About Us
Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports
Planning Resources
Resources For Families/ Recursos para Familias
Media and Press
Upcoming Events
Coaches' Section

njpbs banner

sw pbs title
What is school wide positive behavior support? How are universal interventions implemented? How are secondary interventions implemented?
How is individual student positive behavior support implemented? How do I implement positive behavior support in my classroom? References

What is Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports?

Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports is a multi-tiered prevention-intervention model that provides a continuum of positive behavioral support strategies in school settings. Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports fosters positive school environments so that all students, most particularly students with disabilities, can be successfully included within general education programs.  Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports is comprised of three levels of intervention implementation: universal, secondary, and individualized.  While the three intervention tiers build upon one another, each tier has a specific intervention focus and process for implementation.


Adapted from Walker , H.M., Horner, R.H.,   Sugai, G., Bullis, M., Sprague, J.R., Bricker, D., & Kaufman, M.J. (1996).   Integrated approaches to preventing antisocial behavior patterns among school-age children and youth. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, 4 , pp. 194-209.


Universal Interventions

Interventions at the universal level are for all students, staff, and settings in the school building. All students, most particularly students with disabilities, benefit from explicit teaching and reinforcement of appropriate behaviors. Supported by research on effective instructional environments and empirical demonstrations of application in public schools, the universal intervention offers schools a preventative approach to behavior and discipline problems. Universal interventions are guided by a core leadership team made up of school stakeholder representation. The team works collaboratively with the school community to identify priorities and design contextually appropriate interventions. The universal intervention consists of seven essential program components: (1) a representative leadership team, (2) a self assessment process, (3) a discipline data management and decision making system, (4) clearly defined behavioral expectations, (5) a school wide student/staff acknowledgement system, (6) a process for teaching behavioral expectations, and (7) a system for interacting effectively with the school community.   High fidelity implementation of these program components relies on active and direct involvement of the building administrator(s) to make implementation a priority for the school.

See examples of universal interventions


Secondary Interventions

Secondary interventions are designed for students who need more support than provided through universal interventions.  Typically the need for secondary interventions is evidenced by repeated office discipline referrals in short periods of time (e.g., 3 office discipline referrals in a month or marking period). Students in need of a secondary level intervention often benefit from additional structure, support, and instruction to navigate social environments successfully. Secondary interventions can be applied in a small group format and consist of function based supports (e.g., instruction, behavior contracting, mentoring, check in/out systems).  Coordination and implementation of secondary interventions are often embedded within the school's pre-referral process. Secondary interventions consist of five critical components: (1) a screening process and criteria for identifying students in need, (2) an assessment of need, (3) function based skill instruction, (4) behavioral contracting, and (5) ongoing mentoring.  

See examples of secondary interventions


Individualized Interventions

Individualized interventions are for students who require the most intensive level of intervention and support.  These are students who have repeated patterns of behavioral difficulties that affect their opportunity to be educated successfully within general education settings.  In New Jersey , individualized interventions are determined for students with disabilities through the IEP team collaborative planning process that includes conducting a functional behavioral assessment and design of a behavior intervention plan. Interventions and supports are designed based on a thorough understanding of behavioral function and the factors contributing to behavioral occurrence.  The individualized intervention process consists of three main phases: (1) an individualized functional behavioral assessment that includes direct observation of the student in school settings; (2) the development of a function-based, multi-component intervention plan that includes proactive strategies (setting event and antecedent interventions), replacement skill instruction, response and reinforcement strategies; and (3) on going plan monitoring and modification.

See examples of individualized interventions