Part Two: Every School on the Planet Should Implement PBIS Methods: PBIS Checklist


Dr. Clay Cook

Educators have concerns that PBIS is just a token economy system. My first response is that our world is built on a token economy system in the sense that people perform jobs and receive acknowledgment and recognition for their work through money that has value, and that it can be exchanged for other items of interest. When I am paid for my hard work, I feel better appreciated for the energy and effort I put in to making a meaningful difference in the lives of young people.

Perhaps a better way to view PBIS than as a token economy is that it emphasizes a feedback system in which students will receive feedback when they put in the energy and effort to exhibit behaviors that help create a more orderly, productive, and peaceful school environment. This type of feedback helps promote behavioral expectations and involves creating an acknowledgment and recognition system that enables students to feel appreciated for their efforts to exhibit the behavioral expectations. Similar acknowledgment and recognition systems are created for the adults so their energy and effort too is not taken for granted and they receive feedback about what they are doing right instead of receiving feedback only when something is not going as expected. 

When taken together, PBIS methods are effective methods of teaching behaviors that enable one to be successful in school and help co-create a particular type of healthy school environment (that is, safe, positive, predictable, and reinforcing) that enables both staff and students to get the most out of their experiences. Below is a checklist that outlines the key practice elements that align with the universal, Tier 1 level of PBIS.

About the Author: Dr. Clay Cook is the John and Nancy Peyton Faculty Fellow in Child and Adolescent Wellbeing at the University of Minnesota and Associate Professor in the School Psychology Program. He has extensive research and practical experiences involving the implementation of multi-tiered systems of support to promote children’s social, emotional and behavioral wellbeing as the foundation for academic and life success.

Read Part 1 of this blog