APBS Conference San Diego, CA March 28-30, 2013

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Policies & Practices for Reducing the Use of Out-of-School Suspensions:

This presentation will explore current research and provide specific examples from several
school districts in Louisiana that have reduced the use of out-of-school suspension between
22%-63%. Included will be an examination of the critical features for establishing an
effective and responsive school-wide behavior management plan. Case studies from schools
served by the presenters will be used to illustrate the role that administrators, coaches, and
school based team members play in developing, implementing, and maintaining effective
SW-PBIS plans.

Several examples, including sample plans, will be available to participants that provide
guidelines for creating their own proactive school-wide behavior support policies and
procedures for schools they serve. Overall, this presentation will offer helping professionals
models for creating inclusive schools that support success for all students.

For handouts of his presentation, click here “Recent Presentations“.

Osborn, AZ Activity #4

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Part 4:

Objective: Participants will learn how to develop, implement, and evaluate an individual behavior intervention plan (BIP).

Crone, D. A. &  Horner, R. H. (2003). Building Positive Behavior Support Systems in Schools: Functional Behavioral Assessment. New York: Guilford Press. p. 55-87

Scott, T. M., & Nelson, C. M. (1999). Using functional behavioral assessment to develop effective intervention plans: Practical classroom applications. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 1, 242-251.

Sugai, G., & Horner, R. H. (1999). Discipline and behavioral support: Preferred processed support planning: Research-to-practice-to-research. Education and Treatment of Children.

Scott, T. M., Liaupsin, C. J., Nelson, C. M., & Jolivette, K. (2003). Ensuring student success through team-based functional behavioral assessment. Teaching Exceptional Children, 35(5), 16-21.

Class Discussion:
For your final contribution to the training, find and write a brief review of a resource that is useful for developing or implementing successful tertiary prevention plans. The websites below may be helpful, or use other web-based or written resources you find.

School Dropout Prevention Programs: http://www.nwrel.org/scpd/sdpp/index.asp
Academic and Behavioral Interventions: http://www.interventioncentral.com/
The Behavior and Reading Improvement Center: http://education.uncc.edu/bric/
Colorado PBS Initiative: http://www.cde.state.co.us/pbs/Presentations04.asp

Final Project: For the final project, you will synthesize the information learned in this training and address how your school will support students who need Behavior Intervention Plans (BIP).  Your final project should be one to two pages in length. ****Email the completed project to your instructor.

NOTE: This project should be done as a group project if you are taking the class with colleagues from the same school or district. Submit your plan to your instructor via email attachment. Instructions on how to write and submit papers are described in the previous “Training Requirements” section. Please include the following types of information:

For group projects, please include the following types of information:

1. Describe the data you will use to select students for tertiary, or intensive, intervention support.

2. Describe the resources available for conducting FBAs and developing BIPs (personnel, materials, funding) and how they will be used.

3. Describe the critical components of your behavior intervention plans, including:
–How you will manipulate or address the antecedent?

–How social skills will be taught?

–How appropriate behavior could be acknowledged?

–How you will manage and respond to inappropriate behaviors?

–What community services might be available to support the student and family?

4. Describe how you will measure whether the behavior intervention plans are effective.

5. Describe the steps you will take to adapt or change the interventions if they are not effective.

For individual projects, use as your case study the student on whom you completed the FACTS in Parts 2 and 3. Please include the following types of information:

1. Describe the data and decision rules you have used to select the student for tertiary supports.

2. Describe the resources (personnel, materials, funding) and the process used in conducting the FBA and developing the BIP for the student you selected. Discuss the successes you have had and/or the barriers you faced with completing the FBA and BIP and any suggestions for improving this process at your school.

3. Describe the critical components of your behavior intervention plan. Be sure to address each of the following components:

–How you will manipulate or address the antecedent?

–How social skills will be taught?

–How appropriate behavior could be acknowledged?

–How you will manage and respond to inappropriate behaviors?

–What community services might be available to support the student and family?

