School-wide positive behavioral interventions and supports

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)

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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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