Author: ČOSIV

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Dení writes about the Czech pilot implementation of PBIS

Dení writes about the Czech pilot implementation of PBIS

Since this summer, we have been piloting the implementation of the PBIS framework at three Czech primary schools, in Most-Chánov, Velvary and Zeleneč. PBIS originated in the 80’s in the USA and is now used in dozens of other countries around the world. Thanks to the Schools Helping Vulnerable Children project, we bring an evidence-based approach towards children with challenging behavior, that is based on a clear formulation and setting of positive expectations throughout the school.

“We tell all the children what we want them to do. The adopted unified rules relate to safety, responsibility and mutual respect, in all areas of the school, ” Anna Preclíková, a seventh grade class teacher at the Zeleneč primary school, describes for Deník the beginnings of work with this framework. Since summer, her school has had established a four-member PBIS team consisting of teachers, administrators and an educational counselor or special education teacher. They are supporting colleagues in the day-to-day implementation of PBIS and preparing further steps in implementation, after the initial training of the entire faculty done by ČOSIV. A key part of the PBIS is shifting attention to expected behaviors and reinforcing appropriate behaviors.

The whole article is available here:…/skoly-pravidla-ucitele-zaci

The project is being supported by the Committee of Good Will – the Olga Havel Foundation from the
Active Citizens Fund. The programme promotes citizens’ active participation in the public life and
decision making and empowerment of vulnerable groups. The Active Citizens Fund is financed from
EEA and Norway Grants.

ČOSIV helps Czech schools to introduce a three-tiered behavior support

ČOSIV helps Czech schools to introduce a three-tiered behavior support

ČOSIV helps Czech schools to introduce a three-tiered behavior support

With the beginning of the new school year come further changes and uncertainty for teachers and students as to whether and when we should expect next waves of distance education. The situation is challenging for teachers, parents and, of course, students. We value schools all the more that they try to tackle the situation in such a way as to help children adapt to the school environment as much as possible after a long separation from friends and teachers and a long period of home education, which unfortunately often did not take place in ideal conditions.

We are pleased to have been able to support three schools involved in the project Schools Helping Vulnerable Children in the preparatory week. We have carried out a two-day training for the schools’ faculty focused on the introduction of the PBIS (Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports) framework. Schools will be implementing PBIS with ČOSIV’s support for over the next three years. The three-tiered behavioral support (PBIS) framework enables schools to respond to students’ current behavioral and well-being needs, thus creating an environment that enables students to reach their maximum educational potential.


In the first year of implementation, schools will focus primarily on unifying behavioral expectations and routine procedures. This will strengthen the predictability and structure of the learning environment and increase students’ sense of security. When students feel safe at school and the environment is easy to understand for them, they can concentrate on learning better. School-wide expectations are formulated positively, thus creating a school culture of competence. As part of the feedback on students’ behavior, teachers strive to draw attention primarily to students who respect the agreed expectations, and thus the expected behavior is further strengthened.


During the two-day training, the lecturers supported the faculty of each of the participating schools in creating school-wide expectations, specific examples of expected behavior and procedures for teaching students the expected behavior in the adaptation period. Schools also reflected on the current course of distance education and the effects of quarantine on children's mental health. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, an important topic of the training was also the support of children's mental health, relaxation techniques and ways of recognition and appropriate responses to a possible adverse experience of students.

We wish all children, students, teachers and parents the most pleasant start to the new school year. After such a difficult conclusion of the previous school year, we need to renew and build mutual relationships and a sense of security, which will help us to manage any further period of separation and insecurity better.

About the Project

About the Project

Fund provider: Active citizens fund
Project number: 0004/2019/ACF/1
Realization period: 3/2020 – 2/2023
Thematic area: disadvantaged groups
Recipient: Czech Society for Inclusive Education

Project coordinator: Mgr. Anna Kubickova,

About the project:

The aim of the project is to provide support for schools so they could build their own capacity to respond to the needs of vulnerable children and defend their rights. Support will be provided through the implementation of a PBIS framework, supporting children in following school behavior expectations and providing effective interventions to children in need of behavioral support. The PBIS framework helps schools to build a safe and predictable environment and involves students and parents in building positive school environment. The pilot implementation and adaptation of PBIS to Czech conditions will be carried out at three elementary schools with a higher proportion of children at risk. At the system level, the aim of the project is to incorporate the principles of PBIS into the educational content of universities preparing future teachers and within the further education of pedagogical staff. The project will be implemented in cooperation with experts from the USA and the Netherlands, who will provide professional training for future PBIS coaches and implementation teams in schools. Trained PBIS coaches for the Czech Republic will be then competent in disseminating the PBIS framework after completing their training. The project will also include several events for the general public, where the principles of PBIS and the benefits of implementing the PBIS framework not only for vulnerable children, but all pupils and school staff will be introduced.

Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS)

Over thirty years of development

The Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports Framework (PBIS) is widely used in schools in the United States and is growing in popularity in Europe and around the world. It is based on more than thirty years of research and development. The concept of the basic principles of PBIS began to emerge in the 1980s in the USA. Researchers from the University of Oregon have found, based on a number of studies, what it is essential for effective treatment of challenging behavior at school:

  • Prevention
  • Application of evidence-based practices
  • Data-driven decision making
  • School-wide approach
  • Teaching social skills
  • Team implementation and professional development of employees

PBIS represents a sophisticated framework integrating all these elements, thus enabling the establishment of a continuum of EB interventions contributing to the educational and social success of all pupils in school. PBIS is conceived as a multi-level system that provides universal behavioral support for all pupils in the school, targeted support for groups of pupils showing a need for more intensive support and individual support for pupils for whom targeted group support is insufficient. PBIS is currently being used in more than 25,000 schools in the United States, and more than 30 national PBIS networks have been established around the world.

Behavior is learned

PBIS builds on a person's nature to respond to their environment through certain behaviors. Its main concept is that behavior should be taught similarly to academical subjects. The primary procedure is thus learning and practicing positively formulated school-wide expectations. The student should then act in every situation accordingly to these expectations. The application of expected behavior is initially intensively practiced with the pupils in various school settings. During the school year, it is strengthened by positive reinforcement and practice. At the beginning of the school year, pupils should learn in an interactive way that, for example, responsibility is manifested in class by raising your hand before speaking, in the washroom by using disposable paper towels and in the cafeteria by taking a tray of leftovers to a designated place. School-wide behavioral expectations are learned by practicing examples and non-examples of typical behavior in given settings (classroom, locker room, playground, school bus, cafeteria…). Research shows that students learn new behavior on average after eight repetitions. If a student is to change inappropriate behavior, the new behavior must be repeated almost thirty times on average. Furthermore, research has shown that this proactive approach is more effective in preventing challenging behavior than the use of restrictive procedures (penalties, notes, refferals).

Intensity of behavioral support according to actual need

The school-wide support described above applies to all pupils in the school. This universal level of support is beneficial for all, but it’s lower intensity will not be sufficient for 10 to 20% of pupils. These pupils will need either more intensive forms of group support (tier II support) or highly individualized support based on a more detailed diagnosis of the pupil's situation (tier III support) to significantly improve behavior. The targeted support in tier II. will be sufficient for about 5 to 15% of pupils. Individually set support in tier III. will be needed for 1 to 5% of pupils. More intensive support is not determined on the basis of the student's long-term diagnosis but responds flexibly to changes in the student's behavior.Pupils in need of more intensive behavioral support are identified through simple collection and analysis of school behavior data. The evaluation of the selected intervention effectiveness is also being conducted based on data collection and analysis and can be gradually terminated, modified or intensified after 6 to 8 weeks.

Teachers know what to do when…

The PBIS system also introduces appropriate ways to respond to occasional mild behavioral problems as well as more severe manifestations of challenging behavior. With the correct application of these procedures, the occurrence of challenging behavior at school can be significantly reduced or completely eliminated. The recommended procedures of the teacher's reactions to the pupils' behavior as well as the interventions applied in the PBIS system are based on research evidence of their effectiveness.

How does PBIS help vulnerable children?

The behavior of children living in difficult conditions is significantly influenced by their situation. Long-term or intense adverse experiences in childhood significantly affect the development of children's brains and have a negative impact on all components of their lives, including the ability to learn and thrive socially at school. The CDC-Kaiser Permanente study (ACE Study, 1995-1997) showed a high prevalence of adverse childhood experiences in the population and their long-term effects on the mental health, education and social success of those who experienced them. It confirms, inter alia, the need to take a systematic, school-wide approach to supporting children's functional behavior instead of providing support only to those children who have been exposed to developmental trauma. School environment that can significantly affect a child's behavior since the child spends in school majority of the outside-family time. As mentioned above, long-term or intense experience of adverse experiences disrupts the child's psychosocial development, which is reflected in their behavior. If the teacher reacts to the manifestations of the child's challenging behavior in an inappropriate way, they can deepen child’s problems with their approach. The PBIS system establishes effective support for expected behavior and at the same time provides teachers with a set of possible responses to the challenging behavior of children, which can prevent the fixation of challenging behavior while not aggravating the child’s trauma. It is also possible to implement procedures in the PBIS system to help identify pupils' problems related to their family environment and provide them with appropriate support.

The project is being supported by the Committee of Good Will – the Olga Havel Foundation from the Active Citizens Fund. The programme promotes citizens’ active participation in the public life and decision making and empowerment of vulnerable groups. The Active Citizens Fund is financed from EEA and Norway Grants.