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Family Involvement and PBIS. Susan Barrett Sheppard Pratt Health System Implementer Partner Center on PBIS. Schools Implementing School-wide Positive Behavior Support September 2009: 10,487. Overview.

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Family Involvement and PBIS

Susan Barrett

Sheppard Pratt Health System

Implementer Partner

Center on PBIS

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  • Basic Logic of School-wide PBS

  • Connect points between school systems and families

  • Including Families throughout the process

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An important feature of SWPBIS is the practice of engaging families as partners in schools(Muscott, 2008).

  • Families become recognized as important members of the school community, increasing the outcomes for all children.

    Italian Proverb

    “Between saying and doing is the sea”

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Points to Remember aboutEngaging Families

  • Apply PBIS logic to Family Engagement: don’t keep doing what hasn’t worked up (data?)

  • If engagement didn’t happen, how would you change your approach to effectively engage?

  • professionals don’t get to choose or judge how families raise their kids.

  • Always start with a conversation ( not a meeting) with the family, getting their trust and permission before talking with others.

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  • but IS a decision making framework that guides selection, integration, and implementation of the best evidence-based academic and behavioral practices for improving important academic and behavior outcomes for all students.

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Tertiary Prevention:



Systems for Students with High-Risk Behavior








Secondary Prevention:

Specialized Group

Systems for Students with At-Risk Behavior



Primary Prevention:


Wide Systems for

All Students,

Staff, & Settings



~80% of Students

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Applying the Logic to Families

  • Tier 3: Intensive, Individual Interventions

  • Family Liaison-matched with family, needs matched with community resources

  • Individual Skill Building Sessions-


  • Tier 2: Targeted Group Interventions

  • Support Groups (Military Families, Newcomer Group)

  • Skill Building Sessions (Academic and Behavior)


  • Tier 1: Universal Interventions

  • Self Assessments: Family Engagement Checklist, Surveys

  • Skill Building Series Guest Speaker (Topics Vary- Survey Families)

  • Newsletter, Resource Library , “Shout Outs”- Mickey Mouse PB

  • Volunteer Opportunities (DOGS- Dads of Great Students)

  • Teacher Conferences- Goal Setting, Family Vision, Strengths Discovery

  • Family Fun Nights throughout the year

  • School Handbook (Description, Teaching Matrix – promote common language between school and home)


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Lake Ridge Elementary School Interventions for Parents


Behavioral Systems

  • Tier 3

  • Intensive, Individual Interventions

  • Child Study Meetings

  • Provide Resources for Parents

  • Tier 3

  • Intensive, Individual Interventions

  • Child Study Meeting (FBA & BIP)

  • Guidance Library



  • Tier 2

  • Targeted Group Interventions

  • PEP Class (ESOL) - Parents As Educational Partners

  • Tier 2

  • Targeted Group Interventions

  • Support Group (Military Families)



  • Tier 1

  • Universal Interventions

  • STEP Classes (Systematic Training for Effective Parenting)

  • Guest Speaker (Helping Kids with Anger: Childhood Anxiety)

  • Tier 1

  • Universal Interventions

  • Family Nights for Math and Reading

  • Parent Pride Book Club (Helping Your Child with Homework)



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Social Competence &

Academic Achievement









Staff Behavior







Student Behavior

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Overlapping Spheres of Influence


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1. Common purpose & approach to discipline

2. Clear set of positive expectations & behaviors

3. Procedures for teaching expected behavior

4. Continuum of procedures for encouraging expected behavior

5. Continuum of procedures for discouraging inappropriate behavior

6. Procedures for on-going monitoring & evaluation

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  • Continuum of positive behavior support for all families

  • Frequent, regular positive contacts, communications, & acknowledgements

  • Formal & active participation & involvement as equal partner

  • Access to system of integrated school & community resources

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Family Partnerships: Families and Shared decision-making

Families and Shared decision-making:

