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Preventing Severe Problem Behavior: Implementing a Behavior Education Program Within a School-Wide System of Behavior Support. Susan Barrett Acknowledgements. Rob Horner, Leanne Hawken, Rob March Fern Ridge Middle School Clear Lake Elementary

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Preventing Severe Problem Behavior: Implementing a Behavior Education Program Within a School-Wide System of Behavior Support

Susan Barrett

  • Rob Horner, Leanne Hawken, Rob March
  • Fern Ridge Middle School
  • Clear Lake Elementary
  • Bohemia Elementary
  • Kennedy Middle School
  • Effective Behavior Support Team- University of Oregon

This project was supported by Grant No. H324B000075, a Student Initiated Project, funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs. Opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the position of the U.S. Department of Education and such endorsements should not be inferred.

  • Behavioral Support Challenges in Schools
  • Overview & Essential Features of Targeted Interventions
  • Targeted Intervention Example: Behavior Education Program (BEP)
  • For Whom is the BEP Appropriate?
  • Using FBA procedures to Enhance BEP Effectiveness
  • School Readiness, Resources, & Team Process
  • Research Examining Effectiveness of BEP
  • Doing more with less
  • Educating increasing numbers of students who are more different than similar from each other
  • Educating students with severe problem behavior
response to problem behavior
Response to Problem Behavior
  • Focus on prevention
    • Implement a continuum of behavior support
  • Work smarter, not harder
  • Teach, monitor and reward before punishment
implementing a continuum of behavior support
Implementing a Continuum of Behavior Support
  • 80-85% of students will be supported by preventative school-wide procedures & classroom management plans
  • 15-20% of students will need more support
  • IDEA 1997 - Increased focus on Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA) & Behavior Support Planning (BSP)
    • Implement FBA-BSP with students with disabilities at-risk for change in placement
functional behavioral assessment behavior support planning
Functional Behavioral Assessment & Behavior Support Planning
  • FBA-BSP Research
    • Dramatic reductions in problem behavior and increases in prosocial behavior(e.g., Broussard & Northup 1997; Chandler, Dahlquist, Repp & Feltz, 1999; See Lane, Umbreit, & Beebe-Frankenberger, 1999 for review)
  • Full FBA-BSP
    • Includes interviews & observations
    • Time intensive
      • 10-23 consultant time per student- (Schill, Kratochwill, & Elliott, 1998)
    • More than is needed for some students
behavior support challenges
Behavior Support Challenges
  • Resources (time & money) in schools are scarce
  • Match level of support to level of challenge
  • Need an efficient and effective intermediate level intervention system that targets students at-risk but not currently engaging in severe problem behavior
the response targeted interventions
The Response: Targeted Interventions
  • “Targets” groups of students (>10) who:
      • fail to respond to school-wide and classroom expectations
      • are not currently engaging in dangerous or extremely disruptive behavior
  • Efficient - Similar set of behavioral strategies are used across a group of students needing similar levels of support
  • Effective – Decreasing problem behavior in classroom, increasing academic engagement, & decreasing office discipline referrals( Crone, Horner, & Hawken, in press; Hawken & Horner, in press; March & Horner, 2002)
things to consider first
Things to Consider First…
  • Establishment of a Universal System (School-Wide) Does Not Guarantee Individual Teachers are Implementing with High Integrity
  • Students Who Appear “At-Risk” May Benefit More When Teacher Improves Skills in Behavior Management Then Participate in Targeted Interventions
is it really resistance for intervention
Is It Really Resistance For Intervention?

Before Implementing a Secondary Intervention, You Must Ask:

Is the Student Receiving an Adequate “DOSE” of the Universal Intervention?

components often overlooked
Components often overlooked:
  • Positive Parent Contact
  • Random Reinforcement Strategies
  • Positive Public Posting
  • Continuous Behavioral Feedback for Students
  • Data on Positive Reinforcement
  • Other Enhancements…
tracking the positive
Tracking the Positive
  • Analysis of number of positive behavior tickets to discipline tickets to insure maintenance of at least 4:1 ratio
  • Analysis of number of positive behavior tickets by group (e.g., at-risk & high risk groups)
  • Analysis of number of positive behavior tickets by teacher
example of a targeted intervention
Example of a Targeted Intervention


Education Program


behavior education program bep
Behavior Education Program (BEP)


  • Students identified and receive support within a week
  • Check-in and check-out daily with an adult at school
  • Regular feedback and reinforcement from teachers
  • Family component
  • Daily performance data used to evaluate progress

Student Recommended for BEP

BEP Implemented

BEP Coordinator

Summarizes Data

For Decision Making





Regular Teacher


Weekly BEP Meeting

to Assess Student








bep process cont
BEP Process (cont.)
  • Weekly or Bi-weekly Principal Recognition
    • BEP coupon with graph attached
  • Data shared with all staff at least quarterly
  • 9-Week graph sent to parents

Point Sheet



Morning Work Reading Math Afternoon

Goal met?


