PBIS In Alternative Schools

SWPBS in Alternative Settings
Brandi Simonsen, Ph.D.
Kitty Clemens, M.S.W., L.C.S.W.
[email protected]
Center for Behavioral Education and Research
Neag School of Education, University of Connecticut
[email protected]
Cedarhurst School
Yale School of Medicine
(Based on Simonsen, Pearsall, McCurdy, & Sugai, 2011; Sugai & Simonsen, 2013)
Continuum of School-Wide
Instructional & Positive Behavior Support
in Alternative Settings
Primary Prevention:
School-/ClassroomWide Systems for
All Students,
Staff, & Settings
Tertiary Prevention:
Systems for Students with
High-Risk Behavior
Secondary Prevention:
Specialized Group
Systems for Students with
At-Risk Behavior
Small and variable population of students with
intensive behavioral, mental health, and educational
Most interventions are individualized and intensive
May also employ a setting-wide point or level system.
~80% of Students
Increases in pro-social or appropriate behavior
Decreases in aggressive, disruptive, or otherwise
inappropriate behavior
Increases in the percentage of students responding to
behavioral support (i.e., increasing the percentage of
students without serious incidents per month)
Increases in student specific progress toward IEP goals
(i.e., positive academic and social behavior outcomes)
Increases in the percentage of students returning to a
less restrictive environment
Features of
Student Behavior
Staff Behavior
Sample Sources of Data:
o Incident Reports
o Direct Behavior Ratings
o Earned Points
o Direct Observation
o Individual Student Progress
o Program-wide Data
o ____________
Adopt or develop data management system
Review existing data & collect additional data if
Use Data to Make Decisions
Supporting Social Competence &
Academic Achievement
Teams & Coaches
o Setting-wide
o Unit- or Class-wide
Continuous PD
Data-based decision making and action planning
Monitoring and evaluating fidelity
Program evaluation and continuous improvement
Program- or School-wide
o Clearly stated purpose and approach
o A few positively stated expectations
o Procedures for directly teaching expectations program-wide
o Continuum of strategies for reinforcing expectation following
o Continuum of strategies for correction expectation violating
Classroom Setting
o Maximize structure and predictability
o Establish, post, teach, monitor, and reinforce a small number (3-5) of positively stated expectations
o Actively engage students in observable ways
o Establish a continuum of strategies to acknowledge students for following expectations
o Establish a continuum of strategies to respond when students violate expectations
Non-classroom Setting
o Actively supervise
o Teach setting-specific routines and expectations directly
o Reminders and pre-correct frequently
o Positively reinforce frequently, specifically, and regularly
Individual Student
o Develop data-decision rules to identify students who do not respond to Tier 1
o Organize other supports along a continuum
o Develop an assessment process to determine which additional intervention(s) may be appropriate
o Collect progress monitoring data
General Process
1. Identify
(adapted from Sugai et al., 2010, p. 48)
2. Complete
3. Develop/Adjust
Action Plan
4. Implement
Action Plan
5. Monitor &
Descriptive case studies have documented that implementing SWPBS, or similar proactive system-wide
interventions, in alternative school settings results in positive outcomes.
o Decreases in crisis interventions (e.g., restraints) and aggressive student behavior
o Increases in percentage of students achieving the highest levels
In addition, staff members are able to implement with fidelity and staff and students generally like SWPBS.
(Miller, George, & Fogt, 2005; Farkas et al., 2012; Miller, Hunt, & Georges, 2006; Simonsen, Britton, & Young, 2010)
1. What is the Cedarhurst School?
Private, therapeutic, special education outplacement
Students with ED and OHI labels
o Social, emotional and behavioral problems
o Psychiatric diagnoses
Middle and High School (ages 11-21)
Public school students from all over Connecticut
Tuition paid by sending Districts
Small class size (no more than 8 per class)
Self-contained and mainstream classrooms
Special education teachers, social workers, behavioral
support staff
Therapeutic groups, individual counseling, crisis
intervention, collaboration with collaterals
Use of time-out
2. What does PBIS look like at Cedarhurst?
Positively stated expectations: Responsibility, Safety Respect
Recognition system:
o Students earn points, which provide access to 3 levels of privileges
 Level A: Earned 90% of points for each expectation
 Level B: Earned 75% of points for each expectation
 Level C: Earned less than 75% of points for each expectation (are a new student or recently off 1:1
o Students also earn tickets
 Student can earn tickets for a positive behavior in each of the three expectations categories
 When tickets are given, students are directly told why they have earned them
 Tickets are currency and can be used to buy activities, field trip, breakfast, special lunches, themed
snacks, activity with specific staff members, auctioned items and raffled items
 The homeroom who earns the most tickets in a week wins the “rock-on” award and is entitled to
homeroom activity (donuts for breakfast, choice of music during lunch, play Wii during homeroom)
 Students can use tickets to buy items in the school store
PBIS Lessons: You can’t expect anyone to do anything until they are taught!