Families are equal partners in school decisions

Include families in school decisions, developing leaders and representatives

Recruit multiple family members for PBIS teams (who are not employees or educators)

Alternate meeting times: morning, afternoon and evening

Pair new families with veteran families (parent mentors)

Offer ‘short term participation on the PBIS team, with option to renew

Plan for care of children during meetings

Involve families in identifying incentives and celebrations

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Universals: Connect Points To Families

  • Primary Focus = Awareness

    • Information, Information, Information (2-way)

      • Educators and parents sharing information across multiple venues

  • Involvement

    • Parent team member

    • Specific activities to partner with families at school

      • Clear timelines, what is expected, outcomes

  • Support

    • Information regarding range of services & supports

    • Referral Points

    • Strategies for home use

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PBIS Matrix for Home

  • I am respectful Listen to my parents

  • Be truthful to my parents

  • Play cooperatively

  • Speak nicely to others

  • I am responsible Put away my toys, bike, and equipment

  • Help with jobs at home

  • Follow my parents’ directions

  • Share Thursday folder with parents

  • I am safe Play safely with others

  • Stay in designated areas

  • Stay away from strangers

  • Wear bike helmet and equipment

  • I am prepared Finish homework and share with parent

  • Pack backpack at night for school the next day

  • Go to bed on time

  • Get up and get ready for school when called

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Two Examples

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Michigan project(Ballard-Krishan, McClure, Schmatz, Travnikar, Friedrich, & Nolan, 2003)

  • Training teams comprised of educators and parents to train school teams in school-wide PBS

    • Demonstrate respect for each training team member’s knowledge

    • Identifying strengths of each trainer

    • Encourage and offer financial resources for training teams to attend professional development

    • Offer on-going mentoring

    • Provide all trainers with skills and resources to train

    • Clear operational policies

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Increasing Family Involvement

Benton Elementary


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  • Title school (high rates of poverty)

  • Small population, transient

  • Low attendance at school functions, conferences, volunteering “reluctant families”

  • Very small PTA

  • Informed about PBS activities weekly through newsletters

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Applying the logic of PBS

  • Family Buzz Passport

  • Combine family activities with school activities

  • Reward: Kids spend time with parents – parents involved with school – Family enjoys a pizza!

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  • Approximately 70 passports validated

  • Noted increased attendance at

    conferences, PTA, Chili Fun Night, Sock Hop, assemblies, Family nights, “McTeachers Night,” lunch at school with kids, volunteering, school zoo trip

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OMMS Business Partner Ticket 6 7 8 Date: ________________Student Name __________________________________For Demonstrating: Safety Ethics Respect (Circle the trait you observed)Comments: ___________________________________________Authorized Signature: ____________________________________Business Name: ________________________________________

Grand Junction CO 5/06

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  • New Hampshire - Family Engagement Checklist

  • New York PBS Matrix for Family Involvement

  • Tips for Educators to incorporate PBS into the IEP

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Small Group/Targeted: Connect Points To Families

  • Primary Focus = Involvement

    • Parent consent/ information meeting

    • Parent part of planning

    • Follow-up meetings and outcome sharing

  • Awareness

    • Continuum of supports explained

    • Referral points defined

  • Support

    • Partnership to explore school / home strategies

    • Quick easy “generalization strategies” for home use

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Individual Intervention more effective within “host environments” that supports PBS

“Research on parents of children with and without disabilities repeatedly shows that parents who benefit the least from parent training... struggle with one or more of the following issues: poverty, low SES, social isolation, single parenthood, marital discord, and depression or other mental illness” (Singer, Goldberg-Hamblin, Peckham-Hardin, Barry & Santarelli, 2002, p. 159).

