When worlds collide implementing pbs across multidisciplinary residential settings
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When Worlds Collide: Implementing PBS across Multidisciplinary Residential Settings. C. Michael Nelson, Ed.D . National Technical Assistance Center for PBIS Kristine Jolivette , Ph.D. Georgia State University. Advanced Organizer.

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When Worlds Collide: Implementing PBS across Multidisciplinary Residential Settings

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When Worlds Collide: Implementing PBS across Multidisciplinary Residential Settings

C. Michael Nelson, Ed.D.

National Technical Assistance Center for PBIS

Kristine Jolivette, Ph.D.

Georgia State University

Advanced Organizer

  • Overview: History and Rationale√ Definition of multidisciplinary residential settings

  • Characteristics & needs of institutionalized youth√ Review of national PBS outcome research√ Rationale for using PBS in residential settings

  • Implementation Fidelity in Residential Settings

    √ Procedures

    √ Adaptations for residential settings

  • Exemplar in residential setting

Definition of Multidisciplinary Residential Setting

  • Any 24/7 facility

  • Facilities with multiple systems

    • Education

    • Security

    • Mental health/counseling

    • Vocation

    • Recreation

  • Facilities with transient youth

    • Public/private residential facilities

    • Juvenile justice facilities (short- and long-term)

Youth in Juvenile Corrections

  • Characteristics that relate to behavior:

    • Special education classification

    • Mental disorders

    • Drug and alcohol abuse

    • History of abuse, neglect, and witnessing violence

      J. Gagnon, 2008


  • Why do these troubled and disabled youth end up in the juvenile justice system?

  • When do their problems first emerge?

  • What role do social institutions (family services, early childhood programs, schools, juvenile delinquency programs) play in either addressing or exacerbating these problems?

Outcomes of PBS

  • Reductions in:

    • discipline referral rates by 50% to 60% (Horner, Sugai, & Todd, 2001);

    • office discipline referrals (Lane & Menzies, 2003);

    • fighting (McCurdy, Mannella, & Eldridge, 2003);

    • in-school suspension (Scott, 2001);

    • classroom disruption (Lohrmann & Talerico, 2004; Newcomer & Lewis, 2004); and

    • negative student-adult interactions (Clarke, Worcester, Dunlap, Murray, & Bradely-Klug, 2002)

  • Increases in:

    • academic achievement (Luiselli, Putnam, Handler, & Feinberg, 2005; Horner et al., 2009) and

    • perceived school safety (Horner et al., 2009)

How Juvenile Justice “Works”

  • Incarceration PLUS punishment

  • Successful completion of “treatment” plans require high levels of literacy skills

  • Release is contingent upon progress through the treatment plan

  • Education is an add-on

Covariate adjusted mean recidivism effect sizes forintervention philosophies (Lipsey, 2009)

Why PBS in Secure Facilities?

  • Effective and efficient alternative to harsh, inconsistent, and ineffective disciplinary methods in public schools

  • Discipline in many secure facilities is often harsh and harmful

    • punishment mentality

    • inconsistency among staff

  • Decisions about discipline not linked to data on youth behavior

PBS – Links to These Settings

  • Two youth development principles

    • Appropriate Structure

      • Predictable routines, rules, and expectations

      • Consistent implementation of supports by staff linked to positive expectations

    • Positive Social Norms

      • Teaching and modeling of appropriate, expected behaviors

      • Reinforcement for displaying these behaviors

        • National Council on Disability (2003)

  • Incorporation of evidence-based interventions

    • Comprehensive-Durable

    • Relevant- PositiveK. Jolivette, 2009

  • Call for Action

    • National Council on Disability (2003) call for PBS in JJ

    • Researchers call for PBS extension to AE, Residential, and JJ settings

      • (Houchins, Jolivette, Wessendorf, McGlynn, & Nelson, 2005; Nelson, Sugai, & Smith, 2005; Scott, Nelson, Liaupsin, Jolivette, Christle, & Riney, 2001)

  • Limited experimental studies implementing PBS in AE, residential, or JJ settings

