Behavioral Interventions
& Supports

We serve as the Northeast regional partner to the National Technical Assistance Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), established by the U.S. Department of Education.

In that capacity, we offer technical assistance and consultation to implement school-wide and district-wide Positive Behavioral Intervention Support strategies across school systems. These services promote student achievement by improving the school’s behavioral climate.

PBIS — Improving Learning and Behavior

Effective behavioral interventions can be catalysts for positive change in the classroom. PBIS is a proven, systems-focused approach that produces numerous positive outcomes, including:

  • Decreases in problem behaviors, office referrals, and suspensions

  • Increases in on-task engagement and academic achievement

  • Higher levels of satisfaction with the overall school climate among students, teachers, and parents

The comprehensive, systemic, and individualized continuum of positive behavior support is designed to provide opportunities for all students, including those with significant emotional and behavioral issues, to achieve social and academic success. PBIS enhances the capacity of schools, districts, and states to adopt and sustain effective behavior and academic support practices.

Christine Downs
Director of PBIS



Throughout the admissions process, our focus is always on you and your child. Our two main objectives are to share information about our school services with families and professionals, and to work to determine if a student will be an appropriate fit for our school.

We realize that each student has a different learning style and unique skill set, and our priority is to help meet the individual needs of each student accepted into our program.

Our school is fully certified by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

- See more at: http://randolphschool.mayinstitute.org/admissions/admissions-process.html#sthash.HEfHYe45.dpuf

What are Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports?

Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) is an empirically validated, function-based approach to eliminate challenging behaviors and replace them with prosocial skills. Use of PBIS decreases the need for more intrusive or aversive interventions (i.e., punishment or suspension) and can lead to both systemic as well as individualized change. 

PBIS can target an individual student or an entire school, as it does not focus exclusively on the student, but also includes changing environmental variables such as the physical setting, task demands, curriculum, instructional pace and individualized reinforcement. Thus it is successful with a wide range of students, in a wide range of contexts, with a wide range of behaviors.

Blending behavioral science, empirically validated procedures, durable systems change, and an emphasis on socially important outcomes, PBIS always involves data-based decision making using functional behavioral assessment and ongoing monitoring of intervention impact. 

According to IDEA '97, PBIS is the recommended form of intervention for dealing with challenging behavior in children with disabilities.  In Fiscal Year 1999, the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Special Education Programs in collaboration with Safe and Drug Free Schools supported a Center for Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports with a grant of almost $600,000.  Information from this center is available at www.pbis.org

Why Do We Need PBIS?

  • Problem behavior is the single most common reason why students are removed from regular classrooms.  Even though students with extreme problem behavior represent only 20% of school enrollment, they can account for more than 50% of behavioral incidents.
  • Harsh punishment and zero tolerance policies have not been effective at either improving behavioral climate in schools, or preventing students with problem behaviors from entering the juvenile justice system.
  • Three years after being excluded from school, almost 70% of these youth have been arrested.

Failure to implement IDEA, due to a lack of incentives or negative attitudes toward children with challenging behaviors by administrators, policy makers and school personnel, is unacceptable. Students should not be excluded from school based solely upon inappropriate social behavior. Appropriate services can readily address and modify many of these behaviors, leading to more positive outcomes than simple punishment.


How is PBIS Implemented in School Settings?

PBIS is based on behavioral theory; problem behavior continues to occur because it is consistently followed by the child getting something positive or escaping something negative. By focusing on the contexts and outcomes of the behavior, it is possible to determine the functions of the behavior, make the problem behavior less effective and efficient, and make the desired behavior more functional. This often involves changing systems, altering environments and teaching new skills, as well as focusing on the problem behavior.

The most crucial part of devising PBIS plans is the Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA), which reveals information about the antecedents, consequences, and frequency of challenging behavior. FBAs also help to identify any co-occurring variables.  Conducting FBAs doubles the success rate of an intervention.

PBIS plans are individualized and data-based and include procedures for monitoring, evaluating and reassessing the process. PBIS should be a collaborative effort among parents, school psychologists, teachers, counselors and administrators; all partners should be committed to the plan and its implementation. PBIS is more effective when it includes the target individual as well as other significant individuals (i.e., peers, teachers, and parents).

High fidelity of implementation is required to maximize outcomes; therefore, interventions should be applied by educators in the school environment. School psychologists are ideally qualified to conduct FBAs, implement PBIS plans and train other educators and parents in behavioral intervention techniques.


What Are the Benefits of PBIS?

All students, both disabled and non-disabled, can benefit from PBIS:

  • Research conducted over the past 15 years has shown that PBIS is effective in promoting positive behavior in students and schools.  Use of PBIS as a strategy to maintain appropriate social behavior will make schools safer.  Safer schools are more effective learning environments.
  • Schools that implement system-wide interventions also report increased time engaged in academic activities and improved academic performance.
  • Schools that employ system-wide interventions for problem behavior prevention indicate reductions in office discipline referrals of 20-60%.
  • Appropriately implemented PBIS can lead to dramatic improvements that have long-term effects on the lifestyle, functional communication skills, and problem behavior in individuals with disabilities.
  • A review of research on PBIS effectiveness showed that there was over a 90% reduction in problem behavior in over half of the studies; the problem behavior stopped completely in over 26% of the studies.

How Can We Improve Implementation of PBIS?

Although it is commendable that many states require functional behavior assessments before the development of significant behavioral interventions, they often occur reactively, or after the behavior has become a significant problem (i.e., after a student's behavior results in multiple suspensions or a drug/weapons infraction).  After a crisis occurs, the focus is on punishment and exclusion. Additionally, school-based interventions commonly consist of unproven strategies and are implemented by staff who lack the training to deal with the problems effectively. When coordination is lacking among schools and other agencies, the primary responsibility for behavior is placed on families, who receive little support.

Effective implementation of PBIS includes:

  • An FBA, conducted when the problem behavior is first observed or as a proactive activity
  • Focus both on prevention of problem behaviors and early access to effective behavior support
  • Culturally competent, family-friendly behavior support
  • Implementation with sufficient intensity and precision to produce behavioral gains that have a significant and durable impact on the academic, social and living options available to the student


PBIS Flyer




 For More Info.
Christine Downs, Director of PBIS
781.437.1244   cdowns@mayinstitute.org