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Positive Behavior Intervention and Support

The primary goals of the NC SIP II Positive Behavior Intervention and Support Network are:

  • To use a screening procedure to identify emergent risk factors in children,
  • To provide in-service training to promote understanding of characteristics of specific mental disorders and their behavioral manifestations,
  • To use a school-wide proactive approach by teaching social/interpersonal skills and social responsibility to children at risk for special behavioral/emotional problems, and
  • To establish a plan that emphasizes inter-agency and parental participation in educational/behavioral planning for students with special behavioral/emotional needs.

Beginning in 1997, the State Board of Education implemented a statewide accountability system that sets annual performance standards for each school in the state to measure the growth in performance by students. Students in North Carolina have made significant academic gains as reported by the ABC Accountability Program since that time. Rigorous and relevant academic standards and assessment systems have been developed. The No Child Left Behind federal legislation has created a new way to look at academic progress. Schools have begun to use research-based practices to teach students reading, writing and mathematics. In addition NCLB is requiring that states identify "Persistently Dangerous Schools." Positive Behavior Intervention and Support Programs are a way to impact the learning environments in the schools in order to support high student performance and to reduce behavioral problems.

Positive Behavior Intervention and Support Programs provide a whole school process for teaching socially appropriate behaviors in order to optimize academic achievement for each student. Whole School Positive Behavior Intervention and Support is a systematic approach that establishes and reinforces clear behavioral expectations. It is a team-based system involving the entire school staff and must have the ownership of teachers, administrators, families, and students. The school staff must adopt a common approach to discipline that is proactive, instructional, and outcome-based. The data about the school is used to guide decision making. The school team looks at the entire school campus and the whole school day.

PBIS is a systems approach or process, not a specific curriculum. The goal is to help educate all students, even students with challenging behaviors. Because of the emphasis on continuous, data-based improvement, PBIS has to be individualized to each school. The adoption and sustained use of effective practices is emphasized throughout. PBS is also an instructional approach that focuses on systematically teaching social behavior using effective instructional methodology. There is an emphasis on teaching and encouraging prosocial behavior, as well as systematically teaching and implementing behavioral interventions for the most difficult students. Positive Behavior Intervention and Support Programs can be integrated with Safe School Plans and Character Education. According to GS. 115C-105.47 each local board of education has to develop a safe school plan designed to ensure that each school is safe, secure, and orderly, has a climate of respect and appropriate personal conduct for all students and all public school personnel. Parents and representatives of the community are to be included in the development of the plan. Similarly according to GS. 115C-81, each local board of education has to develop and implement character education instruction with input from the local community. This instruction is supposed to be incorporated into the standard course of study and include specific traits named in the legislation. Many of the requirements of both safe school plans and character education instruction can be incorporated into the PBIS approach at each school.

Using Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports

There are currently major "barriers” identified in the literature that expose children to serious risk factors in their formative years which cause them to develop anti-social and aggressive behavioral characteristics. These major barriers, which we have also identified as widespread in North Carolina schools, are: failure to recognize and address emergent risk factors dependence on punitive and exclusionary tactics as a primary solution strategy failure to directly teach socialization/interpersonal skills and social responsibility competencies as part of the core curriculum to children, and ineffective home/school/inter-agency coordination and implementation of multi-component intensive “wraparound” interventions to the students with severe behavioral/emotional needs. Addressing these barriers through primary, secondary and tertiary intervention approaches is the essential focus NC SIP II.

Primary intervention approaches are universal and preventive in nature and include proactive efforts directed toward reducing the likelihood of problems emerging. School-wide discipline programs that combine clear expectations, close monitoring/supervision, and standardized consequences for rule violations, as well as social skills, anger management, and conflict resolution, are examples of such approaches that achieve prevention goals.

Secondary interventions require individually-tailored programs applied with specific students. Mentoring programs and individual behavior management programs are examples of secondary interventions.

Tertiary intervention strategies involve intensive intervention approaches applied to children and youth with the most severe behavioral/emotional needs. These are often referred to in the literature as “wraparound “ approaches. Such interventions commonly require a case manager who coordinates, supports, and services across families, schools, mental health, juvenile justice, and various social service agencies.

Granville County Public Schools currently has 25% of their schools involved in training or implementing Positive Behavior Intervention and Support. For additional information contact Anikko Gorham, EC Director at (919) 693-1103.

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