Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Topic: 15 PBS PLAN

PBS refers to positive behavior supports. SWPBS is a school wide positive behavior support program that an entire school takes part in. Evaluation of these programs is essential to maintaining its effectiveness. The National PBIS (Positive Behavior Interventions & Supports) website provides all the information necessary to evaluate a SWPBS plan. The first section is comprised of school wide evaluation tools. This also includes case studies and examples. The second section focuses on tiers 2 and 3. This section includes checklists and functional behavior assessments. The third section contains SIMEO tools. SIMEO represents Systematic Information Management for Educational Outcomes. This provides resources to schools, families, and students.


Evaluating Positive SPIN News
Special Connections “An Introduction to Positive Behavior Support Planning”
“A Preliminary Study on the Effects of Training using Behavior Support Plan Quality Evaluation Guide (BSP-QE) to Improve Positive Behavioral Support Plans” by Diana Browning Wright
“Behavior Support Plan Quality Evaluation Scoring Guide II” by Diana Browning Wright

Topic 14: Cultural Competence


Culture is a pattern of knowledge, belief and behavior that is passed down through within families. Culture is not just based on a person’s ethnicity, but is a compilation of things such as religion, ethnicity, language, and other things. A person’s culture can be outwardly displayed in a variety of ways. Some of the ways that we are most likely to see cultural differences in school are personal space, family, non-verbal cues, topics of conversation, and how problem behavior is perceived.

Cultural competence is defined as the integration of knowledge about people into specific standards, beliefs, practices, and policies, and attitudes (Mark King, Anthony Sims, David Osher There are many different levels of cultural competence:

1. Cultural Destructiveness-- When attitudes, policies, and practices are destructive to cultures and to individuals within these cultures. Assumption that one’s culture is superior and individuals seek to eradicate other cultures because of their perceived sub-human condition.

2. Cultural Incapacity-- When agencies do not intentionally seek to be culturally destructive, but rather have no capacity to help people from other cultures. Belief in the superiority of the dominant group is present

3. Cultural Blindness-- Well intended philosophy that “Americans do not have their own culture” however, this belief can often camouflage the reality of ethnocentrism. This system suffers from a deficit of information

4. Cultural Pre-competence implies movement towards reaching out to other cultures. The pre-competent agency realizes its weaknesses in working with people of other cultures and attempts to improve that relationship with a specific population.

5. Cultural Competence-- Acceptance of and respect for differences, continuing self assessment regarding culture, careful attention to the dynamics of differences, and continuous expansion of cultural knowledge and resources.

6. Cultural Proficiency-- Characterized by holding culture in high esteem. These agencies actively seek to hire a diverse workforce.

It is important that schools and individual staff members self-assess where they are on the cultural competency scale. If a school or individual is able to see where their strengths and weaknesses are, they will be able to improve their cultural competence. Children are most likely to be successful in school if their parents and other family members are involved in their education and school life.

A culturally competent educator is respectful of the cultural values of their students. They are also aware of how their own culture and beliefs can affect how they plan and teacher their students. A teacher needs to be able to teach from a “multicultural” perspective and have a general knowledge of all their students cultures. It is typical for students from a culturally diverse family to have struggles in school, due primarily to a lack of understanding of their culture and the way they are taught at school.

There are several things that a teacher can use to become a culturally competent educator. This list is gathered from :

1. Participate in diversity training opportunities

2. Use materials from a variety of cultures in lessons

3. Provide students with the opportunity to see the similarities and differences among cultures

4. Learn as much as possible about your students culture

5. Attempt to communicate with families in their native language, or on a method that is typical for their culture

6. Don’t stereotype your students

7. Revise teaching materials that students have access to in order to remove bias

8. Use visual aids when necessary and appropriate

9. Be aware that limited English proficiency doesn’t mean that a student isn’t intelligent

Topic 17 : Bullying Prevention

Topic 17: Bully Prevention

Bullying – exposing another person to either verbal or physical harm, or threatening to harm another person with the purpose of controlling the other person’s thoughts and/or actions (Throckmorton, 2005)

School bullying is when a student or group of students behave in a way that is intended to harm their victim. Three conditions allow bullying to take place: a person who has the will to hurt others, a potential victim, and opportunity (Wright 2003). It is hard to get a true measure of how many students are bullied because bullying is not always reported by the victims due to fear of retaliation.

