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March 6 - 8, 2013 | Hershey Lodge and Convention Center

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2. Addressing Dropout Prevention Through School-wide Positive Behavior Support

03/06/13, Hershey, PA - Tim Lewis
SPEAKER: Gives me great pleasure to introduce our speaker today, Dr. Tim Lewis. Tim is a professor -- a professor of special education at the University of Missouri,
and has been involved in special education for 25 years. Dr. Lewis directs the University of Missouri Center for Schoolwide Positive Behavior Support.
He is the co-director of the National OSEP Center for Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports, and the Institution for Educational Science's Center for Adolescent Research in Schools.
His specialty areas include social skills instruction, functional behavior assessment, and proactive, schoolwide discipline systems.
Dr. Lewis is the associate editor of the Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, and is a member of ten other editorial boards. So with that, would you please join me in welcoming Dr. Tim Lewis?
TIM LEWIS: Good afternoon, everybody. Ooh, that's kind of loud and echoy.
We got our sound guy on it, though. Well, that's a little bit better. Better. Everybody hear me okay in the back there? First check as always.
Well, I really appreciate the invitation to come and talk to you this afternoon. As with all sort of invitations to speak, there's always kind of that -- those sort of ulterior motive.
It's like, well, is this a place I haven't been? Or is this something of interest that might happen? And I have to admit, I am a self-professed chocoholic,
but I've been here for less than 24 hours and I'm almost done. My hair smells like chocolate. My hands smell like chocolate.
It's a little bit everywhere. But it's fun and it's kind of neat to sort of -- this is sort of my mecca, if you will, Hershey, Pennsylvania.
And I had a chance to go to Chocolate World this morning. What a great place to be, right? We could all live in Chocolate World.
Well, you heard a little bit who I am. And I've been tasked with a very tall order. I have two hours to go through basically information that would take me,
on a good day, several days to get through. So my task today is to sort of tease you, to kind of pique your interest and then to send you to other places to follow up and get more information.
I always point out we as educators should know better,
but we violate all the time, this is a non-example of effective instruction, right? I'm going to talk at you, not going to engage you, I'm going to talk at you.
I'm going to give you lots of information. I'm going to expect you to acquire that information, maintain it, and generalize it back to your setting. Well, that's a tall order.
The good news is across the nation, and if you're not a frequent visitor at our website, you need to start going, pbis.org, as well as across Pennsylvania, you guys have a nice statewide initiative.
And you heard a little bit of the -- sort of the infomercial at the outset here. Strongly encourage you to go to those websites, get the information, get involved within the state initiative.
Right? Because we know schools can do some amazing things, but they need that ongoing support and technical assistance. Okay?
Just to get a sense of who's here, how many of you are at the elementary, middle school level? How about secondary, high school level?
How many of you are classroom teachers, administrators? Lots of administrators, fantastic. Very exciting. School phychs, counselors, mental health folks? And I know you've got a lot
of service agency people at this conference as well. If you serve kind of an entire county or a region? So we've got a real big cross-section of people here this afternoon as well.
It's a big room. I hate being up here, but I was asked because of the lighting and the need to broadcast. But I want to make this as informal as we possibly can,
so please, questions, comments throughout. Raise your hand, shout them out. Happy to try to go to, you know, the best I can, take a detour if more information is warranted and so forth.
Now I actually complied and got my slides ahead of time, so you can download this PowerPoint. But of course, it's a long plane ride from Columbia, Missouri to here, and so I always monkey.
So I've added some slides. So I promise I will post this at our national website, pbis.org, and I'll make sure the conference planners get the most recent version to upload it, okay?
All right, just big ideas, what I hope to accomplish this afternoon. I want to talk just very briefly about, what do we know about students who drop out,
and how do we prevent it? And then spend most of my minutes talking about, well, what do we do?
One of the things we know, first of all, how we define dropout is a difficult and tall order. And I'm very fortunate and I get to travel the world.
And when I talk to superintendents and key leaders within districts and I ask them about their dropout rate, that's the one question
that gets everybody nervous and quiet, right? And they always start with, well, it depends. Right? It depends on how you measure it. So it's also a tricky thing to measure.
So I don't want to spend a lot of time sort of focusing on those pieces because I think everybody in this room, looking around, if you've been teaching at least since August, you've got a sense
about why kids drop out, what the issues are, who finishes school and who fails to finish school, and what are some of those complex, interactive variables along the way.
The other thing, I should apologize, I'm getting over a cold, so I will try my very best not to cough on the microphone and burst your ears, but I just apologize up front.
Still struggling with it, and hopefully it'll be gone soon.
But as I said, what I really want to focus on are kind of the systemic ways to put these things in practice, to take what we know works for kids with challenging behavior,
as well as learning difficulties, and put them in a place and put them in a way such that schools can implement with fidelity and get outcomes, okay?
All right, a little bit about what do we know and who drops out and why. There's a really nice technical report that the National Dropout Prevention Center -- you can google them, find it.
They're based out of Clemson, South Carolina. But they've been charged and they've been funded now for, I guess they're in their second funding cycle,
to look at, what do we know about why kids drop out? And more importantly, how we put in those protective factors to reduce that.
Second, they also have a specific focus looking at kids with disabilities and very high risk kids. So they put out a really nice technical report
that kind of summarizes, if you will, the state of the knowledge. And I want to go through sort of some of their key points that you can pull quickly from this executive summary.
And again, there's the reference. If you go to their page, it's right there on their front page. You can immediately link to this report.
But here's what we know. First of all, dropping out is related to a variety of factors. If we've got to boil them down, they're in very large domains.
We know there are family factors, individual student factors, school and community. Now I'm an educator talking to a group of educators.
I'm going to task us and I'm going to charge everyone in here to do the very best we can, at the same time realizing there are a lot of things outside of our control.
We can't alter what happens in those families. We can't alter what we would like to have or not have happen within those communities. But we do have these kids six hours a day, 180 days a year.
And the research continues to show that we've got what kids need to be successful. We'll continue to talk about that as we go along this afternoon.
Second, there's no single risk factor, right? So it would be wonderful to go into preschool and tag kids and say, oh, that's one. Let's make sure we track that kid and put these things in place.
There's no single variable in terms of risk that's going to say this kid is going to drop out versus that kid. It really is kind of this amalgam as they go along.
The accuracy, however, increases when we know multiple risk factors are present. And as I said, this report outlines all of those things we know in terms of risk factors.
So basically what I'm saying is, look, if I had the simple, easy answer, I would have given it to you as soon as you walked in and told you to go to Chocolate World, enjoy the rest of your afternoon.
There is no simple answer. It's a complex problem that's going to require complex solutions, if you will. However, we do know we can put some things in place that work.
Dropouts aren't a homogenous group, right? They're very different. Kids that you wouldn't assume drop out drop out.
And kids you thought, oh, for sure in third grade, yep, he's a future dropout, she's a future dropout, hang in there.
When kids drop out, they often cite multiple factors across multiple domains and interactions. So again, it's a complex issue.
And it's -- I love the sort of -- the last one there talking about it's often described as a process, not an event.
So what we know for kids who drop out isn't just they show up on a Tuesday and something happens and they say, that's it, I'm out of here. It's an ongoing process.
So no, unfortunately we can't sort of tag kids early on and say, yep, this kid's high risk to drop out. We can look at multiple risk factors.
We can look at that kid's schooling over the years and start predicting with higher accuracy because it truly is a process, right?
And think about it. Why do kids drop out? Who drops out? That wasn't rhetorical. Why? Who? That's your part to talk. Kids with reading issues. In other words,
we know if you're struggling academically. In fact, if you look at the mental health literature, you know, they talk about risk factors and protective factors.
Risk factors, things you're exposed to: abuse, violence, and so forth. That sets you up for the increased likelihood you're going to struggle with mental health issues.
One of the very best protective factors, no matter what you've seen in your life, is the ability to read.
If you can read fluently by the end of grade three, you're going to fare much better than the kid down the street who's seen the exact same life.
So academic struggles. What else? Pregnancies and major life events that happen, right? Absolutely oftentimes lead to kids dropping out.
What else? Being bullied. So kids who in essence are disconnected from that community and feel that they're victims within that community.
What else? Poverty. We know poverty is highly related to the likelihood that kids drop out.
I work a lot in urban settings in my home, Missouri. I've worked with the St. Louis city public schools over time,
and some of our neighborhood schools on a good year have about a 25% graduation rate, right? So we know those environments. We know those neighborhoods, high poverty, high crime, and so forth.
What else? What are some other things? Kids with emotional disorders, right? Kids who have got mental health issues, kids who have got disabilities across the spectrum we know drop out.
Particularly kids with emotional behavior disorders drop out at significantly higher rates than their typically developing as well as other kids with disabilities.
So already you've outlined several difficult, complex things that we know increase the likelihood children will drop out of school. How do we take those on? As I said, we've got a role.
We can do some things within our schools. We're not going to solve all those sort of social ills and crises within our communities, but we can absolutely build in some of those protective factors.
Now here's some good news, bad news. IES U.S. Department of Education has put together a series of these practice guides and evaluations where they look at, where are we in terms of the literature?
Where are we in terms of the research? And again, in this practice guide, they have outlined some strategies to help prevent as well as respond to the risks that lead to kids dropping out.
What are those? Excuse me. First of all, data to figure out who drops out. So yes, it's not a single event, it's not a single measure.
But we look at these things and they start multiplying. A kid is struggling to read. A kid is falling further and further behind.
They get to high school and they're a, quote unquote, junior in age, but they've got all of two credits. All of those things are going to combine and increase the likelihood kids drop out.
The other piece that no one mentioned as well, although the bullying one would certainly fit into that, is that connected piece and that engagement.
Oftentimes, really smart kids drop out of school because they're not connected, they're not engaged within that community.
Other things they recommend, adult advocates. So connecting kids early, advocating for that kid,
making sure that kid stays in school, making sure that kid stays connected to that environment. And again, I'm going to talk about some examples as we go.
Academic supports, clearly. Improving kids' classroom behavior and social skills. So we think about kids getting kicked out all the time,
kids in discipline, long term, short term, higher degree of likelihood they're going to drop out. We've got to personalize the learning environment,
meaning we're differentiating instruction, we're responding to what kids need to keep them successful, keep them engaged, and in rigorous and relevant instruction, right?
Well, that's the good news. We've got some strategies. All of these strategies are within our capability as educators. The bad news, from those of us
on the higher ed end, the research end, there's not a whole lot of evidence to support any of these things. So the data is low. The behavior management is low. The rest are moderate.
Well, again, is that good news, bad news? Well, it's bad news from a policy perspective, but again, I think it's more attributable a fact that this is a difficult construct to measure.
It's also a really difficult construct to show if you do these three things in third grade, this is what's going to happen when they're that year 11, 12, right?
So it's also very difficult to show from an empirical perspective these clear connect points, okay?
