Rutgers, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
PBSIS Helping Schools Build Systems of Support

Universal Intervention

  • Universal prevention planning is a data driven decision-making process that results in the implementation of core prevention practices.  Universal prevention planning applies to all students, staff, and settings and to all domains of school life, such as culture & climate, academics, behavior, conduct, social and emotional wellness. To implement a universal prevention plan, a school-wide leadership team that effectively and equitably reflects the school’s stakeholder perspectives and voices is assembled.  Implementation of the Universal tier is implemented within a continuous improvement process:

    • The process begins with the development of consistent and operationalized school-wide expectations. Having operationalized expectations that are consistently implemented across all staff establish predictability for students and minimizes the ambiguity that students often experience when standards vary across staff and settings. These expectations are shaped by your parent, student, and staff stakeholders to ensure that they are culturally responsive to the needs and strengths of your school community.
    • For the expectations to be realized, we deliver high quality instruction to teach students what is expected. These foundation lessons are typically anchored in September with booster instruction occurring in January.  Throughout the year, instruction on critical social and emotional wellness skills aligned with your school’s expectations is implemented.  The instructional practices to teach behavior and social competencies parallel that of other academic areas such as math, science or language arts. More than a decade of research has concluded that teacher directed instruction to promote positive conduct and social and emotional wellness results in reductions in negative outcomes such as discipline referrals and increases in positive outcomes.
    • Teaching the expectations is a good start, but we know that it takes between 18-250 opportunities to develop a habit, so ongoing daily exposure is essential if you expect students to develop habits and routines with the expectations and skills.  There are an array of prevention practices adults can use that are low-effort and highly effective.
    • Even when we implement prevention practices with high fidelity, there will be times when we need to respond to the occurrence of unwanted behavior. At these times, we need to deliver feedback in a way that preserves the student's dignity.  This includes both how adults respond to the student in the moment as well as how the discipline system is defined and implemented.  Within this feature, we focus on strategies that ensure implicit biases are neutralized when responding to unwanted behavior and that students have access to interventions, not just discipline.
    • We will be most successful with implementation when we apply a continuous improvement process that uses data to guide decision making. Using multiple data sources, including outcome data, fidelity data, and stakeholder input,  and through the application of data decision rules, your school’s universal prevention team will continually assess the impact of the prevention plan features and make adjustments to address new and emerging needs.
    • Finally, all of these features will have the most impact when they occur within systems that support their consistent use. Communication structures, school climate, staff wellness, alignment with other interventions, parent-school partnerships are all examples of critical system level considerations for supporting this work long-term.

    Universal Prevention Team

     Data Based Decision Making

Office Conduct Referral Process