RTI2-B FAQs & Myths

How is RTI2-B different from PBIS?

RTI2-B is Tennessee’s version of Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS). RTI2-B is a Multi-Tiered System of Supports that can be used in alongside with other multi-tiered systems, frameworks, and evidence-based programs. Schools do not have to use one specific program in isolation. RTI2-B can be combined with a variety of initiatives and programs that enhance one another, including Bullying Prevention, Mental Health, Character Education, and Social and Emotional Learning.

We are already implementing PBIS. If we participate in RTI2-B, do we have to start over?

No, you do not have to start over. PBIS and RTI2-B are tightly aligned with very similar core components, so your school is likely meeting many of the criteria of RTI2-B if you are currently implementing PBIS. Our team can help your school decide which professional development opportunities would be the most beneficial for your school.

How does RTI2-B compare to other approaches to student behavior and school discipline?

RTI2-B emphasizes the use of positive, non-punitive approaches to support prosocial behavior and prevent problem behavior. Most students will thrive in schools with positive cultures, clear expectations, corrective feedback, opportunities to engage in effective instruction, and acknowledgment of prosocial skills. When student problem behavior is unresponsive to preventative school-wide and classroom-wide procedures, information about the student’s behavior is used to (a) understand why the problem behavior is occurring (function); (b) strengthen more acceptable alternative behaviors (social skills); (c) modify antecedents and consequences that trigger and maintain problem behavior, respectively; and (d) provide frequent opportunities and reinforcement for acceptable alternative behaviors (OSEP, 2015).

We are already struggling to implement RTI2 for academics. How can we be expected to implement another tiered system of support on top of it?

RTI2-A and RTI2-B are both Multi-Tiered Systems of Supports focused on helping students who are struggling to succeed in school. Schools implementing RTI2-A can integrate RTI2-B as a way to improve school climate. Both stress the importance of providing instruction as prevention, implementing evidence-based interventions through a tiered continuum of supports, and using data to guide decision-making. RTI2-B is a framework and not a set curriculum. School climate is improved when the academic and behavioral needs of all students are addressed. Likewise, addressing academic needs becomes altogether easier when behavioral challenges are minimized.

We don’t have behavior issues at our school. Why do we need this?

RTI2-B is a preventative framework designed to help your school continue to minimize behavioral challenges. It is not limited to schools that have student behavior as an explicit school improvement goal. In fact, it can help your school keep its focus on improving learning. RTI2-B can be individually tailored to meet the needs of your school so it matches your goals. RTI2-B fosters a culture of collaboration that is focused on improving school climate for the entire school community and helps engage families and the community.

What does RTI2-B have to do with school discipline and classroom management? Do students still have consequences for inappropriate behavior?

RTI2-B stresses the use of appropriate consequences to change problem behavior. Developing a discipline process to consistently address problem behavior is one of the core components of RTI2-B. During training, school teams will define problem behaviors, create an Office Discipline Referral (ODR) form, and develop student-centered decision rules about how to handle staff-managed and office-managed problem behaviors when they occur. These decision rules should be developmentally appropriate and provide logical consequences for the inappropriate behaviors (e.g., cleaning up and fixing the school materials the student broke when frustrated). By doing this, schools lay the foundation for ensuring more consistent responses to problem behaviors. It also provides a means for teaching problem solving and self-management.

The principles of RTI2-B should also be followed in the classroom to maintain a positive classroom climate. Effective classroom management and school discipline are essential in supporting teaching and learning in a positive school climate. RTI2-B emphasizes that classroom management, preventive school discipline, and effective academic instruction should be integrated to help maximize success for all students (OSEP, 2015).

I worry RTI2-B will take more time than it is worth. We really don’t have the time or the money to implement RTI2-B in my classroom or school.

When done well, RTI2-B may actually create more time to focus on the things that are important to you—improving your student learning. Schools implementing this framework typically see a decrease in problem behaviors and an increase in instructional time and administrator time (Scott & Barrett, 2004). It can save school staff time previously spent on reactive approaches to behavior. Best of all, it is free! We also provide professional development and technical assistance at no cost for schools, so you will have all the materials needed to implement RTI2-B in your classroom or school.

Isn’t RTI2-B all about bribery and giving students stuff?

Using a reward system to acknowledge expected behavior is not bribing a student to behave appropriately. A bribe occurs when something is offered to a person before the behavior to make them behave in a specific way. RTI2-B acknowledges and rewards students for following behavioral expectations after the expected behavior occurs. Therefore, rewards are earned and not offered as payoff in exchange for appropriate behavior.

Developing a system for acknowledging expected behavior is one of the core components of RTI2-B. Providing behavior-specific praise when students are engaging in expected behaviors is a key feature, and schools can structure their acknowledgment system in a variety of ways. Using an acknowledgement system helps foster a more positive school climate because faculty and staff focus on expected behaviors rather than problem behaviors.

RTI2-B only works in the elementary school setting.

RTI2-B is a customizable framework designed to meet the needs of each individual school. Implementing a Multi-Tiered System of Supports has proven to be effective for all school levels and settings, including elementary, middle, and high schools, as well as alternative schools.