School-wide positive behavioral interventions and supports

Local governments can invest in this strategy using State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

  • This strategy can help address educational disparities and promote healthy childhood environments. The U.S. Department of Treasury has indicated that strategies that help achieve these outcomes are eligible for the use of Fiscal Recovery Funds.
  • Investments in this strategy are SLFRF-eligible as long as they are made in qualified census tracts or are designed to assist populations or communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

Program basics

  • Use social learning and organizational behavioral principles to create a culture that rewards positive behaviors and reduces problematic behaviors
  • Expectations are set and taught to all students and staff in order to create a self-reinforcing school environment of positive behavior
  • External coaches or consultants often train teachers and staff on school-wide behavior management
  • Program priorities are incorporated into lesson plans and teaching techniques
  • Incentives for good behavior and penalties for undesired behavior are clearly and consistently applied across the entire school
  • Benefits are tied to consistent and faithful implementation

Strength of evidence

Evidence level: Proven (highest tier)


Proven (highest tier)

Ranked as having the highest level of evidence by the National Institute of Justice, County Health Rankings and Roadmaps

Target population

All school-aged children

Program cost

$3,000 to $10,000 per school for transition/training; estimated $400 per year per school ongoing yearly costs

Implementation locations

  • Nationwide

Dates active

Not available

Outcomes and impact

  • Improved behavior
  • Improved social emotional skills
  • Reduced bullying
  • Increased academic achievement
  • Reduced school suspensions
  • Higher perceptions of school safety

Keys to successful implementation

  • Note: This content is under review
  • Buy in from school leadership and teachers is essential in ensuring that positive behavior intervention support practices are applied uniformly across the whole school environment.
  • Before developing specific strategies, school districts and individual schools should identify the challenges that particular schools are facing, then targeting the response to address those challenges.
  • To ensure positive results and delivery fidelity, program training should be conducted by teams with deep experience in multi-tiered behavioral support frameworks.
  • Implementation plans and intervention activities should be adapted to specific cultural contexts and tailored to the history of the specific school and district.
  • To foster scalability and sustainability, investments should be made in helping local actors become program trainers and data collection and analysis capacity

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