= 2 points

= 1 point

= 0 points


critical features of bep
Critical Features of BEP
  • Intervention is continuously available
  • Rapid access to intervention (72 hr)
  • Very low effort by teachers
  • Positive System of Support
    • Students agree to participate
  • Implemented by all staff/faculty in a school
  • Flexible intervention based on assessment
    • Functional Assessment
  • Adequate resources allocated (admin, team)
    • weekly meeting, plus 10 hours a week
  • Continuous monitoring for decision-making
why does the bep work
Why does the BEP work?
  • Improved structure
      • Prompts throughout the day for correct behavior
      • System for linking student with at least one adult
  • Increase in contingent feedback
      • Feedback occurs more often and is tied to student behavior
      • Inappropriate behavior is less likely to be rewarded
  • Elevated reward for appropriate behavior
      • Adult and peer attention
  • Linking school and home support
  • Organized to morph into a self-management system
designing daily progress reports
Designing Daily Progress Reports
  • Determine behavioral expectations
    • School-wide expectations
    • Academic vs. behavioral expectations
  • Expectations stated positively
  • Range of scores vs. dichotomous scoring
    • Rating scales should be age appropriate
  • Teacher friendly
    • circling versus writing & place for teacher initials
    • consistent expectations versus individual expectations
  • Data easy to summarize and determine if goal is met

BEP Check-in/Check-Out Record

Date:__________________ BEP Coordinator:_________________

Check-In Check-Out

frequently asked questions regarding bep implementation
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding BEP Implementation
  • What if the student does not check-in in the morning?
  • What if the student is not checking-out in the afternoon?
  • What if a student is consistently not checking in and/or checking out?
  • What if the student loses his/her BEP Card?
  • What if the student is consistently participating in the BEP and his/her behavior gets worse?
how is bep different than other behavior card interventions
How is BEP Different Than Other “Behavior Card” Interventions
  • A Targeted Intervention Implemented Within a School-Wide System of Behavior Support
    • Behavior Cards typically classroom interventions
  • Implemented in all settings, throughout the school day
  • All teachers and staff are trained
  • Students identified proactively & receive support quickly
  • Team uses data for decision making to determine progress
what s in a name
What’s in a Name?
  • Behavior Education Program
    • Daily Progress Report
  • Kennedy Card Program
    • Kennedy Card
  • Hello, Update, & Goodbye (HUG program)
    • Hug Card
  • Check and Connect

*Caution with Using “Behavior Card” or “Behavior Plan”

activity designing daily progress reports dpr for your school
Activity: Designing Daily Progress Reports (DPR) for your school
  • Questions to think about:
    • What will the behavioral expectations be
      • Consistent with school-wide expectations?
    • Consistent across students or individualized?
    • Expectations positively stated?
    • Is the DPR teacher friendly?
    • Age appropriate and include a range of scores?
    • Data easy to summarize?
for whom is the bep appropriate

Low-level problem behavior (not severe)

3-7 referrals

Behavior occurs across multiple locations


talking out

minor disruption

work completion


Serious or violent behaviors/ infractions

Extreme chronic behavior (8-10+ referrals)

Require more individualized support

Functional Assessment

Wrap Around Services

For Whom is the BEP Appropriate?
how to identify students for bep
How to identify students for BEP
  • Summarize Office Discipline Referral data
    • School-Wide Information System (SWIS)
    • Discipline Tracker
  • Develop a referral process
    • All staff trained on process
    • Differentiate behavior handled in classroom vs. office & Major vs. Minor rule infractions
  • BEP referral by teacher, staff, or parent
how to identify students for bep37
How to identify students for BEP
  • Other Data to Consider
    • Absences & Tardies
    • In school detentions (lunch-time or after school)
    • Time out / “Think Time”
would your school benefit from implementing a bep
Would Your School Benefit From Implementing a BEP?
  • How many students does your school have in the range of 3-7 referrals?
  • If > 7 students- BEP may be appropriate
  • If < 7 students- implement individualized interventions
  • The BEP should be able to reasonably maintain 7-20 students/year
implementing bep with individual students
Implementing BEP with Individual Students

Effective School–Wide System in Place

Student not responding to school-wide Expectations

  • Implement Basic BEP
  • Increased structure, check-in, checkout
  • Frequent feedback
  • Connection with key adult

