How to Improve School Attendance

A Practical Guide for Schools and School Districts
A Project of the Los Angeles County Education Coordinating Council

Module 2: Student Discipline and Positive Behavioral Support — 4


Figure 23 shows the positive behavioral inter­ventions and support three-tiered model.53

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Figure 23

School-wide posi­tive be­havioral sup­port re­fers to a sys­tems change process for an entire school or district. The under­lying theme is teaching behavioral expect­ations in the same manner as any core cur­riculum subject.

Typically, a team of ap­proxi­mate­ly ten rep­resent­ative mem­bers of the school—ad­mini­strators, classified, and regular and special education teachers—attend a two- or three-day training.

The team focuses on three to five be­havioral expect­ations that are posi­tively stated and easy to remem­ber. In other words, rather than tel­ling students what not to do, the school focuses on the preferred behaviors, such as:

Square Bullet  Respect Yourself, Respect Others, Respect Property

Square Bullet  Be Safe, Be Responsible, Be Respectful

Square Bullet  Respect Relationships and Respect Responsibilities

After the team deter­mines the three to five be­havioral expect­ations that suit the needs of their school, they take this infor­mation back to the full staff to ensure that at least 80 per­cent buy into the chosen expect­ations. Consis­tency from class to class and adult to adult is very important for the suc­cessful implement­ation of School-wide posi­tive be­havioral sup­port.

52 Dignity in Schools
53 School-wide Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports (2010), Michigan Department of Education

continued 2

The team then creates a matrix of what the be­havioral expect­ations look like, sound like, and feel like, with ap­proxi­mately three posi­tively stated ex­amples for each in all non-classroom areas (Table 5).

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Table 5

Figure 24 shows a sample blank form that would be filled out for each non-classroom area and each behavioral expectation.54

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Figure 24

Again, the im­plement­ation team takes the ma­trix back to the whole staff to in­sure an 80 per­cent buy- in on what ex­pect­ations are taught in each area.

The team then deter­mines how be­havioral expect­ations and routines will be taught in and around the school. Many schools choose to use several days at the beginning of each year to take the students around to sta­tions where skills are taught in setting-specific lo­cations. For ex­ample, a bus may be brought where child­ren can prac­tice lining up, enter­ing the bus, sit­ting on the bus, and exit­ing the bus, using hula hoops to de­note prop­er body space dis­tance in lining up.

The next activity for the implement­ation team is fine-tuning the office dis­cipline refer­ral form—deciding which be­haviors mean an instant trip to the office, and which be­haviors are taken care of in the class­room. It is very important that every staff mem­ber is consis­tent.

54 Alhambra Unified School District

continued 3

If it is not permis­sible to use a cell phone in band class, then it can­not be permis­sible in art class. Many schools choose to use a web-based infor­mation system pro­gram that graphs office disci­pline refer­ral data, track­ing be­havioral inci­dents per day, per month, by time of day, by speci­fic be­ehaviors, by location, and by specific student.

Another acti­vity for the team is design­ing a "gotcha" or "caught doing right" pro­gram to label and reward appropriate behavior. Some schools use multi-part forms for gotchas, with one copy going home to parents, one to the class­room teacher, and one to the princi­pal to be kept for weekly re­ward drawings. (Ideas for pos­sible rewards are listed in Table 1.)

Available Guides, Research, and Toolkits

Square Bullet  An extremely com­pre­hen­sive guide to im­plement­ing a school-wide posi­tive behavioral inter­ventions and sup­ports pro­gram was pub­lished by the Michigan Department of Education in 2010.

Square Bullet  The How We Can Fix School Discipline Toolkit is a step-by-step guide for educators to work together with parents, students, and community members to change harsh discipline rules.

Square Bullet   Fix School Discipline is a similar toolkit—aimed at community members.

Square Bullet  In Alternative Disciplinary Practices (2012), Hanover Research examines common alternatives to suspension and intervention strategies to reduce suspensions, as well as statewide efforts to reform school discipline in Connecticut, Maryland, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.

Go to the next page of Module 2: Behavior