There are two different types of bullying: direct and indirect.

Direct Bullying

1. Physically aggressive acts – pushing, kicking, punching, hitting, stealing

2. Verbal Aggression – Mocking, name calling, taunting and teasing, dirty looks, verbal threats

3. Intimidation

Indirect Bullying

1. Social Alienation – gossiping, spreading rumors, humiliating, exclusion from activities, social rejection

According to Jim Wright there are four things that teacher must do to reduce bullying:

assess the extent of the bullying,

make sure the students understand what bullying is and why it is wrong, confront students who are bullying firmly and fairly,

have suitable consequences for bullying.

One suggestion for determining the extent of bullying is the use of observation in informal settings. Have outside staff members observe the student(s) or/and have students complete a questionnaire. There are also several suggestions for making sure students understand what bullying is such as conducting a class meeting or having individual conferences with students. It is vital that school staff inform students that bullying behaviors will not be tolerated and that they have a responsibility to report bullying that they have observed. If bullying behavior is witnessed by school staff it needs to be confronted and discussed with the offending student. Do not allow the student to blame the victim!

Another form of bully prevention focuses on educating potential victims on how to avoid becoming a target of bullying behavior. Victims of bullying may be reluctant to come forward about incidents of bullying. One way to combat this problem is to allow students to complete anonymous forms reporting bullying. Also carefully examine the schools daily schedule and look for time periods where bullying is most likely to occur and increase adult presence during those time periods. Finally, potential victims need to learn ways to stand up to the bullies and not allow themselves to become victims. Some suggestions are: don’t allow bullies to see you are upset, walk away from the situation, don’t allow the bullies to talk you into inappropriate behavior, and report the incidents of bullying to adults.

Strategies for Victims

1. Avoid bullies if possible

2. Tell adults about bullying

3. Be assertive and say things like “Stop it”, “Leave Me Alone”

4. Stay calm

5. Walk away

6. If you are in an area where bullying may happen surround yourself with a group of trusted friends

7. If in significant danger run

Use the witnesses of bullying as a prevention tool. Frequently students who observe bullying occurring will not intervene to stop the bullying, and will often begin to engage in the bullying behaviors themselves. Teachers need to inform students that they are also responsible for assisting in the prevention of bullying behaviors, and that if they witness it occurring they have a responsibility to intervene, and that they are also accountable for their behaviors. The witnesses need to understand that while they may not instigate the bullying, if they encourage the bully during the behaviors they are as guilty of bullying as the original bully. Finally, teachers need to focus on creating a bond between observers and victims of bullying so that students will feel sympathy for the victims and will want to care for them and support them.

Responsibility of the Bystander/Observer

1. Intervene

2. Support the victim of bullying

3. Report the bullying to an adult if the victim won’t

4. Write down the bullying you have witnessed and the names of all student involved in the bullying

Strategies to Make a School Safer

1. Increase adult presence in the transition areas, hallways, stairways, and bathrooms, where bullying is most likely to occur

2. Keep older and younger children separated during times where there are less adults present and bullying is more likely to occur

3. Train all staff members how to handle bullying behavior and how to intervene when they witness bullying occurring

4. Arrange classroom furniture so that there are not areas where bullying can occur outside of the view of the teacher or another adult

Bully Prevention Material and Resources


• Committee for Children

• ERIC/CASS Bullying in schools

• No Bully

• Preventing Bullying: A Manual for Schools & Communities

• The ABC’s of Bullying: Addressing, Blocking, and Curbing School Aggression (online course)

• Bully Police

• Olweus Bullying Prevention Program



• “Preventing Classroom Bullying: What Teachers Can Do” by Jim Wright

• Safe and Responsive Schools “Early Identification and Intervention: Bully Prevention”

• “Bully Prevention Information: Resources for Schools” by Warren Throckmorton

Topic 13


Issues Regarding Seclusion and Restraint

Federal Policies

• Federal legislative information is made available to the public as a primary source on the Library of Congress’ Thomas site.

