Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (or PBIS) is a framework that is an approach to behavior management on a school-wide level, in a specific setting such as the bus, hallways, classrooms, cafeteria, lunchroom, recess, and assemblies, or with an individual student.

PBIS methods are research-based and have been proven to significantly reduce the occurrence of problem behaviors. One of the keys is to focus on prevention. It is based on the idea that when students are taught clearly defined behavioral expectations and provided with predictable responses to their behavior, both positive and corrective, 80-85% of students will meet these expectations. The 15-20% of the students not responding to universal interventions will need to receive additional support through group and individual interventions.

A key element to PBIS is an analysis of discipline referral data. This team-based approach to data analysis allows a school’s PBIS Team to identify problem areas, brainstorm interventions, acknowledge students exhibiting positive behavior, and communicate the findings to staff, students, and parents.

The key components of an effective school-wide PBIS system involve:

• Clearly defining and teaching a set of behavioral expectations
• Consistently acknowledging and rewarding appropriate behavior
• Constructively addressing problematic behavior
• Effectively using behavioral data to assess progress

Westfield is working collaboratively within a cohort model developed by the May Institute (Franklin, MA) and the University of Massachusetts Psychological Services (Amherst, MA) department led by Dr. Sara Whitcomb. This technical assistance team has expertise in the field of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), and currently provides systems-level consultation to help our district plan and implement frameworks that encourage positive behavior and academic engagement that reduce disruptive behavior school-wide.