Okay, so that's it. I'm not going to talk about dropping out anymore. I'm not going to talk about kids who drop out or why they drop out. I think you guys know.
What I want to focus on is, okay, what can we do instead, right? How many of you are engaged and are part of the Pennsylvania schoolwide PBIS initiative?
How many of you? Fantastic. So I'll be preaching to some and trying to convert the others, right?
Anytime I talk -- you guys are -- you got to loosen up here. There's no snow, you're off school, you're in here. Right? There's drinks later and dinner.
Anytime I talk to educators, I always start with this slide and they all hate it. And the reason they hate it is because they come to hear me talk for the answer.
And I always say, look, I can't make kids behave. You guys as teachers, educators cannot make kids behave. If you go in with the mindset
that I'm going to make this child behave, you've lost. We can't make kids learn, right? We as educators cannot make kids behave, we cannot make them learn.
The one exception to that, I started my career with adults with developmental disabilities.
My first public school teaching experience was a self-contained class for kids with emotional behavior disorders in St. Louis. Taught at the elementary level
and I also taught at our state psychiatric hospital. If, when I taught in that state psych hospital, right, 24/7 residential, if you elected to misbehave, we paged Dr.
Trogg. Dr. Trogg was code for very large men in white coats to come and make you behave.
Now, as tempting as it is some school days to page Dr. Trogg, we don't want very large men in white coats coming to make kids behave, right? So we can't make kids learn,
we can't make behave -- make them behave. But here's the good news. As educators, we can create environments to increase the likelihood.
Now we get this on the academic side. When I talk to elementary school teachers and I say, you've got a little one, right, year two, year one,
and she's not reading, she's struggling, what would you do? Say, well, first I might give her some more practice.
You know, maybe some one on one. Okay, what if that doesn't work? Well, I might talk to my colleagues to see if they've got any strategies.
What if that doesn't work? Well, then I might call our literacy person, say, hey, she's really struggling. I've tried everything. Do you have any ideas?
What if that doesn't work? Well, then I might refer the child for special ed. Maybe she's got a learning disability.
In other words, what teachers tell me is they put more and more and more supports in the environment to increase the likelihood that child learns to read.
But then when I ask that same teacher, you've got another little one, they've throwing thing, spitting on you, and hitting you. Gone, they got to be out of here, right?
I want you to think about your kids with challenging social behaviors just like the kid with challenging academic behaviors.
What else can we put in our environment to increase the likelihood? Can't make them learn, can't make them behave, but I can increase the likelihood.
In fact, what we know from over 20 years of research now, environments that increase the likelihood are guided by a core curriculum, and implemented with consistency and fidelity.
Now again, on the academic side, we get this. We adopt curriculum. Everybody teaches from that same series. We make sure with guides and prompts.
We make sure we've got content and curriculum experts come in and help our classroom teachers to make sure they're implementing it with consistency and fidelity.
On the social behavior side, all bets are off, right? In fact, I talk all the time about social behavior is often the hidden curriculum, meaning it's not overt.
I've picked up lots and lots of scope and sequences. And I have never picked up a grade three math scope and sequence and it says, kids should not be
thinking about algebra. No way should they know what sines and cosines are. They shouldn't even be thinking about trigonometry. Right?
What does it focus on? It focuses on the skills kids should have mastered by the end of grade three. But how many code of conducts have I picked up where it has the 27 thou-shall-nots?
It doesn't say anywhere in there what kids should do to be successful in this school and community, but it absolutely lists what they shouldn't.
And it makes assumptions that you know what to do instead.
We make all sorts of assumptions in education. In fact, I've got a colleague, she's got this great term. We commit assumicide in education all the time, right? Or we point fingers.
Well, the parent should have done it. Well, yes, right? I mean, I can't tell you the number of administrators I've talked to at the high school, well, he's 17, he should know by now. You're right.
He should also be speaking three languages. But I didn't get him when he was four. We've got to work with what we have, right? You're right, they should know
by now, but they don't. And we're not going to make him or her learn to behave, but we can absolutely build an environment that increases the likelihood.
What positive behavior support is all about building an environment to increase the likelihood?
I'm primarily focusing this afternoon on the social behavior side because we know that's absolutely one of those critical pieces
why kids fail and why kids ultimately drop out. But that academic goes hand in glove with this, okay?
All right, so what do we do? The other piece that we really paid attention to when we first started our work around schoolwide PBS and we talked to schools and they said, look,
we don't need one more thing. We don't need a new three-letter initiative, all right? What we need are ways to work smarter.
What we need are ways to work more efficient. So we really see schoolwide PBS -- and I characterize it as a problem solving.
It's not a package. It's not a curriculum. Got nothing to sell to you. Everything we develop your tax dollars pay for. Get it from the web.
What schools need, basically an enhancement to do these things. One, make sure we put in research validated practices. We're good consumers on the academic side.
We are lousy consumers on the social behavior side. Before you guys adopt a curriculum, you do your homework. You talk to other districts.
You look at the research. When it comes to behavior, people just, wow, that sounds good, let's do it. And in most part because I think a lot
of the schools I work with, a lot of districts, they're in that crisis mode and they're just looking for help, right? They're looking for that, quote unquote, answer.
Provide a seamless continuum. I'll talk about that in a second. Be part of a district-wide, statewide, region-wide. We started our work schools, school by school by school.
We were pretty effective, and then we realized this is really inefficient. So then we started working with districts. And we were pretty effective, but we said this is really inefficient.
Most of our work at the national center now, we work with states. So your state has a partner with our national center that helps and provides that ongoing TA and support.
We know schools and districts that are successful, they own this. It's not something they're mandated, forced to do. They own it.
They invest time and energy and resources into ensuring their schools are successful.
And we've got to have increased focus across teachers and others on early intervention. So I talk about dropout prevention starts when they are two and three.
I tease all the time I started my -- you know, a career with adults, but I spend a lot of my day now criss-cross applesauce at circle time, or sitting in very, very little chairs.
I work in Head Starts. I work in Title I. I work in early childhood. Because I know if I'm not in there, then they are going to be that kid who drops out.
At the same time, I don't simply mean early intervention with little ones. We've got to get better about thinking what early intervention looks like at year eight and year nine.
When we get to those middle school, secondary, we wait way too long before we say, hey, something's up.
This kid hasn't shown up for 50 days and he's failing all his classes. We need to start intervening on that third day.
This is a true at high school where I live. Called and said, we need your help. We're really struggling with this kid. I said, okay. So we met.
This was the end of the year. And they said, well, one of the problems is attendance. I said, okay, what's going on? Well, so far this year, he's missed 145 days.
I said, yeah, that's a problem. Now what do you expect me to do? How are we going to focus on this? So again, that early intervention, not just little ones,
but thinking about not waiting for kids to fail over and over and over, getting in there early, systemically, and making sure we're successful.
Across all of this is the key. In all of our work on the academic and social behavior side is predicated on this key. Here's the key.
Behavior is functionally related to the teaching environment. What does that mean? That means if we want behaviors to occur, we have to alter environment.
We use this key to understand. So those of you who work with kids with significant challenging behavior are familiar with functional behavioral assessment
and the logic that kids do behaviors because they can predict important outcomes. In other words, their behavior is functionally related to that environment.
We also have to apply this. So if we want kids to be engaged, we want kids to learn, we want kids to be respectful and responsible, we have to alter our environment.
The other strange thing we do in education is we assume, well, we can take something and we can put it in our school and one size fits all.
You've got to match the intensity of your behavioral challenges to the intensity in your environment.
One of my favorite all-time examples, again, city of St. Louis, met with some principals. They were kind of thinking going schoolwide PBS.
And I was meeting with a group of principals, I said, well, what's some of your problems? You know, what are you struggling with?
And the principal from the magnet school, magnet school is highly competitive, theme, long waiting list, parents got to be involved, right? So there's art and music, and there's math and sciences.
Well, the principal from the magnet high school said, well, our biggest problem are kids leaving book bags in the hallway. That was their biggest behavior problem, right?
And the principal from that sort of public school is looking at her and it's like, well, we'd be worried they'd be ticking, right, if they were laying in the hallway.
His biggest problem? Keeping drug dealers out of his school. Because the drug dealers figured out if you can get past security and set up shop somewhere, there's your market.
Those are vastly different problems. They're both going to go through the same problem solving logic, but that environment is going to look different if we expect those behaviors to change.
The other reason that I like to sort of point this out and reinforce and remind people, it's real tempting when we talk about kids who drop out of school,
kids at high risk for academic and social behavior problems to kind of blame the kid and blame all sorts of other sort of logic, reason, and rationale.
You know, and I talk about I've been at this now well over 25 years. And I can probably count on one hand the number of kids that I've encountered that I would truly put
in that kind of psycho sociopath category, where just organically, something is wired wrong. Right? The Hitlers, Ted Bundys, that level of aberrant behavior.
The overwhelming majority of kids that I work with are not born evil and mean. They're just trying to figure out how the world works, right?
So it's important to remember, even though it may feel like it when you work with some of these kids, Jimmy, six generation pain in the ass,
it may feel like we're working with that multi-generational. We want to make sure we ask what we can put in our environment to increase the likelihood.
So what is schoolwide PBS? At the national center, we define schoolwide PBS as this. It's a broad range of systemic and individualized strategies.
First point, one size doesn't fit all. Right? Second, it has to be systemic. And I'm going to talk about that as we go along.
We're also interested in achieving important social and learning outcomes while preventing problem behavior. In other words,
I get asked all the time, Tim, come see this kid. Oh, you won't believe this kid. We've never had a kid like this. You guys have this kid? Everybody has this kid.
After you tell me what this kid is doing, the very first thing I'm going to ask you is, what do you want him or her to do instead? And don't tell me stop.
I want to focus my individual plan. I want to focus my classroom. I want to focus my school on what kids should do instead.
Now again, if you guys show up to conferences like that, that's just -- well, yeah, of course. That just makes sense. But that's huge when you start talking about discipline.
That's huge when you're talking to superintendents and trying to get their head around, wait a minute, no, no, no, we just list the infractions and here are the punishers.
We want to build our system focusing on what kids should do instead.
So one, it's a broad range. One size doesn't fit all. Everybody in this room are doing good things in school. Where we see them struggle are informal breakdowns within their systems.
Second, everything you do should focus on what you want kids to do instead, not stopping, not decreasing, right? But focus on instead.
And if you think about kind of the task that I've been given here to talk about how we reduce kids from dropping out of school, if we focus on that, we're not going to be successful.
But if we focus on those key features, keeping kids engaged, keeping kids academically successful, giving them the necessary social skills to advocate for themselves, to get along,
in other words buffer all of those risks that you guys listed at the outset, we're going to increase the likelihood we keep kids engaged, keep kids in school to the point where they graduate.
