Positive Behavior Interventions (PBI)

The Ventura County SELPA promotes Positive Behavior Interventions (PBI) which is a philosophical viewpoint for addressing non-desired behaviors in students.

The basic tenets of PBI are:

  • All behavior communicates something for the student (a want or need).
  • If we only punish a student after the misbehavior occurs, we will not make a lasting change in the behavior, as it may only be temporarily suppressed.
  • We must teach students new, appropriate ways to communicate their wants and needs.
  • There are many accommodations to the school environment that can be made to reduce the incidence of (and need for) non-desired behaviors.
  • Teaching new, more appropriate behaviors requires a continuous process of modeling, prompting, shaping and reinforcing - just like teaching any new skill.

The Ventura County SELPA has consistently promoted PBI as an overall construct since 1993 through its leadership, staff training, policies, forms, guidelines and published materials.

For additional information on Behavioral Intervention Plans from the California Department of Education (CDE) 


Nonviolent Crisis Intervention (CPI) Training

Ventura County SELPA offers Nonviolent Crisis Intervention (CPI) Training to staff and parents in our county.  The Care, Welfare, Safety, and Security of all individuals is the foundation of CPI.  Training includes preventative strategies, de-escalation skills, and communication skills to address disruptive and aggressive behaviors.

Ventura County SELPA and Non-Public Schools serving Ventura County SELPA students may only use techniques of emergency intervention taught by a certified instructor of the Nonviolent Crisis Intervention program and approved by VCSELPA.   

The use of behavioral restraint must be avoided whenever possible and may be used only to control behavior that poses a clear and present danger of serious physical harm to a student or others that cannot be immediately prevented by a less restrictive response (Education Code 49005-49006.4) It should be used only as a safety measure of last resort.   Whenever a behavioral emergency occurs and emergency interventions are used, a Behavioral Emergency Report (BER) shall immediately be completed and maintained in the student’s file and all Behavioral Emergency Reports shall be forwarded to and reviewed by, a designated responsible administrator.   Parent/guardian must be notified within one day of the incident and copies of Behavioral Emergency Reports must be sent within one school day to the LEA District Office, School Site and SELPA.

Behavior Emergency Report with Checklist

Ventura County SELPA is committed to providing ongoing information to staff and parents in our county regarding the use of any emergency interventions and use of restraint and seclusion:

On January 1, 2019, Assembly Bill (AB) 2657, (Chapter 998, Statutes of 2018), adding sections 49005–49006.4 to California’s Education Code regarding the use of restraint and seclusion for students receiving either general education or special education.  LEAs are required to collect and submit the use of mechanical restraint, physical restraint, and seclusion. For more information, go to the CDE website at:


About Behavior Intervention Plans

For a special education student who is exhibiting challenging behaviors which are disrupting the learning process or social activities of self or others at school, the IEP Team may develop a plan to intervene, or change the student's behavior.  The plan that is developed would use the techniques of Positive Behavior Intervention, based on the principles of ABA.  The teacher, parents and other staff who know the student would share information about the occurrence of the behavior, including:

  • Defining what the behavior "looks like"
  • Determining when and where it occurs most often
  • Determining what the student seems to be trying to communicate or is to "get" by using that behavior

Once these issues were all agreed upon, the team would next:


  • Decide what skills the team would like the student to use instead of the challenging behavior
  • Develop a plan for classroom staff to teach the new behavior/skill
  • Develop a plan for classroom staff to alter the instructional environment, if possible, to address the student's needs
  • Develop a plan for classroom staff to intervene, or react, should the non-desired behavior occur
  • Develop a plan for reinforcing reduction in the targeted problem behavior while reinforcing use of the new behavior
  • Develop a plan for collecting data on the occurrence of the new behavior as well as the challenging behavior, and communicating with staff and family


These plans, if implemented with fidelity by all parties involved, can be very effective in changing behaviors so that the student is more ready and available to learn.  Most plans are developed by the teacher in collaboration with the IEP Team and adopted at the IEP Team Meeting. (See Behavior Continuum).  Members of the IEP Team may or may not conduct an informal Behavior Analysis/Review (BA/RW) or Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA).



If the IEP Team decides a Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP) is needed, it would be developed and attached to the IEP.  There are no legally mandated requirements for a BIP, and the Ventura County SELPA offers two different versions, a Positive Behavior Intervention Plan (PBIP) and a Comprehensive Behavior Intervention Plan (CBIP).  A PBIP or CBIP should always have goals for teaching a new skill correlated to the behavior and there may be another for measuring the reduction (or elimination) of the non-desired behavior.  The PBIP or CBIP and goals become a part of the IEP and progress toward those goals are reported to parents at the periods described in the IEP.

Both PBIPs and CBIPs must have clear methods of data collection to determine their effectiveness.  Classroom staff should be collecting data on the occurrence of the new behavior, and report progress to parents along with all other IEP goals.  For a list of ideas for interventions please refer to "The 20 Most Challenging Behaviors" in the Positive Behavior Interventions Handbook.

For all Behavior Intervention Forms and Instructions go to "PBI Forms and Instructions."


Staff Qualifications

Staff qualifications to conduct an FBA:

School or Licensed Educational Psychologists and Board Certified Behavior Analysts are qualified by their professional preparation program to conduct an FBA. In addition, the Ventura County SELPA believes that other staff that meet the following criteria are also properly trained to conduct FBAs:

Possession of a professional license, credential, or bachelor's/master's degree in a related field and

  • Prior BICM Certification through a California SELPA (with a minimum of three additional hours of behavior training every three years thereafter) (or)
  • Positive Behavior Intervention (PBI) Competency through Ventura County SELPA met by adequately completing an FBA Report based on given data and a Comprehensive Behavior Intervention Plan (CBIP) based on the FBA (with a minimum of three additional hours of training every three years thereafter) (or)
  • At least 3 units of advanced coursework through an accredited college or institution in Behavior Analysis and Intervention

    Staff members who hold one of the following may design and supervise the implementation of BIPs:

    • Pupil Personnel Services Credential in School Counseling or School Psychology
    • Credential authorizing the holder to deliver special education instruction
    • License as a Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT)
    • License as a Clinical Social Worker
    • License as an Educational Psychologist
    • License in Psychology
    • Master's Degree in Education, Psychology, Counseling, Behavior Analyst, Behavior Science, Human Development, Social Work, Rehabilitation, or in a related field, issued by a regionally accredited post-secondary institution of higher education (or)
    • Board Certified Behavior Analyst certification