• House Resolution 4247: Preventing Harmful Restraint and Seclusion in Schools Act was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on March 3, 2010.

• On March 4, 2010 Senate Bill 2860 was read twice and referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

• Specific information about the Preventing Harmful Restraint and Seclusion Act now being reviewed by the Senate can be found on the Thomas Site at:

Support and Opposition

• Over 100 organizations have gone on record as being in support of HR4247 and SB2680. These organizations include Council for Children with Behavior Disorders, and the Council for Exceptional Children. The list of supporters with links to each of their sites can be found at:

o CCBD has released position papers regarding the use of seclusion and restraint:

• There is also opposition to some aspects of the bill

o The American Association of School Administrators:

o The AASA sent a letter to Congress opposing content in HR4247. The letter can be accessed from:

State Regulations

• On July 31, 2009, Secretary Arne Duncan sent a letter to the states and territories urging them to develop, review and/or revise their state policies and guidelines.

• Read Arne Duncan’s letter to states and territories:

• The Office of Elementary and Secondary Education compiled information concerning the status of each state's efforts with regard to limiting the use of seclusion and restraint in schools. Several states have developed guidelines for documenting and reporting, while some states have developed actual regulations and statutes regarding the use of seclusion and restraint in schools. A summary document of this information is available for download and a state-by-state summary table can be viewed at:

• Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR) provides a detailed policy for school personnel in an online annotated state regulation site. Code:13A.08.04.03 is entitled Student Behavior Interventions Authority and reads as follows:

o School personnel are encouraged to use an array of positive behavior interventions, strategies, and supports to increase or decrease targeted student behaviors.

o School personnel shall only use exclusion, restraint, or seclusion:

 After less restrictive or alternative approaches have been considered, and:

o Attempted

o Determined to be inappropriate;

 In a humane, safe, and effective manner;

 Without intent to harm or create undue discomfort; and

 Consistent with known medical or psychological limitations and the student's behavioral intervention plan.

• Missouri’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is currently working on a Model policy. The Missouri General Assembly has declared, “By July 1, 2011, the local board of education of each school district shall adopt a written policy that comprehensively addresses the use of restrictive behavioral interventions as a form of discipline or behavior management technique. The policy shall be consistent with professionally accepted practices and standards of student discipline, behavior management, health and safety, including the safe schools act.” Read more on this Missouri State Statute at:

• Oregon’s State Board of Education adopted new provisions on the use of physical restraint and seclusion in Oregon public schools in 2006. Several policy and procedural changes where required as of September 1, 2007. These included:

o Each school district establishing written policies and procedures on the use of physical restraint and seclusion.

o Each district identifying the training program(s) or system(s) of physical restraints and seclusion to train appropriate staff.

The Oregon Department of Education provided schools with a technical assistance document. This document can be accessed through:

• Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction developed and posted directives in 2005. Wisconsin adapted Maryland’s (COMAR) regulations.

Website Resources

• National Disability Rights Network advocates for the enactment and vigorous enforcement of laws protecting civil and human rights of people with disabilities. They have release the report, “School is Not Supposed to Hurt” in 2009.

• Beach Center on Disability proposes a multi-tier approach to eliminating school seclusion and restraint except in emergency situations of imminent risk to the health or safety of the student or other persons.

• Disability Scoop is an on-line national news organization serving the developmental disability community. To read news articles about seclusion and restraint issues go to:

• Families Together is a parent training and information center serving Kansas families who include a child with disabilities. This section of the Families Together website provides resources and links for families.

• Kansas Department of Education offers guidelines for the use of seclusion and restraint. The state is also developing and providing training on data collection systems for documenting and reporting seclusion. More information and resource documents can be found at:

• Missouri Families Against Seclusion and Restraint is a grass roots organization in Missouri.

