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Language matters. Over the past several years, the BEST Project/VTPBIS Team and the National PBIS TA Center have worked on analyzing, reflecting, and shifting PBIS terms to be more equitable, culturally responsive, and trauma-informed.

The following are the current terms we are using in Vermont. However, simply shifting the language will not accomplish the goal of more effective and equitable PBIS implementation. The mindset change that goes along with these language changes is also critical. For more information about the language changes, don’t hesitate to get in touch with your VTPBIS TA or coach.

VTPBIS Language Changes

Define expectations/agreements. Use “we are … (safe, responsible, etc.)”

3-5 behavioral expectations

“Be (safe, responsible, etc.)”

Teach and practice prosocial behaviors (to fluency)

Procedures for teaching expected behaviors

Acknowledge and provide feedback on prosocial behaviors

Procedures for acknowledging positive behaviors

Prevent and respond instructionally to interfering behavior through a continuum of supports

Procedures for discouraging problem behaviors

Make decisions based on data

Procedures for record-keeping and decision-making

Student Support Plan (SSP)

Behavior Support Plan (BSP)

Interfering Behavior

Problem / Challenging / Concerning Behavior

Setting Conditions

Setting Events

Outcome Behavior

Desired Behavior

FBA and SSP Form




Collective Ownership