Rear view of a little school children raising their hands in the classroom

If you are a teacher, it’s a pretty safe bet that you did not choose your career because of your enthusiasm for enforcing classroom discipline. You became a teacher because you wanted to teach. You wanted to improve children’s lives and to help young minds grow. Yet you may find yourself spending more time than you would like dealing with behavior issues in your classroom. And that cuts into your instructional time, hurts everyone’s morale and decreases your students’ chances of success – both inside and outside the classroom. Yet you can’t just ignore disruptive behavior. You have to address it in some way.

Many educators are finding that the most effective way to address disruptive behavior is to do so before it actually happens. And one approach that has shown great success in this regard is called Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS).

PBIS is a systematic process for creating school-wide environments that promote positive behaviors and in doing so reduce negative behaviors. PBIS implicitly acknowledges what many educators have known for a long time – “no” only goes so far in controlling student behavior and, in fact, often creates further oppositional behavior, a black hole that pulls students, families, teachers and administrators away from the real work at hand – teaching and learning. In short, PBIS uses the power of “yes” to improve student behavior and student achievement. And it’s flexible enough to be adapted to meet the needs of any school and any classroom.

This overview of PBIS is broken down into the following sections:

Thousands of schools are already using PBIS with great results: teachers are able to spend more time teaching, and students are showing improved academic achievement in safe, consistent and positive environments. Explore the rest of this site to learn how PBIS can help both you and your students.

Best Practice

Studies have shown that some schools have had office discipline referrals decrease by as much as 50% after implementing PBIS. And this creates a dramatic increase in the number of hours available to teachers and students for teaching and learning.


PBIS in Maryland is a collaboration between the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE), Sheppard Pratt Health System, the Johns Hopkins University Center for the Prevention of Youth Violence, and the 24 Local School Systems. Download MSDE’s PBIS Fact Sheet for additional information on this statewide program.