Additional Tools and Resources

• The following link is an on-line video presentation produced by the National Association of State Directors of Special Education.

o Title: Seclusion and Restraint: The Impact of Federal and State Policy on the Classroom

o Presenter(s): Dr. Joe Ryan, Amanda Lowe, & Bill East

o Length: 1 hour 33 Minutes

o You must use Internet Explorer in order to view

• Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law provides several resources related to mental health policy for children. While Protection and Advocacy (P&A) information is available, specific resources are available around the topic of seclusion and restraint.

• Ryan, et. al. (2007) provides information regarding commonly reported reasons among school staff for using seclusion and restraint.

Reasons Stated for Using Seclusion Staff Reports

Leaving Assigned Area 32.6%

Non-compliance 31.9%

Disrupting Class 11.2%

Property Misuse 10.1%

Disrespect 4.5%

Physical Aggression 2.8%

Harassment 2.4%

Threats 2.0%

Reasons Stated for Using Restraint Staff Reports

Non-compliance 48.4%

Leaving Assigned Area 19.4%

Disrespect 7.3%

Property Misuse 7.3%

Disrupting Class 6.5%

Physical Aggression 3.2%

Threats 3.2%

Horseplay 3.2%

Harassment 0.8%

• Training Programs: The following is a resource list of training programs that include a) a prevention focus, b) a behavior support emphasis, c) de-escalation strategies, and d) crisis response techniques.

Crisis Prevention Institute (CPI), Nonviolent Crisis Intervention Training Program:

• Philosophy: Providing a balanced behavior management system while maintaining care, welfare, safety and security for both the student and staff.

• Methodology: Provides a holistic system for defusing escalating behavior and safely managing physically aggressive behavior. CPI methods focus on effective communication and an understanding of human physiology during aggressive moments.

“Since 1980, more than 5 million human service professionals around the world have participated in the Nonviolent Crisis Intervention training program to learn its proven strategies for safely resolving situations when confronted by anxious, hostile or violent behavior, while still protecting the therapeutic relationships with those in their care.

CPI is committed to continuing its research, support, and delivery of the highest quality behavior management training and resources, and to serving as a positive change agent for helping professionals and the individuals in their care.” From the CPI website at .

Handle With Care (HWC):

• Philosophy: Handle With Care was designed for agencies caring for people who have the potential of being aggressive, violent, suicidal, and out of control.

• Methodology: HWC’s training program consists of verbal de-escalation (including theoretical models and role play) and non-violent physical interventions.

“The individual components of Handle With Care technology are integrated with each other, creating a system that is beautifully simple, coherent and adaptable to the classroom environment. Teachers who complete the training will have the practical tools to manage students effectively to avoid a crisis. When a crisis does occur, we teach you how to work as a team in “real time real speed” interventions. It is a program that your faculty will believe in because it is rooted in practicality, the ethical treatment of students and common sense.” From the Handle With Care website at .

The Mandt System:

• Philosophy: The Mandt system is based on the principle that all people have the right to be treated with dignity and respect. All individuals have the right to a personal identity, the right to normalization, and the right to the least restrictive and most appropriate environment.

• Methodology: The Mandt System teaches the use of a graded system of alternatives, which use the least amount of external management necessary in all situations.

“The Mandt System is a systematic training program designed to help you de-escalate yourself and other people (e.g., co-workers, spouse, children, friends, clients, patients, residents, students, etc.) when you or they have difficulty managing their own behavior. We believe that until you and the other person are de-escalated, no training (i.e., behavior program, etc.) or work will take place. The Mandt System blends well with a Behavior Support approach.” From the Mandt System website at

References & Readings

• COMAR: 13A.08.04. Student Behavior Interventions Authority. Students. State Board of Education, Annotated Code of Maryland Regulations. Available from:

• National Disability Rights Network. (2010). School is not supposed to hurt: Update on progress in 2009 to Prevent and Reduce Restraint and Seclusion in Schools. Available through download from the National Disability Rights Network at:

• Office of Student Learning and Partnerships. (2007). Technical assistance: Use of physical restraint and seclusion. Oregon Department of Education. Salem, Oregon. Available from:

• Peterson, R.L., Ryan, J., Otten, K., Couvillon, M. (2010). Reducing restraint and seclusion in schools: An update and analysis. Presentation at the Midwest Symposium for Leadership in Behavior Disorders. February 27, 2010: Kansas City, Missouri.

