Tuesday, August 09, 2022

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Article Index

          A.     Systemwide Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports

Systemwide Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (alternatively abbreviated as either PBIS or SWPBS) is a well-established systemic and data-driven approach to improving school learning environments. Its emphasis is on changing underlying attitudes and policies concerning how behavior is addressed (Sugai & Horner, 2002). Several prominent civil rights organizations have been seeking greater federal support for PBIS, and several child advocacy groups point to successful PBIS-based interventions (Dignity in Schools Campaign, 2010; Advocates for Children and Youth, 2006).

PBIS consists of three different levels of intervention. The schoolwide level affects every member of the school community. Its goal is to ensure a safe and effective learning environment by emphasizing appropriate student behavior and simultaneously working to reduce punitive disciplinary measures. At this level, PBIS entails frequent monitoring of office referrals for discipline and setting schoolwide goals for reducing these referrals. The system of interventions and supports is designed to shift the focus from the individual student as the primary problem to the “collective behaviors, working structures, and routines of educators” and to “the whole school as the unit of analysis” (Warren et al., 2006). Numerous studies have found positive results with schoolwide PBIS (Lassenet et al., 2006; Metzler et al., 2001; Horner et al., 2009; Muscott et al., 2008).

The second and third levels of intervention provide additional supports and services for smaller numbers of students who exhibit challenging behavior. These include interventions conducted in *396 individual classrooms and focus more on specialized instruction of school expectations, skills training for students, or other strategies tailored to specific behaviors.

One study of an otherwise successfully implemented PBIS system, however, demonstrated that Black and Latino students nevertheless received more severe punishment for the category minor misbehavior and concluded that one cannot assume that interventions intended to improve behavior will be effective to the same degree for all groups (Skiba et al., 2009). The researchers suggested that PBIS might benefit by using data disaggregated by race, and that a more gender and disability conscious, culturally responsive PBIS approach is possible. PBIS systems do, in fact, enable users to produce school ethnicity reports. Although, underutilized, the use of the ethnicity reports by districts implementing PBIS appears to be rising (Vincent, 2008).