is School-Wide PBIS?

    Simply put, PBIS is a process for creating safer, more effective schools by reinforcing positive behavior and preventing and addressing problem behavior. PBIS is implemented in three tiers. Tier 1 focuses on setting and teaching behavioral expectations in all areas of the school including the playground, hallway, bus and classroom. Tier 2 and Tier 3 allow educators to focus more closely on the needs of groups or individual students. Throughout the process, data is collected on student behavior. This data is then used by administrators and school PBIS implementation teams to identify and more effectively implement the practices that are right for their school.


    How will PBIS benefit my school?

    Some of the benefits of PBIS include the:

    -          proactive and consistent approach to school-wide discipline that leads to improved student achievement through:

    o    increased academic instructional time for students, staff, and administrators

    o    improved social climate of school

    o    decreases in special education referral and placements

    o    reduced office referrals, suspensions, expulsions

    -          opportunity for staff to be involved in the process of assessing needs and making nformed 

             decisions based on the data collected

    -          ability to provide increased feedback and support to staff.

    -          consistency of expectations for all students across all school areas.


    Ultimately, the implementation of PBIS has proven to decrease challenging behaviors and increase positive behavior, thereby increasing overall instructional time.


    Why is it important to recognize good behavior in students? Shouldn't they already know how to behave?

    When students have trouble with reading, we teach. When students don't know their multiplication tables, we teach. When students struggle with expected behaviors, PBIS gives us the tools to teach.

    Traditional approaches to behavior often respond with punishment or consequences, under the presumption that children should have already mastered good behavior. These types of approaches often don't work well on their own. Since the expectations have not been clearly established, children often have difficulty seeing and understanding the differences between correct and incorrect behavior.

    For example, asking a child to "Be respectful" may mean little unless they actually know what being respectful looks like. Often, teachers and other adults have varying levels of tolerance for the same behavior. This may result in the child formulating a blurry definition of the term ‘respect.’ Respectful behavior may also become subjective for children when adults portray one definition of respect in their own behavior, yet expect another from children.

    PBIS gives school staff the tools to determine, teach, and model expected behavior. With these tools, schools are able to successfully increase the positive behavior through on-going recognition. This modeling and practice becomes infused in everyday life in a school. A positive school culture maintains positive behaviors in the school.


    Doesn't recognizing positive student behavior make students dependent on rewards?

    Students are more likely to practice correct behaviors if they receive frequent and specific positive feedback. Verbal praise is fine, but without a system in place many of us forget to specifically acknowledge positive behaviors. Rewards do not need to be large, fancy or expensive, but visible recognition can often supplement positive praise very effectively. The goal over time is to reduce the frequency of tangible rewards so that behavior becomes internalized. Verbal acknowledgement and encouragement, however, should consistently be given four times more often than correction or reprimand.


    What does PBIS have to do with school discipline and classroom management?

    Effective classroom management and preventive school discipline are essential for supporting teaching and learning.
    PBIS goes further by emphasizing that classroom management and preventive school discipline must be integrated and working together with effective academic instruction in a positive and safe school climate to maximize success for all students. 


    How is PBIS related to Response to Intervention (RtI)?

    The logic, tenets, and principles of PBIS are the same as those represented in RtI (e.g., universal screening, continuous progress monitoring, data-based decision making, implementation fidelity, evidence-based interventions).   Literacy and numeracy implementation frameworks are examples of the application of RtI for academic behavior, and PBIS is an example of the application of RtI for social behavior.


    How does PBIS respond to the use of punishment (e.g. detention, timeout, verbal reprimands) especially for students with serious problem behaviors?

    Although PBIS has no specific restrictions on the use of consequence-based strategies designed to reduce serious problem behavior, teaching-oriented, positive, and preventive strategies are emphasized for all students, to the greatest extent possible. The emphasis is on the use of the most effective and most positive approach to addressing even the most severe problem behaviors. 

    Most students will succeed when a positive school culture is promoted, informative corrective feedback is provided, academic success is maximized, and use of prosocial skills is acknowledged.
    When student problem behavior is unresponsive to preventive school-wide and classroom-wide procedures, information about the student’s behavior is used to (a) understand why the problem behavior is occurring (function); (b) strengthen more acceptable alternative behaviors (social skills); (c) remove antecedents and consequences that trigger and maintain problem behavior, respectively; and (d) add antecedents and consequences that trigger and maintain acceptable alternative behaviors.