Behavior RTI



As I mentioned before in previous blogs, there is a very strong correlation between behavior and academic success in the classroom. Great gains can be in made in academic achievement by creating a positive environment where students feel welcome and safe. Also, by cutting down on behavior issues in the classroom, teachers will be more effective when not being interrupted or distracted by student misbehavior. Please understand, we are absolutely not advocating students sit in neat little rows of desks like robots. Students must be taught to make responsible choices that are conducive to creating a positive and smooth-running classroom.


So once again, here we go with creating an RTI model for behavior.  This is very similar to the RTI model that we use with our core academic areas.  The first tier is a school-wide approach with interventions for every student.  The second tier is designed for those students that are identified through screeners filled out by classroom teachers after about the first month of school.  We have to wait a little while for the honeymoon to end before we get a true picture of a student's behavior.  The third tier is for students who do not respond to our Tier 2 interventions and will be identified by our behavior team.  In Tier 3 we conduct a functional behavioral analysis and develop a behavior plan with input from the behavior team, the classroom teacher, and the parents.  If a student is still not responding to interventions after being in Tier 3, then we will look at possible special education testing.  A side note here on keeping parents informed and involved.  At the beginning of the year during our open house, one of the main topics discussed is the Tier 1 school-wide supports that we provide.  We try to educate our parents on what the expectations are for every student so that if we have a concern, we have the support of the parent.  Before a student is provided Tier 2 or Tier 3 support, the parent must give permission for this change. Also, many of the Tier 2 and Tier 3 interventions have a parent component to ensure consistency and follow-up at home.  We have found that it is imperative to keep parents informed and up-to-date on what is happening.  Most parents are very supportive if they are kept in the loop and the lines of communication are open.


The first step that we took is to set up a behavior intervention team.  The team members are our school counselor/district psychologist, a special education teacher with specific training in conducting functional behavioral assessments and developing behavior plans based on these assessments, a paraprofessional that will be responsible for implementing our check in/check-out intervention in Tier 2, and myself, the school principal.  We will also include the classroom teacher when discussing students in a particular classroom. And, if we get to Tier 3, the team will also include the parent of the student.  The purpose of this team is to analyze the screening data to identify those students that need Tier 2 supports, identify students that need Tier 3 supports, identify interventions that will help with the student's behavior and monitor behavior data to determine the effectiveness of interventions and the progress of students.  This group meets once every two weeks to discuss student behavior, look at progress-monitoring data and make decisions on the next steps for students that are in Tier 2 or Tier 3.  This group will also look at the possibility of a recommending a student for special education testing, although we have not reached this point with any of our students and, if everything works out right, hopefully we will not get to this point!  We have seen some positive success with some of our most challenging behavior students and do not foresee any special education testing in the future.


As for our Tier 1 interventions, we have chosen two that work for about 87-88% of our students.  The first intervention that we have used in Tier 1 is "Time to Teach."  This has been a great program and works for many students.  The idea behind this program is to set up clear expectations, have students practice and get a thorough understanding of these expectations, and then hold them accountable to these expectations.  The program is really rather simple: once you have identified and practiced the expectations, then if a student is not meeting the expectation you simply prompt the student once about the misbehavior. If they do not correct it, then the student goes to another classroom to fill out a "refocus" sheet.  Once this refocus sheet is filled out, then the student comes back to class where the teacher quickly processes what happened with the student and class continues.  We have modified this program a little to identify the type of "refocus" and track this data to help us identify individual needs.  The refocus form is also sent home to parents to sign so that they are aware of what their child is doing in school.  You can check out the Time to Teach Web site but unfortunately, there is not much info on the web about this and the best resource is the book that you can buy.  It is a good book and explains in detail how the program works and I get no kickbacks, so you are getting my honest opinion.


The second major intervention that we have in place in Tier 1 is a Positive Behavioral Intervention and Support (PBIS) system or a Positive Behavioral Support (PBS) system.  There is a ton of info on the web about this: the OSEP Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports is an excellent resource or just simply Google "PBIS" or "PBS schools" and you will get all the info that you need to successfully implement this program.  This program has been a tremendous benefit to our school because it creates a positive environment and is preventative in nature.  I would highly recommend that you get input from all stakeholders: parents, students, teachers, community, etc...when implementing this type of program.


As mentioned above, the combination of these two programs work for close to 88% of our students and have eliminated many of our discipline problems.  In the next blog we will talk about our screening tools for Tier 2, our interventions in Tier 2 and how we progress monitor students in our behavior RTI model.

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