History of the DE-PBS Project

The DE-PBS Project proudly serves as a technical assistance center for the Delaware Department of Education to actualize the vision to create safe and caring learning environments that promote the social-emotional and academic development of all children.  The statewide initiative is designed to build the knowledge and skills of Delaware educators in the concepts and evidence-based practices of Positive Behavior Support (PBS) as a Multi-tiered System of Support (MTSS).

The Delaware Positive Behavior Support Project (DE-PBS) project began in 1999.  In the early years of the project, more focus was placed on supporting individual students when initially working with schools, as schools would often request assistance in this area.  The major objective at this time was to develop and implement a set of training modules on current principles and practices of positive behavior supports, with more content focused on individual supports.  The project utilized a train-the-trainer model with representative district level teams.

However, after a couple of years the focus shifted to supporting schools in creating a positive school system so that there will be fewer students who need individual supports and that these individual supports will be more effective because they are implemented in a large system of School-wide support.  Staff provided training and technical assistance at the school level to implementing their own School-wide PBS systems.  In the 2002-2003 school year, staff from the Illinois PBS project provided consultation and training to assist with the development of a larger infrastructure of technical assistance and training capacity in Delaware and share their training resources for working with school teams.  Training was provided by Illinois consultants to district level staff, considered DE-PBS Coaches, as well as training provided directly to school teams in School-wide PBS.

A DE-PBS Cadre of Coaches from active districts receive training and technical assistance from Project staff so they can in turn train and support schools in their district. Additionally, with the professional development and support structure for assisting schools to develop effective School-wide systems in place and the number of schools implementing School-wide PBS is increasing,  the training and supports for students with more significant behavioral needs was re-evaluated.  The content from the Illinois state project in Targeted and Intensive Team Training was revised and blended with material from the original modules on Functional Behavior Assessment, Behavior Support Planning, and Person-Centered Planning.

Through the years that followed, a primary goal became to increase local capacity to support the schools implementing multi-tiered systems of support for behavior and social-emotional competencies.  The Project provides professional development opportunities each year that focus on Tier 1: Universal, Tier 2: Targeted and Tier 3: Intensive behavior supports.  An additional Project focus has been to develop of online modules to make access to content more accessible to district staff and schools.   Module topics focus on topics such as improving aspects of school climate, building team leader skills and integrating social-emotional learning in a multi-tiered system of behavioral support.  The Project looks forward expanding and enhancing these resources.

What is PBIS?

Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) is an evidence-based prevention framework for improving and integrating data, systems, and practices to positively impact student academic and non-academic outcomes. It is a way to support the needs of the whole child. The Delaware PBS Project is a statewide technical assistance center designed to build the knowledge and skills of Delaware educators in the concepts and evidence-based practices of Positive Behavior Interventions and Support (PBIS) as a Multi-tiered System of Support (MTSS). Delaware MTSS is an integrated, multilevel prevention system that optimizes team-based leadership and data-driven decision making to meet the academic and nonacademic (e.g., behavioral, social and emotional) needs of all students.  PBIS is an MTSS framework utilized to develop positive learning environments and prevent problem behaviors. The first tier, school-wide PBIS, uses universal strategies implemented throughout the school to support the positive behavior of all students. The second tier layers on additional strategies for students who need more support at this targeted level.  For the remaining approximately 5% of students who do not respond to universal and targeted strategies alone, individualized supports are developed at the third tier.

Adapted from: https://www.pbis.org/pbis/getting-started

SWPBIS Outcomes

School-Wide PBIS is evidence-based and implementing with fidelity is associated with positive outcomes, including:

  • Improved academic, social, and social-emotional outcomes
  • Reduced bullying behaviors
  • Decreased rates of student-reported drug/alcohol abuse
  • Reductions in office disciplinary referrals, suspensions, and restraint and seclusion strategiesDecreased ODR disproportionality
  • Improved perception of teacher efficacy
  • Improved school climate
  • Improved perceptions of school safety

PBIS as your Multi-Tiered System of Support

PBIS is a 3 tiered prevention framework that supports the social, emotional and behavior needs of your students. The three Tiered PBIS framework includes:

Tier 1: Primary Prevention (all)

Tier 1 emphasizes prosocial skills and expectations by teaching and acknowledging appropriate student behavior.

