Employment Opportunities
District Served
Facilities Rental
State Support Team 3
Educator Quality Programs
Connect ITC
Parent Resources
Kindergarten Registration
background image
Ohio Online
Paraprofessional Testing
ESC Bridge
Superintendent's Message
Governing Board

Supporting Highly Mobile Students through the PBIS Framework

The Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) framework is a tiered, comprehensive approach to improving student behavior and academic outcomes in schools. Extensive research has shown that when implemented with fidelity, it is effective in supporting a wide range of students, including those who are highly mobile and/or are in foster care. 

The more than 16,000 Ohio students in foster care often face significant academic and behavioral challenges. Students in foster care have an average grade point average of 2.47, compared to 3.0 for the general student population. They are also more likely to be chronically absent and have higher rates of suspension and expulsion. 

Despite these challenges, a study published in the Journal of School Violence found that support provided at all tiers of the PBIS framework improved the behavior and academic outcomes of this vulnerable population. Another study published in the Journal of Child and Family Studies found that PBIS was effective in reducing disruptive behavior and improving social skills among students in foster care who had experienced trauma. 

Examples of supports that can be provided to this student population include the following:

Universal (Tier I) Level

  • School-wide expectations that are clear, concise and posted throughout the school provide consistency and stability across different environments.

  • Explicit instruction and modeling of expectations ensures that all students understand what is expected of them.

  • Consistent routines and procedures provide predictability for students whose lives outside of school can be in a constant state of upheaval.

Targeted Level (Tier II)

  • A peer mentoring program that pairs students with positive role models can assist in building relationships and facilitate a transfer of skills.

  • The use of checklists and visual supports may help students with organization and time management. 

  • Checking in and out with a mentor daily provides a trusting adult within the building with whom to set goals and receive feedback.

  • Inclusion in a counseling small group that focuses on self-awareness and relationship-building may assist with lagging social skills due to high mobility.

Intensive Level (Tier III)

  • Counseling services to address emotional and behavioral needs, including trauma-focused therapy, may be appropriate for students who have experienced trauma.

  • Connections to community resources are important for students who are new to the schools or community.

  • Individualized academic support and accommodations, such as extra tutoring or extended time on assignments, may be necessary to ensure students receive services for their specific needs. 

In addition to these supports, the PBIS framework emphasizes the importance of collaboration and communication between schools and families at all three tiers. This is critical for students who have experienced changes in the home setting. Finally, the use of data and ongoing assessments will determine which interventions are most effective so adjustments can be made as needed. 

Information on foster care in Ohio can be found at THIS ODE website. For more information or assistance with supporting highly mobile students through PBIS in your district, contact Linda Blanch at [email protected]

Vandermolen, L. A., & Hummel, J. (2017). Effectiveness of a Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) Intervention in Improving Behavior and Academic Outcomes for Foster Care Youth. Journal of School Violence, 16(3), 327-342.

Barnes, T. N., Brackett, M. A., Johnson, S. R., & Dixon, A. L. (2020). Effects of a Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) Intervention on Trauma-Exposed Children in Foster Care. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 29(9), 2542-2555.

Print This Article