Arkansas State Personnel Development Grant

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Positive Behavioral Support System Tools and Resources

The ultimate goal of a Positive Behavioral Support System (PBSS) is to facilitate all students’ social, emotional, and behavioral competency and self-management. In order to accomplish this, the Closing the Achievement Gap (CTAG) initiative uses Project ACHIEVE’s evidence-based PBSS blueprint (see for more information). This blueprint includes these six components: (a) Social Skills Instruction for all students; (b) building-wide Accountability processes; (c) staff and administrative Consistency; (d) a “Special Situations” process focusing on student behavior in the common areas of a school and as related to student teasing, taunting, bullying, harassment, and physical aggression; (e) school-based Crisis Intervention and Response Strategies; and (f) Community and Parent Outreach activities.

In order to help districts and schools in the diverse areas of PBSS, the following tools and resources are available:


Technical Assistance Papers on Implementing Project ACHIEVE’s Evidence-based School-wide Positive Behavioral Support System (PBSS)

Implementing Project ACHIEVE at the School and District Levels: Positive Behavioral Support System (PBSS) Implementation Fact Sheet

Project ACHIEVE is an innovative school reform and school effectiveness program that has been implemented in schools and school districts across the country since 1990. Project ACHIEVE’s ultimate goal is to help design and implement effective school and schooling processes to maximize the academic and social/emotional/behavioral progress and achievement of all students. Project ACHIEVE has also helped schools to implement effective and efficient problem-solving and strategic intervention processes for students with academic and behavioral difficulties, while improving the staff’s professional development and effective instruction interactions, and increasing the quality of parent (and community) involvement and engagement.

This Technical Assistance paper describes the three-year process for implementing Project ACHIEVE’s school-wide Positive Behavioral Support System (PBSS).

PBSS Project ACHIEVE School Implementation Fact Sheet 111

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Technical Assistance Papers Reviewing Eight Evidence-based Social Skills Programs, and the Research Base of the Stop & Think Social Skills Program

I. School-wide Discipline, Behavior Management, and Student Self-Management: Focusing on Social Skills Instruction and Selecting an Evidence-based Social Skills Program

II. The Stop & Think Social Skills Program: Exploring its Research Base and Rationale

Research has consistently demonstrated that children’s social, emotional, and behavioral skills and status affect their interpersonal status, academic engagement, and academic success at school. This speaks to the importance of social skills training for all students in the schools—a primary setting where they can learn, practice, and master some of the interpersonal, social problem solving, conflict prevention resolution, and emotional coping skills and strategies that also are critical to their physical and mental health and wellness. While there are hundreds of social skill programs marketed to educators and schools, less than ten of these social skills programs are either evidence-based or well-researched.

The first Technical Assistance paper discusses the evidence-based components of Positive Behavioral Support Systems, including the characteristics of effective social skills programs. It then describes how to teach social skills in the classroom, and reviews eight notable research-based social skills programs. The TA paper concludes with recommendations on ways for districts to select a social skills program for use across all of its schools.

SPDG Positive Behavioral Support System Briefing Paper 1009

The second TA paper focuses on one of these programs, the Stop & Think Social Skills Program, using it as an exemplar to summarize the research on the characteristics of successful social skills instruction.

Stop & Think Research Foundations TA Paper 111

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Survey to Evaluate Staff Collaboration, Cohesion, and Effective Interactions

The Scale of Staff Interactions and School Cohesion

The Scale of Staff Interactions and School Cohesion consists of 25 items and three scales (Staff Understanding of the School’s Mission and Expectations, Staff Collaboration and Cohesion, and Effective Staff Practices and Interactions) that staff rate along a five-point scale from 1- Excellent to 5- Poor relative to their perceptions of the staff in their school. The scale was designed to evaluate the ongoing quality of the staff interactions that support effective school processes and activities. A link to the scale is below, as well as another link to a spreadsheet that will facilitate the scoring process.

