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Achievement in Dropout Prevention and Excellence I and II (APEX II): A Comprehensive Approach to Dropout Prevention and Recovery May 2008 JoAnne M. Malloy, MSW Institute on Disability, UNH. PBIS-NH and APEX. Summer 2002

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Achievement in Dropout Prevention and Excellence I and II (APEX II): A Comprehensive Approach to Dropout Prevention and Recovery

May 2008

JoAnne M. Malloy, MSW

Institute on Disability, UNH

Pbis nh and apex
PBIS-NH and APEX (APEX II): A Comprehensive Approach to Dropout Prevention and Recovery

  • Summer 2002

    • New Hampshire Department of Education awards contract to create the New Hampshire Center for Effective Behavioral Interventions and Supports (NH CEBIS) with the express purpose of implementing positive behavioral support in K-12 schools

    • NH DOE and UNH Institute on Disability is awarded APEX dropout prevention grant (funded by the US Department of Education, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education) to address dropout prevention in 2 NH High Schools

Apex ii
APEX II (APEX II): A Comprehensive Approach to Dropout Prevention and Recovery

  • Summer 2005- New Hampshire APEX II partners submit a second grant to OESE at the US Department of Education- awarded October 2005

  • APEX II includes work with 10 of NH’s “lowest performing” high schools

Apex model assumptions
APEX- Model Assumptions (APEX II): A Comprehensive Approach to Dropout Prevention and Recovery

  • School organization and systems are related to dropout rates (school-wide issues)(Gottfredson, Gottfredson & Hybl, 1993; Bryk & Thum, 1989; Lee & Burkham, 2001; Nelson, 1996; Rumberger, 2001; Rutter, 1979)

  • Behavioral problems in school are associated with a likelihood of dropping out – indicator of risk

  • Students with significant emotional or behavioral challenges require individualized, community-based transition services in order to successfully completehigh school(Wagner & Davis, 2006)

Youth with ebd
Youth with EBD…. (APEX II): A Comprehensive Approach to Dropout Prevention and Recovery

  • Disengaged from school/family/community

  • Most likely disability group to be in a segregated academic setting

  • Highest rates of disciplinary infractions

  • Perceived by teachers as having significantly lower levels of social competence and school adjustment

    (Lane, Carter, Pierson, & Glaeser, 2006)

Key student engagement has emerged as the bottom line in preventing dropout
Key: Student engagement has emerged as the bottom line in preventing dropout

  • Dropping out is a process of disengagement

  • Keys to engaging students early on

    • Enter school ready to learn/early intervention

  • Contextual keys to engaging students

    • Providing effective instruction – evidence based, best practice

    • Creating cultural match/relevance – extend to include strategies that are appropriate to student background and culture

      (Alexander, Entwisle & Kabbani, 2001; Christenson, Sinclair, Lehr & Hurley, 2000; Cotton & Conklin, 2001; Cleary & Peacock, 1998; Finn, 1993; Payne, 2005)

Apex ii model
APEX II Model preventing dropout

  • To address school-based systems/climate issues:

    • Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) (Bohanon, et. al., 2004; Sugai & Horner, 1999)

    • Student Leadership Development

  • To address issues for students most at-risk:

    • Rehabilitation for Empowerment, Natural supports, Education and Work (RENEW) (Eber, Nelson & Miles, 1997; Cheney, Malloy & Hagner, 1998; Bullis & Cheney, 1999)

    • 8th to 9th grade transition system and practices

Apex ii goals
APEX II GOALS* preventing dropout

  • Work toward implementing Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS),

  • Provide leadership in the school-wide systems change process and support the dedication of staff time to participate in project activities,

  • Collaborate with project staff to develop a systematic transition from the 8th to 9th grade for at-risk students,

  • Collaborate with project staff to develop individualized school-to-career services for the most at-risk students using the RENEW model, and,

  • Develop and implement a high school student leadership initiative to focus on school climate issues.

    *From 2005 MOU between districts and NH DOE

Apex ii model outcomes
APEX II Model Outcomes preventing dropout

  • Decrease dropout rates in participating schools by 50% during project period

  • Decrease rate of negative behavioral incidents in schools.

  • Increase numbers of at risk students or dropouts who graduate

  • Increase state test scores (10th grade) by improving the 8th to 9th grade transition for at risk students.

Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports Defined preventing dropout

Muscott & Mann (2006)

PBIS is a comprehensive 3-tiered evidence-based systems approach to schoolwide discipline that can efficiently and effectively improve social, behavioral, and academic outcomes through the use positive, preventative, and function-based behavior support practices within the context of collaborative teaming and data-based decision-making.

