What does PBIS stand for?

“PBIS” is short for Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports. This language comes directly from the 1997 reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).  PBIS is used interchangeably with SWPBS, which is short for “School-wide Positive Behavior Supports.”   Kern High School District (KHSD) first launched PBIS at Bakersfield High School in the 2013-2014 academic school year (first pilot site), after preliminary research by staff in 2011-2013 for restorative practices, PBIS, social-emotional learning, blended learning, and MTSS.  Today, KHSD works with Collaborative Learning Solutions, under the guidance of the Supervising Administrator for LCAP/Student Support Services, to facilitate and support MTSS-PBIS at multiple sites in our District, the largest 9-12 District in the State of California.


What is PBIS?

PBIS is not a program, rather it is a “systems approach” for establishing the social culture and individualized behavior supports needed for schools to achieve both social and academic success for ALL students.  Evidence based features include:

  • Explicit instruction of social expectations
  • Acknowledgement of positive behavior
  • Ongoing collection and use of data for decision making
  • Administrative Leadership

We believe that all core instruction (and intervention and supports) start in the general education classroom setting usually, and the counselors, faculty, and teachers in KHSD are amazing!  We think that all students can learn and that all educators want to make a difference.  In addition, KHSD believes that most students will succeed when a positive school culture is promoted, informative corrective feedback is provided, academic success is maximized, and use of pro-social 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.

PBIS is based on principles of applied behavior analysis and the prevention approach and values of positive behavior support.  PBIS emphasizes the establishment of organizational supports or systems that give school personnel capacity to use effective interventions accurately and successfully at the school, district, and state levels.  These supports in the Kern High School District include:

(a) team-based leadership,

(b) data-based decision making,

(c) continuous monitoring of student behavior,

(d) regular universal screening, and

(e) effective on-going professional development. 

The logic, tenets, and principles of PBIS are similar to 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.  Positive Behavioral Intervention and Support systems need to be integrated with academic support systems (along with behavior).  Academic failure is a major predictor of inappropriate behavior and other adjustment problems and needs to be explicitly and consistently addressed as part of an effective and comprehensive school program. As such, schools need to be accountable for improved student behavior in the same manner as they are for student achievement. Safe, effective, and supportive schools utilize ongoing school improvement processes to set measurable goals and objectives, and integrate interventions into school and district accountability and planning systems.

4 REMINDERS:

  • Academic and behavioral supports are based on the intensity of the student’s needs.
    • Supports are available at the universal (all students), selective (some students), and intensive (a few students) levels.
    • Each intervention has a written protocol for implementation, either from a published curriculum or a locally designed program.
  • A student’s response to intervention is used as the basis for changing, modifying, or intensifying academic and behavioral supports. Assessing response to intervention involves the regular use of data systems that are simple, reliable, and linked directly to decisions about instruction or behavioral support.
  • Evidence-based practices are used for selecting the supports that will be used and for evaluating whether an intervention is effective and implemented with high fidelity.
    • Schools should screen all children for behavioral adjustment on a schedule similar to that used for academic screening such as reading fluency assessments. Methods can include multiple teacher nominations and rating systems and regular review of office discipline referral patterns.
    • Once a student is identified to receive supports beyond the universal, schoolwide system then a process of regular progress monitoring needs to be established with clear decision points. These may include regular teacher ratings, points or ratings on a student self-management checklist or point card, or direct observation data.
  • When school and classroom prevention and intervention programs are effective, they:
    • begin early in childhood;
    • are comprehensive in nature (they address multiple risk and protective factors);
    • involve increasing positive interactions between adults and children;
    • directly teach new skills (provide practice); and,
    • are offered continuously and consistently through all the years of schooling.

Shared Leadership

The coordination and training, coaching, resources, and evaluation to support the implementation of MTSS through shared decision-making by a group of individuals who represent the school, district, and community (e.g. students, family members, general and special educators, specialists, etc.).

Data-based Problem Solving and Decision Making

The process used by stakeholder teams from multiple settings (e.g. home, school, community), to analyze and evaluate information related to planning and implementing effective instructional strategies matched to student need.

Layered Continuum of Supports

Culturally- and developmentally-relevant practices, that are layered from universal (every student) to targeted (some students) to intensive (few students), in order to support the academic and behavioral needs of every student.

Evidence-based Instruction, Intervention and Assessment Practices

Teaching and learning approaches proven to be effective through scientifically-based research studies which are used to guide educational decisions to ensure improved outcomes for students.