What is PBIS in Education?


Research shows that Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports help create a positive school climate which is a safe, supportive learning environment that cultivates student success.

Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) can be used to reinforce positive behavior in children at school and at home. The proactive approach establishes behavioral supports and school culture needed for all students in a school to achieve social, emotional and academic success. Research shows that Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports help create a positive school climate which is a safe, supportive learning environment that cultivates student success.

Why PBIS Should Be Used In Schools

When teachers use and track Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports there are many benefits. Students are more productive, positively engaged, resilient and develop positive social bonds. Teachers and students show stronger commitment, test scores improve and the school develops a sense of identity and community.  Additionally, student chronic absenteeism and dropout rates decrease when PBIS initiatives are in place.     

→  Check out our PBIS playbook to learn more about how to build a positive school culture at your school.


How Can Schools Measure When They Have Achieved, or Are Close to Achieving, Success?

Schools will begin to see many tangible student outcomes when using PBIS strategies. Success can be measured by the consistent observation of the following: increased student academic engagement, reading and math achievement, intrinsic motivation, and positive verbal interactions. At the same time, there should be a decrease in behavior disruptions, referral rates, and negative verbal interactions.

Comparing the rate of positive behaviors to the rate of undesired behaviors can help schools clarify success. Research reveals that a school has an effective PBIS system when a range of 65 to 85 percent positive behaviors are present within the student body.  For example, a 3:1 ratio of positive to negative behaviors translates to 75 percent positive behaviors, which would mean that a student is on the right track.

It can be challenging for teachers to keep up with the many positive behaviors that students exhibit on a daily basis. Two things must be considered. First, teachers should clarify which behaviors they believe are the most beneficial positive reinforcers. Secondly, teachers should identify how they will track the behaviors. Kickboard helps teachers to track student behavior, identify cultural trends and implement systems to improve behavioral results.                     

What Behaviors Should Be Tracked When Using Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports?

Here at Kickboard, our researchers have studied 152 million behaviors at 645 schools over seven years. Although all positive behaviors are desirable, we have found that focusing on some specific behaviors can help improve positive student behavior ratios.

Here is a list of the behaviors from Kickboard's Positive School Culture Inventory™ that your school can prioritize to improve school climate and student success:

  • Active listening/showing engagement
  • Being prepared
  • Caring
  • Collaboration
  • Cooperation
  • Going above and beyond
  • Helping others  
  • Kindness
  • Leadership
  • Love of learning
  • Making good choices
  • Making insightful comments
  • Organization
  • Perseverance/resilience
  • Self reliance
  • Showing pride in school
  • Taking pride in one’s work  
  • Using appropriate communication
  • Using time well

Using strong PBIS systems in your school can positively impact student success and will contribute to strong adult-child relationships. According to the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child, healthy, consistent relationships can help students to develop adequately, regulate behavior and overcome adversity. Consider how to support relationships and improve your school’s learning environment by reflecting on your current school climate and using PBIS systems to heighten positivity.


Here at Kickboard we have seen many schools turnaround student behavior by using our PBIS mobile app, web platform, and professional development services to support their PBIS initiatives.