APEX PBIS MODEL preventing dropout

Tertiary Prevention:

RENEW Intervention


Secondary Prevention:

Specialized Group

Systems for Students with At-Risk Behavior


Primary Prevention:


Wide Systems for

All Students,

Staff, & Settings


~80% of Students

Renew the red zone component of the apex ii project
RENEW: The “Red Zone” Component of the APEX II Project preventing dropout

  • For the most “at risk” students (60 per high school):

  • Model components:

    • Person-centered planning

    • Individualized academic programming (creative solutions and “Real World Learning” opportunities).

    • Naturally supported employment

    • Interagency collaboration and braided funding

    • School to Career transition articulation, including post-secondary education

    • Mentoring

We know that preventing dropout…

to improve the academic success of our children, we must also improve their social success.

Academic and social failures are reciprocally and inextricably related.

PBIS Support Systems preventing dropout





Staff Behavior





Student Behavior

Prevention Described preventing dropout

  • Problembehavior becomes ineffective and inefficient.

  • Occurrences and non-occurrences of problem behavior are identified.

  • Factors that maintain problem behaviors are identified.

  • New skills development are taught

Punishment preventing dropout

  • Punishment stops a behavior

  • But… punishment alone has some major side effects

    • Increases escape/avoidance

    • Encourages “sneaky” behaviors

    • Generates desire for revenge

    • Makes behavior harder to change

    • Does not teach

    • You can’t find a big enough hammer

    • It works both ways

    • It makes us filter (e.g., He’s always mean to me!)

Reinforcement preventing dropout

  • Addition of preferred event; or

  • Removal of a negative event

  • Follows a behavior

  • Increases or maintains the behavior

  • Sometimes we think we are punishing, but we are rewarding

Pbis a 3 tier approach
PBIS: A 3-Tier Approach preventing dropout

  • Level 1, primary prevention, is designed to address the whole population

  • While applied to the entire student body, the emphasis here is on reaching the approximately 80-90% of students who do not have serious behavior problems or mental health needs

  • The purpose of universal strategies is to maximize achievement, deter problem behavior, and increase positive peer and adult interactions

A 3 tier approach
A 3-Tier Approach preventing dropout

  • Level 2, secondary prevention, is aimed at the roughly 5-10% of students considered at risk for developing behavioral disorders or mental illness

  • These students enter school with significant risk factors and are usually unresponsive to universal prevention strategies alone.

A 3 tier approach1
A 3-Tier Approach preventing dropout

  • Level 3, tertiaryprevention, targets the 1-5% who display symptoms or behaviors related to EBD or mental illness (RENEW at the high school level)

  • The goal of tertiary interventions is to reduce the frequency, intensity and complexity of students’ maladaptive behavior patterns and provide them with suitable, efficient and effective replacement behaviors that will compete with their more maladaptive ones.

  • Tertiary interventions are implemented for students with significant needs and are adapted to meet individual needs.

Data sources
Data Sources preventing dropout

Problem Behavior Incident Reports

Office Discipline Referrals

In and Out of School Suspensions

Surveys on Bullying, Harassment, School Safety Tardies, Absenteeism, Staff Surveys, Climate Surveys, etc.

Schoolwide Expectations preventing dropout

  • Identify expectations of the setting

  • Develop team/plan/support

  • Directly teach expectations

  • Consistent Consequences, Acknowledge/Reinforce (Tall, Vente’, Grande)

  • Collect Data

  • Communicate with staff

  • On-going evaluation

BERLIN HIGH SCHOOL preventing dropout


Be Responsible

Have Respect

Strive for Success

In the


  • Come prepared.

  • Be on-time—both feet must be through the classroom door by the time the bell stops ringing.

  • Pick up after yourself.

  • Respond to reasonable requests.

  • Complete your ‘own’ assignments and tasks as required.

  • Be silent during announcements.

  • Dress appropriately (see Dress Code).

  • Allow others’ expressions and ideas.

  • Use appropriate language and voice.

  • Honor others’ property.

  • Honor others’ property.

  • Engage in learning.

  • Maintain a positive outlook towards school.

  • Model positive behavior and acknowledge it in others.

In the


  • Walk to the right.

  • Use time for intended purpose only.

  • Keep the hall and floors clean.

  • Honor others’ personal space.

  • Apologize if you bump into someone.

  • Use appropriate language and voice.

  • Display affection appropriately.

  • Model positive behavior and acknowledge it in others.

  • Help others in need.

In the


  • Be on-time.

  • Practice polite table manners.

  • Leave the floor and table clean for the next group using the facility.

