Integrating Mental Health through PBIS Systems in Schools: The Interconnected Systems Framework (ISF)

61 Learners | 62 Completed Lessons | 16 Hours of Learning Time

Learning Activity

School is ideal environment to promote protective factors and positive social & emotional development in students. A problem, however, is that many schools implementing PBIS struggle to connect Tier 1 to tiers 2 and 3 and fail to implement effective interventions at Tiers 2 and 3. Additionally, PBIS systems often do not address broader community data and mental health prevention. Enter the Interconnected Systems Framework (ISF). 

ISF is a structure and process for education and mental health systems to interact in the most effective and efficient way. This framework addresses limitations the of PBIS and school mental health by systematically bringing these systems together, adding depth and quality to the multi-tiered system of prevention, intervention, and support and creating the synergies that increase the probability of achieving valued school and student outcomes. Specifically, the ISF involves key stakeholders in the in education and the community mental health system collaborating and working closely together. In this partnership, both sides actively review data; reallocate resources, change the role and function of staff, and change policy as needed; and coordinate the implementation, fidelity, and progress monitoring of supports delivered at multiple levels of intensity.

Core features of the ISF align with concepts of Implementation Science and PBIS as a Response to Intervention (RtI) application, including a strong emphasis on (Barrett, Eber, and Weist, 2013):

  1. Effective school leadership teams that include community mental health providers;
  2. Data-based decision making, 
  3. Formal processes for the selection and implementation of evidence-based practices (EBP), 
  4. Early access through use of comprehensive screening, 
  5. Rigorous progress monitoring for both fidelity and effectiveness, and 
  6. Ongoing coaching at both the systems and practices level. 


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