Now I am federally required by law anytime I give a talk to show -- to show two figures. Here's the first one, the triangle. Anybody not seen this triangle? Okay, here's the logic of the triangle.
This comes from a public health model. We ripped it off from Hill-Walker and others who were sort of applying it to kind of social structures in school.
Logic is this. Good news, 80, 90% of your kids will respond to what we call universals. Tell them what's expected, show them what it looks like in practice.
They'll get it. That's the good news. Next, we've got about 5, 10% of kids we typically talk about as at risk. They are not going to be successful with universals alone,
and they're going to need additional practices. In fact, I think if we're seriously going to reduce in significant ways the dropout,
this is the area we've got to target, that top part of the green bleed into the yellow. Those are the kids that I see ultimately drop out.
When you get to that top part, that 5% of kids needing individualized, intensive supports, absolutely.
If you're a child on an IEP and you've got some significant behavioral challenges, learning challenges, and so forth, less likely to graduate.
But we understand that, explain that, account for that, and we build in as many supports as we can.
But I can't tell you the number of kids that look like, quote unquote, my kids, but don't quite qualify.
You've heard I've also got a center. We're in our last year, looking at supporting kids with emotional behavior disorders at the high school level.
It's a large, national, randomized control trial. In fact, some of you might even be in it. Lee Kern at Lehigh is lead PI. So we've got schools here in Pennsylvania and across the country.
And what we find is that most of our sample are not IEP kids because the principals and other say, well, no, they're doing okay.
They've got lots of support. I've got this whole other host of kids that nobody knows what to do with, right?
Now the key is this. Everybody in here does these things. You all have counselors. You all have IEP kids. You perhaps do some universal pieces.
The problem is they're not connected. And one of those essential, critical features is this: all of these things are predicated on your universals.
So when I have my big high schools, we've got some big high schools in here, right? 4,000 kids, 5,000 kids. I'll just say -- I'll pick a teacher.
Hey, what do you teach? I teach English. How many classes? Five. How many kids do you see within your class across the day? About 150. How many in the school? About 4,000.
Okay, teacher, tell me every child in the school who's on an individual plan. Tell me what's in that plan and tell me what your role is helping that plan. And they look at me like I have [inaudible]
right? Are you not paying attention? I can barely keep track of the 100 or so that come through my doorway. I don't know beyond that.
But my high schools will say, well, I don't know the exact details, but I know it's related to being respectful and being responsible.
I know when I see kids in the hallway doing it correctly. Here's how I react. I know when I see them do it incorrectly. Here's how I react.
In other words, the degree to which we're going to be successful with high risk kids is predicated on the assumption to the degree that you have universals firmly in place.
The other important message is that these are in addition to. You see on the right, the behavior side. The left is the academic side.
And when RtI became all the rage when it popped up into the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, can't tell you the number of states said, okay, help.
We've got to do this RtI. We've got to get our head around this.
And I remember I was talking to a group of about five times this size and I talked about in addition to, and it was just like, yeah, that makes a lot of sense.
I'm a proud special educator, will always be a special educator. We've done some really great things, but we've also screwed up.
And one of the things we did wrong was this. Oh, you're not reading? I know, I'm going to take you out of reading and I'm going to work with you.
So not only am I going to try to make up and accommodate with your disability, I'm going to try to keep you in touch with all your peers.
No, every child gets universal, hence the term universal. Some kids will get more, right? Some kid will get more.
And as we think about building schoolwide PBS, as we think about keeping kids successful,
we think about the list that I showed you early, academically, behaviorally, it's the degree to which we build these things in terms of universals.
How many of you learned to speak a foreign language in high school or college? Put your hand up if you learned to speak a foreign language somewhere along your life.
You could still speak that language, keep your hand up. How come so many hands went down? Practice, practice, practice. I studied French for two and a half years.
Not many opportunities to speak French in mid Missouri, right? I can still have a good night out on town, right? I can order a drink.
I can ask where the bathroom is and point me to the train station so I can get home, but beyond that, I'd have a hard time. Why? Practice, practice, practice.
I tell schools, look, you're sending the kid to the counselor. That kid's going to the trailer in the back of the school to that special ed person to learn to speak French.
And unless everyone in your school speaks French, don't be surprised if they don't master that language.
The problem that we do is we send kids to these, quote unquote, specialists and they somehow are supposed to get fixed.
Well, if you truly have a disability, if you truly come from a background of very high risk, you're not going to get, quote unquote, fixed.
We can absolutely give you some support, some strategies, accommodations. But if the environment doesn't support those, nothing happens.
And we think just concrete, right? If you're in a wheelchair and it's a high efficiency wheelchair and you can navigate everything,
but if there's not a ramp, you're stuck, right? You're stuck. It's the same thing. If we pull kids out and we teach them all these great skills,
but nobody's using that language, nobody's prompting to practice, nobody's giving feedback, they're going to stop. Right? They're going to stop.
Now when we first sort of borrowed this idea of this continuum, you know, we hammered on this idea that you've got to connect everything.
We hammer on the idea that everything is grounded in universals. But we had an unintended consequence. I hear schools all the time now talk about green kids, yellow kids,
and red kids, or the pointy ended kids. That's my other favorite, right? And we say, no, no, no, no, no, no.
Remember my starting point? You can't make kids behave. You cannot make them learn, but you can build environments to increase the likelihood.
The logic is some kids will need different levels of support across their environments to increase the likelihood they're successful.
Here's a more accurate picture, okay? This is my daughter. My daughter is a junior in college. She's a brilliant, beautiful, gifted young woman.
I'm a little biased, I get it, but here's my daughter going through school. She was reading at about age three and a half.
She still will not get in the car for a longer than five-minute drive without a book. Right? She did not need any kind of special ed support. Universals were more than enough.
She's also a great equestrian. Just took to horses naturally. She's got some pretty good social skills. Struggled a bit in science and Spanish, but with a little bit extra help,
she was okay. However, since grade five through her senior year in high school, we had to hire a math tutor to meet with her every week.
She needed highly individualized, intensive supports to be successful in math. But you will never look at my daughter and say, oh yeah, that's a red zone kid. Yeah, there goes Emily. Look out.
That's what we mean by you can't make kids, but you can build environments. This is what we mean by a continuum. And when you're thinking, whether you're elementary or high school,
and we're trying to keep kids engaged, we're trying to get them through school to be successful, you've got to figure out where does that kid need levels of support?
How will they differ? And how's it going to relate to our universals?
You know, our work in this area started because we all had the same story. It was a bunch of old BD guys who would talk about our early classroom experience.
And we all said, yeah, we all had self-contained classes. And we'd point out, you know, we had the toughest, meanest, baddest kids in the school. But for the most of the day, they were okay.
They were on task. They were engaged. The problem is the bell would ring and they'd leave my class, and all hell would break loose. And we all had that same story.
And you know, I started teaching in the dark ages, and so it was all about the kids. It's the kid, it's the kid. We've got to give the kid more stuff. Well, now it makes sense.
If I've failed in an environment for 10, 11 years, and nobody's altered that environment and I go back in that environment, I'm going to go right back to what I know.
Right? I'm going to go back to acting up. I'm going to go back to being off-task. I'm going to go back to all those things they do to avoid that aversive environment.
Schoolwide PBS is all about building environments to increase the likelihood. RtI in the broadest sense is all about building environments to increase the likelihood.
We as educators, our best hope, what we can do to, in essence, reduce significantly that dropout rate, is keeping kids engaged and successful. We do that by building environments.
We know, especially in our high risk schools, and I know some of you are here, it's going to take a high level of intensity.
Your universals are going to look real different than the school that had book bags in the hallway. But we can be successful.
Now the other figure that I'm required to show that you've probably seen is this idea of these circles, right? And we created this real simple graphic,
but I've got to be honest, this was probably one of the best things we've ever done. Here's the basic logic of schoolwide PBS, RtI on the academic side.
First of all, you guys need to be good decision makers and driven by data. So these conferences are a good example of that.
You'll go to a session, somebody will be talking about mentoring, right? So I've got lots of schools I work in,
and somebody will come back from a conference like this, say, mentoring! Man, I saw this great session on mentoring. We got to do mentoring.
And I'm like, well, why? Well, it's a good idea. It's like, okay, it might be a good idea. What data in this school suggest we need mentoring?
Some kids you put in mentoring programs, it's the worst thing you can do. They act up.
In fact, we -- one of our study kids, we started doing this sort of check and connect, the mentoring. He stopped coming to school.
He was like, oh, you guys checking up on me? I'm done with this. I'm out of here. Right? We thought we were helping. He actually dropped out of school, and we accelerated that.
First of all, what data suggests you need that? Second, how will you know if you're successful? Well, it'll get better.
What does that look like, right? I want to be able to come into your school and see, quote unquote, better.
So the first point, data should drive what practice we select, and we always monitor with data.
The third piece, the most critical, the most fundamental, the most important: how do we support each other?
We are in our last cycle of funding at the national center, so we are 15 years into this now. Very, very little money. Very, very little money do we have.
We, however, have been the most successful initiative the U.S. Department of Education has ever funded in its history. Right? We are now at about 19,000 schools
across the United States that we can say, yeah, they're doing schoolwide PBS. Got a long way to go. There's 110 out there, right? But we've been successful.
And I think the reason we've been so successful is because we paid attention to what the adults need. Again, we assume teachers will know. We assume they'll ask questions.
We assume they'll figure it out. All wrong. Right? Put your hand up if you've had at least two classes at university in teaching social behavior.
If you've had at least two classes to teach social behavior, put your hand up. If your hand's up, you're a special educator, you're a counselor, you're a school psychologist.
Highly unlikely you're a gen ed teacher. Highly unlikely you're a school principal. But yet where do most kids spend most of their day? With gen ed teachers and administrators.
We've not taught you, we in higher ed have not prepared you to deal with the challenges, the difficulties. We pay attention to systems.
In other words, what do the adults need? When I work with new teams, I say, look, this is all about making sure kids are more successful.
98% of your time and energy and efforts, however, are going to go to adults. How do we support each other?
Let me give you a couple quick, fun examples because the non-examples are always much more illustrative, right? School I'm working with several years ago in Montana is a junior high.
They notice lots of problem behaviors first thing in the morning. Right? They're looking at data.
So they start problem solving. And the counselor said, well, how about if we do like a triage?
How about if we look for kids who are upset, look for kids who are starting their day? And again, classroom teachers, you guys know this.
You know as soon as they walk in the door and their eyeballs are spinning. It's like, lord, it's going to be one of those days. You know, right, something's up.
So what they did is they started this greeting program. That was the practice. The counselor carefully taught everyone in this school, here's what you do, here's what you say.
If you see a kid upset, don't get in their face. You know, she talked about standing next to them. She talked about de-escalating. If the kid doesn't want to talk, say, okay, that's fine.
Well, let's just take a walk. Let's just go into the counseling area and why don't you just have a seat? You look upset. Why don't you -- you know, that's fine.
