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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 The key. BEHAVIOR is functionally related to the TEACHING ENVIRONMENT.

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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

the key

The key

BEHAVIOR is functionally related to the TEACHING ENVIRONMENT

school wide to individual positive behavior support plans
School-wide to Individual Positive Behavior Support Plans
  • Describe what behaviors are expected of the student and how they will be taught and supported
  • Describe the changes in the environment that are designed to alter a student’s behavior
    • Describe what adults will do differently in an effort to alter what the child does
    • Describe what academic, schedule, etc., changes will be made to support new behavior
small group targeted pre requisites
Small Group/TargetedPre-Requisites
  • Universals must be well established and in-place
  • Focus on small group/targeted practices that are preferred or promising (empirically validated)
  • Focus on basic features of strategies first (general case)
  • Keys
    • Match intervention to student need
    • Staff implementing interventions have skills and support
    • ALL staff aware of interventions and their part in promoting generalization - they understand “the key”
  • Focus on the systems to support throughout
why invest in universal systems of support first
Why Invest in Universal Systems of Support First?
  • 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 across all learning environments




Systems for Students with High-Risk Behavior







Small Group:

Specialized Group

Systems for Students with At-Risk Behavior




Wide Systems for

All Students,

Staff, & Settings

~80% of Students

small group targeted interventions
Small Group / Targeted Interventions
  • When universals not sufficient to impact behavior
  • When students display chronic patterns
  • When concerns arise regarding students’ academic or social behavior
small group targeted interventions9
Small Group / Targeted Interventions


  • Not fixed group
  • Student’s needs vary across continuum over time and within academic/social area
  • Start with least intrusive practice but matched to student need

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


Social Competence &

Academic Achievement









Staff Behavior





Student Behavior

essential features

Essential Features

Emphasis is on continuum and interrelated components of data, practices, systems

targeted interventions building blocks
Targeted Interventions: Building Blocks
  • Teach/build pro-social replacement behaviors
  • Build maintenance and generalization strategies to promote use by linking to Universal systems and supporting adults across all school environments
small group targeted interventions14
Small Group / Targeted Interventions
  • Data
    • Systematic way to identify at-risk students (e.g., office referrals, teacher nomination, rating scales)
    • Measure progress and fade support slowly
  • Practices
    • Within class first option
    • Pull out programs must have generalization strategies
    • Link small group with school-wide rules and social skills
    • Target both Academic & Social strategies
  • Systems
    • Training for ALL staff on procedures
    • Options for students to get support across the school year
screening identification
Screening & Identification
  • Office discipline referral data-decision rules
    • 3 ODR for same offense = Student Assistance Team
  • Review of attendance, grades, achievement, other archival data
  • Parent referral
  • Screening tools (e.g., Systematic Screening for Behavioral Disorders)
  • Teacher referral
    • Simple form
    • Quick response
assessment match to practice
Assessment - Match to Practice
  • Social-Behavioral Concerns
    • Social skills
    • Self-management
  • Academic Concerns
    • Peer Tutors
    • Check in
    • Homework club
  • Emotional Concerns
    • Adult mentors
small group targeted interventions17
Small Group / Targeted Interventions
  • Social Skills
  • Self-Management, Check-in / Check-out
  • Mentors
  • Peer tutoring / Peer Networks
  • 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 min 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
    • AM / PM
  • Teach strategies to enter work /objectives to accomplish
    • Agendas
  • 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
  • Homework
    • If data indicate it doesn’t come back, give up the battle and build support within the school day
  • Remediation
    • Direct instruction in addition to the current curriculum
  • Accommodation
    • 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
  • Teaching
  • Coaching and feedback
  • Scripts for adults to follow
  • Data Collection
  • Follow-up support meetings
  • Follow up data evaluation
starting points
Starting Points
  • Inventory of existing practices
  • Create more efficient systems to capitalize on current practices
  • Plan for creation of new practices based on student need
  • Apply basic logic of SW-PBS throughout (Data, Practices, Systems)
practices what we do for students
Practices(what we do for students)
  • Clear Outcomes/Objectives
  • Research supported
  • Technical assistance input
  • Stake holder input
systems how we support adults
Systems(how we support adults)
  • Evaluate Current systems
    • New system
    • Modify system
  • Allocate/reallocate resources
  • Develop process/model and forms (adult & student)
  • Training / information dissemination
  • On-going support (adult & students)
  • Develop formative evaluation process (student outcomes, adult use, success and barriers)
  • Provide frequent positive & instructional feedback to staff
data how we make decisions
Data(how we make decisions)
  • Student outcomes
  • Adult perceptions
  • System analyses / Cost-benefit
policy how to maintain change
Policy(how to maintain change)
  • Operationalize processes
  • Codify within existing policy
  • Dissemination to multiple audiences
small group catalog
Small Group Catalog