3. Does it work?
Significant reduction in office referrals
Fewer and shorter time outs
4. Why does it work?
Annual action plan
o Annual Goals
 Reduce frequency and duration of time out
 Increase percentage of students maintaining level
 4:1 ratio of positive reinforcement to negative consequences
 Fidelity to the PBIS model
o Data on progress compiled quarterly to keep us on track
o Achieving goals promotes on-going buy-in from staff and students
PBIS Practices
o Start with the Universal (Tier 1)
 Emphasis on structuring universal behavioral system that applies school-wide
 Tier II and III won’t work unless Tier I is solid
o Align existing practices with PBIS Universal Practices
o Tier II
 Implemented once Tier I is solid
 Define criteria for plan development, implementation and fade out
 Individual mentoring and coaching, contingent and non-contingent
o PBIS Team coach
o Teachers, paras, social workers, director
o Student council provides input
o Team meets once a week RELIGIOUSLY
o Review data
o Plan PBIS activities
o Problem-solve
 Problems are discussed by PBIS team
 Solutions are sought from entire staff
Daily Wrap Up Meeting
o Entire staff meets every day for 30 minutes
 Determine behavioral goals
 Review data
 Discuss levels
o All staff have opportunity to discuss PBIS practices, effectiveness and goals
o PBIS Team members present identified issues and ask for or offer possible solutions
 Everyone takes ownership
Student Investment
o Student Council
o Student input into rewards
o Careers Class creates posters to advertise rewards
o Culture of participation has built over years
 All students participate enthusiastically
Parent Involvement
o Weekly communication home
 Postcards home to emphasize positive
 Email
 Multi-staff approach
o Point card as communication tool
 Parents reward school progress at home
Data Collection
o Everyone participates
 Teachers: ticket tallying, expectation card tallying, sign up for events, tracking levels
 Other staff
Data drives decisions
 Student
 Tweak reward universally
 Tier II plan
 Time of Day
 Location
 Staff
5. How is it sustained?
Modify the program as you go to correct ineffective practices
Three examples of program modifications:
o Level system
 Reducing the number of behavioral expectations
 Simplify lessons/expectations
 Reduce subjectivity
 Increased the value of each point relative to level
 Criteria for maintaining and attaining levels
 Gradually increased percentage of points necessary
 Then changed from overall point percentages to requiring 75% (B) or 90% (A) within each
 Failure to maintain level due to “major safety violations.”
 Problems
o No objective definition of major safety violation
o Drawn out arguments in staff meetings about whether students should lose their
o Students not learning from consequences due to lack of clarity
 Behavioral Goals
 Level student with problematic behavior is given a specific behavioral goal
 Student is taught how to achieve the goal
 A check is given for any instance of the specific problematic behavior
 Level A’s move to a B if they receive one check, level B’s move to a C after they receive two
 If students achieve their goal, they maintain their level and can achieve a higher level (if
they have the points.)
o Data collection
 Many team members involved in data collection, entry and processing
 If any team member feels overburdened, we examine the process to spread the load
 Example:
 Initially one person was responsible for entering all ticket data each week, as well as running
data reports for PBIS team
 Now each person enters their own ticket data each week in a shared “ticket tally”
o Rewards
 Rewards are consistently given
 Level activities
 Ticket trips/Field Trips
 Student of the Week/Month
 Tickets and levels are more meaningful/valuable
 Student input assures rewards are wanted
 More privileges available with higher levels
 Outside privileges during lunch
 Use of electronics at gym
Ticket spend downs
 Ticket raffle
o Address spike in negative behaviors
o Can only use tickets they have earned within specified time period
o Can use tickets to buy raffle tickets
Other Factors
 SET Evaluation to monitor fidelity
 Positive behavior in the classroom reinforces/rewards staff participation in the system
 Behaviors worse in the beginning
 Consistency and repetition (teaching expectations) led to student acceptance and success
(Get Out Of School Early)
 Healthy competition
 Being recognized
 Staff cohesion
 Staff “thank you”
 ¨Attention is on positive behavior which fosters positive feelings in both student and teacher/staff
Alternative schools with a large number of behavioral challenges can greatly benefit from strong effective universal
Take the time to build each component with consideration
Use data at every step
Make sure data guides each decision!