All right, so they put this in place. Lots and lots of attention to adults. Teachers were constantly going, hey, this happened.
I wasn't sure what to do. You know, given this, what advice would you give me? They constantly went to that counselor to help sort of problem solve.
Significantly reduced problem behaviors first thing in the morning. They started having fun with it.
They would have these mystery guest greeters, right? So they would have the quarterback from the local college football team.
And so the newspaper did a human interest story and they just focused on this greeting program. School across town, junior high, principal, love it. We're doing that.
She just focused on the practice. She didn't focus on why they needed to do it, looked at their data. And she forgot the most important piece: systems, systems, systems.
So she came up with the great idea: we're always trying to get parents more involved. Let's just use parents as greeters in the morning. Some of you are already giggling.
You know where this is going. So one of the volunteer greeters was a young mom. And young mom thought, well, I should dress up. Right, I'm going to be a greeter.
Well, young mom's version of dress up was much more appropriate for Saturday night than Monday morning in front of a junior high, right? One of those skirts that I joke was almost a belt.
And one of those tops where you bend over, it's like, well, hey, there you are. Now imagine this, parents dropping their kids off,
is that a streetwalker in front of the junior high? Huge problem, everybody's gossiping. Got to sit this young mom down, make her feel embarrassed and horrible.
Major problems with something as simple as saying hello to kids in the morning because they didn't pay attention to systems, systems, systems.
I can't tell you the thousands of great ideas and hardworking teachers I see put good things in place that fail miserably because they're not doing it systemically.
Right, they're not doing it systemically. I can't tell you the number of teachers that tell me it's just easier for me to go in my room and shut my door, keep my head down, and just do my thing.
Well, if we're going to take something on as significant and serious as kids dropping out due maybe to reasons that we talked about, we can't keep going
into our classroom door and keeping our head down. All right? We've got to learn to sort of work together.
So some other essential features around schoolwide PBS. First of all, non-negotiable, we work with teams. So when schools say, help, come, most states have got initiatives.
You've got one here in Pennsylvania. You can get part of that initiative. They're going to say, okay, we're going to send our counselor and our lead teacher.
Nope, you've got to put together a team. On that team, you must have a building administrator. The reason I got so excited when so many hands went up when I asked
for building administrators is because we know you guys don't have to be the leader of this team, but for that to be successful, you have got to support them.
Because there are decisions that need to be made only you can make, right?
So on that team, you have an administrator. Then you make sure it reflects the makeup of your school. We come up with that universal curriculum. I'll show you an example in a second.
We're always data-based in terms of decision making. Where are our problems? When are our problems? What time of day? All right? Are we matching the solutions to the challenge?
Another favorite, your neighbor, Ohio, years ago was in Ohio. They had a great statewide initiative around schoolwide PBS. And this big high school showed up and I was kind of, why are you here?
What's the problem? And they said homework. I'm like, homework? It's like, yeah, kids turning in homework. And I said, okay, how big is your school?
And it was a big high school. It was in a town, you know, again, the rust belt. Kind of went bust, most people out of work, lots of social, you know, challenges and so forth.
I said, well, on a really, really good day, what percent of kids bring their homework? Well, on a really, really good day, maybe 25%, 30%. I said, let it go.
You're done with this battle. Because that's what was happening. Every day was a battle, escalations, problems, problems, problems.
Right? You need to match your strategies to your data. And they said, well, no, we can't just -- it's like, yes, let it go.
Ask yourself, why do kids do homework? Well, once we get past because I said so, right, and we really think about, okay, what really is the rationale for homework? Homework is to build fluency.
So the idea is I've only got 50 minutes. I'm going to teach you something. I can't build fluency, so I give you things to practice at home to build fluency.
Are there other ways to build fluency in the school day and let the homework battle go?
And that's exactly what they did. Right? And that's what a lot of schools that I've worked with have done.
Figure out what we can do within that six hours. Figure out what you need based on your data, right?
So what does it look like? At the universal then, we have schools basically come up with, what do you want kids to do instead? So I always start with teachers.
List the problem behavior and challenges. Not kids' names, challenges. Disrespect, noncompliance, harassment, graffiti, lots of physical fights.
Okay, for every one of those, what do you want the child to do instead?
And what'll happen is they'll start clustering around themes. Right? We come up with ways to teach and practice.
We don't just do the first week. We teach all year long. And it looks different from preschool to high school, as well it should.
The other thing that happens is people are like, really, we got to teach? Yes, all year long. I love it this time of year. Right, we're into March.
I'll talk to my teams, like, you know, we're really getting tired of teaching this behavior. Can't we stop? And I say, yeah, you know, I'm with you.
I am sick to death of math. Who's with me? No more math the rest of the year. You guys in? And they all laugh.
Well, no, we got to keep teaching math. Why? Well, because we still got a lot of material to cover. Exactly. Right? There's always material to cover.
We come up with ways to encourage, meaning giving kids feedback.
One of the big misrules about schoolwide PBS, it's bribing kids to behave. First of all, bribing by definition means giving money or favor doing something illegal.
Not asking kids to do anything illegal. Second, if you want learning to occur, if you want mastery to happen, you have to give feedback. Otherwise, no more quizzes,
no more tests, no more homework, never grade another thing the kids do. Well, no, we have to. Why? So we know they're mastering it. So they know they're mastering it.
Exactly. You've got to, at minimum, give kids feedback to let them know they're mastering social behaviors. Now again, it needs to developmentally fit.
I remember years ago, a principal set me up, junior high, said, can you come and talk to our school? We're just -- it's just -- everything is going south.
We'd really like to kind of give -- I'm thinking about schoolwide PBS. And so I got set up.
So I went and talked, and it was the nastiest, surliest group of humans I've ever met. Not the kids. The kids were junior high kids. This was the staff.
And I got to this point about encouraging, and they were having nothing. This guy was like, ah, that's too elementary. That's just bad. It won't work here.
I could just see you saying, oh, hey, nice job walking down the hallway. And they use that voice and everybody's laughing and carrying on. And I said, well, what could you do? It won't work here.
What could you do? And I just stopped and stared him down, and it got uncomfortable. And he finally, well, sometimes my guys like it, you know, if I just go by and high five or fist bump them.
Right? Or if I see somebody, you know, doing something well, later on by himself say, hey man, nice job over there. People were pushing and you got everybody quieted down. Way to go.
Perfect. That's the point you gave feedback in a developmental way that made sense for your kids. That's how they learn.
That's how they know they're doing, quote unquote, the right versus the incorrect thing. So it fits your context.
This is, again, another area where you bring all of this. And looming in the background here is culture.
Right? So you've got to make it culturally relevant and fit the context. So teaching, practicing, encouraging. Build within.
A lot of my schools really struggle with this. And again, looking around this room, we're pretty typical.
We are a white group of people in here, right? We're pretty equally split, which is unusual. It's usually me and the ladies, right? It's usually 80% female, largely middle class,
and so forth. But that's not what my schools look like. That's not what maybe your school looks like. And it makes us uncomfortable to have the conversation.
And I tell my schools, look, first of all, get over it. Get over it. Put it on the table and have the conversation. But I say work from outcomes backwards.
I have the good fortune to travel the world and work with schools. I was just in Australia a couple weeks ago. I'll be in Europe in a little bit.
I have yet to encounter a group of people that say, yes, we want our kids to be really mean and rotten. We want them to be disrespectful to adults.
We want them to have no friends. Every group I work with talks about children being respectful, children being successful. They may show it in different ways.
So I always say, look, start with the outcome and work backwards. And then look at the variations and make sure your schoolwide PBS curriculum reflects that.
You know, the great example, I do a lot of work in the west, is with Native Americans.
You know, and I clearly remember as a little guy, man, an adult talked to you, if you weren't looking, it's like, look at me when I'm talking to you! Right, it's the first thing you get yelled at.
Oh, sorry. Well, that's incredibly disrespectful with a lot of our indigenous people in the western part. You know, you show respect by looking down.
Perfect. Kids are respectful. They can show respect in different ways. When we focus on the different ways, that's where we get hung up.
That's where we stereotype and we overgeneralize. No, no, no, have the conversation. Focus on big outcomes, right?
I mean, it's not a mystery. It's not a secret. We know we fail groups of people in this country.
We know African-American males are way overrepresented in every one of those bad categories: disability, dropouts, incarceration. Right? It's not a secret. It's not a secret,
but what makes us nervous to talk about that? And I say, yeah, right, let's not talk about African-American males. Let's talk about all the kids in our school. What do they need to be successful?
What can we do in our environment to increase the likelihood? How do we teach and practice that? How do we do it in a way that's respectful and culturally relevant? Right?
So again, it isn't a package. It's not a curriculum, not a program. It's a problem solving process.
We look at our data, our challenges, our issues. We build things in our environment to increase the likelihood.
So what does it look like? Here's an elementary example. Right, they come up with the matrix, and I'm sure a lot of you in here have matrix.
This basically is our scope and sequence for social behavior. At Benton, they have three rules. I'm safe, respectful, I'm a learner.
Across all settings, it looks like this. Across different settings, you see behaviors.
So instead of saying don't hit, don't run, don't push, don't jump, don't throw things on the floor, they teach, practice, give feedback about walking, using indoor voice, putting garbage in the bin.
Some of my favorites, bathrooms, right? One person per stall is a good way to be safe. Always a good rule. Every matrix I've ever seen has keep hands and feet to self.
Starts meaning something different at middle school, but still a good idea that boys and girls keep their hands and feet to themselves, right?
This reflects Benton's challenges. You can't just wipe Benton out and put in your school. It has to be in response to your behaviors, your challenges.
Here's a high school that kind of built on this sort of, you know, kind of athletic rah: respect, achievement, honor. And you see again key skills they want kids to master.
Now this isn't the sum total of all things we want kids to do to be successful. These are in response to some of their major challenges.
These are things we know from the literature will keep kids engaged, increase the likelihood they're academically and socially successful. Right?
So the first step, all of our schools, they all come for those tough kids. We always say you've got to start with universals. Got to get your house in order.
Because everything we do from this point forward is going to be built upon those universals. It's like teaching everybody French instead of just a handful of kids.
Some of the things about the core curriculum. As I said, it's focused on local issues, focused on challenges that you have. There should be a clear goal or purpose.
I'm always dumbfounded the stuff we do in education. We put things in place that have no outcomes. I always say, well, how will you know if this works? Well, we'll get better.
I can't tell you the number of times I hear that. It's like, what does that look like? Right? How can I take that to your school board and say, look, it got better, trust us? No.
In fact, years ago, my district where I live was sort of research sites, playing around. They got summoned by the state department, as you guys sometimes do.
And they said, okay, we will see you this Friday at this time. And be prepared to talk about your district improvement plan.
And they panicked. So they called me and they said, Tim, do you have anything that can help us? I said, you betcha. Here, mountain of data.
