The School-wide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (SWPBIS) is a universal, school-wide prevention program that aims to establish a social culture within schools in which students expect and support appropriate behavior from one another— and thereby create school environments that are socially predictable, consistent, safe, and positive. The primary goals of SWPBIS are to reduce problem behaviors within schools that lead to office discipline referrals and suspensions, and to change perceptions of school safety.
SWPBIS is a universal approach that is geared toward all students within an elementary (K–5) school population.
The SWPBIS model utilizes behavioral, social learning, and organizational behavioral principles in school settings. Implementation of SWPBIS involves the following seven key elements:
1. At the onset of the process, a school forms a team that includes 6–10 staff members and an administrator. The team then attends annual training events provided by skilled trainers, establishes an action plan and materials for implementation, trains school staff members, and meets twice each month to discuss school-wide behavior management systems and procedures.
2. An external behavioral support coach provides consultation and technical assistance at the school.
3. Expectations for student behavior are defined in positive, easy-to-remember language and posted in classrooms and around the school. For example, “Be responsible, be safe, be respectful.”
4. Expectations for behavior are taught to all students, using lesson plans developed by the school staff. Usually, these lessons are taught at the beginning of the school year, and once each month during the remainder of the year. Some lessons may be taught outside the classroom to allow students to practice the appropriate ways to behave in the cafeteria, in the hallway, and on the bus.
5. A system is developed and used consistently throughout the school to reward students who behave appropriately. For example, some schools use “high-fives” to reinforce positive behaviors.
6. Behavioral violations are dealt with in a consistent manner across all classrooms. Everyone in the school knows what types of behaviors are dealt with in the classroom and which lead to office discipline referrals.
7. Office discipline referral data is collected in a consistent manner, and the entire staff is trained on procedures for documenting discipline problems.
A team of 6–10 staff members and an administrator are required to form a SWPBIS team in the school. Ultimately, every staff member should be trained in the process, whether by skilled trainers or staff members on the SWPBIS team who attended the initial training.
SWPBIS also includes targeted (Tier II) support for small groups or individuals exhibiting problem behavior, and tertiary (Tier III) support for students presenting more complex patterns of behavior. However, the effectiveness of Tier II and Tier III supports are not incorporated in the studies in this review.