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Building School-based Systems to Support Small Group / Targeted Interventions for At-risk Students. Tim Lewis, Ph.D. University of Missouri OSEP Center on Positive Behavioral Intervention & Supports Starting Point. We can’t “make” students learn or behave

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building school based systems to support small group targeted interventions for at risk students

Building School-based Systems to Support Small Group / Targeted Interventions for At-risk Students

Tim Lewis, Ph.D.

University of Missouri

OSEP Center on Positive

Behavioral Intervention & Supports

starting point
Starting Point
  • We can’t “make” students learn or behave
  • We can create environments to increase the likelihood students learn and behave
  • Environments that increase the likelihood are guided by a core curriculum and implemented with consistency and fidelity
school wide positive behavior support
School-wide Positive Behavior Support

PBS is a broad range of systemic and individualized strategies for achieving important social and learning outcomes while preventing problem behavior

OSEP Center on PBIS

Tertiary Prevention:



Systems for Students with High-Risk Behavior







Secondary Prevention:

Specialized Small Group

Systems for Students with At-Risk Behavior


Primary Prevention:


Wide Systems for

All Students,

Staff, & Settings

~80% of Students

Social Competence &

Academic Achievement









Staff Behavior





Student Behavior

are school teams ready
Are School Teams Ready?
  • 80% or better on SET
  • Action plan to maintain Universals
  • Use data in team meetings
  • Create a decision rule to identify students in need
  • Assessment to identify what supports students need
  • Strategy to implement classroom-based supports
  • Equal emphasis on practices, data and system supports
the challenge
The Challenge

Students spend majority of their school day in the classroom

Majority of “discipline problems” originate in the classroom and often result in removal from instruction

Remaining engaged in instruction essential to student academic and social success

“Culture” of education often reinforces ineffective practices and creates barriers to implementing effective practices

your job
Your job…

Continually review own instruction

Insure EVERYONE in building engaging in effective practices

Apply logic of SW-PBS to problem solving classroom issues

Create local versions (data, systems, practices)

Bottom line = change current culture

effective classroom management
Effective Classroom Management

Behavior management

Teaching routines

Positive student-adult interactions

Instructional management

Curriculum & Instructional design

Environmental management

Student Self-Management

top eight
Top Eight
  • Classroom expectations/rules defined and taught
  • Classroom routines defined and taught
  • “4:1” positive feedback
  • Active supervision
  • Students actively engaged
  • Multiple opportunities to respond
  • Minors are addressed quickly and quietly/privately
  • School wide procedures for majors are followed
pre requisites

Universals must be well established and in-place

Target practices that are preferred or promising (empirically validated)

Teach basic features of strategies first (general case)


Match intervention to student need

Staff implementing interventions have skills and support

ALL staff aware of interventions and their part in promoting generalization

Focus on the systems to support throughout

small group targeted interventions14
Small Group / Targeted Interventions


Not fixed group

Student’s needs vary across continuum over time and within academic/social area

Least intrusive but matched to student need

important themes
Important Themes

Part of a continuum – must link to school-wide PBS system

Efficient and effective way to identify students

Assessment = simple sort

Intervention matched to presenting problem but not highly individualized

important themes16
Important Themes

Common misperception is that these strategies will “fix” the student and the classroom teacher does not need to be an active participant since “specialists” or outside staff are often involved in the intervention – Important to stress that these interventions will require high level of involvement among ALL staff within the school building

small group targeted interventions17
Small Group / Targeted Interventions


Systematic way to identify at-risk students (e.g., office referrals, teacher nomination, rating scales)

Measure progress and fade support slowly


Within class first option

Pull out programs must have generalization strategies

Link small group with school-wide rules and social skills

Academic & social strategies


Training for ALL staff on procedures

Options for students who transfer in during school year

data screening assessment
Data: Screening & Assessment

Routine review of individual student data

Efficient teacher referral system

Parent referral

Screening tools (e.g. SSBD)

Look for those students who are often “under the radar”...

Students who change addresses frequently

Homeless students

Students in foster care or juvenile service homes

data screening assessment19
Data: Screening & Assessment

Office discipline referral data-decision rules

“3 ODR for same offense”

Review of attendance, grades, achievement, other archival data

Teacher referral

Simple form

Quick response

data assessment
Data: Assessment

Focus is on sorting student for service, not “diagnosis and placement.”

Social-Behavioral Concerns

Social skills


Academic Concerns

Peer Tutors

Check in

Homework club

Emotional Concerns

Adult mentors

practices building blocks
Practices: Building Blocks

Teach/build pro-social replacement behaviors

Build maintenance and generalization strategies to promote use

Attend to possible function of the problem behavior

small group targeted practices
Small Group / Targeted Practices

Social Skill Training




Peer tutoring / Peer Network

Academic support

social skills
Social Skills

Identify critical skills (deficit or performance problem)

Develop social skill lessons

“Tell, show, practice”

Match language to school-wide expectations

Generalization strategies

Must provide clear & specific activities all staff follow to promote generalization & make sure staff using strategies

self management

Teach self-monitoring & targeted social skills simultaneously

Practice self-monitoring until students accurately self-monitor at 80% or better

Periodic checks on accuracy

It is not simply giving students a self-evaluation check-list, must teach and practice to fluency and reinforce both accurate self-evaluation and appropriate behavior