So they showed up and they didn't just tell stories. They said, here's one of our goals. Here's where we are right now.
Here's the reductions we've had in long-term suspensions. And the state department was like, wow. Again, it was sort of like this novel, new things that just seemed so obvious.
But anyway, other things about teaching the core curriculum. In other words, there should be a clear goal and purpose.
If you're going to ask me to teach something in your school, you need to let me know why, right? What's the outcome.
The other thing we've done is we've gotten away from all-day trainings. And I've become a big fan of what we kind of call this sort of mini-module logic.
Particularly when we start talking about -- I keep finding dead spots here. Particularly when we talk about sort of classroom supports and things like that.
So here's the logic. We do a ten-minute in-service at a faculty meeting. We focus on a single skill.
Right? Just one skill. Then for the next two weeks, everybody in the school is focusing on that skill.
The other thing that we know from research, we're just like the kids. If we don't get feedback, it's real hard for us to change our behavior.
So we use a lot of peer coaching. People pick who they're comfortable with. Principals, you guys have to do those walk-throughs, right?
We've actually armed principals on iPads and smartphones, real quick, easy tools to actually count the behavior that we're focusing on, that skill.
Again, it doesn't go to your evaluations, not part of your permanent record. It's used to make sure we keep getting better, right?
So if you're interested, you can go to my state's website, pbismissouri.org, and look for a classroom. You'll see these mini-modules.
They're already there. PowerPoints, handouts, tip sheets, and so on and so forth. And you can kind of see the logic that we've used.
The other thing that I always sort of encourage people to remember as you're working with your colleagues, people always want to say, look, we got to get people to buy in.
We got to get people to believe this. And I always point out if you really want to be successful, don't worry about the people who don't buy in. Give people solutions to their problems.
Another reason why this isn't a curriculum or a package, every school starts in a different place because we want to make sure they address their challenge.
So what are my worries about our beliefs? And if you see by my figure here that I'm going to show you, that's the last thing we should be worried about.
First of all, look at data. Where are your challenges? Our cafeterias are a nightmare. Nobody wants to go near them. Okay, then let's focus on cafeteria.
Let's give the kids and teachers some tools and skills to change the cafeteria. Cafeteria is easy to fix. We can fix it, clean it up in a couple weeks.
When you solve my problem and I see things get better, then I'm a believer. Right? So another key piece as we're thinking
about putting things in place, and you guys going back to your schools after you hear all this good information from this conference, it's not about convincing me.
It's about helping me solve my problem. When you help me solve my problem, I'm all in.
One of the best sorts of analogies I heard, I was -- there was a district that was going district-wide. A couple of the schools were doing schoolwide PBS, had some good outcomes,
and so they asked the principals to come and talk to the school board and superintendent. And the superintendent wasn't having anything to do with it and was
really struggling with this idea. So kind of ask, it's like, well, how did you get everybody on board? How did you get everybody to buy in?
And it was the high school principal said, you know what? At some point, my ship has got a sail. And if I leave a couple people in the dock, so be it.
Right? I'm not going to worry about making sure everybody's on board. We got big problems. We need to move forward and solve them.
I thought, oh, that's beautiful. I'm going to use that every time I talk to groups of people. Right? Solve my problems, then I'm in.
We look at the non-classroom setting as part of universals: hallways, bathrooms, buses, the way kids come and leave school, common areas, and so forth. Same logic.
What do you want them to do instead? Teach and practice. But we also look at some of the characteristics and routines. Does everybody in your school know the routines?
Does everybody follow the routines? If you did an honest assessment, the answer to the first one would be sure. The second one would be, oh, not so much.
Somebody does a study every ten years that finds in a typical elementary school, kids spend the equivalent of one day per week in transitions, physical as well as activity to activity.
That's a lot of down time. That's a lot of down time for high risk kids to get in trouble, right? What are the routines, teach and practice, everyone is consistent. Consistent.
The other thing we do is we look at the classroom. And I tell people, look, the classroom's personal, but we've got to take it on. We've got to make sure, one,
that every classroom uses our schoolwide rules. So when I come visit your school and I wander in and out of your classrooms,
I look around and I should be able to see the rules posted very prominently. I should see respect, responsibility, safe.
Now every classroom teacher then adapts and adopts to fit their unique setup. So if you're the - I always -- I can't remember the acronym, but it used to be the old home ec.
It's not home ec anymore. It's food and consumer science facts. That's it. If you're the facts, right, and you've got stoves and you've got, you know,
instruments where kids can hurt themselves, irons and so forth, you're going to teach responsible and safe a little bit differently. But you're still going to share those common core schoolwide rules.
Second, we've got to make sure everybody has good strategies. And this is one of those curious things. We've got a lot of self-assessment tools that you can use. Pennsylvania's got them
on their site as well. And people will say, oh yeah, we're struggling schoolwide. Yeah, we're struggling here. Classrooms, we're all good. Everybody's convinced we're doing these things.
And you might be, but the other thing we know is that we may have to change the level of intensity to make sure we increase the likelihood that kids successful.
The other thing we know is this. Look, if you're a really good teacher, here's your reward. We give you the most difficult, challenging, tough kids in school.
I mean, I used to do it as a classroom teacher. I came and begged you, please take one more of my guys, please. Because I knew your room had the routines, the rules,
the structure to increase the likelihood they'd be successful. As I said, I taught in the dark ages. That meant I had an extra plan time. No, not anymore, right?
I think one of the best things we've done in the last decade is class within a class and pushing in.
I should be standing there teaching with you, and we should be working together to differentiate that instruction not just for that IEP kid,
but that other ten kids that look a lot like that IEP kid, but didn't quite qualify. Right? How do we support each other?
In fact, when we think about dropout and we think about keeping kids engaged and we think about keeping kids connected to school, Sanders and Rivers a good decade
ago now did one of the biggest analysis looking at statewide data. And again, better, worse, let's not go there about that conversation about testing, okay?
But found this. Look, the single biggest factor again is that effectiveness of classroom instruction.
The answer to why isn't per pupil or expenditure or poverty. In fact, they found that kids at the elementary level, if they had two, quote unquote, bad years in a row,
meaning if they had a teacher that was struggling two years in a row, no matter where you came from, both your parents could be MDs, you know, Nobel laureates,
you were going to fare worse than the kid down the hallway. In fact, they found 50 percentile differences by the time these kids got to high school.
The importance of effective instruction as we think about keeping kids successful both academically and socially cannot be understressed enough.
Now I share this data with everybody, right? And the first response, it makes people nervous. Like, oh good,
you know, one more person is blaming the teacher, putting everything on the teacher's shoulders and saying, teacher, look, you screwed up again. Absolutely not.
I point out in schools and districts, if you've got a school that's struggling, that's a systems issue. That's a district issue. It's a state issue.
It's not an individual teacher issue. Because clearly if that teacher knew what to do, clearly if that teacher had the resources to be successful, wouldn't they be doing it? Right?
Again, I've worked with tens of thousands of educators. And yes, every now and then I'll come across one where I say, well, have you ever thought of real estate?
I hear the market's, you know, bouncing back again. The overwhelming majority of teachers, you didn't get in this profession for fame and glory and money.
If you did, you need to talk to your guidance counselor at high school because they misled you. You got into this business because of kids and seeing kid outcomes.
What I see is a lot of dysfunctional systems. And when we talk about those turnaround schools and we talk about -- can't remember the Pennsylvania term.
It's a four. I know there's a four. Section four? What is it? Somebody help me out here. Isn't there -- when you're under this.
what's that? Indicator four, thank you. I knew there was a term along that way here. That means uh oh, right? Your school's struggling.
Well, again, we've got to figure out how to point and how to put in and build this capacity within those schools.
Why? It's so important to support the teachers because all of us work with kids like Calvin. Miss Wormwood? Yes, Calvin? You can present the material,
but you can't make me care. Rumor has it she's up to two packs a day unfiltered. How do we support each other? Systems, systems, systems.
Now here, as I said, those mini-modules. What we've done in my state is we did a careful analysis of all of the research that we could find around classroom instruction,
classroom engagement, classroom management, and found these eight essential features
that popped up time and time again. Pbismissouri.org, you can get the mini-modules on each of these eight, PowerPoints on what it means.
There are tip sheets, so there are examples from elementary and secondary for opportunities to respond, for example, how much instructional talk teachers should engage in, and so forth.
So we've got to make sure, as part of our schoolwide system, we don't overlook the classroom. It's not to make every classroom look the same,
but to make sure every classroom teacher is successful and building environments to increase the likelihood.
Well, how do we do that? I talked about this logic of these brief in-services. I talked about peer coaching. I talked about those principal walk throughs.
Let me show you an example of a study that we did. This was, again, elementary school. One high SES, one very low SES. We basically had these mini-modules.
The schools came up with this. they call them cool tools. That's what they use for their kids, the social skill lessons. So they adopted them for themselves.
Looking at instructional prompts, feedback, and wait time, areas that we noticed that we're struggling with.
We implemented schoolwide. And here's what we wanted to know. Is peer coaching just as effective as having an expert come in?
So what do I mean by peer coaching? So let's take a look at instructional talk. We know the optimum within a class period, about 35,
40% of that class period should be me teaching you the concept. The rest of the time, kids should be practicing to build fluency.
Right? So I shouldn't be talking 100%. If I'm only doing 5%, I'm probably not going to be explaining it to the point where kids are acquiring the information.
So what we wanted to know was, well, the expert can come in and measure that and give all kinds of feedback. What if a colleague just came in and just simply measured the amount?
So that's what our peer coaching looks like. So opportunities to respond, another great way to increase engagement, reduce problems.
So Nancy and I get along okay, right? And so I'm comfortable with her coming in my room, and she's okay with me coming in her room.
We just find ten minutes in a week we can go into each other's classroom. So I show up, I just count the number of opportunities to respond I see.
When my ten minutes is up, I leave that data on her desk and I go. We don't meet. We don't debrief. She picks it up and says, oh, I'm kind of low according to what research says is optimal.
Let me take a look at this list again from that mini -- the in-service. Oh, I might -- I'm going to try response words tomorrow. I'll try response cards, see if that works.
That's it, right? That's it. We don't meet and go over for days and hours and so forth and so on. We just simply share data. Here's what happened.
So here's instructional talk. There's the red bar's the optimum. You see a lot of teachers were way out of whack, meaning they were spending way too much time talking.
Basically, the red is direct coaching and the yellow are peer coaching. We found both were equally successful. Both were equally successful.
The key was we focused on a single skill. You gave me strategies to do that skill, and then you let me know, am I on track?
And if I'm off track, oh, how do I get on track? We see amazing outcomes in sort of changing and building that capacity within those classroom environments.
Another example where we talk about, well, here are some essential features. Everybody should be doing it. And teacher, oh yeah, I'm doing it, I'm doing it.
