AccessMyLibrary provides FREE access to millions of articles from top publications available through your library.
There is growing interest in positive behavior supports among state departments of education and local school systems as an efficient and effective strategy for addressing students' increasing and intensifying discipline needs. Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) is one whole-school prevention strategy that alters the school environment by creating improved systems (e.g., discipline, reinforcement, and data management) and procedures (e.g., collection of office referral data, training, team-based decision making) to promote positive changes in student and teacher behaviors. This article describes a statewide systems approach to the implementation of PBIS. An overview of the PBIS Maryland multilevel implementation model is presented with a focus on school- and district-level structures that support implementation. Preliminary results are presented from the state's summative and formative evaluation being conducted in 467 schools trained in PBIS. The evaluation findings suggest that the state has developed an efficient statewide structure for promoting high-fidelity implementation of PBIS.
Keywords: positive behavior support; dissemination; implementation; fidelity; coaching
Schools are responsible for developing and sustaining both academic and behavioral gains in their students. Achieving this outcome has become increasingly more difficult over the past few years (Lewis & Sugai, 1999). Disruptive and violent behavior in schools is detrimental to students, schools, and communities. The Surgeon General's 2001 report to congress stated that although there had been a decrease in youth homicide, the rate of less violent, antisocial crimes continued to escalate (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2001). The number of students with aggressive, disruptive, and/or antisocial behavior is steadily increasing, and more special education services are being required (Sugai & Homer, 1994, 1999). Schools are in need of efficient and effective strategies to address the increasing and intensifying discipline needs of their students.
Schools and local school districts are showing increased interest in whole-school prevention models. When establishing positive school environments, most researchers, policy makers, and service providers agree that a continuum of behavior supports provides an effective, efficient, and relevant structure for organizing resources, interventions, and systems within and across schools. The continuum is comprised of three prevention levels: primary, secondary, and tertiary. Primary interventions consist of schoolwide discipline and classroom management systems and practices that prevent the development of nonadaptive social behavior and promote the development of prosocial skills. Secondary or targeted interventions address the educational needs of students who are at risk of academic and/or social behavior failure. Lastly, tertiary or specialized individualized interventions provide specific behavior supports to students with emotional and behavioral challenges as well as to the children's families (Sugai & Homer, 2006).
The growing interest in schoolwide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS; Sugai & Homer, 2006) and other similar models of positive behavior supports is likely due in part to the ease with which the universal or primary prevention tier of these models can be implemented. These programs typically require relatively limited staff to administer the program, training time, and financial resources to support the program. Furthermore, little class time is spent on the program. The model's three-tiered approach to prevention and emphasis on systems of support at the school, district, and state levels also make it attractive to state departments of education. The PBIS model is particularly popular within the state of Maryland, as more than 33% of the state's schools had implemented the program by the fall of 2006. The present article briefly describes the statewide infrastructure developed to support large-scale implementation and sustainability of schoolwide PBIS. A particular emphasis is placed on the state's evaluation efforts, including fidelity of implementation and student outcomes. The article concludes with a discussion of issues regarding expansion and sustainability.
The PBIS Maryland Model
The PBIS Maryland model is a systems-level approach to proactive schoolwide discipline that is designed to increase the capacity of schools to adopt and sustain research-validated practices for all students. Housed in the Department of Student Services at the Maryland State Department of Education, the Maryland PBIS Initiative is intended to serve as a structure and process that organizes, implements, and evaluates multiple initiatives that are related to social behavior improvement. The PBIS Maryland model follows the public health approach, in which the universal (schoolwide) components of PBIS are put in place to stabilize the entire school and reduce overall levels of behavior problems. The model supports a continuum of services for youth not responding to the universal components by providing training on evidence-based programs for students at risk of school failure and facilitating collaborations with local mental health and school-based clinicians to provide more intensive services for students with chronic and intense problem behaviors. The current article focuses on the implementation and evaluation of the universal schoolwide PBIS model.
Statewide PBIS Infrastructure
State-level coordination. The PBIS Maryland Initiative was developed in 1998 by a collaborative including the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE), Sheppard Pratt Health System, and Johns Hopkins University to prevent mental health problems and promote positive youth development through Maryland public schools. Ongoing technical assistance is provided by the University of Oregon, University of Connecticut, and the National Technical Assistance Center on PBIS. Three levels of coordination exist on the state level: the statewide PBIS leadership team, the PBIS state management team, and the PBIS advisory group. We briefly summarize these nested levels of support.
A statewide leadership team was created to coordinate and support the implementation, training, and sustainability of PBIS on both the district and school levels. The initiative builds on the dissemination model outlined by Sugai and Horner (2005) in the PBIS "implementers' blueprint." The statewide PBIS leadership team includes all major stakeholders, such as representatives from the Student Services and Special Education Branches at MSDE, Sheppard Pratt Health System, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, and all 24 local school districts. The team meets monthly to discuss the status of trained schools and to review all training and support material and procedures used in the statewide implementation. The team oversees multiple aspects of the initiative, including training, coaching, evaluation, dissemination activities, and event …