Focus on “connections” at school

Not monitoring work

Not to “nag” regarding behavior

Staff volunteer

Not in classroom

No administrators

Match student to volunteer

10 minutes minimum per week

Emphasize the importance of being ready to meet with student on a regular, predictable, and consistent basis. Goal is not to become a “friend,” but a positive adult role model who expresses sincere and genuine care for the student

check in

Focus is on academic & social compliance


Teach strategies to enter work /objectives to accomplish


All staff must prompt/reinforce student use

Emphasize the goal is to fade out the check-in so the focus should be on reinforcing students for accurately self-monitoring and work completion across the school day

peer tutoring
Peer Tutoring

Tutors must be taught how to teach

Tutors must be taught what to do if tutee does not comply

Tutors must be given the option to drop out at any time without penalty

Initially, peer tutoring should be undertaken only with close and on-going teacher supervision to ensure success

academic support
Academic Support


If data indicate it doesn’t come back, give up the battle and build support within the school day


Direct instruction in addition to the current curriculum


Within instruction

Emphasize the need to identify and intervene early before students fall behind – Ideal is routine screening using Curriculum Based Measures (CBM) to identify students early

plan for integrity of implementation
Plan for Integrity of Implementation


Coaching and feedback

Scripts for adults to follow

Data Collection

Follow-up support meetings

Follow up data evaluation

Teacher (Staff) Cool Tool On

Wait Time

What is wait time?

Defined as: The amount of time a teacher waits for a student response after providing a prompt.

What do we know about wait time?

In studies of teacher wait time the average teacher only waits about 1 second for a student to respond before calling on another student or answering the question themselves ( Jones & Jones, 2001). This is typically insufficient time for most students to hear the question, search for the information and respond. Research also has demonstrated that when teachers increase their wait time to greater than 3 seconds higher cognitive achievement occurred at all grade levels due to changes in student and teacher discourse (Tobin, 1987).

Mean of all four Columbia elementary schools (2002-2004) indicate the average wait time of teachers is 2.96 seconds during an average 45 minute literacy instruction period. The range of wait time was 0.0 to 12.5.

The goal is for the teacher to remain above 3 seconds of wait time, optimally around 5 seconds. This amount reflects optimal wait time for average students to process and respond. Activities reflecting fluency checks will logically, on average, require less wait time than those activities targeting acquisition. As teachers reach target levels of instructional talk and increase use of prompts to check for understanding, opportunities for increased positive student recognition (positive feedback) are created through adequate levels of wait time for optimal responding.

gentry middle school

Gentry Middle School

Building the Continuum

Method for Communicating Practice

SAT Process

Teacher Training and Support

Targeted Interventions

Individual Student Plans

SAT Team



Behavior Specialist


Core Team/Classrooms

Implement AIS

Monitor Progress

Refer to SAT

Core Team Representative

SAT Partner

Core Team Teachers

*Meets Weekly


School-Wide Systems


Lesson Plans

School-Wide Data



Core Team Representative

District PBS Support

Building Administrator and Counselors

*Meets Monthly

Pyramid to Success for All
  • Office Issues
  • Bus referrals, Truancy, Chronic offender, Threatening student or adult, Fighting, Refusal to go to or Disruptive in Buddy Room, Sexual harassment, Weapons, Drug/cigarettes/ tobacco/alcohol, Assault – physical or verbal
  • Teacher Method for handling student behaviors
    • Referral Form – send student to office with completed form
  • Process with student before re-entry
  • Office Method for handling student behaviors
  • Proactive: RRKS Review, Parent Contact
  • Corrective: Loss of Privilege, Saturday detention, Opportunity Center, Suspension, etc.

Team Issues

Repeated minor & major disruptions in multiple classrooms, Throwing things, Hallway/Lockers problems, Attendance, Repeated disrespect to peers or adults, Cheating, Inappropriate to substitute, Insubordination, Chronic Disruptions

Method for handling student behaviors

Proactive: Parent contact (mandatory), RRKS review, Team conference, Team conference with student, Team conference with Parents, Team conference with Administrator/Counselor, Triage in the AM with the student, Triage at lunch with the student, Team Focus, etc.

Corrective:Removal of privilege on team, Recovery Study Hall, Buddy Room, etc.

Classroom Teacher Issues

Out of seat, Talking to classmates, Talking out, Off-task, Violation of class rules, Inappropriate language, Lack of materials, Gum, Disrespect, Cheating, Tardies, Minor destruction of property

Method for handling student behaviors

Proactive: Positive call to parents, Use praise, Use Rewards, Daily/Weekly Goal sheets, Proximity to instructor, Provide choices, One-to-One assistance, Pre-correct for transitions/trouble situations, Regular breaks for exercise, Give a job, RRKS Review, Reward lunch with teacher, etc.

Corrective: One and only one REDIRECT, RRKS Review, Safe-seat, Buddy Room, Think Sheet, Parent Phone call, Lunch Detention, Recovery Study Hall, Removal of privilege in classroom, etc.

building school based systems to support small group targeted interventions for at risk students34

Building School-based Systems to Support Small Group / Targeted Interventions for At-risk Students

Tim Lewis, Ph.D.

University of Missouri

OSEP Center on Positive

Behavioral Intervention & Supports