–How will the family be involved in the development and implementation of the plan?

4. Describe how you will measure whether the behavior intervention plan is effective.

5. Describe the steps you will take to adapt or change the intervention plan if it is not effective.

Additional Resources:

Osborn, AZ Activity #3

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Part 3:

Objective: Identify steps involved with designing an individual behavior intervention plan (BIP).

Crone, D. A. & Horner, R. H. (2003). Building Positive Behavior Support Systems in Schools: Functional Behavioral Assessment. New York: Guilford Press. P. 55-68.

Jolivette, K., Scott, T.M., & Nelson, C.M. (2000). The Link Between Functional Behavior Assessments (FBAs) and Behavioral Intervention Plans (BIPs). ERIC Clearinghouse on Disabilities and Gifted Education, E592 1-5.

Sprick, R. (2012).  Teacher’s Encyclopedia of Behavior Management, 2nd Edition: 100+ Problems/500+ Plans.  Eugene, OR: Pacific Northwest Publishing

Activity #3: On the Activity #3 Email your instructor a response to the following questions.

Using the summary information from the FACTS document you completed in Part 2, choose an intervention described in the Teacher’s Encyclopedia of Behavior Management and describe how the intervention is designed to fit the information you gathered from the FACTS.

This activity has two requirements:
1. Discuss an intervention, as described above, and

2. Respond in a helpful way to other participants’ comments about interventions. (suggest an idea or resource, expand upon their posting, describe how you have resolved problems with a similar student, etc.).

Classroom Discussion:
Participants should read the assigned readings and be prepared to discuss the following questions on the discussion board:

1.What is a behavior intervention plan (i.e., behavior support plan) and how do you use an FBA in developing this plan?

2.What supports in your school are currently available for students in need of tertiary behavior intervention supports?

3.What data is available in your school to help you determine whether the tertiary intervention plans developed are effective?

4.Describe at least one typical question or concern you expect to hear from your colleagues about the tertiary intervention plans, and briefly describe how you plan to respond.


1) List of Interventions by function:

ABC+Packet (dragged) 1

Interventions by funtions of behavior

ABC+Packet (dragged)

Osborn, AZ Activity #2

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Part 2:

Objective: How to identify students in need of individual behavior intervention plan (BIP).

Crone, D. A. & Horner, R. H. (2003). Building Positive Behavior Support Systems in Schools: Functional Behavioral Assessment. New York: Guilford Press. P. 29-54

Sugai, G., & Horner, R. H. (1999-2000). Including the functional behavioral assessment technology in schools (invited special issue). Exceptionality, 8, 145-148.

Forness, S.R., Kim, J., & Walker, H.M. (2012). Prevalence of Students with EBD: Impact on General Education. Beyond Behavior, Winter (2012), 3-10.

Activity #2: On the Activity #2 Email your instructor a response to the following questions.
Using the FACTS Part B (also found on page 148 of Crone and Horner (2003) Functional Assessment Checklist for Teachers and Staff) interview one teacher who have a student experiencing behavioral difficulty. Summarize the information from the completed FACTS form including the following:

Download the FACTS form by clicking here.

1. Detailed description of problem behavior
2. Events that predict the behavior (antecedents)
3. Consequences that maintain the problem behavior
4. Summary statement of behavior that can be used to build a behavior intervention plan

Please format your summary of behavior in the following way:

During _________ (routine) when ___________ (antecedent/setting event), Student ______________(target behavior). Then,_________________ (consequence/outcome).  Therefore, the function of this behavior is ___________________(Get/Avoid).

For example: “During math class (routine) when Johnny is presented with a difficult math task to complete independently (antecedent), he yells out for help from the teacher and throws his materials (target behavior). Then, Johnny is removed from the classroom by his teacher.  Therefore, the function of Johnny’s behaviors is to avoid independent math work.”

See Crone and Horner (2003, p. 150) for directions on completing the FACTS Part B, including how to build a summary statement.

