PBIS in Trauma-Informed Resilience-Focused Schools

Many educators may think that Positive Behavior Supports & Interventions is a straightforward system that may not vary school to school. The reality is that PBIS can, in fact, take many forms. It can even be integrated with other areas of focus. Trauma-informed, resilience-focused schools look at the needs of each child. Therefore, PBIS can be integrated into trauma-informed, resilient schools but it should be done with a focus on relationships, self-awareness, and regulation rather than on rewards and punishments.


  • Positive reinforcement through encouraging feedback and noticing.
  • Connect with students.
  • Build relationships – not just rapport.
  • Search for and build upon student strengths and interest.
  • Assess for each student’s universal needs indicating which needs are being met and those which are not being met.
  • Don’t just reward a few. Celebrate the entire class for effort.


  • Use behavior as your clue.
  • Behavior is a response to unmet needs and/or a survival response.
  • Be curious about behavior.
  • Ask “What might be driving this behavior?”
  • Ask “What might the child’s private logic be and how is that impacting the behavior?”


  • Intervention is not for tracking negative behaviors.
  • Use the Starr’s Behavior Support Plan to support the Circle of Courage universal needs of belonging, mastery, independence, and generosity.


  • Adapt the environment to support the student.
  • Provide calming corners.
  • Use sensory supports, mentors, reset spaces, restorative practices, brain breaks, and play.

Click below to learn from Starr Executive Vice President & COO Derek Allen as he explains what to keep in mind when implementing PBIS within a trauma-informed, resilience-focused culture.

Integrating PBIS with a trauma-informed, resilience-focused school can be done seamlessly through Starr's 10 Steps to Create a Trauma-Informed, Resilience-Focused School. Download a free sample below.

Download a sample of 10 Steps

Starr Commonwealth is diving deeper into PBIS and trauma-informed, resilience-focused schools at our virtual conference! Click below to learn more. Additionally, you can learn more with these resources from Starr—including the eCourse Resetting for Resilience seen above. You can register now for 75% off!

By Matt Ray

About Starr Commonwealth

Starr Commonwealth is dedicated to the mission to lead with courage to create positive experiences so that all children, families, and communities flourish. We specialize in residential, community-based, educational, and professional training programs that build on the strengths of children, adults, and families in communities around the world. To schedule a training or consultation, please contact info@starr.org or call 800-837-5591.