Implement Basic BEP

  • Continue with Basic BEP
  • Transition to self- management


Is the Basic BEP




  • Conduct Brief Functional Assessment
  • What is the problem behavior?
  • Where does the problem behavior occur/not occur?
  • Why does the problem behavior keep happening?
using functional behavioral assessment procedures to enhance bep effectiveness
Using Functional Behavioral Assessment Procedures to Enhance BEP Effectiveness
  • Functional Behavioral Assessment
    • A method of looking at environmental factors that predict, support, or explain problem behavior
    • In essence, examining setting events, antecedents, behaviors, and consequences and using this information to determine the function problem behavior serves (e.g., escape, adult or peer attention, etc.)
why use fba with the bep
Why use FBA with the BEP?
  • FBA data support effective and efficient behavior support planning, a major goal of BEP (Carr et al., 1999; Didden et al., 1997)
  • FBA produces data on how BEP can:
    • Prevent problem behavior
    • Identify and teach alternative behaviors
    • Reward appropriate behaviors
building on efficiency simple fba
Building on Efficiency: “Simple FBA”
  • Full FBAs:
    • Record review, interviews, observations
    • Specify problem behavior and contingencies within routines for purpose of individualized intervention design
  • Simple FBAs:
    • Interviews
    • Specify problem behavior, routines surrounding problem behavior, and function of behavior for purpose of selecting type of BEP
matching bep to student needs
Matching BEP to Student Needs
  • Basic BEP: goals related to cooperative, respectful behavior; reinforced through daily positive adult contact (attention-related)
  • BEP + Academic Support: goals, prompts, and encouragement for organizational and routine-following behaviors or increase in academic support
  • Escape BEP: goals related to cooperative, respectful behavior: students reinforced through chance to earn a break from aversive activity or aversive social contact

Conduct Brief Functional Assessment

Is the behavior severe, complex, intensive?

Is the behavior maintained by escape from social interaction?

Is the behavior related to lack of academic skills?

  • Escape Motivated BEP
  • Reduce adult interaction
  • Use escape as a reinforcer
  • BEP + Academic Support
  • Increase Academic support


Individualized Behavior Support

(e.g., Full FBA-BSP

is my school ready to implement a bep system see bep self assessment questionnaire
Is My School Ready to Implement a BEP System? (see BEP Self Assessment Questionnaire)
  • School-wide system of behavior support in place
  • Staff buy-in for implementation of the BEP
  • Administrative support
    • Time & money allocated
  • No major changes in school climate
    • e.g. teacher strikes, administrative turnover, major changes in funding
  • BEP implementation a top priority
how do you build student and staff buy in for the bep
How Do You Build Student and Staff “buy-in” for the BEP?
  • Give BEP program a high profile in your school
  • Promote BEP as positive support not punishment
  • Collaboratively involve referring teachers in BEP process
  • Provide regular feedback to staff, students, and families
training teachers on bep system
Training Teachers on BEP System

In-service on the “spirit” of program

  • supportive, not punitive
  • immediate feedback on behavior (type of statements, what the ratings mean, examples of feedback)
  • follow-up forum to express concerns
  • individual coaching
  • boosters needed at least yearly
training students on bep system
Training Students on BEP System
  • Meet with parents and students
  • Modeling and Practice
  • Accepting Feedback
  • Decision-Making
    • Goal
personnel bep coordinator
Personnel: BEP Coordinator
  • Take care of BEP requests for assistance
  • Lead morning check-in/ afternoon check-out
  • Enter BEP data on spreadsheet – daily
  • Organize and maintain records
  • Create graphs for BEP meetings
  • Gather supplemental information for BEP meetings
  • Prioritize BEP students for team meetings
characteristics of an effective bep coordinator
Characteristics of an effective BEP coordinator
  • Flexibility within job responsibility (e.g., educational assistant, counselor, behavior health aide)
  • Positive and enthusiastic
  • Someone the students enjoy and trust
  • Organized and dependable
  • Works at school every day
personnel bep team
Personnel: BEP Team
  • Attend weekly or bi-weekly meetings
  • Contribute to decision making for BEP students
  • Help conduct “Orientation to BEP” meetings
  • Gather supplemental information
  • Contribute to student/staff development workshops
  • Contribute to feedback sessions
  • Complete any assigned tasks from BEP meeting
evaluating bep progress sample agenda form
Evaluating BEP Progress: Sample Agenda Form

BEP Team Meeting Agenda

Date:____________ Note taker:___________

Team Members Present:___________________________

List of Priority Students:

1) Discuss Priority Students

2) Discuss New Referrals

3) Identify Students to Receive Additional Reinforcer by Principal

4) Other BEP Issues or Students

resources time and money
Resources: Time and Money
  • 8-10 hours per week for BEP coordinator
  • BEP forms on NCR paper
  • School supplies for BEP participants
  • Reinforcements for BEP participants
research articles
Research Articles

Hawken, L. S. & Horner R. H., (2003) Implementing a Targeted Group Intervention Within a School-Wide System of Behavior Support. Journal of Behavioral Education

March, R. E. & Horner, R. H. (2002) Feasibility and contributions of functional behavioral assessment in schools. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders,10,158-70.