  • Consume only your own food and drink.

  • Wait your turn in line.

  • Keep your hands, feet and food to yourself.

  • Use “please” and “thank you”.

  • Use appropriate language and voice.

  • Eat lunch with someone who is eating alone.

  • Model positive behavior and acknowledge it in others.

  • Compliment the kitchen staff.




  • Participate appropriately.

  • Come and go in an orderly fashion.

  • Pick up after yourself.

  • Sit with your class during school assemblies.

  • Help create an environment where everyone can enjoy the activity.

  • Treat visitors kindly.

  • Use appropriate language and voice.

  • Encourage others to enjoy the presentation or event.

  • Model positive behavior and acknowledge it in others.

revised: 9/27/07

Effective environments
Effective Environments preventing dropout

  • Problem behaviors are irrelevant

    • Aversive events are removed

    • Access to positive events are more common

  • Problem behaviors are inefficient

    • Appropriate behavioral alternatives available

    • Appropriate behavioral alternatives are taught

  • Problem behaviors are ineffective

    • Problem behaviors are not rewarded

      (Horner & Sugai, 2004)

Case study franklin high school franklin nh
Case Study: Franklin High School preventing dropoutFranklin, NH

  • Low SES community – high poverty rate 22% Free and Reduced Lunch

  • Lowest paid teachers in NH

  • Enrollments

    • 2003-04 = 474; 2004-05 = 420

    • 96% Caucasian

  • Began implementing PBIS and APEX in 2003-2004

Franklin high school 2003 04 franklin nh 474
Franklin High School 2003-04 preventing dropoutFranklin, NH (474)

  • There were 4,738 office discipline referrals for major problem behavior or 10 per student on average

  • On average, there were 26 ODRs each day

  • 18% of the students received between 2 and 5 ODRs in a year

  • 40% received 5 or more

  • Top problem behaviors were

    • Skipping class,

    • Disrespect/defiance,

    • Disruption, and

    • Inappropriate language

Franklin high school apex and pbis
Franklin High School: preventing dropoutAPEX and PBIS





Early Implementation preventing dropout

Franklin s response hs advisory program for 9 th graders
Franklin’s Response: preventing dropoutHS Advisory Program for 9th graders

  • Identified group that exhibited a behavior: skipping classes/school and late to classes.

  • Researched possible causes for behavior (lack of supervision, inconsistent requirements, etc.)

  • Reached out, researched various solutions, investigated mentoring programs in other schools

  • Required: Volunteer teachers to mentor

  • Schedule changes to allow for mentoring block

  • Training and support for mentors

  • Assessing results through School-wide Information Systems (SWIS) data

Franklin high school s results a 56 reduction in odrs
Franklin High School’s Results: preventing dropoutA 56% Reduction in ODRs

•The top problem behaviors this school year are: skipping, disrespect/defiance, disruption, and inappropriate language.•Tardies are not usually reported in SWIS so they are not included on this report•There has been a significant decrease in all of these areas from last school year to now.

•This graph looks at the average referrals per day per month per 100 students so that school years can be compared (because enrollment varies year to year)•The average number of referrals per month has decreased 50% this school year (2004-2005) compared to last year (2003-2004).

COMPARING YEAR ONE AND YEAR TWO month per 100 students so that school years can be compared (because enrollment varies year to year)•Green Zone has gone from 42% to 60% (Target 80%)•Yellow Zone has gone from 18% to 13% (Target 15%)•Red Zone has gone from 40% to 27% (Target 5%)

Franklin hs benefits of apex and pbis
Franklin HS: Benefits of APEX and PBIS

56% Reduction in ODRS

Franklin hs improvements
Franklin HS Improvements PBIS

  • An improved climate for learning and teaching

  • More students conforming to expectations

  • Reductions in problem behavior, ODRs and suspensions

  • Increased instructional time that, if used effectively, should result in increased academic achievement

  • Reduced need for crisis or resource-intensive responses

  • Faculty, administration & families on same page

Lessons learned
Lessons Learned PBIS

  • School-to-career services, even for the students with the biggest challenges, are a form of “mental health in schools”

  • Students with the greatest challenges can live, learn and work in their home communities.

  • Person-centered planning is critical

  • Linking youth with community resources

Contact information

Dr. Robert Wells, PBIS

Consultant, NH Department of Education and

Director, APEX II

[email protected]

Kathleen Abate, Program Director

Alliance for Community Supports

[email protected]

JoAnne M. Malloy, MSW

Project Director

Institute on Disability, UCED

University of New Hampshire

[email protected]

UNH Institute on Disability

Contact Information