Behavior Resources

The department is committed to the education and postsecondary success of all students. Success requires both academic and non-academic supports, skills, and instruction. Providing students with quality academic instruction and, if needed, academic intervention is a critical first step. For some students, accessing instruction or participating meaningfully is impacted by behaviors such as attendance, attention, social skills, organization, pragmatics, self-advocacy, and understanding classroom routines and expectations.

Students who struggle with behavior often need supports, accommodations, and/or interventions in order to empower them for postsecondary success. As with academics, support and intervention are provided along a continuum based on the least dangerous assumption that all students can succeed.

Is it important to recognize that a student's behavior is a source of communication and is addressing a need for the student. By "listening" to the student through their behavior, school teams can support the student in addressing the need and teaching strategies that the student can apply throughout their school years and into postsecondary and careers.

For additional information, contact

Tennessee’s new RTI2-B Framework unites evidence-based, problem-solving approaches to address student behavior. RTI2-B focuses on teaching students appropriate behaviors as opposed to punishing inappropriate behaviors and also develops positive relationships between students and school staff.

With consistent and continued implementation of RTI2-B, schools can expect:

  • an increase in positive interactions;
  • a positive school climate;
  • a proactive approach to crisis;
  • an increase in instructional time;
  • an increase in leadership opportunities for staff, parents, and students;
  • an increase in student academic achievement;
  • a decrease in interruptions to learning;
  • a decrease in chronic absenteeism;
  • a decrease in the number of office discipline referrals; and
  • a decrease in suspensions.

The purpose of the RTI2-B Framework is to help districts, schools, staff, parents, and students align clear expectations with behavioral interventions in one cohesive multi-tiered system of supports that is sustainable for schools and districts to implement.  More information about Tennessee's MTSS framework can be found here. RTI2-B is one of the non-academic frameworks that is considered an MTSS approach.


The Vanderbilt Treatment and Research Institute for Autism Spectrum Disorders (TRIAD) is dedicated to improving assessment and treatment services for children with autism spectrum disorders and their families while advancing knowledge and training.

Since its inception and through its evolution, TRIAD has provided services to thousands of children and families throughout Tennessee and beyond. TRIAD programs address community needs for cutting-edge information, high-quality support, and innovative interventions for children with autism spectrum disorders. TRIAD's specialized outreach staff provide training and direct consultation in state-of-the-art behavioral and educational assessment and intervention strategies in schools throughout the region.

Contact or (615) 322-7565 for more information.

The Tennessee Behavior Supports Project (TBSP)

The TBSP provides training and support to schools and districts in the implementation of the RTI2-B Framework. The TBSP begins training with the development of strong, evidence-based Tier I procedures. Once schools receiving professional development and technical assistance from TBSP have developed a strong Tier I plan and are implementing it with fidelity, they will receive training and support in developing systematic Tier II structure, identifying students who need Tier II behavioral intervention, and implementing evidence-based Tier II interventions for behavior.

The TBSP has three offices:

University of Memphis – Lambuth
(731) 425-1955

Vanderbilt University
(615) 343-0706

University of Tennessee – Knoxville
(865) 974-2760

The University of Memphis, Lambuth is the contact for the schools and districts that reside within the following counties: Lake, Obion, Weakley, Henry, Stewart, Houston, Humphreys, Benton, Carroll, Gibson, Crockett, Dyer, Lauderdale, Tipton, Haywood, Madison, Henderson, Decatur, Perry, Wayne, Hardin, McNairy, Chester, Hardeman, Fayette, Shelby.Vanderbilt University is the contact for the schools and districts that reside within the following counties: Montgomery, Dickson, Hickman, Lewis, Lawrence, Giles, Maury, Williamson, Cheatham, Robertson, Sumner, Davidson, Macon, Trousdale, Wilson, Rutherford, Bedford, Moore, Lincoln, Franklin, Coffee, Cannon, Marion, Grundy, Warren, DeKalb, Smith, Clay, Jackson, Putnam, Overton, Pickett, White, Van Buren, Sequatchie, Bledsoe, Rhea, Cumberland, Morgan, Fentress, Scott.The University of Tennessee, Knoxville is the contact for the schools and districts that reside within the following counties: Hamilton, Bradley, Polk, Meigs, McMinn, Monroe, Blount, Loudon, Roane, Anderson, Knox, Sevier, Cocke, Jefferson, Campbell, Union, Grainger, Hamblen, Greene, Claiborne, Hancock, Hawkins, Sullivan, Washington, Unicoi, Carter, Johnson.


A functional behavioral assessment (FBA) is an evaluation that focuses on the antecedents and motivation for a student's behavior as well as examining the frequency, location, and effect of strategies used in the past. It is a powerful evaluative tool in collecting and analyzing data in order to develop a systematic, individualized intervention and behavior management plan. An FBA may be completed by school personnel and typically includes an expert on behavior. A school may also choose to include an expert who is not currently a school employee. Please note that parent(s) must provide permission for the team to conduct an FBA.

Understanding the antecedents to the behavior and the motivation the student has for continuously engaging in the behavior is key to developing a plan that will minimize undesired behaviors in a way that is supportive and positively reinforcing. An example tool that schools may choose to use to begin this evaluation is the Motivation Assessment Scale.

FBAs should also be used proactively when a student's behavior is impeding their learning and interventions are not successful in reducing or eliminating chronic severe behavioral concerns.. Behavior is complex and is a result of the individual's interpretation of the sights, sounds, smells, and interaction in the world. Therefore, as teams continue to work with a student and learn more about how he or she is interacting with the world, the IEP team may choose to revisit the FBA on a regular basis to ensure it accurately reflects the student's current behavior.

An FBA, or review of an existing FBA, is required when a student has exceeded 10 days of removal from school/services due to discipline and a manifestation determination is conducted and the behavior is determined to be a manifestation of the student's disability. Following the FBA, and behavior intervention plan (BIP) should be developed.




A behavior intervention plan (BIP) is developed from the FBA and is designed to define the target behavior, replacement behavior, strategies for positive reinforcement, intervention, data collection method and timeline, consequences, and crisis management plan if needed. Systematically outlining the response to a student's behaviors, both desired and undesired, will help to create consistency of expectation for the student. The continuous data collection will support the team in determining if the current BIP is effective in supporting the student's development of desired behavior and reducing behaviors that are impeding their learning and participation.


In addition, there are PowerPoints and supporting documents available about antecedents, FBAs, and BIPs here.


Reminders Regarding Required Actions Following Incidents of Restraint and/or Isolation

T.C.A. §49-10-1303 Special Education Behavioral Supports Act defines the use of restraint and/or isolation within the Tennessee public schools.

Restraint and Isolation Reporting (added 6/30/2020)

Restraint and Isolation FAQ