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Origins of PBIS and Other Myths

March 19, 2012

(Oops – written 9/26/11 but never posted due to technical errors)

George Sugai (University of Connecticut) presented at #CCBD11 http://www.ccbd.net today and shared some very frank facts, myths, and a history of Positive Behavior Interventions and supports.

Facts, by George

    Dr. Sugai’s work in behavior supports began with students with behavioral disorders and trying to support them…but it turned into a search for and then dissemination of school-wide practices and systems change.
    The PBIS triangle is a framework, a continuum of supports, and a logic model and NOT a curriculum or prescribed practice or scientific theory.
    The green, yellow, and red color for the tiers in triangle are arbitrary. The triangle is just a framework and represents a continuum of support for students. Greens means “Go” and that is why it was chosen as the base color. There is nothing sacred about three tiers, there can be more or even less, the number three was arbitrary and comes loosely from the health care model.
    Hill Walker first conceived of the three tier framework for behavior support (what is now known as the PBIS triangle) back in 1986, it wasn’t a picture of a triangle, but three tiers of support.
    Initially, the division of 80% of kids falling into Tier 1 or the base of the triangle, 15% fall into Tier 2, and 5% fall into tier 3 because  was a logical breakdown based on what was seen in three-tier health care models. Now we see  evidence of these numbers in schools that have been implementing PBIS for over a year. In fact, aggregated data from http://www.SWIS.org show that mean distribution of students in elementary, middle, and high school approach 90% for Tier 1 meaning that 90% of students have between 0-2 office referrals all year.
    PBIS, the name of the national center (www.PBIS.org), was forced onto the creators of the center when the center formed under an OSEP grant in 1998 because in 1997 when the IDEA law was reauthorized, the PBIS phrase was used in the legislation….however no one can identify where that phrase PBIS originated or why that phrase was chosen for the law.

Dr. Sugai’s Advice for School

Need help with behavior in your school? If you ask Dr. Sugai for PBIS help, he has a few questions to ask first:

First, what primary behavior  interventions are in place?

“We have discipline plans”  you state. “NO”, that is not an intervention says George.
“We have a code of conduct” you state. “NO”, that is not an intervention either says George.
“We have special ed., a time out room, a crisis team”‘ you state. “NO, NO, NO”, those are also not interventions says George.

Second, what secondary behavior interventions are in place when your primary interventions don’t work?

Third, what tertiary behavior interventions are in place when your secondary intervention does not work?

Get this presentation by Dr. Sugai from www.PBIS.org on their presentation page.

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