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NEWS RELEASES 2007-08 :: FEBRUARY 22, 2008


U.S. Department of Education Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services Tracy Justesen will be visiting North Carolina on Monday to find out more about the state's Positive Behavioral Support Initiative and to visit two public schools that have seen improvements in student behavior as a result of implementing the program.

Justesen will first meet with North Carolina Department of Public Instruction staff at 9:30 a.m., at the Education Building in Raleigh where he will receive a presentation on North Carolina's successful implementation of the Positive Behavioral Support (PBS) Initiative and staff efforts to implement the program in more public schools.

NCDPI Exceptional Children Director Mary Watson said that Justesen contacted the Department because North Carolina is one of the few states that has successfully implemented the program to this degree and has seen significant increases in instructional time and end-of-grade/end-of-course test scores as a result. "Schools that have implemented PBS have experienced a decrease in the percentage of office referrals in comparison to schools that have not implemented PBS. When an entire school sets clear expectations for student behavior, students respond by making better decisions," Watson said.

The PBS Initiative began in 2000 as part of the North Carolina State Improvement Project funded through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). PBS is one way to impact the school's learning environment in order to support high student performance and to reduce behavioral problems. Schools that have implemented this program are working to integrate their safe schools plans, character education efforts and strategies, and discipline efforts in order to make schools safer communities for learning. The entire school staff is involved and must adopt a common approach to teaching positive behaviors that are proactive, instructional and outcome-based.

As of May 2007, 81 districts had schools that had received PBS module training and 548 schools were participating. This represents slightly more than 23 percent of all public schools in the state. Nine districts have committed to incorporating the module system-wide: Brunswick County Schools, Durham Public Schools, Charlotte/Mecklenburg Schools, Gaston County Schools, Iredell/Statesville Schools, Nash/Rocky Mount Schools, Pender County Schools, Wake County Schools, and Warren County Schools.

For more information, including Justesen's visits to Fuller Elementary and Ligon Middle Schools in Wake County, please contact the NCDPI's Communications division at 919.807.3450.

About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 126 charter schools serving over 1.5 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.

For more information:
NCDPI Communication and Information Division, 919.807.3450.