Who We Are

The Brigham Young University Positive Behavior Support Initiative (BYU-PBSI) is sponsored by the David O. McKay School of Education through the Center for the Improvement of Teacher Education and Schooling (CITES). The Initiative was developed in 2000 under the direction of Dr. K. Richard Young, with support from faculty and staff at Brigham Young University.

Positive Behavior Support (PBS) is a comprehensive framework designed to improve the quality of life for children, youth, and adults by reducing problem behaviors and fostering positive behavior. PBS involves a collaborative effort to structure school environments to provide sufficient encouragement and commendation, life skills instruction, and behavioral interventions to ensure the development of lifestyles that promote success and happiness in schools, families, and communities.

PBS is a multi-level approach that should be implemented:

  • at a basic level for all students,
  • at a more focused level for students who are identified as being at risk for developing future academic and social problems, and
  • at an intensive level for those who are currently displaying challenging behavior problems and academic deficiencies.

When implemented effectively, PBS creates:

  • A culture of caring, teaching, and nurturing, where everyone can be safe, be successful, and feel needed;
  • A school where civility is taught, understood, and practiced; and
  • A community where students, teachers, administrators, and parents consistently follow the "golden rule."

Based on empirically validated strategies and system change procedures, the initiative is structured to produce socially important outcomes by proactively teaching social interaction skills, self-management skills, and other important life skills. To combat problem behaviors, more functional and appropriate replacement behaviors are taught and an environmental support network is established.

Publications & Presentations

Research conducted by BYU-PBSI faculty and staff has been have been published in peer-reviewed professional journals and presented at local, regional, national, and international conferences. For detailed information regarding BYU-PBSI presentations and publications, see our List of Presentations. The book Positive Behavior Support in Secondary Schools, written by BYU faculty, is available through Guilford Press.

Mission Statement

We envision a positive school environment that nurtures the development of social, emotional, and behavioral skills, competencies, and characteristics necessary for engaging in meaningful relationships, achieving academic success, and dealing with the challenges of life. We support educators in developing a strengths-based perspective. We view a student who fails to perform successfully or exhibits inappropriate behavior not as deficient or pathological, but as needing more opportunities to master necessary academic and/or life skills. A strengths-based approach assumes that all students have strengths which educators must acknowledge and use as the foundation for assisting them in reaching their full potential. The mission of the Positive Behavior Support Initiative is to develop within all youth noble character, social competence and academic excellence.