Changing School Culture Through PBIS


PBIS Course ImageMany teachers and school administrators face the challenge of dealing with behavior problems and creating a school culture that values respect, self-discipline, and a love of learning. If your school faces similar challenges, you're definitely not alone. A well-executed School-Wide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) program can help change the culture of your classroom and school community.

What is PBIS?

PBIS is a broad set of research-validated strategies designed to create school environments that promote and support appropriate behavior of all students. PBIS is making a significant positive difference today in more than 20,000 schools across the U.S.

Students in PBIS schools are taught the skills to behave appropriately and are consistently praised for behaving well. School staff and students have a shared understanding of PBIS strategies and how those strategies are applied across school settings and situations. The PBIS framework has a ripple effect. When students behave, classroom instruction time increases. Which means student achievement improves. Which in turn means life at school gets better - for everyone.

Benefits of PBIS

The benefits of PBIS will spread throughout the school community and typically result in:

  • Reduced major disciplinary infractions.
  • Improvements in academic achievement.
  • Enhanced perception of organizational health and safety.
  • Improved school climate.
  • Improvements in social-emotional outcomes.
  • Reductions in reports of bullying behavior.

4 Key Principles of PBIS

All members of the school community have an important role to play in making a PBIS program successful. There are 4 key principles:

  1. Teams of educators work together. A good PBIS system will include a district PBIS administration team as well as a school PBIS team.
  2. Decisions are made based on data. Examine local school data to identify what practices should be put into place, how progress will be monitored, and what supports and training the adults in the district need to implement the identified practices.
  3. Instructional focus must build on strategy of teach and practice. Start by teaching all students the behaviors that are expected of them, and review and reinforce those lessons throughout the year. And don't forget that positive feedback is critical!
  4. Students must master social skills. Some students lack basic social skills, such as listening, taking turns, or how to behave in common areas. Helping students develop these skills will help them in the classroom, and in life.

Implemented with care and commitment, school-wide PBIS can make a dramatic difference in the educational experience - in your classroom, in your school, and across an entire district.

These tips are from the new Exceptional Child Online Course School-Wide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports, written by Dr. Tim Lewis.

Other helpful courses include:

  • Self-Regulation Skills for Elementary Students
  • Restraint and Seclusion: Alternatives
  • Inclusion Services

Learn more about these courses and view the full course library at

Want to Know More?

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