What exactly is  PBIS?

PBIS is an acronym for Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports.

“A major advance in school-wide discipline is the emphasis on school-wide systems of support that include proactive strategies for defining, teaching, and supporting appropriate student behaviors to create positive school environments. Instead of using a patchwork of individual behavioral management plans, a continuum of positive behavior support for all students within a school is implemented in areas including the classroom and nonclassroom settings (such as hallways, restrooms). Positive behavior support is an application of a behaviorally-based systems approach to enhance the capacity of schools, families, and communities to design effective environments that improve the link between research-validated practices and the environments in which teaching and learning occurs. Attention is focused on creating and sustaining primary (school-wide), secondary (classroom), and tertiary (individual) systems of support that improve lifestyle results (personal, health, social, family, work, recreation) for all children and youth by making problem behavior less effective, efficient, and relevant, and desired behavior more functional. (pbis.org 4/15/08)”

PBIS Triangle

Memorial School PBIS Team Members

Who: Mr. Aw, Mrs. Bertonazzi, Mr. Bourgery,  Ms. Diemont, Mr. D’Urso, Mrs. Page, Mrs. Hanson, Mrs. Stackpole and Mrs. McPherson-Todd

School: Hopedale Memorial Elementary School
Telephone: 508-634-2214

About the Team

The PBIS Team for Memorial School was assembled by Dr. Ruane, Superintendent of Schools, and 
Mrs. Finnegan, Principal of Memorial School. The Team is a representation of Grades 4 through 6 
classroom teachers, special education, guidance, school psychology, unified arts, parents,supervisory 
aides and the Memorial School administration. 

Although this team is “representative” of only a portion of our student body (as directed by the
Mass DOE grant funding this initiative), the team understands the ripple effect of its efforts and 
will cooperatively analyze data, and develop interventions and strategies which are developmentally
appropriate for all of our students at Memorial School, Kindergarten through 
Grade 6.

The Goal of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports

The goal of PBIS is to prevent the development and intensifying of problem behaviors and maximize 
academic success for all studens. (Sugai)

What Can Parents/Families Do?

Here are some tips for what parents/families can do…..

  • Be a good role model
  • Talk to your child about his/her day
  • Keep communication between you and your child’s teacher active throughout the school year
  • Focus on the POSITIVE choices your child is making

For more specific and practical daily tips to encourage positive behavior in your home, please feel free to view and even download this resource from Colorado:  


In the past, school-wide discipline has focused mainly on reacting to specific student misbehavior by implementing punishment-based strategies including reprimands, loss of privileges, office referrals, suspensions, and expulsions. Research has shown that the implementation of punishment, especially when it is used inconsistently and in the absence of other positive strategies, is ineffective. Introducing, modeling, and reinforcing positive social behavior is an important of a student’s educationalexperience. Teaching behavioral expectations and rewarding students for following them is a much more positive approach than waiting for misbehavior to occur before responding. The purpose of school-wide PBS is to establish a climate in which appropriate behavior is the norm.

An organization is a group of individuals who behave together to achieve a common goal. Systems are needed to support the collective use of best practices by individuals within the organization. The school-wide PBS process emphasizes the creation of systems that support the adoption and durable implementation of evidence-based practices and procedures, and fit within on-going school reform efforts. An interactive approach that includes opportunities to correct and improve four key elements is used in school-wide PBS focusing on:
**Outcomes: academic and behavior targets that are endorsed and emphasized by students, families, and educators. 
**Practices: interventions and strategies that are evidence based. 
**Data: information that is used to identify status, need for change, and effects of interventions. 
**Systems: supports that are needed to enable the accurate and durable implementation of the practices of PBS.

An effective school-wide system of discipline or positive behavioral interventions and supports is only as good as the structures and processes that are in place to support their sustained use. When setting up a school-wide system of discipline or positive behavioral interventions and supports, the following steps should be followed:

1. Establish a school-wide leadership or behavior support team to guide and direct the process. This team should be made up of an administrator, grade level representatives, support staff, and parents. 
2. Secure administrator agreement of active support and participation. 
3. Secure a commitment and agreement from at least 80% of the staff for active support and participation. 
4. Conduct a self assessment of the current school-wide discipline system. 
5. Create an implementation action plan that is based data based decision making. 
6. Establish a way to collect office referral and other data on a regular basis to evaluate the effectiveness of school-wide PBS efforts.

All effective school-wide systems have seven major components in common a) an agreed upon and common approach to discipline, b) a positive statement of purpose, c) a small number of positively stated expectations for all students and staff, d) procedures for teaching these expectations to students, e) a continuum of procedures for encouraging displays and maintenance of these expectations, f) a continuum of procedures for discouraging displays of rule-violating behavior, and g) procedures for monitoring and evaluation the effectiveness of the discipline system on a regular and frequent basis.

Many schools make the mistake implementing a school-wide system of discipline or positive behavior support without monitoring its effectiveness on a regular and frequent basis. Regular monitoring and evaluation are needed to a) prevent ineffective practices from wasting time and resources, b) improve the efficiency and effectiveness of current procedures, c) eliminate elements of the system that are ineffective or inefficient, and d) make modifications before problem behavior patterns become too durable and unmodifiable.

Many published school-wide discipline programs that can be purchased have the necessary features. However, every school has its unique features (for example: students, size, staff composition, geographic location) that must be 
taken into account when any discipline program is selected. The best approach is to assess what is currently in place in your school, whether it is effective, and what needs to be added or improved. Once this assessment is completed, a program that best addresses the features of your school can be selected.

School-wide positive behavior support is not considered a new initiative.  Instead, it is a set of problem solving strategies and processes that can be  used to build upon a school’s existing strengths. However, school-wide PBS has a lot of characteristics that overlap with other initiatives. Proactive school-wide discipline systems create environments in which: a) learning and teaching are valued, and aggressive, unsafe behavior are discouraged; b) respect, responsibility, cooperation, and other highly valued character traits are taught and encouraged; c) individual differences are valued rather than criticized; d) educating students with disabilities can be supported more effectively and efficiently, and e) teaching fundamental skills like reading and math can be maximized.


1. Identify bullying locations to provide interventions, strategies, and supports for positive student response

2. Decrease office referrals by 10%

3. Increase positive interactions between adults and students

4. Increase student achievement

5. Positively increase school climate

What’s New With PBIS at Memorial School?

Beginning on Monday the 6th of October, all adults in Memorial School will be LOOKING to catch our wonderful students being like Respectful RICK!  When an adult “catches” a student, or two displaying the Respectful RICK characteristic of the week… they will be issued a GOTCHA!  One copy will go home for display while the other will be entered into a raffle to be held every two weeks… students will be able to choose from a variety of small prizes.  Stay tuned for this new adventure at Memorial School!!!

What will be happening next?

  • The PBS Team has been working very hard to create strategies and interventions to be implemented school-wide in the 2008-2009 school year… keep checking this site for more details on those initiatives
  • Lesson plans also known as “Cool Tools” will be developed with Respectful RICK in mind in a variety of school building contexts
  • Input from staff and community members will be pooled to develop, monitor, and tweek those initiatives
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