Sometimes, though, in response. Remember that key, behavior is functionally related to the teaching environment? We sort of get out of practice.
So we had a seven-year-old already identified with emotional behavior disorders and ADHD. This was a great teacher, a true master teacher.
And one of the true joys of my job, I'm not being sarcastic, is I get to go hang out and watch really good teachers teach.
And it's just a thing of beauty to watch a really good teacher teach. And she's one of them. I just like sitting in her classroom and just watching her go. She's just unbelievable.
She said, help, this kid's got my number. I'm not sure what to do. Right? And we said, okay, we'll help if you let us play researcher.
She's like, whatever. So what we did is we asked her, what are your routines? How do you organize your classroom? We looked at feedback.
We looked at those essential features. Okay? And what we found was in baseline, she was very inconsistent. So all we did was work with her to build consistency.
And here's what happened to kid problem behavior. It all but disappeared. We didn't do anything different for the child. We simply worked on the environment.
Now could that teacher have done this on her own? Probably not. If she could have, she would have done it. That's a good example of how I keep talking about the system has got to support.
And this case was a great teacher who was struggling with tough kids. How does the system respond? Looking at those data, what classrooms?
Overall, we've got lots of different research studies to show that schoolwide PBS will in fact have an impact on those key variables
that we talked about. What does all this say? We can reduce behavior problems. We get improvements in academic achievement.
We get improved perceptions in self and safety, improved school climate, reduction in bullying, so on and so on and so on.
All of those things that we talked about in terms of why kids drop out, we've got evidence and we got evidence from the current U.S. Department of Ed gold standard, those randomized control trials.
Even at the high school level, right, I talked about that importance of early intervention. It's not too late. Some of our star schools, West Charlotte, highly impacted school.
You see 73% free and reduced lunch, 98% ethnic minority, mostly African-American, Hispanic. Significant reductions in suspensions, significant increase in achievement.
Another school out of North Carolina, Triton High School, halved their dropout rate within about two years. They built an environment to increase the likelihood.
You can read more about these schools if you go to pbis.org and download the high school monograph.
We brought together high schools from all over the United States who were doing amazing things and asked them, what are you doing? How did you get here? And you can read about their stories.
Some other high schools, Mountain View out of Colorado went from last to first in achievement. Lebanon, a very rural school in my state, had a 25% reduction and improvement in school climate.
What did all these high schools do? All these high schools basically, to put it in a really simplistic way, started thinking like a middle school.
What do I mean by that? Think about the way middle schools are organized by teams. So instead of just all the English teachers getting together, the team gets together and talks about kids.
That's what Mountain View High School did. They built these houses within their school. So yes, all the math teachers got together like they needed to do,
but then they also had meetings with this vertical. So all the kids in the house, they had data decision rules.
Anytime a kid was struggling, kid absent, tardies, reduction in work, behavior problems, they talked about it.
They problem solved. They put in environmental supports. They basically had ways to connect to kids.
Again, you think about kids who drop out, one of the common themes even among the kids who know academically can do it just didn't feel part of that school.
I mean, they all talk about feeling sort of disenfranchised, that they weren't connected. Right? That they weren't supported.
One of our high schools in Kansas City, as part of our high school project, we're doing check and connect.
Anybody familiar with check and connect? Great, check and connect is a great program out of Minnesota. Strong empirical evidence.
And it's basically kids meet once a week with a teacher and they go through data from the week. And as I said, we don't wait three months down the track to kind of intervene.
Within a week. But the beauty that I like about check and connect is, based on the data pattern, the manual will guide you. Okay, here are some strategies.
But the other really nice thing it does is it basically has the adult work with the kid and teach them to go solve their problem.
Because the other thing we inadvertently do sometimes is we take care of it. I know I did it. Oh, you're falling behind? Well, let me go talk to your teacher.
I'll try to work something out. No, you're 17 years old. I shouldn't be going, talking to your teacher. You should. But our kids that are struggling don't have those skills.
So that's what the mentor does, and the check and connect. They say, okay, what might you do? Well, let's pick one. Okay, now let's role play that a bit.
What are you going to do if the teacher says no, right? Or if it's a peer to peer problem, what are you going to do it? And so it's a really nice way to keep kids engaged, right? Keep kids engaged.
The Triton High School in North Carolina, one of the things the principal talked about -- again, that was a school that halved their dropout rate.
That they did really well, again, a small, rural school is on report card day, it was quarterly, the kids went to the cafeteria, library.
There were stations set up where they got their report card. But instead of just handing it to them, they showed up to a table and he enlisted people from the community.
So he had businesspeople, he had non-educators sitting around a table and going through that child's report card.
So they would say, wow, this is fantastic, lots of reinforcement. Or they would start talking about, well, I see you're struggling here.
How come you showed up so many times late? Right? And the businesspeople said, you know what would happen if you were one of my employees, don't you? You wouldn't have a job.
You'd be fired. Right? Here are -- in other words, he basically got these kids connected. He made the curriculum relevant.
Because people from the community came and said, this is why it's important. All right, this is why it's important. So all of these strategies were put in the environment to increase the likelihood.
Okay, moving up the continuum then, kids who don't respond to universals alone, who need additional help, we put in those tier two or small group. Key pieces around tier two.
First of all, we've got to figure out who these kids are. And we need to identify them sooner rather than later. In our schools, we put in three sort of strategies.
One, we create decision rules like you get so many office referrals, you've been absent so many days, you get so many tardies. We talk about you. We don't wait for the problem to become chronic.
We always have a way for teachers to refer. Kids who act out, disruptive, we know who they are. But those kids on the internalizing end, kids who are anxious, depressed,
not making good peer connects, are also just as at risk. They're not going to show up in a lot of our data. But teachers know when something's up.
And then increasingly, a lot of our schools are going to screening. We screen for all sorts of things. We're federally required by law to screen for kids with emotional-behavioral problems.
We put in some real quick, easy takes teacher two to three minutes ways to sort of recognize and flag kids who are not being successful with universals alone,
who might benefit from tier two. And as I say, we do this K-12. It's not just about the little ones. It's that early intervention across the continuum.
We then match the data to interventions. We do basically three types.
We do additional social skill instruction, we do lots of self-management through check and connect at the high school check-in, check-out at the elementary,
and good academic supports. In very bright red letters, you see it's got to be linked to universals to be successful. Okay?
Let me take a breath. Again, this is a long time for you guys just to sit and listen to a lot of information. Any questions, comments so far? Everybody with me? Not everybody.
Some of you are who knows what. But the other thing is, I mean, adults are -- you know, they're the toughest group, right? You guys are great passive learners.
No clue what's going on, right? Yeah, looking this way, you're all working. Composing poetry and all sorts of things. Any major -- yes please? You have to yell it real loud.
TIM LEWIS: Question was, are we using peer coaching in high schools as well? Limited. Limited. You know, again, lots of high schools -- raise your hand.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: [inaudible]
We've got to figure high schools out. We've got to rethink high schools. And again, I know at the end
of the day, you guys are driven by credit, the all-powerful credit because that's how kids get out. But we set up so many barriers to effective practices in high school.
You know, the other thing that we struggle with in our high schools is we have very few incentives for teachers to try something like peer coaching.
Right? My big high schools, we've got six, six, you know, assistant principals who do nothing but process discipline. There's no incentive for me to change.
The only incentive I got is to fill the pink sheet out. And I fill it out enough times, you go away, right? So how do we build those incentives?
So we've had teachers who absolutely have loved the peer coaching. We've had teachers -- I was really shocked and surprised in our big high school project,
just hungry for good, basic instructional strategies. You know, and again, it makes sense. Our secondary teachers know their subject backwards and forwards,
but they get very, very little pedagogy. They get next to nothing around management, right? So they may know math, but man, they don't know how to teach kids, right?
And they really struggle. Not all, not all, but many of them say, you know, look, I was taught the way I was taught, and I'm not so sure.
And we give them some of those effective strategies, opportunities to respond, and it's just like, okay, give me more, give me more. Because they start seeing great outcomes.
And in those cases, we've been able to bring in some of the peer coaching then and get us out of the picture. Another question back there.
TIM LEWIS: Right. Do I recommend a specific -- was that the question? There are several good ones out there. And I always tell people don't reinvent the wheel.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: [inaudible]
The problem is most of them are set up assuming you have a social skill deficit, meaning you don't know what to do.
And unless you're working with kids with autism or kids with significant developmental delays, they know what to do.
They have what we call a performance problem, meaning they know what to do, they're just not doing it because their social skill, what we would label inappropriate, is more efficient, effective.
But ones that I recommend, I would take a look at Gresham, the social skill rating scale. It's now the social scale information system.
It's K through ages 18. It's a nice scale, plus the scale then maps to a curriculum. There are [inaudible]
got some really nice tools out there for younger ones, the cool tool and the tough -- the cool kids and tough kids series. The aggression replacement training, Goldstein at the high school level.
Having said that, all of these have got to be contextualized and mapped to your schoolwide system. In other words, if you teach these in isolation, that's exactly what'll happen.
It won't generalize. They won't use them. I mean, I was -- I use myself, you know, when I teach my pre-service teachers as a non-example.
I mean, I had a great social skill curriculum and I had my high school guys practice it. And they we redoing great. They would role play, you know,
and they would tell me what they're supposed to do. And then I'd see them out in the hallway, you know, flipping the principal off and, you know, knocking kids around.
And I remember I brought them together one day and I said, guys, what is up? We've been working on these social skills.
And one of my just favorites, Linelle, looked at me dead serious and said, you didn't actually expect us to use those,
did you? I said, believe it or not, that's what I get paid to do. And then they proceeded to tell me all the reasons they couldn't use those skills.
And so it occurred to me, it's like, okay, that makes all kinds of sense. However, here's the deal. When you see an adult, here's how you greet them.
When you're at school, here's the language you use. When you go for a job interview, right? So in other words, again, it was that disconnect between what they did
in their peer groups and what was expected, you know, across those settings.
So there's some good ones out there. Got to adapt and adopt. You got to link it to schoolwide. If you don't, you're just wasting your time.
In fact, most schools that say we want to start a social skill group, I say, oh, don't waste your time. Just bring them together for 15 minutes and let them play cards.
You're going to get the exact same outcome. It's going to go nowhere. And again, I don't say that, you know, to be a cynic that I am. I say it because we know it's true time and time and time again.
We can teach social skills. That's easy. Getting it generalized and having kids use them is near impossible until and only until the environment changes.
Because here's the bad news. And I think everybody in this room knows this. Problem behavior is typically much more efficient and effective than doing the right thing.
Right? So I don't know what the setup is tomorrow. I don't know if you guys are getting fed lunch. If it's a nice sit down lunch, then no worries.
But let's say it's a buffet, right, and there's a line. And there are 700 of you. Wouldn't it be a lot easier just to basically show up and knock
whoever's in front down and just jump in line? You bet, right? You're getting food, you get all the good desserts.
