District PBIS » Three Tiers of Support

Three Tiers of Support

Three Tiers of Support

PBIS is a multi-tiered framework – three tiers, to be exact. Each tier aligns to the type of support students need. These three tiers are:



Tier 1: Universal Prevention (All)

Systems 3

Tier 1 systems, data, and practices impact everyone across all settings. They establish the foundation for delivering regular, proactive support and preventing unwanted behaviors. Tier 1 emphasizes prosocial skills and expectations by teaching and acknowledging appropriate student behavior.


Tier 1 foundational systems include:

  • An established leadership team
  • Regular meetings
  • A commitment statement for establishing a positive school-wide social culture
  • On-going use of data for decision making
  • Professional development plans
  • Personnel evaluation plan


Tier 1 practices include:

  • School-wide positive expectations and behaviors are taught
  • Established classroom expectations aligned with school-wide expectations
  • A continuum of procedures for encouraging expected behavior
  • A continuum of procedures for discouraging problem behavior
  • Procedures for encouraging school-family partnership

Tier 2: Targeted Prevention (Some)

Tier 2 systems, data, and practices provide targeted support for students who are not successful with Tier 1 supports alone. The focus is on supporting students who are at risk for developing more serious problem behavior before those behaviors start. Tier 2 supports often involve group interventions with 10 or more students participating. The support at this level is more focused than Tier 1 and less intensive than Tier 3.

Tier 2 foundational systems include:

  • An intervention team with a coordinator
  • Behavioral expertise
  • Fidelity and outcome data are collected
  • A screening process to identify students needing Tier 2 support
  • Access to training and technical assistance

Tier 2 practices include:

  • Increased instruction and practice with self-regulation and social skills
  • Increased adult supervision
  • Increased opportunities for positive reinforcement
  • Increased pre-corrections
  • Increased focus on possible function of problem behaviors
  • Increased access to academic supports

Tier 3: Intensive, Individualized Prevention (Few)

At most schools, there are 1-5% of students for whom Tier 1 and Tier 2 supports have not connected. At Tier 3, these students receive more intensive, individualized support to improve their behavioral and academic outcomes. Tier 3 strategies work for students with developmental disabilities, autism, emotional and behavioral disorders, and students with no diagnostic label at all.

Tier 3 foundational systems include:

  • A multi-disciplinary team
  • Behavior support expertise
  • Formal fidelity and outcome data are collected

Tier 3 practices include:

  • Function-based assessments
  • Wraparound supports
  • Cultural and contextual fit

For more information, visit the Center on PBIS