Tier III Overview

The purpose of Tier III of PBIS is to address the needs of students with intense problem behaviors that may be affecting/disrupting quality of life in multiple life domains (home, school, community.) This includes students with diagnosed behavior or developmental disorders, as well as students with no diagnosis. Tier III provides systems for identifying students with intense needs, analyzing their specific needs, providing appropriate interventions, and monitoring their progress. Leadership at Tier III involves 2 main functions: developing, implementing and monitoring individual student interventions; and monitoring overall effectiveness and fidelity of implementation of interventions across all students receiving Tier III support. Administrative support and behavioral expertise are critical at this Tier. Team members monitoring overall effectiveness and fidelity will meet regularly to progress monitor. Teams supporting individual students will be individualized for each student.


Tier III of PBIS is available to ALL students needing individualized support, regardless of disability, diagnosed disorder, or meeting eligibility criteria for special services. This may include students with externalizing behavior (aggression, disruption, etc.), internalizing behavior (depression, thoughts of suicide, etc.), students that are acting out due to a trauma or crisis, or students that are coming from a restrictive environment (residential treatment facility, alternative school, etc.) Typically, students are identified due to chronic behavioral issues (discipline referrals, suspensions, not responsive to Tier II interventions, etc.), through nomination from staff or family, or through results of a screening tool.


Interventions at Tier III are based on a Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA) of the student. Depending on the level of the student’s needs, this assessment may involve a single consultant with function expertise, or on the other end of the continuum, an intense team-based assessment to address multiple life domains. Once function is determined, a behavior intervention (or support) plan (BIP or BSP) is developed to address the FBA. The BIP clearly defines the problem behavior, as well as the desired replacement behavior. The plan addresses antecedents and consequences, and strategies to teach, encourage and maintain the desired behavior.


When students have intense needs in multiple life domains, a process called Wraparound may be appropriate. Wraparound involves developing  a team that will support the student and family throughout the process. This team might consist of behavioral health professionals, education professionals, family members, trusted staff, and trusted community members (from church, neighborhood, activities, etc.) The team will look at both strengths and needs of the student and family and develop an individualized plan (and possibly a crisis plan) to provide support across school, home and the community. This is an ongoing process that will be monitored and revised as needed, with the goal of keeping the student at school and in the home with proper support. The final step is to provide a transition phase where the team ensures the student will continue to have support when professional support ends.


Another wraparound-like process, called RENEW (Rehabilitation for Empowerment, Natural Supports, Education, and Work), may be appropriate for some older students. This process is driven by the student, with support from adults. For more information on RENEW, click here.