• Ryan, J.B., Peterson, R., Rozalski, M. (2007). State policies concerning the use of seclusion timeout in schools. Education and Treatment of Children. 30 (3) 215-239.

• Ryan, J.B., Peterson, R. (2004). Physical restraint in school. Behavioral Disorders 29 (2) 154-168.

• Ryan, J.B., Robbins, K., Peterson, R., Rozalski, M. (2009). Review of state policies concerning the use of physical restraint procedures in schools. Education and Treatment of Children. 32 (3) 487-504.

• Ryan, J.B., Peterson, R.L., Tetreault, G. & Van der Hagen, E. (2007). Reducing Seclusion Timeout and Restraint Procedures with At-Risk Youth. Journal of At-Risk Issues. 13(1), 7-12.

• Sailor, W., Doolittle, J., Bradley, R., & Danielson, L. (2008). Response to intervention and positive behavior support. In M. Roberts (Series Ed.) & W. Sailor, G. Dunlap, G. Sugai, & R. Horner (Vol. Eds.), Issues in clinical child psychology. Handbook of positive behavior support (pp. 729-754). New York: Springer.

• Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. (2009). WDPI directives for the appropriate use of seclusion and physical restraint in special education programs. Madison, Wisconsin.

Glossary of Terms

• Ambulatory Restraint - manual restraint, therapeutic holding involves one or more people using their bodies to restrict another individual’s body movement

• Chemical Restraint - uses medication to control behavior or restrict individual’s freedom of movement

• Exclusion - the removal of a student to a supervised area for a limited period of time during which the student has an opportunity to regain self-control and is not receiving instruction or educational services

• Mechanical restraint - the use of any device or material attached or adjacent to the student's body that restricts freedom of movement or normal access to any portion of the student's body and that the student cannot easily remove. (Tape, tie downs, hand cuffs) "Mechanical restraint" does not include a protective or stabilizing device.

• Physical restraint - the use of physical force, without the use of any device or material, that restricts the free movement of all or a portion of a student's body.

• Protective or stabilizing device - any device or material attached or adjacent to the student's body that restricts freedom of movement or normal access to any portion of the student's body for the purpose of enhancing functional skills, preventing self-injurious behavior, or ensuring safe positioning of a person.

Protective or stabilizing devices include:

a) Adaptive equipment prescribed by a health professional, if used for the purpose for which the device is intended by the manufacturer;

b) Seat belts; or

c) Other safety equipment to secure students during transportation in accordance with the public agency or nonpublic school transportation plan.

• Restraint - any method of restricting an individual’s freedom of movement, physical activity, or normal access to his or her body

• Seclusion - the involuntary confinement of a student alone in a room or area from which the student is physically prevented from leaving.

• Time out - removing a student for a short time to provide the student with an opportunity to regain self-control, in a setting from which the student is not physically prevented from leaving. Types of Time-out include:

o Inclusion - takes place in the classroom; access to instruction

o Exclusion - takes place outside the classroom; no access to instruction

o Seclusion - takes place in a special room or location and the student is prevented from leaving and has no access to instruction

Monday, April 12, 2010

TOPIC 12 - Crisis Management Plans

Many times when the word ‘crisis’ is used in a school one thinks – intruder, especially in the inner-city schools. Yet when looking closely, a crisis when in reference to special education takes on clearly another role. Crisis in schools or in the special education population deals largely with a student who is out of control and what the teacher should do in a situation in which a student reaches that point. Many schools have steps to be followed in these types of instances just as they do for intruders, fires, and or natural disasters. A good plan should evaluate the effectiveness of their plan and be practiced to the point that students and professionals are able to calmly and quietly respond in the event a true crisis were to occur.

