What is School-wide PBIS?


School-wide positive behavior intervention and supports (SW-PBIS) is a system of tools and strategies for defining, teaching, acknowledging appropriate behavior, and correcting inappropriate behavior. It is a framework for creating customized school systems that support student outcomes and academic success. SW-PBIS is for the whole school, it is preventative, and it changes the paradigm of focus from negative behaviors and exchanges to positive expectations and interactions.

There are four main elements in SW-PBIS:

Multi-tier support

School-wide means that educators support appropriate behavior in classroom and non-classroom (bathrooms, assemblies, hallways) areas. This support happens along a continuum from Tier 1 for all students and Tier 2 for a small group of students to Tier 3 for individual students. The goal is to create an environment that sets up ALL students for success.

An important aspect of SW-PBIS is the understanding that appropriate behavior and social competence is a skill that requires direct teaching to students just like math and reading. There is no assumption, in SW-PBIS, that students will learn social behavior automatically or pick it up as they go through life. This critical feature in SW-PBIS leads to its effectiveness.

Data-based decision-making aligns curricular instruction and behavioral supports to student and staff needs.  Schools applying PBIS begin by establishing clear expectations for behavior that are taught, modeled, and reinforced across all settings and by all staff.  This provides a host environment that supports the adoption and sustained use of effective academic and social/emotional instruction.  PBIS has proven its effectiveness and efficiency as an Evidence-Based Practice. (Sugai & Horner, 2007).

The principles and practices of PBIS are consistent with federal education mandates such as the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 (IDEA 2004).  PBIS integrates state school improvement initiatives including Systems of Support, Standards Aligned Curriculum, and Response to Intervention to assist schools in meeting Illinois’ educational goals and mandates.

What does PBIS look like at AVCAS/SOAR?

One of the key features of PBIS is clearly defining rules and expectations for all students in every school setting.  AVCAS/SOAR’s expectations are:

Be Respectful

Be Responsible

Be Safe

Research has proven that schools are successful when they help students grow academically, socially, and emotionally.  Research also shows that positive reinforcement is one of the best ways to not only change problematic, or unexpected behavior, but also to encourage and maintain expected behavior. By setting forth and teaching clear school-wide social and behavioral expectations, reinforcing these behaviors, research shows we will see an increase in student learning and a decrease in classroom disruptions.

Our staff has been able to develop a unique system to ensure student success at AVCAS/SOAR. There are five basic components to our program:

  1. The Behavior Matrix: Specific expectations for every student to follow in every setting
  2. Lesson Plans: Used to teach students the behavioral expectations for each setting
  3. Crowns: An acknowledgement system of positive reinforcement for recognizing students when they follow set expectations
  4. Systematic Behavioral Response: A school wide approach to behavior support used to support students who need a little extra help learning and practicing the behavior expectations
  5. Office Discipline Referral Forms: Used to document behavioral incidents that are managed outside of the classroom environment.  The number of ODRs will be tracked for each child and the school as a whole in order to evaluate the effectiveness of our program using the School Wide Information System (SWIS).  

Specific Practices and Supports at AVCAS/SOAR

Clearly Defined Behavior Expectations

Social Emotional Learning

System of Acknowledging Appropriate Behavior

System of Correcting Inappropriate Behavior

Supports for Educators

For more information

AVCAS/SOAR School-wide Behavior Matrix

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Data Collection at AVCAS/SOAR

AVCAS/SOAR uses a variety of data collection tools that inform our decisions and interventions.  Students have a daily sheet that records their Responsible, Respectful, and Safe behavior during each period of the day.  The points earned on their daily sheet is translated into Crowns, which the students can use to purchase items in the school store.  The daily sheet is also used to determine levels and privileges during the school day.  

The School-Wide Information System (SWIS) is a web-based software system for collecting and summarizing office discipline referrals in schools. SWIS was developed by University of Oregon faculty.  The purpose of SWIS is to provide schools with accurate, efficient, practical information for decision-making about school-wide discipline.  SWIS was developed to be an efficient, reliable and confidential strategy for managing office-discipline referral (ODRs) information. At AVCAS/SOAR SWIS is used for:

a. Internal decision-making as schools improve their discipline practices

b. Support plan design with individual students and their families

c. Reporting to district, state and federal agencies about school outcomes

d. As a method of collecting aggregated data across schools

Important Links

Association for Positive Behavior Support

Positive Behavioral Support Project of the University of South Florida Facilitator Guide

School-wide Information System (SWIS)

Understanding Problem Behavior: An Interactive Tutorial 

Association for Positive Behavior Support

Beach Center on Families and Disability 

The National Center on Education Disability and Juvenile Justice 

Institute on Violence and Destructive Behavior 

Online Academy Positive Behavior Support 

Center on Social and Emotional Foundations of Early Learning

National Center on Response to Intervention

RtI Action Network