PBSS Staff Interactions/Cohesion Scale 210

Staff Interactions/Cohesion Scale Spreadsheet 310

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Survey to Evaluate Staff Perceptions of their School’s Student Discipline Processes

The Scale of Effective School Discipline and Safety

The Scale of Effective School Discipline and Safety consists of 58 items and five factors (Teachers’ Effective Classroom Management Skills, Students’ Positive Behavioral Interactions and Respect, Holding Students Accountable for their Behavior: Administration and Staff, Teachers’ Contribution to a Positive School Climate, and School Safety and Security: Staff, Students, and School Grounds) that staff rated along a five-point scale from 1- Strongly Agree to 5- Strongly Disagree. The scale was designed to evaluate school staff attitudes and beliefs regarding the degree to which positive and effective positive school discipline and safety processes exist in their school. A link to the scale is below, as well as another link to a spreadsheet that will facilitate the scoring process.

PBSS Effective School Discipline Scale 210

Effective School Discipline Scale Spreadsheet 1008

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Behavioral Observation Protocols:

Observing Classroom Climate, Safety, and Student Discipline using Brief Classroom Walk-Throughs

Observing Student Behavior using Systematic Behavioral Observation

I. Evaluating Classroom Climate, Safety, and Classroom Management using Brief Classroom Walk-Throughs

II. Completing Systematic Behavioral Observations of Students in the Classroom

Collecting systematic behavioral observation data is essential to understanding what is actually happening in the classroom relative to both students and teachers. Data from behavioral observations of teachers provide a real-time look at their effective instruction and classroom management interactions, and those that need improvement. Data from behavioral observations of students helps to track such variables as time on-task, the frequency of inappropriate behavior, how long they are able to maintain good attention, and how long it takes before they begin their work.

The Effective Classroom Management Walk-Through (CWT) protocol was developed for principals or others who want to determine the degree of positive, effective, and proactive classroom management approaches in classrooms across their school. Based on educational and behavioral research, the Effective Classroom Management CWT protocol involves 23 items organized in three areas: the Evidence of Teacher’s Effective Classroom Management area, the Students’ Positive Behavioral Interactions and Respect area, and the Classroom Safety and Security area. The first behavioral observation document provides this CWT protocol and describes how to use it.

Classroom Walk Through Behavioral Observation Scale and Explanation 111

The second behavioral observation document provides a protocol that can be used to observe the classroom engagement of individual students and groups of students, and it describes how to use it.

Classroom Walk Through Behavioral Observation Protocol 808

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Identifying the Strategic and Intensive Behavioral Intervention Skills and Expertise of School and District Consultants

The Behavioral Intervention Survey

When students are not responding to effective classroom management approaches, they often present challenging internalized (e.g., anxiety and withdrawal) and/or externalized (e.g., anger, aggression, and defiance) behaviors. These situations require the need for strategic or intensive behavioral interventions and the professionals who have the skills to help teachers implement these interventions in the classroom (and elsewhere). This Behavioral Intervention Survey can be used to have school and district behavioral intervention consultants self-evaluate their skills across a number of specific intervention approaches and techniques.

Behavioral Intervention Survey 907

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Webinars on RtI, School-wide Positive Behavioral Support Systems, and Intervening with Behaviorally Challenging Students

Using Response-to-Instruction and Intervention to Facilitate Effective Classrooms and Successful Students: Integrating Academic and Behavioral Prevention and Intervention (with Dr. Howie Knoff)

Webinar Link:

Description of the Webinar (approximately 65 minutes)

Response-to-Instruction and Intervention (RtI Squared) involves evaluating the degree that students (a) master academic material in response to effective instruction, and (b) demonstrate appropriate, prosocial behavior in response to effective classroom management. When students are not progressing or “responding” to effective instructional conditions, academically or behaviorally, RtI includes a functional assessment/problem solving process to determine the reason(s) for the lack of success, and the implementation of strategic through intensive interventions to help those students progress and be successful.

