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Scaling Up School-Wide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports: Experiences of Seven States With Documented Success

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PBS, positive behavior support


Donald Kincaid, EdD, BCBA-D


Scaling of evidence-based practices in education has received extensive discussion but little empirical evaluation. We present here a descriptive summary of the experience from seven states with a history of implementing and scaling School-Wide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (SWPBIS) over the past decade. Each state has been successful in establishing at least 500 schools using SWPBIS across approximately a third or more of the schools in their state. The implementation elements proposed by Sugai, Horner, and Lewis (2009) and the stages of implementation described by Fixsen, Naoom, Blase, Friedman, and Wallace (2005) were used within a survey with each element assessed at each stage by the SWPBIS coordinators and policy makers in the seven states. Consistent themes from analysis of the responses were defined and confirmed with the surveyed participants. Results point to four central areas of state “capacity” as being perceived as critical for a state to move SWPBIS to scale (administrative leadership and funding, local training and coaching capacity, behavioral expertise, and local evaluation capacity), and an iterative process in which initial implementation success (100–200 demonstrations) is needed to recruit the political and fiscal support required for larger scaling efforts.


Horner, R., Kincaid, D., Sugai, G., Lewis, T., Eber, L., Barrett, S., . . . Johnson, N. (2013). Scaling up school-wide positive behavioral interventions and supports: Experiences of seven states with documented success. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, Advance online publication.  doi:10.1177/1098300713503685


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