(Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports)

Four Core Features of PBIS

  1. School-wide values created, posted and taught
  2. Rewards system developed and used consistently
  3. Discipline system developed and used consistently
  4. Data systems established to guide decision-making

PBIS Resource Links

Benefits of PBIS

  1. Reduction in problem behavior
  2. Increased academic performance
  3. Increased attendance
  4. Improved perception of school climate
  5. Improved organizational efficiency
  6. Reduction in staff turnover
  7. Increased perception of a welcoming classroom
  8. Reduction in disparities- “promising”

Top 10 Reasons PBIS Fails

  1. Lack of continuous administrative support & involvement
  2. Lack of awareness and understanding that staff set and change culture in schools
  3. Lack of understanding commitment and buy-in from staff
  4. Lack of understanding that academic success is driven by school culture
  5. Not working through the PBIS processes as a team
  6. Taking on too much too fast
  7. Inconsistency of implementation by staff
  8. Looking for the negative vs. positives in student behavior
  9. Focusing only on the high risk students
  10. Not tracking, reporting out, and responding to data
The Department of Behavioral Learning



Paulus Administration Center

1309 Ferry St. SE
Salem, OR 97301

Teri Lewis,
PBIS Implementation Coordinator

Contact Office of Behavioral Learning

Common PBIS Misconceptions



PBIS reinforces students with bad behavior PBIS increases acknowledgements for all students. However, any acknowledgement should focus on displays of appropriate behavior and that will compete with problem behaviors. Research has shown that acknowledging/reinforcing appropriate behavior of students, especially students who struggle with their social skills, is one of the best strategies to reduce the occurrence of minor problem behavior.
There are no consequences for students A cornerstone of Tier I SW-PBIS is actually to increase the consistency or response behavior and implementation of discipline policies. What changes is that schools reach agreements about what behaviors are office-managed (major) and what behaviors are staff-managed (minor). A PBIS framework often involves a philosophic shift to prevent and respond social behavior through an instructional approach.
All we ever do is hand out tickets, but it doesn’t change behavior It shouldn’t be the ticket or token that changes the behavior. The token is really a prompt to staff to remember to acknowledge students appropriate and should always be paired with a praise that helps foster positive relationships with students. Furthermore, the back-up reinforcement for the token should also include activities and privileges that strengthen relationships between staff and students, and students and students.
We review data as a PBIS team, but I don’t see how the data directs our school’s decision making related to behavior management Another cornerstone of PBIS is data-based decision-making. There are many systems required to support using data for decision-making including effective and consistent teaming, defining problems with precision (i.e., data drill downs) and collecting both fidelity and outcome data to guide action planning and assess progress toward meeting the goals.
We need Tier III now Before PBIS provided a prevention framework for school discipline, it was often difficult for schools to identify which students needed what types and intensities of interventions. Even after developing an intervention, schools struggled with providing the identified support with fidelity. A PBIS framework will increase both the effectiveness and efficiency of all levels of interventions from classroom management to individualized behavior intervention plans. However, it takes times to establish and strengthen systems and to build the behavioral capacity of key school staff.

Tier III interventions are comprehensive, individualized and difficult to develop. The goal is to reduce the number of students who are not benefitting from prevention (Tier I) and/or early intervention (Tier II).

PBIS At-A-Glance

PBIS is a systems approach to support staff and a broad range of strategies to support students. The goal is to establish a positive and preventative school climate that allows schools to achieve important social and learning outcomes while preventing problem behavior with all students.


  • Is a framework and not a scripted curriculum
  • Relies on evidence-based practices and data-based decision-making
  • Is about building relationships with our students, families and colleagues

PBIS is a multi-tiered framework for matching instruction and support to student needs. Tier I focuses on establishing a school-wide foundation that will support the social success of about 80% of students. Tier II increases this support for about 10-15% of students who benefit from additional instruction, support and feedback. Finally, Tier III provides intensive and individualized support to the 1-5% of students whose needs require comprehensive strategies to increase their ability to succeed.

  • Tier I School-wide Foundations focused on prevention
  • Tier II Group-based Interventions focused supporting at-risk students to prevent future behavior concerns
  • Tier III Individualized Interventions focused on reducing the intensity and impact of student behavioral needs
Diagram showing Academic Systems and Behavioral Systems Response Intervention Model divided by 3 tiers

While the focus on PBIS is the social-emotional and behavioral success of all students, it provides a framework for integrating multiple initiatives (e.g., RtI, Culturally Responsive Practices, Trauma-informed Care, Restorative Justice, etc.) so that the effectiveness and efficiency of all initiatives are enhanced. Specifically, PBIS implementation is associated with:

  • Reduction in problem behavior
  • Increased academic performance
  • Increased attendance
  • Improved perception of school climate
  • Improved organizational efficiency
  • Reduction in staff turnover
  • Increased perception of perception of a welcoming classroom

Reduction in disparities in the discipline system (i.e., equity concerns)

Quick Overview of PBIS Three

ReadinessTier I – School-Wide FoundationTier II – Group-based InterventionsTier III – Individualized InterventionsSustainability
For schools who want more information or interested in adopting PBIS but don’t meet the readiness criterion (i.e, new administrator, beginning implementation of another initiative, etc.)School-wide discipline system for all students, staff & settings that is effective for 80% of students.Specialized group-administered system for students who display high-risk problem behavior & are unresponsive to universal interventions.Specialized individually administered system for students who display most challenging problem behavior & are unresponsive to targeted group interventions.Focused on maintaining fidelity of implementation and sustainability across all three tiers and expanding to focus on full MTSS Framework (Rti, Family, CR-PBIS, Mental Health, etc.)
♦ Buy-in from staff, students & families.♦ Clearly & positively stated expectations.♦ Functional behavioral assessment based intervention decisions.♦ Simple request for assistance.♦ Coordination and collaboration of PBIS and RtI teams (100%, 20% & 5% Teams).
♦ Identification of representative team.♦ Procedures for teaching expectations.♦ Daily behavioral monitoring.♦ Immediate response (24-48 hours).♦ District and Community Advisory Team.
♦ Review of current committees and meeting schedule.♦ Continuum of procedures for teaching expectations.♦ Regular & frequent opportunities for acknowledgement.♦ Functional behavioral assessment-based behavior support planning.♦ Advanced professional development (i.e., district-wide Conference).
♦ Assessment of current social behavior strengths and needs.♦ Continuum of procedures for encouraging expectations.♦ Home-school connection.♦ Team-based problem solving process.♦Data Dashboard for decision-making.
♦ Continuum of procedures for discouraging rule violations.♦ Individualized academic accommodations.♦ Data-based decision making.
♦ Procedures for monitoring progress.♦ Planned social skills instruction.♦ Comprehensive service delivery derived from a wraparound process.
♦ Behaviorally based interventions.