Classroom Discussion:
Participants should read the assigned readings and be prepared to discuss the following questions on the discussion board:

1) Based on the readings, what readily available data does your school possess that will allow you to determine which students might need tertiary prevention support? What percentage of your student population do you estimate will need tertiary prevention support? How did you arrive at this estimate? Refer to Figure 2.4 on page 19 of Crone and Horner (2003) and discuss how your estimate aligns with the percentages given in this figure.

2) What types of decision rules does your school use in identifying the students who need this intensive level of support? If your school does not currently use decision rules, then provide some sample decision rules that your school could start using. (See Crone and Horner (2003; p. 21) for examples of decision rules for level of FBA).

Additional Resources:

1) Sample FBA Practice Activities: Sample FBA Practice Activities

2) Chart Dog Website: http://www.interventioncentral.org/tools/chart_dog_graph_maker

3) Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education FBA/BIP Website: http://dese.mo.gov/se/ep/FBA.htm


Osborn, AZ Activity #1

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Part 1:

Objective: Identify when an individual behavior intervention plan (BIP) is needed and describe which school-wide features need to be in place to maximize the effectiveness of the plan.

Crone, D. A. &  Horner, R. H. (2003). Building Positive Behavior Support Systems in Schools: Functional Behavioral Assessment. New York: Guilford Press. P. 1-28

Ryan, A., Halsey, H., Matthews, W. (2003). Using Functional Assessment to Promote Desirable Student Behavior in Schools. TEACHING Exceptional Children, Vol. 35, No. 5, 8-15.

Todd, A., Horner, R.H., Sugai, G., & Colvin, G. (1999). Individualizing school-wide discipline for students with chronic problem behaviors: A team approach. Effective School Practices, 17(4), 72-82.

Activity #1: On the Activity #1 Post your response to the following questions.

In the article on Individualizing School-wide Discipline by Todd et.al., the authors describe the four primary purposes of the Teacher Support Team. These include:

1) Managing teacher request for assistance

2) Ensuring that teachers and students receive supports in a timely and meaningful manner

3) Providing a general forum for discussions and possible solutions for individual student behavior concerns

4) Organizing a collaborative effort to support the teacher (pg. 74).

Using their list of four primary purposes, discuss how the team in your school fulfills each of the functions the authors describe. Be sure to also include the name of your team, roles of members, and any recommendations you have for improving the function of this team given current resources.

In addition, complete the behavior protocol on an FBA/BIP at your school and complete the following: 1) Calculate your total percentage of items that were observed/documented on the protocol, 2) Identify the areas that were not observed/documented on the protocol and 3) Discuss how you will take this information back to your team and use it for training on FBAs/BIPs.

Classroom Discussion:
Participants should read the assigned readings and be prepared to discuss the following questions on the discussion board:

1) Review the Ryan et.al article and list the key criteria for a good operational definition of problem behavior. Provide an example of an operationally defined problem behavior exhibited by one of your students. Be sure to meet all criteria for a good operational definition. For example, an operational definition of “off-task behavior” might be: “Violet is out of her seat, moving around the room and talking to peers.”

2) Now, provide a non-example of an operational definition of the same problem behavior that you defined in #1. In other words, how would your team typically describe the behavior if you did not use the key criteria described in the article?

3) According to Ryan et al., what are the two functions of human behavior? Discuss why it is important for your team to operationally define behaviors and understand the function of a student’s behavior when developing behavior support plans.

Also, prepare at least one question you have about functional behavioral assessment.

Additional Resources:

1) FBA/EBS Survey


2) Behavior Protocol


3) FBA Process Guide Example

WC_fba guide

4) FBA Form Example


5) BIP Documentation Form Example

WC_Behavior Tier Form

APBS 2012 Conference in Atlanta, GA March 15-17, 2012

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School-Wide PBIS in High School: Reducing the Use of School Suspension (Dr. Robert March & Ms. Renae Azziz)

School districts across the country are rightfully concerned about the numbers of students who are being suspended or expelled for their behavior. Equally important is the emerging research that indicates that these consequences are not likely to change the inappropriate behavior of the students involved, nor do they serve to deter other students from engaging in the same behaviors (Skiba, Peterson & Williams, 1999, 1997). Instead, these consequences make the suspended student’s academic progress more difficult, and they may increase the likelihood of the student dropping out of school or having other negative outcomes.

