Tier 1 – Schoolwide Strategies

Professional Tools and Resources for Behavior Analysts

hosted at Science of Behaviorwww.scienceofbehavior.com

Schoolwide (Tier 1) Strategies Form the Foundation

That Supports Behavioral and Academic Progress

3 Tier Pyramid Example PDF

Schools with strong Tier 1 foundations can answer YES to ALL 9 questions below:


Does your school support a positive schoolwide culture?

School leadership teams meet frequently to actively promote, recognize and reinforce a schoolwide culture that emphasizes:

  • 100% Ownership – every staff member plays an important role in assuring that each and every student succeeds
  • Multi-tiered Problem Solving – problem identification and certification (validation), function-based analysis and intervention design, and reliable implementation occur at schoolwide, classroom-targeted group, and individual student levels
  • “Show us the Data!” – critical measures of progress are frequently reviewed and data-based decisions occur at all levels
  • Dignity and Respect – the entire school climate emphasizes dignity and respect for staff and students in all circumstances

Does your school address these 7 major components of effective schoolwide systems?

  • Agreed upon a common approach to discipline
  • Positive statement of purpose
  • 3-5 positively stated schoolwide behavior expectations for all students and staff
  • Procedures for teaching these expectations to students [Outcome: At least 80% of students (and adults) can name the expectations and give related examples.]
  • Continuum of procedures for encouraging displays and maintenance of these expectations [Example: The ratio of positive adult-to-student interactions to corrective interactions exceeds 5-to-1.]
  • Continuum of procedures for discouraging displays of rule-violating behavior
  • Procedures for monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of the discipline system on a regular and frequent basis [Outcome: When schoolwide systems are successful, at least 75% of the students have zero or one discipline referral for less serious incident types per year.]
    • Adapted from:
    • Response to Intervention for Behavior (RtI:B): A Technical Assistance Paper. Florida’s Positive Behavior Support Project: Response to Intervention for Behavior, 2008.
    • Sugai, G. & Horner, R.H. (2005). Schoolwide Positive Behavior Supports: Achieving and sustaining effective learning environments for all students. In Heward et al. Focus on Behavior Analysis in Education.

Does your school coordinate regular monitoring and evaluation of discipline data and methods?

  • Different sources of data may be used to assess the outcomes and fidelity of Tier 1 schoolwide supports and to assist in identifying students who may require Tier 2 classroom/targeted group supports, and/or Tier 3 individualized supports:
    • Minor behavior infraction tracking system
    • Teacher requests for assistance in the classroom
    • Removals from the classroom
    • Office discipline referrals (ODR)
    • Out-of-school and in-school suspensions (OSS/ISS)
    • Exceptional education referrals/requests for assistance – May provide a measure of whether classroom support processes are lessening the need for teachers to consider referrals for more intensive supports
    • Teacher nominations and periodic screenings – May include requests for consultation from the Behavior Intervention Team, Problem Solving Leadership Team or IEP Team. Also may include brief rating scales, checklists, or other broad screenings or measures for every student scheduled at various intervals during the year (e.g., Fall, Winter, Spring).
    • Intermittent observations across classrooms and other school settings, including – Provides valuable data on student behavior and the fidelity of implementation of multi-tiered interventions.
      • Adapted from: Response to Intervention for Behavior (RtI:B): A Technical Assistance Paper. Florida’s Positive Behavior Support Project: Response to Intervention for Behavior, 2008
  • Ongoing data analysis – School leadership teams frequently (at least monthly) access, summarize (via graphs or tables), and interpret data with these goals:
    • early identification of emerging problems, such as:
      • “peak times” – when disruptive behavior is most likely
      • “hot spots” – campus locations where disruptive behavior often occurs
      • classrooms that have many discipline incidents
      • individual students with multiple referrals
    • prevent or stop ineffective practices that waste precious time and resources
    • improve the efficiency and effectiveness of current procedures
    • eliminate elements of the system that are ineffective or inefficient
    • make modifications before problem behavior patterns become too durable and resistant to change.
  • Problem solving activities – To meet the goals above, the leadership team prioritizes concerns, gathers additional information, and engages in problem-solving to implement relevant, evidence-based strategies at the appropriate Tier 1, 2, or 3 levels.