    • Unknown application in residential settings

    • NM & NC implementing PBS in all JJ educational settings

    • TX passed legislation for state-wide implementation

    • AL, ID, MA, VT considering PBS for JJ

    • CA, IA, IL, OR, WA—PBS in at least one JJ facility

    • KY beginning pilot in one facility

      • (National Center on the Education of Children who are Neglected, Delinquent, or At-Risk, 2007)

  • Obstacles and Opportunities

    • Belief that incarceration shouldn’t be “positive”

    • Use of complex, multi-level “treatment” curricula

    • Failure to systematically collect or use behavior data for decision-making

    • Lack of staff communication across disciplines--no mandate or precedent

    Obstacles and Opportunities (cont.)

    • Staff turnover

    • •Youth turnover

    • Lack of time for training, collaboration

    • No history of or interest in collaboration

    • Disproportionate number of youth with disabilities, lacking literacy skills, significant mental health problems

    • Others?

    School-wide Positive

    Behavior Support



    Setting Systems


    Setting Systems

    Individual Student





    Behavior Support

    Systems in Residential Facilities

    Individual Youth

    Housing Units

    Education Program

    Other Programs

    Facility-wide Systems

    Tertiary Prevention:

    Multiple discipline reports per month






    Secondary Prevention:

    2-5 discipline reports per month


    Primary Prevention:

    1 or 0 discipline reports per month

    ~80% of Youth

    Iowa Juvenile Home

    Continuum of


    Positive Behavior






    ~ 23%

    Secondary Prevention


    Primary Prevention

    Current Status

    • Residential Schools/Facilities

      • 24-hour monitoring of social, emotional, educational needs; involuntary enrollment (Gagnon & Leone, 2005)

      • 13% enrollment increase among students with EBD in past 10 years

      • ½ to ¾ total population receive special education services under EBD

      • Program philosophy: Behavioral (53%), Psychoeducational (28%)(Gagnon & Leone, 2005)

      • Students: high prevalence of mental health diagnoses, minorities, anti-social behaviors

    The Team Needs to …

    • Look at global considerations

    • Look at possible systems, data, and practice issues

    Considerations for the Facility

    • Level of Support

      • How much? (initial training plus follow-up)

      • How configured? (all staff at one time or by individual systems)

      • By whom? (university/local personnel, different based on staff)

    • Staff Issues

      • Fusing of different philosophies and educational backgrounds

      • Attitude (negativity, “catching youth being bad”)

      • Securing buy-in (how so across all staff)

    • Logistics

      • Time (release time, reconfiguration of duties)

      • Staffing (will it look different, impact on facility)

      • Resources (SWIS, research articles, behavioral strategies)

    • Financial

      • Training costs (substitute teachers, more security)

      • Reinforcement (youth versus staff)

    Systems Issues

    • Who would constitute a leadership team

      • Facility and non-facility participants

    • Disconnect between residential systems and staff

      • Educational,Housing unit,Security, Mental health, Recreation

    • Competing priorities

      • Safety first everything else second

    • Hierarchies and politics within and across systems

      • Power, History, Resource allocation

    Data Issues

    • Different types of and reporting mechanisms for data collected

      • Anecdotal, frequency, duration, daily, weekly, monthly, semester reports

    • Limited sharing of data

      • Across staff within and outside of systems

    • “Big Picture” of what is going on often missing

      • Disconnect between 24/7 events (morning, school, lunch, after-school, afternoon, evening, nighttime)

    Practice Issues

    • “Saboteurs”

      • Lack of “buy-in” by ALL staff across systems

    • Use of non-scientific strategies, interventions, and curricula

      • Lack of “knowing” or time to investigate/staying with current practices

    • Differential & low expectations of youth

      • Lack of administrative and staff consensus on strategies/interventions

      • Expectations change dependent on the environment, staff, time of day, etc.

