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Positive Behavior Intervention Systems (PBIS)

PBIS - Positive Behavior Intervention and Support

In 2014 the Ferndale School District formally adopted the PBIS approach as our Framework for thinking about student behavior. 

We have active behavior teams at all school buildings and a District Team that meets regularly to plan, implement, and monitor the most up to date research based practices across our PreK - 12 school system. To learn more about what a PBIS approach is read on. To find out what we are doing in Ferndale to address the social, emotional, and behavioral needs four students try these links:

 Ferndale School District Behavior Team

 Ferndale PBIS Glossary

 PBIS 101 for Ferndale Staff

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.” PBIS is based on principles of applied behavior analysis and the prevention approach and values of positive behavior support.

What is School-wide PBIS?

One of the foremost advances in school-wide discipline is the emphasis on school-wide systems of support that include proactive strategies for defining, teaching, and supporting appropriate student behaviors to create positive school environments. Instead of using a piecemeal approach of individual behavioral management plans, a continuum of positive behavior support for all students within a school is implemented in areas including the classroom and non-classroom settings (such as hallways, buses, and restrooms). Positive behavior support is an application of a behaviorally-based systems approach to enhance the capacity of schools, families, and communities to design effective environments that improve the link between research-validated practices and the environments in which teaching and learning occurs. Attention is focused on creating and sustaining primary (school-wide), secondary (classroom), and tertiary (individual) systems of support that improve lifestyle results (personal, health, social, family, work, recreation) for all children and youth by making targeted behaviors less effective, efficient, and relevant, and desired behavior more functional. To read more, visit PBIS.ORG

What is PBIS?

PBIS is a framework or approach for assisting school personnel in adopting and organizing evidence-based behavioral interventions into an integrated continuum that enhances academic and social behavior outcomes for all students. PBIS IS NOT a packaged curriculum scripted intervention, or manualized strategy. PBIS IS a prevention-oriented way for school personnel to (a) organize evidencebased practices, (b) improve their implementation of those practices, and (c) maximize academic and social behavior outcomes for students. PBIS supports the success of ALL students.

What are PBIS “systems?

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 include (a) team-based leadership, (b) data-based decisionmaking, (c) continuous monitoring of student behavior, (d) regular universal screening, and (e) effective on-going professional development.

What does PBIS have to do with school discipline and classroom management?

Effective classroom management and preventive school discipline are essential for supporting teaching and learning. PBIS goes further by emphasizing that classroom management and preventive school discipline must be integrated and working together with effective academic instruction in a positive and safe school climate to maximize success for all students.

PBIS Team Meetings

District Team Goals (Prioritized)

  • Establish and teach a common PBIS Language
  • Update, Implement and Train all staff on HIB Process/Process/Roles. Implement PBIS Tier I Bullying Curriculum.
  • Monitor all Tier 1 implementation at all worksites
  • Provide Professional Development on PBIS for all workgroups
  • Collect, Analyze, and Share Building and District Data on Offenses/Actions using Skyward. Building have the option to use SWIS as a building level data tool. Paul Douglas can come to building based PBIS teams to present SWIS.
  • Investigate and implement Tier 1 and Tier 2 curriculum for secondary - high school
  • Present to the Board in February
  • Ensure strong community communication - inside FSD and all constituents - regarding PBIS.

Below find resources from our PBIS District Team Meetings


  • adult behavior
  • antecedent
  • assigned consequence
  • attention avoidance
  • attention seeking
  • body language
  • celebration
  • data
  • differentiation
  • discipline
  • emotional skills
  • equity vs. equality
    • Equality: Treating everyone the same.

    • Equity: Giving everyone what they need to be successful.

  • expectations
    • clearly defined and taught guidelines for behaviors
    • externalizing
  • feedback
  • fidelity
    • “the extent to which the delivery of an intervention adheres to the protocol or program model originally developed” (Mowbray et al. 2003, p. 315).
      Schools that have adopted PBIS with fidelity have shown a reduction in discipline referrals, decrease amounts of administrative time devoted to meeting with students about behavior issues, and a more positive school culture and climate (Lindsey, 2008).

  • framework
  • growth mindset
  • internalizing
  • intervention
  • major
    • Discipline incidents that must be handled by the administration.
      These may include but are not limited to: physical fights, property damage, drugs, weapons, tobacco, etc.

  • material reward
    • tangible items that are earned as a result of positive choices
  • minor
  • motivation
  • natural consequence
  • office managed
  • PBIS
  • Pre K - 12
  • Vertical alignment
  • privilege
  • ratios positive to negative
  • re-teach
  • referral
    • a document that records major or minor problem behaviors, location of behavior, motives, a short description of what occurred and next steps or decisions as a result of the behavior
  • reinforcement
    • to strengthen the occurrence of established expectations
  • relationship
  • respect
    • A feeling of admiration for someone’s abilities, qualities or achievements. Respect is demonstrated by actions and words. Six dimensions of respect ….curiosity, attention, dialogue, sensitivity, empowerment and healing. Respect is shown to all, especially those that have so many stumbling blocks in their way…yet show up every day.
  • restorative practice
    • “Restorative practices is a social science that studies how to build social capital and achieve social discipline through participatory learning and decision making.  The IIRP distinguishes bewteen the terms restorative practices and restorative justice as a subset of resotrative pratcices.   Restorative justice is reactive, consisting of romal or informal responses to crime and other wrongdoing after it occurs. The IIRP’s definition of restorative practices also includes the use of informal and formal processes that preced wrongdoing, those that proactively build relationships and a sense of community to prevent conflict and wrongdoing.”  (International Institute For Restorative Practices, 2013 IIRP Graduate School, Defining Restorative,
  • reward
    • A presumed positive event, activity or object. Rewards make a difference on initial behavior change and sustained behavior change.
      Rewards are effective when:

      • Used to build new skills or sustain desired skills
      • Delivered when earned
      • Gradually fade over time
  • RTI response to intervention approach
  • safety
    • The condition of being protected, physically and emotionally. When I think PBIS and safety I think of emotional safety first. We need to listen and try to understand what they are feeling and not downplay those feelings.
      “The children who need the most love will usually ask for it in the most unloving of ways.”

  • school culture
  • school-wide
  • Second Step Curriculum
  • Shaping Behavior
  • Social Skills
  • staff managed
    • Minor discipline incidents that are handled by the classroom teacher and usually do not warrant a discipline referral to the office. Examples: unprepared for class, disruption, and disrespect.
  • teaching
  • tier 1
    • The  Tier I level includes universal instruction to all students on school-wide expectations for all students.  The goal of Tier I is to provide all students the curriculum and instruction necessary to support their behavioral and academic  succcess in all settings at school; it’s also known as primary prevention. Tier I activities are most often delivered to students through core classes, elective courses and or /and an advisory.
  • tier 2
  • tier 3
    • The Tier III level includes intensive one on one interventions with students unresponsive to Tier I and Tier II instruction/ interventions.