Does your school plan, teach, and reinforce schoolwide rules and expectations?

  • 3-5 behavioral expectations are clearly defined and posted for all school settings (e.g., cafeteria, hallways, media center), common routines and transitions, and in every classroom.
  • School leadership teams coordinate lesson plans and assure that students receive direct instruction, rehearsal, reviews, and reinforcers for meeting expectations, or showing related improvements. Repeated practice and feedback opportunities are used at the start of the school year and as needed to refresh student skills during the school year (e..g, after a long holiday or spring break).

Does your school plan and use schoolwide reinforcer delivery systems?

  • Every Pre-K, Elementary, Middle, and High School setting should have an efficient system to reinforce and maintain desired student behaviors, especially those related to following schoolwide and classroom rules. The school leadership team should assure that this system is well designed, fully supported, and implemented with high levels of integrity. Reinforcer delivery systems can be successfully applied for students at any age or grade level by identifying those items and activities that are highly desired by the respective students.
  • Click here for tools to prepare a customized reinforcer menu for your school’s students.
  • Combine and adapt these strategies to fit the particular needs of your school setting:
    • Principal’s 200 Club – This bingo-style, random reinforcement system targets high traffic, transition areas (e.g., cafeteria, hallways, bus loading areas) and other settings that generate high rates of discipline referrals.
    • Schoolwide Behavior Lottery / Raffle – This drawing-style, random reinforcement system can be used to target transition areas (e.g., cafeteria, hallways, bus loading areas).
    • Schoolwide Token Economy – In this classic system, students who meet schoolwide behavioral expectations (i.e., follow school rules) earn “school money” (e.g., Bellamy Bucks, Middleton Money, Durant Dollars) to purchase special privileges or activities, or to spend in a “school store” that’s stocked with highly-desired, age-appropriate items.
    • Schoolwide Recognition & Reward Programs
    • Assemblies, awards & privileges for attendance, citizenship, honor-roll, grade and conduct improvement
      • includes “Terrific Kids”-type programs (community supported)
    • “Fun Friday”-type programs that provide brief, special activities to students who meet a good behavior criteria while other students work on academic tasks, social skills lessons, etc.

Does your school plan and use schoolwide consequences for common disruptive behaviors?

  • The school’s entire faculty is surveyed to identify common disruptive behaviors.
  • A heirarchy (least to most restrictive) of consequences for the most common disruptive behaviors is clearly described, posted, communicated to all stakeholders (educators, students, parents), and consistently applied by a well trained faculty.

Does your school have a focused strategy and dedicate sufficient time to teach desired social behaviors (also known as Social-Emotional Learning)?

  • Structured lessons and supports are provided schoolwide to help students develop competence in dealing with interpersonal conflicts, learn to use self-control, and contribute to a positive classroom atmosphere.
  • Lessons typically include teacher modeling, student role playing, teacher and peer feedback, and skill practice in all relevant school settings and by parents in the home and community.
  • Click here and here for general information, research support and resources. More resources are provided below:
    • Skillstreaming This program addresses the social skill needs of students who display aggression, immaturity, withdrawal, or other problem behaviors. Skillstreaming has been used successfully with thousands of students. It is flexible and easy to use.
    • Second Step – In this program, kids from preschool through Grade 8 learn and practice vital social skills, problem solving, and cooperation in the classroom, on the playground, and at home. Educators using the program report reductions in discipline referrals, improvement in their school climate, heightened feelings of inclusiveness and respect, and an increase in the sense of confidence and responsibility in their students.

Does your school identify, prevent, and stop bullying and harassment?


Does your school actively recruit parent participation and connect parents to training opportunities?

  • Frequent communication – Parents receive frequent communication from teachers about their child’s progress.
  • Family-friendly fun activities – Parents are warmly invited to family-friendly fun activities (e.g., movie nights) several times per year at the school site so they can get to know school staff and other families in their community.
  • Information sessions are offered to help parents navigate the ststem of services available in the school district and through professional groups.
  • Parent training is offered through local resources or provided by school faculty – Examples:
    • Free Power of Positive Parenting online course by Dr. Glenn Latham – This course is wonderful for parents of children from infants to teenagers. The presentation is practical and user-friendly. Some parts can be completed by independent readings, while others can be facilitated by educators in class meetings. Click here to access the course.
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