So why don't you do that? Well, we don't do that because we've been taught the rule is get at the end of the line. But wouldn't it be more efficient? You betcha.
That's what our kids know. They use social skills. They're social skills.
We just label them as, quote unquote, inappropriate, right? So there's some good ones out there. Again, mapped to your larger universal curriculum.
Tier three then, those highly intensive, individualized supports driven by a functional behavioral assessment.
Why is this kid doing this problem? How do we teach them practice instead? We start bringing in better connect points to mental health, community, and so forth.
But again, in very big, bright red letters, it has to be linked to the schoolwide system. Otherwise, again, you're going to show very limited to no outcomes.
Had an elementary school years ago and they told me,
because we were just kind of doing a landscape of what's out there, they had a mental health worker come to their school twice a week for 45 minutes and work with a group of kids.
And I said, wow, that's great. That's a pretty cool resource. Not a single adult in the school could tell me what she did. Nobody had any idea.
I think they were just happy somebody took them away for a little bit, right? Nobody could tell me what -- well, surprise, surprise, they didn't see any outcomes. Right?
We do these things in isolation all the time. We've got to link them to schoolwide. You know, and think about the triangle.
If you want to think about the energy and effort, flip it over. That's what these kids require from us. So there's fewer and fewer of them, thank goodness,
but it requires a whole lot more work on our part if we're going to be successful. Right? If we're going to be successful.
Good. Other questions before we kind of keep motoring on here? All right, again, if something pops up, please as we go.
Now I'm going to go through this section relatively quick because I'm just running out of time.
But I think it's really important that when we think about what we should put in our environment, we also have got to match those practices, the intensity of the practice, to prior learning history.
So classroom teachers, come August, that first week of school, you doing a lot of things to set up the classroom, get kids organized and oriented and so forth.
We also do a lot of assessments. Right? We do some math. Wow, that must have been one hell of a summer because they forgot everything. I'm going to have to go back and teach a lot of prerequisites.
Or wow, I didn't know they got that far. I can jump ahead. In other words, you match the curriculum based on learning history.
But when it comes to social behavior, we still try to do this one size fits all, and we try to force the kid into the curriculum.
What we've got to do is remember kids have different learning histories. And if we're going to understand what's successful and what we need to do,
and more importantly why some things we do don't work, we've got to understand where these kids come from.
So I want to start with this quote that I have here from Hill Walker, Jeff Colvin, and Betsy Ramsey, who wrote a great seminal text on antisocial behavior.
These are the most difficult kids, right? These are the kids who are, you know, stealing cars and disrupting and getting into gangs and drugs, et cetera, et cetera.
But I love this quote for a number of reasons.
One, if antisocial behavior is not changed by the end of grade three, it should be treated as a chronic condition much like diabetes.
That is, it cannot be cured, but managed with the appropriate supports and continuing intervention. First of all, think about people with diabetes.
If you have diabetes, you've got to do what the rest of your life? Got to monitor your blood sugar, regulate it with insulin, diet and exercise.
There is no cure at this point. You know you have to do those things. If you do those things, you lead a normal, typical, healthy life.
If we've got lots of kids high risk for antisocial behavior and we've not significantly altered that by the end of grade three, that kind of developmental window closes.
But as I said, I like this quote because it doesn't mean we throw our hands up and say, oh, we're screwed. Those elementary teachers, you know, you didn't fix them. There's nothing we can do.
The parallel to diabetes is important. You've got lots of kids with a learning history that puts them high risk.
We, the school, have got to be part of monitoring the blood sugar, regulating the insulin, and diet and exercise, meaning these kids can be successful,
but they will always need some supports the rest of their life to be successful, just like people with diabetes will always need to do that regimen.
Now I shared this quote and a teacher one time said, man, that's just really, really pessimistic to think about these kids are always going to need somebody like me.
It's like yes and no. Yes because it's tough to think about how we build those systems. No because every human alive is successful with appropriate supports.
There's not a person in this room who could have gotten to where you are on your own. Everyone in this room had family. Everyone in this room had friends.
You all had good support networks to get you to where you are, that got you through tough spots. They celebrated high spots.
The problem is a lot of our kids have got support systems, but they're incredibly dysfunctional.
Right? And if we're going to sort of break that cycle and get kids out, we've got to think about how we build in those more functional supports.
Other things about sort of learning history. There's a wonderful book I encourage all educators to read.
Betty Hart and Todd Risley, Meaningful Differences and Everyday Experiences of Young American Children. Betty Hart and Todd Risley were researchers out of the University of Kansas.
And they did this research in the 60s all the way up until the 80s and 90s. And they wanted to know what's the impact of early language and later life outcomes.
So what they did is they identified families, low socioeconomic status, sort of middle class, and professional, upper middle class.
They also wanted to know the impact of ethnicity. So they had African-American and white families at each of those levels.
They went in the homes, they watched the primary caregiver, mostly mom, see what happened, and then just followed these kids into adulthood.
Well, it's got nothing to do with the color of your skin, but a whole lot with how much money is in that home. And they taught us some amazing things.
For example, kids in poverty, little ones again, right, I'm talking 11 months, 18 months, when they're using language and communicating, heard about 250,000 different words a year.
That's a lot of words until you hang out at a professional home, where those kids heard up to four million different words in a year.
Okay, now what does this have to do with dropout? What does this got to do with schoolwide PBS? Think about it. I've been talking to you guys now for a little bit over an hour
and a half. I've asked you to process an amazing amount of information using nothing but language. Everything we do in school, we mediate with language.
Think about those little kindergartners. Okay guys, when you're done with your painting, make sure your name's on it. Put it on the table to dry and come over here and have a seat.
And you've got these kids and there's paint on the seat. What? They're lost. They don't have a learning history with the richness of language we throw at them.
99.9% of the kids that I work with significant behavioral challenges also have significant language issues.
They're poor readers. They have a difficult time understanding the nuances of language, difficult time expressing themselves using language. Right?
It's a disconnect between that early learning history and our expectations in school. If you come from a middle class background, you do quite well in school.
Right? Because that's the assumption of the learning history we have when you set foot in that schoolhouse door.
Other things they taught us. Kids in poverty heard affirmative statements, about nine per hour.
Right, there are nine -- about nine affirmative statements per hour. I'm proud of you, good job, way to go. They heard [inaudible]
twice as often. Stop, don't, quit. Again, think about these kids. You say, stop, don't, quit; one ear, right out the other.
Or the other, have you ever tried to give a kid a positive and they recoil? They don't know how to -- they don't have a learning history with that.
In fact, in professional homes, kids hear about 30 affirmative statements per hour. Now again, what's this got to do with anything we're talking about? It has everything
to do because of the mismatch between kids, particularly kids in poverty, and somebody mentioned that as one of those high risk things, have when they come into school.
In fact, Betty Hart and Todd Risley tell us by the time a child is three years old, growing up in poverty, we are so far behind.
They estimate from the time a child is three, it will take 40 hours per week of language-rich experiences just to get that kid caught up to what a typical working class child sees.
They estimate it will take 1,100 instances of affirmative feedback per week to get that kid caught up with what a typical middle class child hears.
Again, we are so far behind. Now we don't throw our hands up and say, there's nothing we can do. We build our environment to increase the likelihood.
We're drawing high risk kids, low SES, high poverty. We know they're not coming with the same learning history that most kids do.
So therefore, our universals are going to look very different than the school down the road, right?
Other important things about learning history. And I'm going to go through this sort of quickly here. Anybody have little kids at home? Anybody have a little kid at home?
If you'd like to raise your child to be a felon, here it is, real easy, okay? Again, you've got the humor, that's good. First of all, have real inconsistent discipline.
Sometimes you enforce, sometimes you don't. Right? Keep your kid guessing. Second, when you do decide to enforce one of your rules, enforce it through harsh, corporal punishment.
You know, unfortunately, literally beat the crap out of your child.
As I said, I do a lot of early childhood work. And I remember I was in one of my Head Start schools, and the teacher came up all upset, got to talk to you, got to talk to you.
What's up? It's like, well, the mom came in last night, was talking about this little guy, right? These are three and four-year-olds. And said, oh yeah, you know, you call me if he misbehaves.
You let us know. And mom kept talking. It's like, yeah, paddle used to work to stop, but we find the extension cord gets his attention, so you give us a call.
You know, and I talk to administrators and, young man, if you don't stop, I'm going to take away your recess. And like that's the best you got? I mean, I can do that standing on my head, right?
Third, have no clue what your kid does when they hit about middle school age. So you interview the mom, the dad. Mom, name three of your child's friends.
They can't do it. Where's your kid go after school? I think he hangs out down there.
Put those three things together and, as I said, you too can raise a felon. It's a common learning history of very high risk kids for antisocial behavior.
Think about school. School, we oftentimes have very inconsistent discipline. School, oftentimes we try to get tough, zero tolerance, we're going to teach you.
All we do when we adopt those policies, get tough, we're going to teach you, is teach kids that's exactly what you do to others.
Who would be horrified to get sent to the office or have an in-school detention or get suspended?
Your good kids, your honor roll kids, right? The kids who are what I called my frequent fliers because they're in the office so often,
they should be getting points or something, right, they don't have that learning history. To them, it's not punishment.
To them, it's an adult showing, oh, that's right, when somebody does something you don't like, you try to be coercive, you try to be negative.
Not only don't traditional, quote unquote, discipline work for these kids, they exacerbate it. They make it worse.
And the reason that makes it worse is because all of our, quote unquote, discipline in U.S. schools is predicated on certain assumptions.
Predicated on the assumption that you want to be there. Predicated on the assumption that your parents want you to be there, that you value education, that your parents value education,
that you've got supports in your home, that you've got supports in your community, that everyone you talk about tells you the importance of being successful in school.
That's not the learning history of a lot of kids I work with. There's a disconnect.
So as you build your environments, as you guys look for these solutions, again, sorry the answer's not there. I don't have it. But you can build environments to increase the likelihood.
Okay, I'm going to jump through because I'm quickly running out of time and just kind of share with you a couple examples from schools and what's possible.
Right? So first of all, I want to talk about kind of that tier two, tier three problem solving process. Remember, data, practice, systems.
And again, you've got this, so you'll be able to get this handout, so don't worry about writing all it down. You'll have it.
We basically go through these five steps when we get to tier two, tier three. First, we make sure universals are always in place. Second, we come up with some decision rule to identify kids.
We've created this intermediate step at my shop, at Missouri, that we're calling classroom problem solving. We've done this elementary through middle junior.
We haven't done it at the high school yet. We would love to have a high school work with us and try some of this.
If kids don't respond, and I'm going to tell you what this classroom problem solving looks like in a second, then we put in those supports.
