Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) is an application of a behaviorally-based systems approach to enhance the capacity of schools, families, and communities to design effective environments for learning.  PBIS aims to improve the fit or link between research-validated practices and the environments in which teaching and learning occurs. Attention is focused on creating and sustaining Tier 1 or primary (school-wide), Tier 2 or secondary (targeted), and Tier 3 tertiary (individual) systems of support that improve lifestyle results (personal, health, social, family, work, recreation) for all children and youth by making problem behavior less effective, efficient, and relevant and desired behavior more functional.

School-wide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (SW-PBIS) is a set of strategies and systems to increase the capacity of schools to reduce school disruption and educate all students, including those with problem behaviors. Four core elements are emphasized:Positive Behavior interventions and supports showing that there are three parts to prevention. Primary prevention, tertiary prevention and secondary prevention.

  • Clearly defined outcomes
  • Research-validated practices
  • Supportive administrative systems
  • Use of information (data) for problem solving


Adapted from pbis.org U.S. Office of Special Education Programs national and technical assistance center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS).

All students will benefit from the establishment of a culture of competence within a school building to provide multi-tiered behavioral supports.  Statistics indicate that 80% of students will thrive in a school environment that is positive, predictable and supportive (primary prevention) and have one or fewer office discipline referrals per year.  We cannot assume, however, that universal Tier 1 supports will be sufficient for 100% of students.  15% of students will be at risk for chronic behavior problems, and will require a Tier 2 supplemental intervention (secondary prevention) or support. These students have 2 to 5 office discipline referrals per year.  About 5% of students will have 6 or more office discipline referrals per year and will have needs that require Tier 3 individualized or intensive support (tertiary prevention) in order to remain in school and be successful learners.

How does PBIS work?

Schools interested in pursuing PBIS training are encouraged to contact Dr. Carol Sensor or Jackie Fober to find out more information. A summary of the process to initiate and participate in PBIS training is described below.


  1. Arrange a 45-60 minute PBIS overview to all school staff at your school.
  2. After staff PBIS overview, staff vote to determine if 80% or more staff are committed to participate in PBIS training and/or implementation activities.
  3. Behavior and/or culture and climate must be one of top 3-5 school improvement goals.
  4. Administrators must be actively involved in the PBIS training, planning and implementation process.
  5. Collect baseline discipline referral data and other culture/climate data to determine if PBIS training is a good “professional learning fit” for your school.
  6. School Administrator completes and submits AEA 267 Learning Supports Application to pursue PBIS training.

PBIS leadership team (developed by school principal)

  • Participates in all PBIS trainings for three years: 4 days in Year 1, 4 days in Year 2 and 3 days in Year 3.
  • Participates in monthly PBIS Team planning meetings.
  • Trains school staff on PBIS strategies and facilitates staff input.
  • PBIS coach attends three Coaches Meetings at AEA 267 per year to receive additional support, technical assistance and networking opportunities.
  • Suggested 6-8 PBIS Leadership Team members:
    • Principal (required)
    • School counselor
    • Behavioral specialist or interventionist
    • General education teacher(s)
    • Special education teacher(s)
    • Para-educator or teacher associate
    • Parent and/or community representative
    • AEA team representative

LEA PBIS Coach (designated by PBIS principal)

  • Schools designate a PBIS coach as the point person for the school and person who helps facilitate PBIS implementation
  • PBIS Coaches consult with PBIS trainer/External Coach at least quarterly, or as needed during 3-year training

Central Rivers AEA PBIS training team

  • Jackie Fober
  • Dawn Jaeger
  • Brenda Thune
  • Erin Torruella
  • Gary Whitmore

PBIS in Iowa

Over the last decade, the Iowa Department of Education has demonstrated a commitment to building the capacity of schools, families, and communities to support the social, emotional, behavioral, and intellectual development of children. That commitment was evident in the Iowa Behavioral Initiative (1993-1998), Success4 Initiative (1998-2004), and in the redesign of Success4 into a system of Learning Supports (2004-present).

