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Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) are a great tool that all educators should be implementing. Far too often, students are unfairly disciplined by school and educators because it’s easier to suspend or expel the student than actually work with them to encourage more positive behavior. This response often leads to students getting thrown into the school-to-prison pipeline and their educations are completely disrupted. Quality education is the key to more successful futures, so it’s vitally important that we give our students the resources they need to succeed inside and outside of the classroom.

What exactly is PBIS?

PBIS is a way for educators to adopt more productive ways to enhance students behavior and academic performance. Too often, students are merely suspended or expelled, but PBIS allows teachers to manage student discipline on their own using methods shown to work through extensive research. PBIS provides educators with research-proven resources to use to help students with social behavior in and out of the classroom. The goal of PBIS is to prevent students from engaging in unwanted behavior and providing them with an actual support system.

Principles of PBIS

There are a few universal principles of PBIS that are important to keep in mind. One is that PBIS can be used for all students, no matter their individual background or performance in the classroom. Each student has the capacity to be a wonderful student and get a quality education, so it’s important to instill this belief in students as well and teach them proper behavior in the classroom. Working with students early can prevent more serious issues from occurring later on and helps those students achieve success.

PBIS is not cut and dry and there’s no one way to implement it. Teachers must work together to develop individual strategies that work for their unique students. However, there are places educators can access research, strategies, and ideas for PBIS and learn more about it.

How can educators use PBIS?

The first step of effectively using PBIS is setting up systems for educators to benefit from and use to help their students. Schools can help out educators by providing training sessions for them on using PBIS, give them a support system to check in on the success of using PBIS in the classroom, and also provide teachers with research to help them implement PBIS.

In the classroom, PBIS encourages teachers to keep an eye out for warning behaviors that are minor, but could indicate more disruptive behaviors possibly developing later. Educators must identify students that could be at-risk for acting out and take steps to prevent future negative behavior. The school should work with teachers to develop a strategy to help these students seek the resources they need, such as providing a mentor, taking time to talk to someone and discuss any problems they’re having, or even discussing options with parents on how to reinforce positive behavior in the student.