Crisis planning occurs at the building, district, team, and community level. Each building should have its own plan.

A “crisis” may take a variety of forms within the school. This includes death of a student, faculty, staff member, recent graduate or member of a student’s immediate family. In addition, many other situations can be perceived as a “crisis” or “critical incident” such as natural disasters, fire, etc. Whatever the situation, local school personnel need to make the decision of when to call upon the crisis management team and how to formulate an appropriate response.


• Identify and manage hazards in the school

• Prepare and respond for emergencies in school

School Crisis Plan - A Plan to lead staff in the event that a true crisis was to occur within the school
Objective of a Crisis Plan
• Identify and manage hazards in the school
• Prepare and respond for emergencies in school
Steps to follow in creating a plan
Awareness among the school and communities of the need for a plan

Establish Crisis Management Team

Identify the vulnerabilities of school and develop brainstorm of the plan

Prepare the Crisis Management documentation and prepare for staff/associates

Distribute plan to members and make sure all aspects have been thought of and gone over

Training of staff and students proper behavior and procedures for following the plan

Annual update of the plan- evaluate your plan - did it work?  Was is too hard for students to follow?  Did the individuals involved have any difficulties following the plan?  How can it be improved to become more useful in the future?

Here are a few places to look for general guidelines on school based Crisis interventions

Friday, April 9, 2010

TOPIC 11: Social Skills Interventions for groups

Social Skills Interventions designed for groups of students.
There are some main themes that should be apparent in good social skills intervention groups:
1.  They should be based on the 3 Tier model - part of the schools' design for PBS
2.  Use the same language as school - wide expectations
3.  ALL students receive the social skills training
4.  Small groups for interventions

Each lesson should have the following components:
-rules for when to use the skill
-teach the rule (TELL)
–demonstrate the skill (SHOW)
–students practice the skill (PRACTICE)
–review and test the skill (PRACTICE)
–assign homework (PRACTICE)

Here are a few programs widely available

Second Step Program
This is the program used in District 500 by most of the elementary schools.  I have used this program and I do have to say it is very easy to use but does not lend itself well to the busy curriculum that is evident in an urban school.  The program is very useful in teaching students ways to defuse their own anger and to use their words when other students are 'invading' their space.  It teaches the students it is okay to show feelings and how to read other peoples feelings.  Although these are great skills to teach in kindergarten or first grade, the program curriculum for third grade is very similar to that of the kindergarten level.  This program is scripted and tells the teacher what to do and even gives ideas for extended use within the curriculum.  Unfortunately most teachers feel that this curriculum is an extra burden that they must endure. 
All in all this is a good program for a dedicated staff!

The multi-tier interventions
This intervention sight was discussed earlier in this blog.  For more information on teaching social skills to small groups with a  focus on appropriate behavior this is another program that is available.
This type of model would contain data, practice and the system  - make sure each of the components are in place to have a reliable intervention group.
Data would refer to how the group was decided upon
Practice would refer to strategies involved in the program or lesson
System would refer to the process which the program/lesson was presented

Social Stories
Students who have autism or other processing problems often do well with social stories.  "Social stories provide students with accurate information about those situations that he may find difficult or confusing. The situation is described in detail and focus is given to a few key points: the important social cues, the events and reactions the individual might expect to occur in the situation, the actions and reactions that might be expected of him, and why. The goal of the story is to increase the individual’s understanding of, make him more comfortable in, and possibly suggest some appropriate responses for the situation in question." (

*Develop your own as a team
*Programs on classroom management
*Individualized based on FBA's

Lewis/Powers Social Skills power point

Teaching Children with Autism

Second Step Website

R. Freeman SPED 843:  Advanced Methods & Assessment:  Strategies for Students with Social and Emotional Needs March 31, 2010