Tier 1 foundational systems include:

  • An established leadership team that is representative of the school, the student population, staff, and the community
  • A positive and safe school climate
  • Regular meetings
  • A commitment statement for establishing a positive school-wide school climate
  • On-going collection, sharing, and strategic use of data for decision making
  • Ongoing professional development and support to school staff
  • Personnel evaluation plan

Tier 1 practices include:

  • Culturally responsive school-wide positive expectations and behaviors developed with stakeholders and explicitly taught to students
  • Established classroom expectations aligned with school-wide expectations and explicitly taught
  • A continuum of procedures for encouraging expected behavior
  • A continuum of procedures for discouraging problem behavior
  • Procedures for encouraging school, family, and community partnerships
  • Positive teacher-student, student-student, and school-family relations
  • School-wide evidence-based programs in social and emotional learning (SEL) 

Tier 2: Secondary Prevention (some)

Tier 2 supports are for students who need additional support beyond Tier 1, as identified through a data-based decision making process.. Tier 2 often involves group interventions with 10 or more students participating. Group interventions are linked directly to the school-wide expectations and/or academic goals. The support at this level is more targeted than Tier 1 and less intensive than Tier 3.

Tier 2 foundational systems include:

  • A problem solving intervention team with a coordinator
  • Behavioral expertise
  • Collection and monitoring of fidelity and outcome data 
  • A screening process to identify students needing Tier 2 support
  • Access to training and technical assistance

Tier 2 practices include:

  • Increased targeted instruction and practice with self-regulation and social skills
  • Increased adult supervision
  • Increased opportunities for positive reinforcement
  • Increased pre-corrections
  • Increased access to academic supports

Tier 3: Tertiary Prevention (few)

At Tier 3, students receive more intensive, individualized support to improve their social emotional and behavioral outcomes.

Tier 3 foundational systems include:

  • A multi-disciplinary team
  • Behavior support expertise
  • Collection of formal fidelity and outcome data

Tier 3 practices include:

  • Function-based assessments
  • Wraparound supports
  • Cultural and contextual fit

Want to learn more?

Equity and PBIS

Equity is a guiding principle at all tiers of PBIS.

Equity and equitable access “refers to the idea that every student in any classroom in any public school in Delaware should have the same opportunity as any other student to be taught by a great teacher who is supported by a great leader.” Our state “has long focused on closing educator equity gaps because we, as a state, believe that we will only close the achievement gap for our highest need students if all students have equitable access to the most capable and well-prepared educator” (Delaware Department of Education, 2015).

In Delaware, there are 43,780 public school students living in poverty, 78,648 students of color, 13,363 students who are English language learners, and 22,478 students with disabilities (Delaware Department of Education, 2015). In Delaware and across the United States, many poor and minority students do not have access to the same educational opportunities as non-minority students due to biases that exist in academic and curricular access, discipline referral systems, teacher performance, admission practices, and more.

To learn more about equity in education and ways that educators can reduce racial disproportionality and disparities in our schools, please visit our equity page here.

Delaware-PBS Key Features

1. Recognize that a positive and safe school climate promotes not only positive behavior, but also academic, social, and emotional development.

2. Recognize that ALL students benefit from positive behavioral supports. This includes students with and without behavior problems or disabilities, and requires sensitivity to individual and cultural differences.

3. Recognize the critical importance of preventing behavior problems. This is evident throughout school policies and evidence-based practices, especially in preventive classroom management, clear school-wide expectations, and schoolwide teaching and recognition of positive behaviors. It also is seen in positive teacher-student, student-student, and school-family relations.

4. Recognize the critical importance of developing self-discipline. Achieving this long-term goal requires much more than strategies for preventing and correcting behavior problems. Thus, schools implement evidence-based programs in character education and social and emotional learning and/or infuse lessons throughout the curriculum that teach such social and emotional competencies as positive peer relations, empathy, resisting peer pressure, conflict resolution, and social and moral responsibility.

5. Recognize the critical importance of correcting misbehavior using a combination of evidence-based techniques for increasing appropriate behavior and decreasing use of inappropriate techniques. This is seen throughout school disciplinary policies and practices and in the recognition of the limitations of the use of harsh, frequent, or unfair punishment.

6. Recognize the critical importance of providing students who exhibit serious or chronic behavior problems with comprehensive and intensive evidence-based interventions and supports. They should be provided early, when behavior problems first appear. Where appropriate, they should be individualized and linked to functional behavioral assessments and person-centered planning.

7. In translating these beliefs into practice, Delaware PBS schools adopt a problem-solving team process for planning, development, implementation, and evaluation of evidence-based practices across all three levels of prevention and intervention (primary, secondary, and tertiary). The team is representative of the school staff and community including students and parents as active participants.

8. In translating these beliefs into practice, schools demonstrate sustained commitment, participation, and implementation with fidelity by the majority of staff, administrators, district leadership, and school community in a shared approach to the dynamic and evolving PBS process.

9. In translating these beliefs into practice, schools value the importance of databased decision making, as reflected in the on-going evaluation of program effectiveness and modification of program components, interventions and supports based on multiple sources of data.

10. In translating these beliefs into practice, schools provide on-going professional development and support to school staff that corresponds closely with the needs of the schools and individual staff members.