Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS)

Milwaukee Public Schools has had a Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports system in place for several years.

Students from Clement with their Expectations Poster

Research supports that a PBIS system, implemented with fidelity, effectively reduces classroom disruptions and student suspensions through a school-wide, systematic, tiered-intervention approach, which leads to increased student achievement. School-wide PBIS provides an operational framework for achieving these outcomes.

More importantly, PBIS is NOT a curriculum, program, intervention or practice, but is a decision-making framework that guides selection, integration and implementation of the best research-based academic and behavioral practices and interventions for improving student academic and behavior outcomes for all students.

School-wide PBIS emphasizes four integrated elements: (a) data for decision-making, (b) measurable outcomes supported and evaluated by data, (c) practices with evidence that these outcomes are achievable and (d) systems that efficiently and effective support implementation of these practices.

Schools that establish systems with the capacity to implement school-wide PBIS with integrity and durability have teaching and learning environments that are:photo

  • Less reactive, aversive, dangerous and exclusionary, and
  • More engaging, responsive, preventive and productive.

In addition, these environments are more effective and efficient in their capacity to:

  • Address classroom management and disciplinary issues (e.g., attendance, tardiness, antisocial behavior),
  • Improve supports for students whose behaviors require more specialized assistance (e.g., emotional and behavioral disorders, mental health), and
  • Most importantly, maximize academic engagement and achievement for all students

Students at Sherman School proud of their expectations.

The district requires schools to use; Be Safe, Be Respectful and Be Responsible as their school-wide expectations. The expectations are clearly defined for each of the common areas or times throughout the school.  The expectations are systematically taught and demonstrated through behavioral lesson plans, also known as “Cool Tools,” on a schedule developed by the Tier 1/Universal Team.  The schedule is largely dependent on school data, both objective and anecdotal, that suggests which potential or problem behaviors need to be addressed as priorities.

Students are frequently recognized and appreciated, often when they least expect it, for following the expectations.  They are “caught doing the right thing” as part of a school-wide recognition system.  Schools often will use some type of “ticket” system as part of a token-economy system where students can earn a reward.  Rewards may be individualized or classroom-based and can vary from school to school.  Schools with middle and high school grades are encouraged to have a student advisory group to help identify which rewards may be valued most by the students.

 When problem behavior does occur, PBIS supports agreement within the school about what constitutes a minor(managed in the classroom) versus a major (managed in the office) behavior.  This is developed through the use of a simple T-chart.  There is a clear set of definitions and processes for situations that involve negative behavior so that the school environment becomes a calmer, more predictable and more consistent place to be for students and adults alike.

PBIS Tiers Flowchart