This presentation provided examples from high schools in Shreveport, LA, Lake Charles, LA, Connorsville, IN and Mishawaka, IN on how positive behavior support strategies are being employed in schools serving grades 9 through 12 to create educational environments that promote; a) effective educational programming, b) socially competent behavior, c) self management skills, and d) successful transitions from middle to high school settings.
Participants were provided specific SW-PBIS practices and policies that have been effectively implemented in high schools in Indiana & Louisiana resulting in significant reductions in the use of school suspension.  Multiple examples of SW-PBIS HS plans were presented that demonstrate positive behavioral-change outcomes for students. Participants were provided a framework for reviewing and strengthening practices & policies in the schools they serve.

For handouts of his presentation, click here “Recent Presentations“.

The Great Equalizer: Education

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The great equalizer in American society has traditionally been education. In fact President Johnson’s war on poverty focused on using education as means for lifting less advantaged children and improving their chances for success as adults. But a growing body of research suggests that the achievement gap between rich and poor children is widening, a development that threatens to dilute education’s leveling effects.

Analyses of longitudinal data recently published by Dr. Sean Reardon, a Stanford University sociologist, found that while the achievement gap between white and black students has narrowed significantly over the past few decades, the gap between rich and poor students has grown 40% during the same period.

Additional research by Dr. Meredith Phillips, an associate professor of public policy and sociology at UCLA, found that by the time high-income children start school, they have spent about 400 hours more than poor children in literacy activities.  Moreover, the children of high income households are spending 1,300 more hours than low-income children before age 6 in places other than their homes & day care centers/schools (e.g. museums, libraries, shopping malls, etc.).

Below is an article with suggestions on how to boost the educational outcomes of children from low-income families:

This research is not new. In fact, two books from the 1990’s, Meaningful Differences in the Everyday Experiences of Young American Children by Todd Risely & Betty Hart and Savage Inequalities by Jonathan Kozol, point out the gaps in educational opportunity and experience between the poor and wealthy in America.

Click here to see summaries and thoughts about the Hart & Risley research:

To continue the theme from my previous blog, identifying educational and societal problems is often easy and obvious; the hard part is what, as educators, can we do?  The simple answer is we can do a lot!  Risley and Hart recommend we design pre-k and kindergarten settings to ensure the amount of talk actually going on, moment by moment, between children and their caregivers is providing positive interactions and experiences with adults who take the time to teach vocabulary, oral language concepts, and emergent literacy concepts.

If you are early education provider, please share your thoughts on what has worked for you and resources that might help others.
You can also contact Successful Schools and request our free materials regarding how to set-up effective preschool and kindergarten classrooms.

Additionally, check-out the free downloadable lessons & resources for preschool educators from the University of North Carolina-Charlotte Behavior and Reading Improvement Center:

School Drop-out: Predicting it is the easy part…

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Predicting it is the easy part…

Predicting school dropout seems to be as easy as ABC, according to a growing body of empirical evidence it appears attendance, behavior, and course failures are pretty darn accurate by middle school at predicting who will not finish high school.

The National High School Center’s Early Warning System (EWS) Middle Grades Tool enables schools and districts to identify students who may be at risk for academic failure and to monitor these students’ responses to interventions. The tool relies on student level data available at the school or district including indicators for attendance, course failures, and behavior (if available) to calculate potential risk for eventual dropping out. The intended purpose is to support students with an increased risk of academic failure, in order to get them back on track for academic success and eventual graduation.