So what is this classroom problem solving? Here's the logic. Teachers meet in teams all the time. And what the research shows us
is teachers-assisted teams are pretty inefficient because when you put teachers together, they know what they know. Meaning if they had the answer, they wouldn't be having the problem.
So it's sort of like putting us together at a table. It's like, okay everybody, let's translate this from Iceland. Well, unless somebody at my table speaks Icelandic, we're stuck.
We don't know what to do. We might look and, oh, this word kind of looks like this. We're going to make an attempt. And because we're educators,
if we're supposed to meet for an hour, we'll meet for an hour because that's what we do, right? We got a four meeting, we have a four hour meeting.
If we have an hour -- as opposed to actually when the work gets done. Again, that's humorous, right? It's even worse in higher ed, trust me.
So, but what we do is we say, okay, somebody raise their hand and volunteer. So the classroom teacher, gen ed teacher, says I will. We teach them how to get through this problem solving process.
Every one of our classroom problem solving teams has a partner. So our school psych, our counselor, administrator, somebody with more behavioral expertise said the idea is this.
Kid meets the decision rule. First step is teachers talk informally. What can we do different for this child? If we're stuck, we ask for our partner to come in.
Or if it looks more complex than we can take on with simple fixes, we refer them onto the tier two, tier three team, okay?
What we have done is we have given this clear set of standard problem solving steps. Again, you can get this. It's called -- it's on pbismissouri.org.
We just redid the website. If you can't -- I can't find anything. If you can't find anything, shoot me an email and I'll make sure I locate it for you.
But what we've done is we've got this standard problem solving, okay? So we have taught the process leader. We've taught everybody in the school to think about the key.
Behavior is functionally related to the teaching environment. In order to change behavior, we need to know why the kid is doing what they're doing.
So what we do is we have these sort of step by step short notes. We are not going to write pages. We're going to jot notes to try to figure out what's going on. We're going to come up with a plan.
This is the detail of the plan. We're not going to do pages and pages. The idea is, can we do something simple and get outcomes? We teach looking at data.
And then when they come up with a hypothesis, we have this matrix. And it says if the kid is doing it for this reason, consider these strategies. Right? Consider these strategies.
So let me show you what it actually looks like. This comes from one of our research schools, Parker Elementary. You can kind of see the stats there. Lots of risk, lots of challenges.
First thing, make sure universals are in place. Well, they did really well on our schoolwide evaluation tool, but the assistant principal said, hang on, here's our data from last year.
Their data were way out of whack, meaning yes, they've got universals, but they didn't have them in place with the intensity to match the intensity of these kids' needs.
You would expect about 80, remember, five -- or ten and five and so forth. SO they had 1,712 referrals overall.
They had 57 kids with nine or more referrals. That's way too many kids. They don't have the resources to deal with that. So they went back to universals.
They did classroom. They did lots of peer coaching. Got in line, right? Now we've only got 16 kids. Now most kids are being successful and responding.
The other thing that they did, which I just thought was brilliant, is part of the process to really make sure we've taught and practiced our classroom universals, they gave the kids a quiz.
So when the teacher blank, most students stop and listen. So what's your attention signal? So we actually quizzed the kids.
Did I really do this? Did I teach it sufficient to build fluency? And if you get lots of uneven responses, oh, I need to go back and make sure I teach and practice.
They created their identification rules. They had two to five major referrals, two plus buddy rooms. Buddy rooms are kids -- I don't need to send you to the office,
but you're being so disruptive, we need a break. I send you to that buddy room, right, for a few minutes.
What they're finding is it's not a few minutes. Kids are spending hours and hours and hours in the buddy room.
If there's a repeated pattern, if it's a negative consequence on peers. So they created their rules based on their kids. That's part of this process.
Let me show you what it looks like, okay? So I'm going to show you a video. It's been edited just for time, but this is real.
This wasn't scripted. This is an actual team problem solving with data they have, resources, and addressing some of these early challenges.
Okay? So hopefully our sound is working. Hopefully my link is working. And if you are interested in this video, that's the address below. You can get this.
Okay, I didn't include it in the PowerPoint because it's like 70 megs and it would crash everybody's email. Oops, oh shoot. Excuse me for a second. Now it's been working brilliantly. There we go.
[VIDEO BEGINS] WOMAN: We're going to look at our SWIS data and see who's popping, who are the kids that are popping up that we need to take a look at as a team. You want to start?
MAN: Sure. I was noticing that student K is popping up in our data with it looks like a few minors and one major in a two-week period.
WOMAN: Okay. With that data, let's take a look at our data decision rule. It's on -- just a reminder, it's on nine, our tab nine.
Says two to five able room referrals, and remember that can be the span of any time. So you said he had two able rooms?
WOMAN: One able room, okay. Two or more buddy room referrals in a two-week period. And you said he had two buddy rooms within the two-week period.
MAN: He had one.
So he's meeting our data decision rule there. And remember, we only have to meet it in one space, in one spot. So he would be a student I think we need to look at further.
Okay, and then I have student R. And he has one major and no minors. And the major that happened was very impulsive, but it hasn't happened again,
and he seems that he's able to -- he has it under control at the time, at this time.
So what I would like to do is just make sure that he stays on our radar and we watch because he hasn't met our data decision rule yet.
But I just want to make sure that we -- when he -- if he or when he gets there, that we are prepared.
Let's turn to form B. This form talks about whether or not we have our universals in place, and making sure that those are in place before we would ever look at an intervention.
MAN: With student K, he has only been here, I think, approximately two weeks, two and a half weeks. So as I'm looking at these universals,
I want to make sure that he really is understanding all of these universals. I did give a quiz of, you know, do you understand these things? And he's missing a couple of holes
so I will go back and look at those.
WOMAN: Make sure those are filled.
MAN: The four-to-one ratio with this student, maybe if I increase my positive reinforcement of when he is not seeking peer attention, maybe that would be something I could try as a universal first.
And then also, again, going over making sure I repeat all the policies, the rules, the procedures, and he understands them fully since he is so new.
WOMAN: And that's one that I have circled as well.
Even though my student is not new, making sure that I praise the four-to-one with specific feedback based on I see that you are doing a nice job of sitting quietly and doing your job,
not messing with a peer around you, or something like that. So when are you seeing this problem behavior occur the most?
MAN: Student K, I notice it during breakfast time when students are eating and talking. That seems to be where there's the biggest issue.
And so if we go on further, you know, during breakfast when student K is eating or talking, the student will choose another student to kind of pick on or call names
or make fun of because then the other children will laugh or get involved. So I therefore was thinking the function of behavior is to access peer attention.
WOMAN: So during --
WOMAN: Interactions with other students, like whole group discussions or workstation time.
WOMAN: So when he will make fun of, cry. So why do you -- or because,
what's your C? What does he -- what does he want? Or what is he trying to get? Or what does he want -- or what does the other student do when that happens?
WOMAN: Well, a lot of them have been like refusing to work with him, or not wanting to sit by him, or things like that.
So that's why I was thinking that he was trying to, you know, be negative to push them away, avoid them.
MAN: Because other students will then leave.
WOMAN: So the student will do all those things because other students leave. Therefore, the function of behavior is to escape? Or I'm sorry, to avoid interactions with peers?
MAN: That's what it seems.
WOMAN: Okay. With those two students, we see that their actions might be similar with talking to other students,
maybe being mean to other students, but we found out that one is trying to obtain and one is trying to avoid.
So let's look at number four. And that says, what do we want the student to do instead? So what are some things that you're wanting student K to do instead?
MAN: I would like student K to interact with other students in a more positive manner.
WOMAN: I would like my student to manage himself and follow the rules, which state work with a zero voice when you're having a whole group discussion unless you're called on.
And also be respectful of others by using kind words when you're interacting.
WOMAN: So we'll look at number five. What strategies will match the function and increase their replacement behavior?
MAN: Yeah, I was thinking just off the top of my head some strategies I thought was maybe role playing some conversations,
how a positive interaction would go, what that would look like and sound like. I also thought about maybe giving him a list of questions that he can ask a peer
to kind of start a conversation. Because, you know, the function of behavior is accessing peer attention.
Well, one way I can access a peer who's sitting next to me is by asking them a thought-provoking question or a question about their interest.
WOMAN: I also thought about the teaching of the problem solving chart, where it's give him some strategies, stop and think.
You can ignore it. You don't always have to say something. Get help from the teacher in an appropriate way. Teach that skill. [VIDEO ENDS]
TIM LEWIS: Important things. One, two kids doing the exact same thing, right? But the function was different.
We try to apply it independent of that, you're not going to get the outcomes. Those were all gen ed teachers. That was a second grade teacher leading that.
We taught her that sort of process. Everybody was taught. You saw those binders they had in front of them. It's kind of those steps.
So we built in the logic within these sort of teacher assistance teams to come up with just real simple, easy strategies that when we catch these kids early on is oftentimes sufficient.
Right? We've got some great success stories, truly altering behavior patterns with just simple catching it early, getting in there, giving those kids what to do instead.
Okay, I am quickly running out of time and I know there's some follow-up kind of pieces here, so I'm going to, if my computer will behave itself, skip ahead.
I told you that schoolwide PBS is a problem solving process. I told you you can't make kids behave, you can't make kids learn, but you can build environments to increase the likelihood.
Environments that increase the likelihood are guided by a core curriculum, implemented with consistency and fidelity.
You have to develop that social behavior curriculum. You've got to make sure, again, by paying attention to data practice systems, we implement with high fidelity.
At the same time, this is not something we do to kids. This is something we do with kids. Another one of those intangible pieces and one of the things our high schools, when we brought
them together, said point blank. Look, if that teacher-student relationship has become so toxic, it doesn't matter what you put in place. It's not going to go anywhere.
So also talking about focusing on just that overall feeling, climate of your school.
And I ask teachers, is this a place you would want your child to attend school? And if not, why not? And how can we change that? Right?
And then finally, I just want to end on some really fun data. And I know it's very, very busy. These are our state assessment scores, the MAP,
the Missouri assessment, right? And basically what this is showing you is that schools that have schoolwide PBS in place, the whole continuum, our gold schools,
do a little bit better than schools who are not putting schoolwide PBS in place, okay? So we get a modest increase when we do schoolwide PBS. Until you start looking at some of our most at-risk kids.
These are IEP kids. Those are non-PBS schools. Those are schools with the continuum in place. This is our standard assessment, the all-powerful, almighty test score. Right?
So it is possible to put in these practices that all of those reports that I showed you from the beginning suggested.
You have to have that framework. Schoolwide PBS, RtI provide a very logical framework to make this happen.
And I need to stop talking and turn it back over for final announcement and so forth. Thanks all, and enjoy the rest of your conference.


Big Ideas

Starts at 04:32

Universal Strategies

Starts at 13:49

Continuum of Supports

Starts at 21:21

Starting Point

Starts at 35:36

Evaluate Process

Starts at 58:48