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Positive Climate for Learning.

It’s not unusual for students to struggle with behavior in school, especially when they’re not sure what’s expected of them. If a school reacts only with punishment, students don’t learn the skills they need to make positive changes in the future. That’s where positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS) comes in.

What is PBIS?

PBIS is a proactive approach that schools use to improve school safety and promote positive behavior. The focus of PBIS is prevention, not punishment.

At its heart, PBIS calls on schools to teach students positive behavior strategies, just as they would teach about any other subject — like reading or math. In these schools, all students learn about behavior, including those with IEPs and 504 plans.

PBIS recognizes that students can only meet behavioral expectations if they know what the expectations are. Everyone learns what’s considered to be appropriate behavior and uses a common language to talk about it. Throughout the school day — in class, at lunch, and on the bus — students understand what’s expected of them.

PBIS has a few important guiding principles:

  • Students can learn behavioral expectations for different situations.
  • Students learn expected behaviors for each school setting through explicit instruction and opportunities to practice and receive feedback.
  • Stepping in early can prevent more serious behavior problems.
  • Each student is different, so schools need to give many kinds of behavior support.
  • How schools teach behavior should be based on research and science.
  • Tracking a student’s behavioral progress is important.
  • Schools gather and use data to make decisions about behavior interventions.
  • School staff members are consistent in how they encourage expected behavior and discourage infractions.

According to several studies, PBIS leads to better student behavior. In many schools that use PBIS, students receive fewer detentions and suspensions, and earn better grades. There’s also some evidence that PBIS may lead to less bullying.

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