You might know classroom PBIS as positive classroom behavior support, positive and proactive classroom management, or by some other similar sounding name. They’re all different ways of describing the same critical features of PBIS – practices, data, and systems – tailored to create better outcomes in your classrooms.
What Is Classroom PBIS?
In the same way PBIS operates school-wide as a multi-tiered framework, school personnel implement a full continuum of classroom PBIS practices to meet students’ needs. Beyond that, school and district leadership teams offer a tiered approach to training, coaching, and feedback to educators to support their classroom PBIS implementation. By differentiating support levels for all, some, and a few students and educators, leadership teams can effectively support all students and staff.
Why Address PBIS Implementation in Classrooms?
Classroom PBIS is critical to students and school personnel success. When PBIS is implemented in the classroom, individual student outcomes improve. At the school-wide level, schools experience overall improved outcomes and are more likely to sustain their PBIS implementation.2
There are three foundational elements to classroom PBIS:
• Evidence-based practices
• systems to support classroom PBIS Implementation
• data to guide decision making about classroom PBIS implementation
Classroom PBIS Practices
Classroom PBIS practices are preventative and responsive. They are strategies you can implement with all students needing support at any tier. When implemented with fidelity, classroom PBIS practices lead to fewer disruptions, improved student behavioral and academic outcomes, and more time spent teaching,
Positive classroom practices include:
• An effectively designed physical classroom
• Predictable classroom routines
• 3-5 posted positive classroom expectations
• Prompts and active supervision
• Varied opportunities to respond
• Acknowledgements for expected behavior
For more information and ideas for PBIS practices in classroom settings, check out the Supporting and Responding to Behavior Guide.
Classroom PBIS Systems
For classroom PBIS to work effectively, school personnel need school and district leadership to put systems in place to support their effort. Specifically, leadership teams select and implement systems based on documented needs within their district and schools.
Systems supporting classroom PBIS include:
• Classroom PBIS implementation is a school and district priority
• Available district/school resources to support classroom PBIS implementation
• Alignment and integration with other school/district initiatives.
• Clear expectations and explicit training about classroom PBIS practices.
• On-going coaching and performance feedback
More information about implementing PBIS systems in classroom settings can be found in the PBIS Technical Brief on Systems to Support Teachers Implementation of Positive Classroom Behavior Support.
Classroom PBIS Data
Classroom PBIS requires on-going attention to improve upon the systems and practices you have in place. Data are an active, dynamic part of informing these decisions. Data are objective, observable, and measurable pieces of information about students, school personnel, and schools. All data should be valid, accurate, reliable, and efficient.
Data guide instruction and classroom PBIS implementation by:
• Assessing how well core features of a practice or system are implemented
• Evaluating progress toward desired goals
• Guiding a problem-solving process
• Informing an action plan for improvement
• Considering local norms and values when selecting and measuring strategies
• Ensuring strategies support all individuals
Tiers of Classroom PBIS
Just as with school-wide PBIS, school personnel implement a multi-tiered system of PBIS practices in their classrooms. In addition, school and district leadership teams implement a full continuum of training, coaching, and professional feedback systems to support school personnel in their classroom efforts. By differentiating supports for all, some, and a few students and educators, leadership teams can effectively support all students and staff.
Tier 1 elements of classroom PBIS apply to every student in the room, regardless of the additional supports they receive. At this tier, school personnel should expect to meet the needs of most (>80%) of their students.
These proactive, preventative, positive elements include:
• Designing effective classroom environments
• Developing and teaching predictable classroom routines
• Explicitly posting and teaching positively-stated classroom expectations
• Delivering engaging instruction
• Providing prompts and active supervision
• Acknowledging students with specific praise
• Responding to problem behavior with redirections and corrections
Similarly, at Tier 1 there are systems to support school personnel. At this tier, school and district leadership teams should expect to meet the needs of most (>80%) school personnel. Systems at this tier include, resources, effective professional development, coaching, and feedback.
The goal at Tier 2 is to align a school’s Tier 2 supports with existing classroom practices. For example, school personnel may teach all students a social skill (Tier 1) that individual students learned during a social skills group (Tier 2). During that instruction, school personnel highlight how that skill fits with their classroom expectations. Following instruction, school personnel may increase prompts and specific feedback for that social skill.
Leadership teams may find some educators require more targeted professional support to successfully implement classroom PBIS practices. For example, while all teachers may have a professional development plan, administrators may require mentoring for newly hired teachers as a Tier 2 strategy.
At Tier 3, school personnel support individual students who require intensive, individualized, support. Student-specific teams design behavior support plans (BSP) which include goals for school personnel to implement these strategies..
At this tier, leadership teams and administrators also support school personnel who require intensive, individualized professional development to be successful (e.g., 1:1 consultation). School personnel needing this type of support consult with a behavior coach, mentor, or administrator to develop his/her own individualized professional development plan. The school leadership team’s goal is to ensure that individualized supports are coordinated within the broader continuum of professional development supports.
Get Started with Classroom PBIS
Whether you are brand new to implementing classroom PBIS practices at your school, or you want to improve your existing framework, there are a few concepts to work around first.
Link to school-wide expectations and systems
Classroom PBIS works best when it is implemented within a school-wide PBIS framework. Expectations in the classroom should mirror the expectations at the building level. Aligning classroom expectations with school-wide expectations ensures students not only understand how the classroom works, but also gain a better understanding of what they need to do school-wide.
• Does your Tier 1 implementation include strategies for identifying and teaching expectations, acknowledging appropriate behavior, and responding to misbehavior in the classroom?
• What supports are in place for staff to implement Tier 1 strategies in their context? Examples might include: leadership teaming, supporting policy, coaching, on-going monitoring of implementation.
Integrate with effective instructional design, curriculum, and delivery
It can be more efficient and effective for school personnel to incorporate both academics and the core features of the classroom
. They are likely to use similar components of delivering quality instruction when they implement positive classroom systems and practices. Why not find ways to do both at the same time?
Monitor using classroom-based data to guide decision making
To use data to drive decisions, it’s important to have a process. We recommend asking the following set of questions in the decision-making cycle (consider questions related to equity along the way):
1. Are core practices and systems implemented with fidelity?
2. Are all individuals achieving desired outcomes?
a. If Yes: What is needed to sustain and improve implementation efficiency?
b. If No: continue to question 3.
3. What is the nature of the problem?
4. What action plan will enhance implementation?
5. Repeat steps 1-5 regularly.
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