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Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports Tutorial

PBIS in Maryland:


In July 1999 the Maryland State Department of Education, in collaboration with the Sheppard Pratt Health System conducted the initial workshops for Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS). PBIS is not a program or a curriculum. It is a systems approach to enhancing the capacity of schools to adopt and sustain the use of effective practices for all students. PBIS assists schools in moving toward school-wide behavior systems that address the entire school – all students in all venues: the classroom, areas outside the classroom (hallways, restrooms, cafeteria, and playgrounds), and the individual students with challenging behaviors. These systems define school rules and expectations, provide training about the rules, and offer feedback through acknowledgements and corrections.

PBIS is a team-based process for systemic problem solving and planning. It is an approach to create an environment within which school-based teams of educators are provided training in systems change, effective management principles and practices, and applications of research-validated instruction and management practices.

Fifteen elementary school-based teams representing 9 local school systems (LSS) were trained at the initial workshop “Tough Times – Tough Kids” which featured Dr. George Sugai from the University of Oregon’s national center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports.

These teams learned to:

  • Secure commitments to the process from administrators and school staff,
  • Review the status of behavior support and disciplinary practices in their schools, and
  • Develop, adapt, and implement action plans to address the unique needs of their building’s students and staff.
  MSDE has collaborated with Dr. Sugai to conduct Summer Institutes in 2000, 2001, and 2002, and 2003. Since July 1999, approximately200 school teams, representing all 24 local school systems, and 15 special education facility schools have been trained in PBIS.

Many of these schools have experienced success at achieving their goals of reducing disruption.





  • Jennifer Elementary School in Charles County has reduced annual office referrals by 67% (from 435 to 143) and out-of-school suspensions by 25% (from 31 to 23) since implementing PBIS in 1999;
  • Western Heights Middle School in Washington County has reduced annual office referrals by 62% (from 2,082 to 801) since implementing PBIS in 2000
  • Deep Creek Middle School in Baltimore County reduced office referrals by 42% (from 2,514 to 1,464) in the first year of implementation;
  • Shady Spring Elementary School in Baltimore County has reduced office referrals by 55% (from 852 to 385) since being trained in 2001; and
  • North Dorchester High School in Dorchester County has reduced office referrals by 37% (from 2,103 to 1333) and suspensions by 43% (352 to 200) since implementing PBIS in 2001.









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PBIS in Maryland
Phase I: Getting Ready
Phase II: Implementing
Phase III: Sustaining
High Need Students
What is PBIS?