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How Did They Do That?. Improving Student Achievement Outcomes with Participatory Leadership, Shared Decision Making, and PBIS. Bonnie Brown, Dustin Dykes, Sean Cooper Houston County Schools. Welcome to Thomson Middle School. Student Enrollment Demographics. Celebrate Good Times (Come On).

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how did they do that

How Did They Do That?

Improving Student Achievement Outcomes with Participatory Leadership, Shared Decision Making, and PBIS

Bonnie Brown, Dustin Dykes, Sean Cooper

Houston County Schools

celebrate good times come on
Celebrate Good Times (Come On)

In 2013:

  • 100% of Thomson’s Special Education 6th Grade students passed the CRCT in reading.
  • 100% Thomson’s Special Education 7thGrade students passed CRCT in reading and language arts.
  • 92% passed 6th grade ELA (28% increase)
  • 94% passed 7th grade math (42% increase)
  • Also our GAA students passed 99.99999% of all tested areas.
halloween check point
Halloween Check Point
  • 2012- Year 1 Implementation 226 Referrals
  • 2013- Year 2 Implementation 163 Referrals

63 less…Yay TMS…whoop whoop

mental models and mindsets
Mental Models and Mindsets
  • Mental Models are “deeply ingrained assumptions, generalizations, or even pictures or images that influence how we understand the world and how we take action” (Senge, 1990, p. 24)
  • Mental models can assist educational organizations in producing positive, effective, sustainable change outcomes
  • A dysfunctional organizational mental model produces negative outcomes (Duffy, 2008, p.7)
meeting student needs
Meeting Student Needs
  • Educational leaders are responsible for fostering a school culture that “embraces high academic standards and expectations for all students” (Boyer & Lee as cited in DiPaola, Tschannen-Moran, & Walther-Thomas, 2004, p. 3)
  • When educational organizations fail to meet achievement outcomes for students with disabilities they often blame setting events that include lack of student motivation and poor parenting (Leech & Fulton, 2008, p. 631)
  • “Defeatist attitude carries the seeds of its own fulfillment” (Bossidy as cited in Tichy & Cohen, 1998, p. 28) which enables educators and strongly impacts individual teacher ownership of student achievement.
meeting student needs cont
Meeting Student Needs (Cont.)
  • Positive achievement outcomes for students with disabilities strongly correlate with educational leaders who support special education teacher partnerships, provide appropriate support tools and provide ongoing professional development (Benz, Lindstrom, & Yovanoff; Brownell, Ross, Colon, & McCallum; Kearns, Kleinert, Clayton, Burge, & Williams; Klinger, Arguelles, Hughes, & Vaughn as cited in DiPaola et al., 2004, p. 3).
kanter the change wheel
Kanter - The Change Wheel
  • “A culture for change needs to be programmed into an organization’s (or a wider system’s) method of operating. Without fundamental systematic change, organizations will always revert to their basic pattern, like the default position on a computer program” (p. 1)
  • A single intervention interjected into a dysfunctional organization will not produce positive change outcomes, however combined interventions contribute to systematic change (p. 1)
target areas
Target Areas:
  • Interrelated Special Education Teachers
    • New Leadership
    • Attitude
    • Initiative
    • Accountability
change strategies
Change Strategies
  • Tier 3 / 4 Reading and Math Intervention Team
    • Program Specialist / API / Interrelated Teachers
    • CRCT and GRASP Data
  • Shared Decision Making (Departmental)
    • Effective Meeting Module
    • Consensus
  • Research Based Interventions
    • Corrective Reading and PLATO Learning
    • PBIS
  • Professional Development
  • Follow-Up
what is pbis and where did it come from
What is PBIS and where did it come from?
  • PBIS gained significant attention when amendments to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) became law on June 4, 1997 (Sugai, Sprague, Horner, & Walker, 2000).
  • The Individuals With Disabilities Education Act mandate to use PBIS strategies led to the evolution of PBIS into a school-wide approach (SWPBIS), used extensively across the country (Sugai et al., 2000). Over the past decade, school districts have begun to use this school-wide approach to address common challenging behaviors of students in their schools. (Landers, Courtade, & Ryndak , 2012
i ve got to fix this
I’ve got to fix this!
  • Discipline Committee
  • Clear expectations for all (Discipline Chart, Power point for students, Locker Test)
  • Create a System for teachers (New form, team leaders)
  • Professional Learning (Building relationships, facing the brutal facts, handle your own business)
the pyramid
The Pyramid





The Pyramid at TMS

13.3% (108)

3.9% (32)

9.7% (79)

73% (593)

i know you ve seen it before but
I know you’ve seen it before but…
  • “If a child doesn’t know how to read, we teach.
  • “If a child doesn’t know how to swim, we teach.”
  • “If a child doesn’t know how to multiply, we teach.”
  • “If a child doesn’t know how to drive, we teach.”
  • “If a child doesn’t know how to behave, we…………teach? ………..punish?”
  • “Why can’t we finish the last sentence as automatically as we do the others?”

Tom Herner (2002) National Association of State Directors of Special Education

methods of intervention
Methods of Intervention
  • Universal-all students in the building are taught expectations for common areas (lunchroom, restroom, hallways, etc.). When expectations are met, students are rewarded with “blue cards.” When expectations are not met, the expectations are re-taught and an “orange card” may be issued.
  • Tier 2, Tier 3, and SWD with behavior goals use a check in check out sheet.
  • Token Economy- not only rewards positive behavior but provides real world money management
your turn
Your Turn!
  • Take two minutes and discuss with someone close to you who is not at your school one way that you or a co-worker effectively teaches, recognizes, or reinforces positive behavior.
  • Now take one more minute to share with someone else that is close to you how your school recognizes your staff to reinforce positive behavior.
you are the experts
You are the experts!
  • If your school has not bought in to the SWPBIS system yet, you can be the trailblazers!
  • Approach your administrators from this angle
    • It takes 20 minutes to deal with the average office referral
    • We had a reduction of 581 referrals
    • That saves your administrators 193.6 hours or 24 school days!
  • Bennis, W. (1989). On Becoming a Leader. [iBooks version] Retrieved from
  • DiPaola, M., Tschannen-Moran, M., & Walther-Thomas, C. (2004). School Principals and Special Education: Creating the Context for Academic Success. Focus on Exceptional Children, 37(1), 1-10.
  • Duffy, F. M. (2009). Paradigms, Mental Models, and Mindsets: Triple Barriers to Transformational Change in School Systems: Part 1. Retrieved from the Connexions Web site:
  • Good, J. W., & Reynolds, C. (2012). Effective Meetings Module. (p. pp. 1-14).
  • Duffy, F. M. (2009). Paradigms, Mental Models, and Mindsets: Triple Barriers to Transformational Change in School Systems: Part 1. Retrieved from the Connexions Web site:
  • Good, J. W., & Reynolds, C. (2012). Effective Meetings Module. (p. pp. 1-14).
  • Kouzes, J. M., & Posner, B. Z. (2007). The Leadership Challenge (4th ed.). [iBooks version] Retrieved from
  • Leech, D., & Fulton, C. R. (2008). Faculty Perceptions of Shared Decision Making and the Principal’s Leadership Behaviors in Secondary Schools in a Large Urban District. Education, 28, 630-644.
  • Senge, P. (1990). The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization. [iBooks version]. Retrieved from
  • Tichy, N. M., & Cohen, E. (1998, July). The Learning (Teaching) Organization. Training & Development, 52(7), 26-33.