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Individual/Intensive: environments” that supports PBSConnect Points To Families

  • Primary Focus = Support

    • Partner planning – strengths-based focus using functional behavioral assessment

    • Facilitating interagency programs

    • Targeted training/supports for families

  • Awareness

    • Information (e.g., IDEA, ADA, Mental Health, District Services)

    • Accessible referral point (special education / non-special education)

    • Teacher education RE impact on family

    • “Science” of behavior for both educators and family

  • Involvement

    • Family advocacy groups on school/district team

    • Parents of children with disabilities on school/district team

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12 Key Connections Between Individual/Intensive & Families environments” that supports PBS

  • Build collaborative partnerships with families and other professionals who serve the child or youth with a disability.

  • Adhere to family-centered principles and practices throughout assessment, support plan development, and implementation support activities.

  • Help families identify and achieve meaningful lifestyle outcomes for their child with a disability and the family as a whole.

  • Recognize that problem behaviors are primarily problems of learning.

  • Understand that communication is the foundation of positive behavior.

  • Conduct functional assessments to understand the functions of problem behavior and the variables that influence behavior and to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of behavior support plans.

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12 Key Connections Between Individual/Intensive & Families environments” that supports PBS

  • Develop individualized, multi-component support plans that help families create effective family contexts in which problem behaviors are irrelevant, ineffective, and inefficient at achieving their purpose.

  • Ensure that PBS plans are a good contextual fit with family life.

  • Utilize the family activity setting as a unit of analysis and intervention that can help families embed interventions into family life.

  • Provide implementation support that is tailored to family needs and preferences.

  • Engage in a process of continuous evaluation of child and family outcomes.

  • Offer support to families, professionals, and other members of a support team in a spirit of sincerity and humility.

    (Lucyshyn, Horner, Dunlap, Albin, & Ben, 2002, p. 13)

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A Working Definition of “Family Involvement” environments” that supports PBS

  • Awareness, Involvement & Support mapped to continuum of supports and defined locally

  • Two way street - educators understand needs of families, families understand realities of the school day

  • Goal = “Partnerships” that lead to outcomes for children and youth

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Data environments” that supports PBS

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The Conversation: Data-based Decision-Making Tools environments” that supports PBS

  • Student Disposition Tool (SD-T)

  • Home/School/Community Tool (HSC-T)

  • Education Information Tool (EI-T)

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“Mary Ellen’s Wrap” environments” that supports PBSUsing Data to get to Family VoiceHome, School, Community Tool

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“Mary Ellen” environments” that supports PBSHome, School, Community Tool

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Remember what the research says… environments” that supports PBS

A family’s income level does not affect the family’s level of involvement. Low-income families are as likely to be involved in their student’s learning as higher-income families.

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Ideas… environments” that supports PBS

  • Develop a survey for families about behavioral needs or behavioral expectations in the school.

  • Develop a survey for families to determine what they know or want/need to know about PBIS. (See sample survey)

  • Develop information for families about PBIS at your school.

  • Help plan and implement school wide celebrations.

  • Evaluate your school to determine if it is family friendly.

  • Write a piece for your school newsletter about PBIS.

  • Help plan a PBIS family night at your school.

  • Contact community businesses to share information about PBIS in the schools.

  • Talk with teachers and staff about what they think parents need to know about PBIS and ways families can support PBS in their school.

  • Create a home PBIS contract with families.

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More to do…. environments” that supports PBS

11. Send regular notes home about PBIS developed by parents for parents.

12. Send home thank you notes for supporting PBIS in schools. (These can be sent to parents and/or staff and teachers.) 13.

13. Hold a PBIS day at your school that is planned and coordinated by parents.

14. Recruit parents to develop displays around the school related to PBIS. (e.g. PBIS student of the week, month etc).

15. Set up a PBIS table during parent-teacher conferences.

16. Create PBIS parent resources. (These could include things such as behavior management “Tip of the Month” or “Five Ways a Day” to reinforce good behavior in the home).

17. Develop a PBIS Family Calendar.

18. Family/parent rep. recognizes students, staff, and teachers for reinforcing behavioral expectations. (At team meetings individuals can be identified who are exhibiting the behaviors that support PBIS in your school)

19. Skits at half-time of sporting events about PBIS.