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BEST & Positive Behavior Intervention & Support

FAQs about PBIS & BEST




Where can I find out more about PBIS?

Many articles, data sheets and other resources can be found at www.pbis.org.

Who can help me do it?

Contact your NVUSD PBIS Coach Laura Mooiman at (707) 259-8447 or lmooiman@nvusd.k12.ca.us

What will PBIS look like at our school?

A school-based team consisting of representative members of administration, faculty and staff on campus will develop, implement, and monitor the school-wide PBIS Plan. This team will regularly (at least monthly) review the discipline data to help track progress, identify areas to target for intervention across campus, and communicate these findings and plans for intervention across campus. The discipline referral process and procedures will be consistent throughout the school and effective consequences will be used to discourage inappropriate behavior. The school will have identified and posted expectations and rules in specific settings used to teach students the expected (appropriate) behavior. A reward system (or incentives program) will be utilized to encourage and model appropriate behavior.

How long will it take to do PBIS?

Since School-wide PBIS is a process, not a program, schools vary on the length of time it takes to get going.  Schools typically take between 3 months to 1 year to fully implement all the critical components of PBIS. Components are generally introduced a few at a time. The process is ongoing and constantly adapted to meet the changing needs of the school and address current concerns. Many schools begin noticing improvements right away. However, it may take a few years for the school’s philosophy regarding the handling of problem behavior to change. Although a participating school may see immediate reductions in discipline, the PBIS process can still take a school 3-5 years to fully implement a comprehensive approach to addressing problem behaviors (i.e., incorporate planned interventions to address classroom, targeted groups, and individual students exhibiting problem behavior).

How will this affect teachers?

Faculty and staff must decide if positive behavior support is a good fit for their school. Once the school obtains an 80% approval rate from faculty and staff (must include administration), the core team begins brainstorming and working on each of the critical components of PBIS. Faculty, staff and students are asked for input/feedback on all components and contribute to the overall school-wide PBIS plan. All members of the school are participants in positive behavior support and adhere to the school-wide expectations.

I've done a lot of behavior things like PBIS in my classroom, why should I do this one?

Many teachers implement wonderful, creative, fun and effective behavior management systems in their classrooms. Unlike many other specific behavioral interventions or programs, PBIS is not something that one teacher can do alone in their classroom. PBIS is a collaborative effort that actively involves all staff members in a school; teachers, administrators, paraprofessionals, support staff and students. This cooperative approach recognizes the critical importance of consistency across people and settings in creating safe schools and effective learning environments. When linked to a broader system of behavioral supports, effective classroom management strategies and techniques become even more effective and efficient. This makes the work of the classroom teacher easier and the school experience of the student more positive.


If there is a relatively small group of students causing most of the problems at our school, why should we start with a school-wide intervention for all students?

Every school has a group of students who are more challenging to work with than the general student population. These at-risk or high-risk students often absorb an inordinate amount of staff time and resources. However, focusing our initial intervention efforts here will seldom create the kind of safe and positive school environment we are seeking. In fact, well-intentioned efforts designed to deal with these most difficult students actually can backfire and cause more problems. Creating safe and effective schools is done by first implementing “universal” interventions to actively create the desired culture and communicate to students what kind of behavior will be valued and acknowledged.


This process is guided by the PBIS Team at each school site. Many educators are amazed at how much impact this actually has on all students in their school. Although they are necessary for all students, universal interventions alone are not likely to be sufficient to resolve the issues for their at-risk and high-risk students. Once the school-wide system is strong, the team then moves to adding “strategic” or small group interventions for their at-risk students. Finally, schools move to strengthen their “intensive” or individualized interventions for their high-risk students. Although it would seem that this would complete the process, the behavior team’s mission involves a commitment to ongoing evaluation and revision of systems of support in their school. PBIS is a philosophical framework that guides our ongoing efforts to support all students in the school.

How can we effectively address the needs of individuals within group environments?

Individual systems and group applications of positive behavior support are complimentary in that well-structured group applications (e.g., classroom management systems) provide a foundation for effective individualized support. Often, the need for individual systems is minimized by these broader systems. However, some people require a greater degree of individualization and support. It may be necessary to adapt features of group applications (e.g., physical arrangement, routines, types of rewards) to meet the needs of individuals within certain settings.

I'm concerned about using positive reinforcement with students. Isn't it just bribery or manipulation?

The use of positive reinforcement is one of the hottest issues in educational practice. Educators rarely get the opportunity to discuss this topic at length, even though their personal beliefs on reinforcement drive important professional practices. Positive Behavior Support treats the acquisition and use of social-behavioral skills in much the same way we would academic skills. That is to say, we teach and reteach the skills we want to see used by our students. Reinforcement is viewed as an effective tool in the education process. There are three general reasons why educators use positive reinforcement to support students; (a) To create positive relationships with students and their families, (b) To establish an inviting and positive learning environment where students and staff enjoy doing their respective jobs, and (c) to provide students with the accurate behavioral feedback they need to become more successful in school and better prepared for life.

How is PBIS a process?

PBIS is not a packaged program with a set script.  There are critical components (briefly mentioned above) that help identify schools that are engaged in School-wide PBIS. These components look different in every school because PBIS is a PROCESS that is individualized to meet the specific needs of each school.  That process is always changing to meet these specific needs of the school (e.g., population changes, maintain interest or buy-in, address multiple levels of problem behavior, etc.).  

How is PBIS collaborative?

A core team is formed and is representative of the entire staff of the school.  The team receives training on each component of PBIS and pulls together ideas that meet the specific needs of their school.  The team’s ideas are presented to the rest of the staff and students for feedback, editing, and consensus on the plan.  All members of the school contribute to the school-wide plan. 

How is PBIS proactive?

Using discipline data helps the team to identify patterns and possible causes of inappropriate behavior.  This information is then used to develop effective interventions to decrease inappropriate behavior and increase desired behavior across campus.  The use of yearly, monthly, or more frequent data comparisons helps to prevent the same patterns of inappropriate behavior from reoccurring and assist the core team in adapting the School-wide PBIS plan. 

How is PBIS educative?

When children misbehave, we cannot assume that they know how to behave.  After all, children in our schools come from many different backgrounds and cultures that view “behavior” in their own unique way.  When a child misbehaves, we view the problem in the same manner that we would view problems in reading or math…as a skill deficit.  Behavior is taught to establish a single, positive school climate and to relay to both students and staff that the appropriate behavior is priority in our school.

How is PBIS functional?

In order for PBIS to be effective, it has to reinforce staff and student behavior.  That is, staff and students are rewarded/acknowledged for exhibiting appropriate behavior and reinforcement is withheld when problem behavior occurs.  Staff and students will learn that the PBIS process “works” for them, because they are able to get what they “want” but only through using the appropriate behavior taught.