      • Trying to catch youth being “bad” (punishment focus)

    Residential Facility Demographics

    • Residential School

      • For students with severe EBD referred by schools, mental health agencies, and the courts

      • 1 – 12 grades

      • ½ Year 1 = 75 students; Year 2 = 75 students

      • 11 teachers and 1 staff person per class

    • Residential Units

      • 8 units; 2-3 staff per shift

      • Students on-site 24 hours, 7 days a week

      • Students eat lunch on the units

    As a Team – you …

    But you HAVE to for Residential settings!!!!!!

    Show Respect

    Take Responsibility

    Accept Adult Directions

    Respond Appropriately

    I have proven I am a star

    because I can:

    E&S Staff saw it all!

    Residential School/Unit-wide Expectations

    • Be a STAR

      • Show respect

      • Take responsibility

      • Accept adult directions

      • Respond appropriately

    Sample School Student Rft.

    • 5-10 S.T.A.R.sPens or pencil; One night homework pass

    • 11-12 S.T.A.R.s30 minutes of computer access; Word search book puzzle

    • 21-30 S.T.A.R.sLeisure books; Teacher helper; Library helper; KidzClub access

    • 31-40 S.T.A.R.sBlockbuster gift certificate; S.T.A.R store helper; On-campus lunch with staff of your choice

    • 41-50 S.T.A.R.sMovie pass; Bike ride with staff; Garden time with staff

    • 51+ S.T.A.R.sOff-campus movie with staff; Off-campus lunch with staff; Picnic in the park with staff

    Sample Housing Student Rft.

    • 1-5 S.T.A.R.sPens or pencils, General school supplies, Candy

    • 6-10 S.T.A.R.s15 minutes of computer access, Journals, Crayons

    • 11-20 S.T.A.R.sBlockbuster gift certificate, On-campus lunch with staff

    • 21-30 S.T.A.R.sMr. Bill’s helper, Art project with art teacher, Picnic in the park with staff


    • School – Year 1 - 2 38% decrease in ODRs

    • School – Year 1 – 3 42% decrease in ODRS

    • Housing – Baseline – Year 1 30% decrease in behavioral incidents

    • Housing – Baseline – Year 2 35% decrease in behavioral incidents

    • Currently, lower numbers of ODRs and incidents

    • SET – for the school setting continues to be above minimum 80/80

    Focus Groups

    • Staff (teachers and unit supervisors) themes

      • Promotes positive behavior management

      • Incentives help with motivation

      • Improved short- and long-term behavior

      • Implementation suggestions (materials, STAR store, consistency

    • Student themes

      • Fosters transition to less restrictive level of care

      • Improvement in daily lives

      • Improved motivation

    * Individual functional behavior assessments and intervention plans

    * 1:1 therapeutic interventions

    * Medical or mental health crises

    * Check in/Check out

    * Choice-making

    * Focused positive praise

    * Intensive academic supports

    * Targeted group therapy

    * S.T.A.R.S program

    * Evidence-based interventions implemented with fidelity

    Lessons Learned

    • Facility systems not interested at same time

      • School first then units

    • Disconnected data sources

      • No baseline school data available, units used own system

    • 24/7 concept a challenge

      • Staff turnover

        • Training, buy-in, implementation, fidelity

    • Secondary and tertiary interventions a challenge

      • For the units

    Want to implement?

    • “Leadership team to actively coordinate implementation efforts

    • An organizational umbrella composed of adequate funding, broad visibility, and consistent political support,

    • A foundation for sustained and broad scale implementation - those who can coach implementation and train on specific practices,

    • A system of ongoing evaluation and provision of performance-based feedback to implementers, and

    • Small group of sites that demonstrate viability”

      • Nelson, Sprague, Jolivette, Smith, & Tobin, 2009, p. 488

    Words from the Field

    • Start small

    • Obtain endorsement & support at the state level

    • Link to an ongoing statewide PBS or related initiative

    • Adapt a data collection & decision model

    • Incorporate PBS into an existing treatment or discipline model, if compatible

      • Nelson, Sprague, Jolivette, Smith, & Tobin, 2009


    • C. Michael Nelson, Ed.D.cpdmiken@email.uky.edu

    • Kristine Jolivette, Ph.D.


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