School-Wide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (SW-PBIS) is an initiative of the U.S. Office of Special Education Support’s (OSEP) National Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC) at the University of Oregon.  In 2002, through the Success4 Initiative, fourteen schools in Iowa were selected to receive training in SW-PBIS. Since that time, PBIS has significantly in Iowa. There are currently over 600 schools implementing PBIS in Iowa. Every AEA has a team of PBIS trainers to provide training to schools to implement PBIS.

For more information about PBIS in Iowa, contact Susan Bruce, PBIS State Coordinator at Susan.Bruce@iowa.gov. Additional information can be found at the Iowa Department of Education website pbis.org/links/pbis_network/iowa.aspx

Schools implementing PBIS

As of 2016-17 school year, there are 82 schools in AEA 267 that are implementing PBIS. Over 600 schools are implementing PBIS in the state of Iowa, and over 10,000 schools are implementing PBIS in the United States. (Schools in AEA 267 can be listed as such below to show which schools at each level and/or the colored graphic of schools implementing in Iowa can be put here. The graphic shows schools implementing as of 2015-16)

Elementary Schools: (46)Map with colors sowing which school districts have been implementing PBIS

  • Clear Creek, Clear Lake
  • Lowell, Waterloo
  • Highland, Waterloo
  • Lincoln, Waterloo
  • Harding, Mason City
  • Cunningham, Waterloo
  • Lou Henry, Waterloo
  • Irving, Waterloo
  • Kingsley, Waterloo
  • South Tama
  • Fisher, Marshalltown
  • Kittrell, Waterloo
  • Lincoln, Waterloo
  • Becker, Waterloo
  • Poyner, Waterloo
  • Orange, Waterloo
  • Clarksville
  • Franklin, Marshalltown
  • Rogers, Marshalltown
  • Woodbury, Marshalltown
  • Durant, Sumner
  • Fredericksburg
  • East Buchanan
  • North Tama
  • Roosevelt, Mason City
  • Hubbard-Radcliffe
  • Eldora-New Providence
  • Hoglan, Marshalltown
  • Nashua-Plainfield
  • Fairbank
  • Readlyn
  • Lincoln, Charles City
  • Washington, Charles City
  • Jefferson, Mason City
  • Hoover, Mason City
  • Richard O. Jacobsen, Belmond
  • Lake Mills
  • Tripoli
  • Janesville
  • Anson, Marshalltown
  • CAL
  • East Marshall
  • West Marshall
  • North Iowa
  • Lincoln, Osage
  • Garner-Hayfield-Ventura

Intermediate: (5)

  • Lenihan, Marshalltown
  • Nashua-Plainfield
  • Garner-Hayfield-Ventura
  • North Side, Hampton
  • South Side, Hampton

Secondary: (29)

  • Hampton-Dumont MS
  • John Adams MS, Mason City
  • Carver Academy MS, Waterloo
  • Bunger MS, Waterloo
  • Central MS, Waterloo
  • Hoover MS, Waterloo
  • South Tama MS
  • Charles City MS
  • Union MS
  • Miller MS, Marshalltown
  • South Hardin MS
  • East Marshall MS
  • North Iowa MS
  • Garner-Hayfield-Ventura Jr. High
  • Osage MS
  • Clarksville MS/HS
  • Sumner-Fredericksburg MS
  • Nashua-Plainfield Jr/Sr
  • Wapsie Valley Jr/Sr
  • Lake Mills MS
  • Lake Mills HS
  • Tripoli MS/HS
  • Janesville MS/HS
  • East HS, Waterloo
  • West HS, Waterloo
  • South Tama HS
  • Marshalltown HS
  • North Iowa HS

Alternative Schools: (2)

  • EXPO Alternative Learning Center
  • Lied Center, Waverly

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