This presentation describes an integrated evidence-based blueprint that guides effective classroom instruction and behavior management. The blueprint includes respective academic and behavioral “service and support” cascades to insure that at-risk, underachieving, or unsuccessful students receive the strategic instruction or intervention needed when they do not respond in the effective classroom. The blueprints also address a data-based functional assessment process that determines why students are having academic or behavioral difficulties so that high success interventions can follow. All of this is guided by an early intervention team process.

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Response-to-Intervention (RtI) and Behavior: Designing and Implementing Evidence-Based Positive Behavioral Support Systems in Schools and Districts (with Dr. Howie Knoff)

Webinar Link:

Description of the Webinar (approximately 75 minutes)

This webinar explicitly describes Project ACHIEVE’s PBSS components and their successful implementation in hundreds of schools across the country. Six critical components are discussed that make up the PBSS: (a) the Stop & Think Social Skills Program; (b) the development of grade-level and building-wide accountability systems; (c) how to increase staff and student consistency; (d) the analysis of “special situations”-- behavioral situations that occur in the common areas of a school and/or that involve peer-mediated teasing, taunting, bullying, harassment, and physical aggression; (e) crisis prevention, intervention, and response; and (f) the importance of home and community outreach.

In the end, this webinar describes a functional, effective, and comprehensive school-wide system that maximizes students’ academic engagement and achievement, creates safe school environments and positive school climates, increases students’ prosocial skills, and decreases discipline referrals to the office and school suspensions and expulsions.

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Response-to-Intervention (RtI) and Behavior: Organizing Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Interventions along a Three-Tiered Positive Behavioral Support System (with Dr. Howie Knoff)

Webinar Link:

Description of the Webinar (approximately 75 minutes)

A behavioral intervention gap exists, nationwide, in our schools. Indeed, surveys of schools nationwide indicate that they do not have enough professionals available to develop and implement essential social, emotional, and behavioral interventions. This is particularly compelling given the presence of many behaviorally challenging students—students who disrupt the academic climate of their classrooms, often are not academically successful, and who, many times, are early school drop-outs. This webinar discusses the need for schools to identify their behavioral intervention gaps, address them through systematic professional development programs, and implement strategic behavioral interventions so that challenging students receive the services they need and deserve.

To help guide this process, a three-tiered, evidence-based prevention to intensive intervention continuum is described to help schools address the social, emotional, and behavioral needs of all students. This continuum includes over 20 specific behavioral interventions to address the needs of challenging students, and it has been successfully used in Arkansas’ State Personnel Development Grant’s PBS schools—as part of their involvement in Project ACHIEVE, a national evidence-based school improvement program. These specific behavioral interventions are discussed within a comprehensive Response-to-Intervention (RtI) context at the prevention, strategic intervention, and intensive need/crisis management levels.

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Why Behaviorally Challenging Students Act Up: The Seven “High-Hit” Reasons and How They Link to Intervention (with Dr. Howie Knoff)

Webinar Link:

Description of the Webinar (approximately 90 minutes)

There are many reasons why students demonstrate angry, aggressive, and acting out behavior in their schools or classrooms—or anxious, withdrawal, and “checking out” behavior. The U.S. Surgeon General’s office and Institute of Medicine have recognized that one in five students will experience significant social, emotional, or behavioral problems during their school-aged years. Yet, two-thirds or more of these students do not receive the social, emotional, or behavioral services needed to help address their difficulties—sometimes because schools do not understand why their problems are occurring, and what to do about them.

This presentation identifies the seven “high-hit” types of students who exhibit social, emotional, or behavioral challenges to the degree that they need strategic (Tier 2) or intensive (Tier 3) skill-based instruction or intervention. Critically, most functional behavioral assessments (FBA) only evaluate for two of these seven types—and even then, incompletely. Thus, the seven types of students are identified in this presentation, interventions needed at the Tier 2 and Tier 3 levels in every school are outlined, and the high-success interventions that link to each of the seven types of students are discussed.

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Model "Response-to-Intervention/Closing the Achievement Gap" School and District Implementation Guidebook Available. Accompanied by an "Implementation Q and A Resource"
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