Vermont Positive Behavior Interventions & Supports


What is VTPBiS?
VTPBiS (Vermont Positive Behavior Interventions & Supports) can best be described as a systems approach to academic achievement and social competence for all children. VTPBiS is not a model, but a compilation of research based practices, interventions and systems integrated to improve the educational experience of all students, including those with disabilities.

VTPBiS is the integration of four primary elements:

  • operationally defined and valued outcomes,
  • behavioral and biomedical science,
  • research-validated practices, and
  • systems change to both enhance learning quality and reduce problem behaviors.

What is Meant by a "Systems Approach?"
The Office of Special Education (OSEP) Center of Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports (PBIS) Implementers' Blueprint states that common approaches to the problems schools encounter often fall into the "train-and-hope" perspective articulated by Stokes and Baer (1977):

The "train-and-hope" approach includes the following sequence:

  • difficult to solve problem is encountered,
  • expert is identified to provide a solution,
  • expert provides or trains the solution,
  • expert leaves and expects school to implement the solution,
  • lacking supports and capacity, solution is not implemented effectively, and
  • school waits for next problem to occur ("expert model" reinforced).

In contrast to "train-and-hope", the school-wide approach to PBIS gives priority to an interactive and integrated method of facilitating organizational change which incorporates four primary elements:

  • defined desired outcomes reinforced by students, families and educators,
  • evidence based practices,
  • real time data collection used for evaluation and self-correction, and
  • systems that support sustained implementation of VTPBiS practices.

In this systems approach, the focus is not placed initially on the individual student, but on the environment within which the student functions. Adjustments are made at the district, school, classroom, and where indicated, the individual level in order to effect the best possible outcome for academic and social competence for all students. These adjustments are considered to be "universal" applications. Supports and interventions are provided with progressive focus and intensity for small groups and individuals in addition to school-wide efforts. With this approach, school-wide change efforts have the best chance of improving outcomes for all students, including those with disabilities who might have otherwise required instruction outside the classroom or school.

Citation: An Implicit Technology of Generalization, Baer, Donald M. and Stokes, Trevor F., Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 1977 Summer; 10(2): 349-367.

Additional Resources

Vermont Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports
Please refer to for the most recent and updated information we have in Vermont. The Agency of Education is presently working to update this page of our website. If you have any questions please contact Sabine Baldwin at or (802-479-1393).

VTPBiS Brochure
This document contains an overview, training opportunities and talking points.

VTPBiS Team Implementation Checklist (TIC) Directions
The checklist is a data collection tool used by VTPBiS teams to monitor their progress in VTPBiS implementation. This document also contains a link for teams to complete the checklist online.

National PBIS Overview
An overview highlighting some national PBIS efforts & research.

Vermont PBS Overview PowerPoint Presentation
An overview presentation of PBS as it existed in Vermont in 2009. This document is also available below as a PowerPoint presentation. NOTE: This document is 2.5MB.

Schools Implementing VTPBiS
View a list schools and supervisory unions.

VTPBiS Annual Evaluation Reports

  • Annual Report for 2011
    This report features input, fidelity, impact and sustainability highlights from Vermont's fourth year of implementing the national framework of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS). Interest in and enthusiasm for VTPBiS continues to grow, and we are committed to build capacity to meet this need.

  • Annual Report for 2010
    Highlights of year-three achievements.

  • Annual Report for 2009
    Highlights of year-two achievements.

  • Vermont PBS Year One Data 2008
    Highlight of year-one achievements.

VTPBiS Exemplar Schools Named!
These schools have achieved the "VTPBiS Exemplar School" status for the 2011-12 school year:

  • Barnet Elementary School
  • Bingham Memorial School in Cornwall
  • Dothan Brook School in White River Junction
  • Newport Town School

In order to be named exemplar, these schools have:

  • Implemented Universal PBIS with fidelity and sustained this status for two consecutive years;
  • Used behavior "Big 5" data within a problem-solving framework to improve student outcomes;
  • Completed the annual Self-Assessment Survey to inform implementation planning; and
  • Demonstrated evidence that sustained implementation has had positive effects on learners' academic and behavioral performance.

Congratulations to these schools and their supervisory unions/districts on focused implementation efforts that are positively impacting learning outcomes and school climate!

VTPBiS Guide for Parents
The Vermont Family Network (VFN) works with the department to bring families information about VTPBiS and the many benefits for children and schools. VTPBiS is a decision-making framework that guides selection, integration, and implementation of the best evidence based practices for improving academic and behavioral outcomes for ALL students. This guide provides information for parents about VTPBiS, with specific examples of how parents and families can participate in this process. VTPBiS is being implemented in several Vermont schools, to varying degrees; from awareness and readiness levels to full implementation that includes school wide planning, to small group interventions, to individual plans. For questions about this document, contact Kathleen Kilbourne at (800) 800-4005, ext. 244 or

Additional Resources
Use the following links to learn more about PBIS at the national level:

  • National Technical Assistance Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS)
    The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP)-funded National Technical Assistance Center on PBIS was established to address the behavioral and discipline systems needed for successful learning and social development of students. The Center provides capacity-building information and technical support about behavioral systems to assist states and districts in the design of effective schools.
  • Association for Positive Behavior Support (APBS)
    The APBS is an international organization dedicated to promoting research-based strategies that combine applied behavior analysis and biomedical science with person-centered values and systems change to increase quality of life and decrease problem behaviors. The Association is made up of professionals, family members, trainers, consumers, researchers, and administrators who are involved and interested in positive behavior support.


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