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October 16, 2008


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Gita in Tucson

Hi Doug --
Having seen how a 2nd-tier intervention based on such screening measures actually works (through Check, Connect and Expect), I also know that it's extremely practical in terms of use. One concern that a few school personnel here have been trying to address as they look into targeted interventions for adoption is the issue of having support at the district (across schools) level, such as the Behavior Specialist provided in CC&E. While schools which might adopt a CICO system might not need to adhere to as rigid set of criteria as an experimental intervention, there are certainly concerns about how to manage the data (an online system that could be accessed by coaches and behavior specialists with ease would, of course, be ideal) that such a targeted system would generate and how to provide professional support and guidance for coaches, and ensure adherence to protocols.

The operationalization of such a system, of course, is the devil that lives in the details. . . I don't think anyone can argue with the results if they've witnessed them first-hand!


Our Shared Decision Making Committee (SDMC) determined that we need an Executive Committee on Behavior. After reading some of CEC's excerpts on RTI(Response to Intervention), for me, it provides a new framework for handling an old problem: How do schools address student discipline? I would like to share this information with our school's Shared Decision Making Committee (SDMC). In addition, I like RTI because it provides a way to place the responsibility of student discipline on the student.


I work at a high school in California. Teachers are expected to handle problems within their classroom themselves. First they are warned, then theyare put in time-out either within their classroom or can be swapped with another teacher who has a problem student in their own classroom. Another time canbe a telephone call home. I like to have the parent talk directly to their child. After school detention is another way to stop the behavior. Usually, you try to give the parent 24 hour notice, students can be sent to someone who is called the Dean of Discipline. They are usually a Vice Principal who deals with Behavior problems. The Dean has the right to suspend. have an immediate parent conference, etc. He can also have classes changed. The Dean is who you send the child when the problem involves safety issues, or other serious problems.

I try to develope close relationships with parents of my students. This puts them on my side and I don't abuse this relationship with trivial concerns. at the same time the student knows the classroom rules and what will happen disobeying them. This causes a close relationship to develope with me and the family.

You can see that students'
behavior is supposed tobe handled by the teacher and she is thought to be a bad teacher if she can't.


It is great to see an avenue here for educators to interact and exchange ideas, strategies, and approaches. I agree with Gita that to truly improve schools we need to make it a system-wide approach. Having worked in leadership in several states in recent years, one issue I have experienced in education is the struggle with requiring the implementation of programs across the system. Like so many other initiatives determining the funding and maintaining it consistently over a period of years is very difficult.

Schools need a system-wide data management process. However, as a district administrator the past three years, I have found a huge issue with the lack of consistency WITHIN schools recording discipline problems. Even when the descriptive words are provided, administrators leave out information and details or choose to use a different 'label' for the offense. Comparing incidents I found that a student who had tossed a backpack off to the side had the same type discipline report as one who punched another student severely enough to draw blood. Likewise a student who refused to leave a classroom after arguing with the teacher was treated aggressively by the administration and SRO, put in handcuffs and arrested (I witnessed this. The boy was quiet and sitting at his desk. He just wouldn't leave the room.)

So we need thorough training in completing discipline reports and determining the seriousness of each behavior, along with intense professional development on responding to behavior issues. Fortunately we have many educators at all levels who understand how to interact with students to reduce the chance of escalation. Sadly we have enough folks in our schools nationwide that fan the fire instead, and thus need strategies in positive behavior intervention. The system wide discipline program would provide information regarding may need this extra training as most schools have a few teachers who refer the majority of students. So when creating these systems the ability to desegregate all types of information is key to really evaluating what is happening within individual schools.

My final statement here may be easier to implement. Research is clear that students who are most at-risk of both delinquency and dropping out have certain indicators including repetitive discipline referrals, truancy, poor academic performance, and low parental support (among others). As we begin to use RTi as a behavioral intervention in addition to an academic intervention, I suggest we seriously consider a combination of two instead. All behavior is communicating something. Having taught EBD and SED students for many years it would serve us well to use intense academic interventions along with the PBIS and Individual Behavior Plans. These students are most often acting out due to frustration of not fitting in academically. They are covering up the fact that they are unable to do the work. I am currently working with juveniles who have been sentenced to up to five years in a facility and it is really amazing how many of them want to learn. They want to be in school.

While I do not believe schools have total responsibility for students who are not being successful, I do believe we are the ones who can make the difference in the lives of these children. We are their hope, their future.

Kesha in Texas

Hi Doug,

An example of a Tier Two intervention could be social skills instruction in the classroom. It should focus on the prerequisite skills needed for more appropriate interactions and responses. Much like the services we provide academically, we need to begin to provide social instruction for our students. It would include a set number of meetings per week and/or a prescribed number of minutes.

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