Positive Behavior, Intervention, and Support (PBIS)

PBIS is a proactive approach to school-wide discipline.

Definition of Discipline

Unfortunately, “discipline” commonly is defined by procedures that focus on control with punishment consequences. This traditional discipline perspective is incomplete without attention to the development and support of pro-social behavior. Research suggests that punishment by itself is ineffective in achieving long-term suppression of problem behavior and enhancement of pro-social behavior.

Therefore, a useful definition of discipline is “the steps or actions, teachers, administrators, parents, and students follow to enhance student academic and social behavior success”.

Proactive Approach to School-Wide Discipline

Schools that implement school-wide systems of positive behavior support that focus on taking a team-based system approach and teaching appropriate behavior to all students in the school. Instead of using a patchwork of individual behavior management plans, schools are moving toward school-wide discipline systems that address the entire school, the classroom, areas outside the classroom (such as hallways, cafeteria, playground and bus), and the individual student with challenging behavior, and that the result in a continuum of positive behavior support for all students.

Schools that have been successful in building school-wide systems develop procedures to accomplish the following:

  1. Behavioral Expectations are Defined. A small number of clearly defined behavioral expectations in positive, simple, rules. Waterford-Halfmoon’s 4 expectations are: Be Respectful, Be Responsible, Be a Learner and Be Positive.
  2. Behavioral Expectations are Taught. The behavioral expectations are taught to all students in the building, and are taught in real contexts.
  3. Appropriate behaviors are Acknowledged. Once behaviors have been defined and taught, they need to be acknowledged on a regular basis.
  4. Behavioral Errors are Corrected Proactively. When students violate behavioral expectations, clear procedures are needed for providing information to them that the behavior was unacceptable, and preventing that unacceptable behavior from resulting in inadvertent rewards.
  5. Program Evaluations and Adaptations are Made by a Team. School-wide behavior systems of behavior support involve on-going modification and adaptation.
  6. Administrative Support and Involvement are Active. School-wide behavior support involves the active and on-going support and involvement of key administrators.
  7. Individual Student Support Systems are Integrated with School-wide Discipline Systems. School-wide behavior support is a process for establishing a positive culture in a school.


  1. Increase in attendance.
  2. Student self-reports of a more positive and calm environment.
  3. Teacher reports of a more positive and calm environment.
  4. Reduction in the proportion of students who engage in behavioral disruptions.
  5. Reduction in the number of behavioral disruptions.