To learn about and download this free tool click below:


The National High School Center is part of a national network of Content and Regional Comprehensive Centers funded by the U.S. Department of Education to help build the capacity of states across the nation to effectively implement the provisions and goals of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The National High School Center is one of five content centers covering a spectrum of topical areas especially relevant to NCLB and school improvement.

While predicting school dropout may be as easy as ABC, intervening to prevent school dropout can be a bit tricker.  I’ve included a link below that provides an overview of 10 effective teaching principles and how they relate to academic success that leads to school completion. Included are practical strategies that teachers can use to make their instruction more effective are also included.


Have a look and let me know if you have utilized any of the strategies provided in the link or have other strategies you have found to be effective.

Report shows minority students suspended at higher rates from USAToday

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WASHINGTON – U.S. public schools suspend black, Hispanic and disabled students at much higher rates than others, according to a new report by a Colorado-based civil rights group.

The report by the National Education Policy Center (NEPC) says that frequent suspensions and expulsions should “raise questions about a school’s disciplinary policies, discrimination, the quality of its school leadership and the training of its personnel.”

The report follows several recent studies in which advocacy groups have questioned harsh school disciplinary policies. Most notably, the Council of State Governments, a Kentucky-based research organization, looked at suspension and expulsion rates for Texas public schools and found in July that nearly six in 10 students had been suspended or expelled at least once between seventh and 12th grade.

The latest findings “strongly suggest a need for reform,” according to the NEPC, based at the University of Colorado-Boulder’s School of Education. The center is a left-leaning think tank that studies racial justice in K-12 education.

The report doesn’t provide any new findings, but instead reviews current statistics from states and the U.S. Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights.

The federal government found that between the 1972-73 and the 2006-07 school years, suspension rates for white students rose from 3% to 5%. Meanwhile, suspension rates for black students rose from 6% to 15%.
Suspension rates for Hispanic students rose from 3% to 7%.
Justin Hamilton, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Education, said department officials hadn’t seen the new report, but he said they were aware of “troubling reports across the country” of the disparity in minority and white discipline rates. He said the department is taking the reports seriously. “In the end, we want to make sure that every student is treated fairly and given the opportunities and the resources to succeed,” he said.

Recent federal findings also show that minority students with disabilities are suspended at a much higher rate than white students. In the 2007-08 school year, 16.6% of black disabled students were suspended, vs. 6.7% of white disabled students.

“I think there is a growing movement to say, ‘Wait a minute, we can do better,'” said Daniel Losen of the Civil Rights Project at UCLA. Losen, who wrote the NEPC report, says recent statistics show that minority and disabled students are often suspended for minor offenses.
“Suspending kids right and left for minor offenses is not a sound educational policy,” Losen says.


Texas Study of How School Discipline Relates to Students’ Success and Juvenile Justice Involvement

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In an unprecedented study of nearly 1 million Texas public secondary school students followed for more than six years, nearly 60 percent were suspended or expelled, according to a report released in July 2011 by the Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center in partnership with the Public Policy Research Institute of Texas A&M University.

Breaking Schools’ Rules: A Statewide Study of How School Discipline Relates to Students’ Success and Juvenile Justice Involvement (click title for article) and Juvenile Justice Involvement features these other key findings:

  • Of the nearly 1 million public secondary school students studied, about 15 percent were suspended or expelled 11 times or more; nearly half of these students with 11 or more disciplinary actions were involved in the juvenile justice system.
  • Only three percent of the disciplinary actions were for conduct in which state law mandated suspensions and expulsions; the rest were made at the discretion of school officials primarily in response to violations of local schools’ conduct codes.
  • African-American students and those with particular educational disabilities were disproportionately disciplined for discretionary actions.
  • Repeated suspensions and expulsions predicted poor academic outcomes. Only 40 percent of students disciplined 11 times or more graduated from high school during the study period, and 31 percent of students disciplined one or more times repeated their grade at least once.

Schools that had similar characteristics, including the racial composition and economic status of the student body, varied greatly in how frequently they suspended or expelled students.