Small Group Strategy:

  • Purpose / Outcome?
  • Who implements?
  • How are students identified to access support?
  • Connect points to classroom and other settings / follow-along activities?
  • Strategies to share with home and community agencies?
  • Follow-up support for students after support ends?
  • Evaluation:
      • Student outcome
      • Staff perception
  • Effectiveness?
planning worksheet
Planning Worksheet

1. Purpose / Outcome

  • Operationally define targets and goals of intervention

2. Student Identification (Data Decision Rule)

  • Existing data (ODR)
  • Staff referral
  • Parent referral

3. Parent notification

  • Written notice
  • Phone call
  • Dist policy
planning worksheet32
Planning Worksheet

4. Who implements

  • Training for Implementers
  • Technical Assistance for Implementers
  • Implementation Checks (include timeline)

5. When / where implement (include start/end dates)

6. Connect points to classroom and other settings / follow-along activities

  • Training for staff on implementation of follow-along activities
  • Tip Sheets for follow-along activities
  • Technical assistance / follow-up for staff
  • Follow-along implementation checks
planning worksheet33
Planning Worksheet

7. Strategies to share plan and progress with home and community agencies

8. Follow-up support for student(s) after support ends

  • Information sharing with new staff
  • Student participation in support activities

9. Evaluation (include timeline)

  • Student Outcomes & data source
  • Staff perception & data source
  • Parent perception & data source
  • Assess generalization across settings
  • Assess maintenance of treatment outcomes

10. Cost/benefit analysis

social skills club student selection
Social Skills Club Student Selection
  • Designed to meet the needs of repeat offenders
  • Criteria for selection: 8 or more referrals across previous school year

Focus =

social skills club
Social Skills Club
  • Parent letters to extend “invitation”
    • Voluntary participation
    • Presented as prevention/support
    • Encouraged parent participation

Focus =

social skills club instructors
Social Skills ClubInstructors
  • Special Educator with fluency in social skill instruction
  • General Educator
  • Access to technical assistance and resources

Focus =

social skills club group management
Social Skills ClubGroup Management
  • Two adults!
  • Club expectations linked to school-wide expectations
  • Rules and expectations for group participation in role play
  • Planned fun
  • Reinforcement system linked to school-wide system

Focus =

social skills club curriculum delivery of instruction
Social Skills ClubCurriculum & Delivery of Instruction
  • Collected and prepared materials from a variety of sources.
  • One hour per week after school for the academic school year
  • Attention to pre-requisite skills for participating in lessons.
  • Structured format: Advanced Organizer, Teach, Model, Role play, Review, Test & Homework

Focus =

social skills club generalization
Social Skills ClubGeneralization
  • Posters of each lesson given to classroom teachers to display in class and use as visual prompt.
  • “Club” participants present weekly social skill lesson to from club to their class.
  • Staff instructed on how to prompt and reinforce

Focus =

final thoughts
Final Thoughts
  • Fluency on underlying process (data, practices, systems)
  • Fidelity checks with support