A school’s Tier 1 for Behavior should include all of the following:

  • A Tier 1 Universal Team
  • 3-5 School Wide Expectations
    • All schools must use Be Safe, Be Responsible, and Be Respectful
  • Create area-specific rules; contained within your school’s Behavior Matrix
    • What does it me to be Safe, Responsible, and Respectful in the Cafeteria? On the bus?
  • Create area-specific posters to hang in area
  • Create Classroom specific expectation matrix and posters
    • Each teacher can make their own (specific to their grade level or subject matter)
    • Template available in Resources
    • Should include various transitions in the classroom (while in the lab, taking a test, working in small groups, etc) and what it means to Be Safe, Responsible, and Respectful
  • Create a T-Chart of Classroom vs. Office Managed Behaviors
  • Create an acknowledgement system with matrix
    • High Frequency, Medium Frequency, and Low Frequency for all students
    • Used to reinforce desired behaviors
  • Teach Behavioral Lessons (Cool Tools) weekly
  • Look at Big 5 Data at every PBIS meeting
    • Gathered and shared by Data Committee
    • Shared to all staff monthly
    • Identify trouble areas, behaviors, times and students
  • Use PBIS language throughout building
    • “Excellent job of being safe in the halls by walking”
    • “Thank you for being respectful by not talking during the quiz.”
    • On announcements, flyers, newsletters, etc.
  • Danielson and PBIS in the Classroom

Blank forms for Tier 1 can be found on our Facilitators’ Page

Tier 1 School-Wide Walkthrough Tool


Area-Specific Expectations and Posters

Expectations poster at Burdick

Expectations poster at Burdick

The areas of Hallways, Main Office, Classrooms, Cafeteria, Media Center, Gym, Playground, Computer Lab, and other locations in which students are located need posters with specific rules for that area under the school’s expectations of Be Safe, Be Responsible, and Be Respectful. Every classroom should have a behavior matrix with classroom specific rules during various transitions (small group work, lining up, taking a test, etc) fit within the school’s expectations.

Examples can be found under Resources.


All schools need to have verbal and tangible acknowledgements for the students to receive when meeting a specific behavioral expectation.  These acknowledgements should be on your acknowledgement matrix as high-frequency, medium-frequency, or low-frequency. High-frequency occurs on a daily basis when students reach the behavior expectations and include a verbal acknowledgement tied in with a tangible acknowledgment.  Medium-frequency are used as a classroom and/or designated group of students to be recognized after attaining a level of expectations for a given period of time (a classroom receiving 5 gold stars in a month, or all 6th grade students who receive 15 PBIS stars).  Low-frequency acknowledgements should occur quarterly and are school-wide celebrations and are used to celebrate successes and re-focus students on the school wide expectations.

High Frequency Acknowledgement Examples:

  • Verbal
  • Positive call home
  • Postcard home
  • Gotcha Slip/ Notes/ certificates directly to student
  • Reading positive notes at an assembly or on daily announcements
  • Posting notes on PBIS Bulletin Board
  • Acknowledge behavior with a PBIS ticket
    • Ticket goes into PBIS raffle (classroom or school-wide)
    • Students save up tickets for PBIS store
  • Students have a PBIS card which is stamped by staff to acknowledge positive behavior
    • Completed cards entered into PBIS raffle
    • Completed cards used for PBIS store
  • Classroom Progression System
    • All students begin on lowest level
    • When positive behavior is exhibited, student (or class) go up one level
    • Some acknowledgement received at each level
  • Clothespin/ sticker system
    • Student’s achieving expectations given a clothespin or sticker
    • Students with XX number at end of day achieve BLANK

Examples can be found on our Resources Page


A T-Chart should be developed by all staff members working together. The T-Chart displays which behaviors by students should be handled at the classroom level by the teacher, and which should be referred to the office for an administrator to handle.

Examples can be found on our Resources Page


Cool Tools:

On a weekly basis all staff members will take time to teach their students a Cool Tool on a pre-determined behavior. This behavior will be selected by looking at data and seeing what the school’s area of focus is with regards to behavior. These Cool Tools will help students understand what the expectations are and will give them tools on how to succeed in reaching these expectations.

Examples are located in Resources.

PBIS Language on a Daily Basis

PBIS lives and breathes in what we do on a daily basis in how we interact with everyone, everyday. Positive language must be maintained in all school communications, if it is newsletters home, emails, daily announcements, signs in the halls, bulletin boards, or any other communication. Interactions with every student need to remain in the ratio of 5 to 1 positive interactions. All staff should verbally acknowledge desired behaviors and positively redirect students exhibiting negative behavior s and work with them to reach the desired behaviors. PBIS Tier 1 should just be a part of what you do on a daily basis and must reach every student.

PBIS Bulletin Boards Emerson PBIS Bulletin Board

Schools are encouraged to dedicate a bulletin board in their school solely to PBIS. This bulletin board can be used to provide updates to everyone about what is occurring around PBIS, can remind students of the expectations, can be used to publicize acknowledgements or for any other purpose to increase the involvement of everyone with PBIS.  Schools should also have posters in the hallways and classrooms that draw everyone’s attention to them and publicize about PBIS and the expectations.

Examples can be found here


Transition to Tier 2

Throughout the course of a year, 80% of the student body should be responding to Tier 1 interventions alone. For those 15-20% of students who are not responding to Tier 1 and are struggling with their behavior, Tier 2 Interventions should be implemented as early as possible.