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Bald Creek Elementary School in Yancey County Schools reported 161 office referrals in 2003-04 school year, 147 office referrals in 2004-05 school year, and in the 2005-06 school year 64 referrals. Bald Creek decreased student office referrals from the first to the most recent year of implementation by 97 referrals or 60.2%. Bald Creek Elementary has decreased from 112 students being sent to ISS for one or more offense to 31 students in ISS for the 2005-06 school year. This is a decrease in ISS as a behavioral consequence by 81 occurrences or 72.3%. In 2003-04 Fourth and Fifth graders were more likely to be referred to the office. In 2004-05 Fifth graders were referred to the office most often. In 2005-06 the current Fifth graders, who has had the most exposure to Positive Behavior Intervention and Support practices were referred to the office the least amount school-wide.

Bald Creek Elementary academic performance increased after they began fully implementing in 2003-04 school year. Academic scores as reported by NC School Report Cards are as follows:

2001-02 78.1 88.6
2002-03 78.9 89.5
2003-04 82.4 90.1
2004-05 84.2 89.5

Bald Creek Elementary School attributes their progress to implementing Positive Behavior Intervention and Support (PBIS) in the school. This is just one example from the many schools in the North Carolina implementing PBIS and making significant behavioral and academic gains. Positive Behavior Intervention and Support Programs are based on effective research-based practices.

The key components of Positive Behavior Intervention and Support Programs come directly from the literature on preventing school crime. Gottfredson identified three school strategies for which at least two different studies had found definite evidence that problem behavior had been reduced. The first of these is programs that help the school initiate and sustain innovation. The practice of whole school Positive Behavior Intervention and Support encourages continuous decision-making based on the school data. This is an innovative problem solving process that involves the entire school population.

The second strategy is "programs aimed at clarifying and communicating norms about behaviors by establishing school rules, improving the consistency of their enforcement (particularly when they emphasize positive reinforcement of appropriate behavior), or communicating norms through school-wide campaigns (e.g., anti-bullying campaigns) or ceremonies." In Positive Behavior Intervention and Support programs it is important to establish and reinforce clear behavioral expectations throughout the school building and school day. The school staff must adopt a common approach to discipline that is proactive, instructional and outcome-based. Simple, clear, fair rules are developed and the behavioral expectations are taught and practiced. Appropriate behaviors are acknowledged regularly with the goal of having positive interactions four times more than negative interactions.

The third strategy is to use comprehensive instruction programs to teach social competency skills. In Positive Behavior Intervention and Support programs additional behavioral instruction in the school rules and expectations as well as social skills such as self-control, problem solving, anger management is available for students who continue to have behavioral difficulties in spite of the whole school behavioral program.

There is additional research to support the effectiveness of the practices that are part of a Whole School Positive Behavior Intervention and Support Program in the effective teaching literature and information about research based interventions for students identified as having a behavioral or emotional disability. Routines and Rules are needed to help classrooms function effectively. Studies are explicit that it is very important to teach rules the first four days or sometime within the first few weeks of school. {Leinhardt, G., Weidman, C. & Hammond, K. M. (1991).} Teaching classroom rules to the students at the beginning of the school year fosters consistency and structure for daily classroom activities. Rules communicate expectations and form the basis for "catching students being good." Enforcing classroom rules promptly, consistently and equitably assists students in learning and behaving appropriately. Clear school rules help students to be accountable for their behavior. { Project PARA} . {Kounin, J. (1970)}. {Thomas, P.(1999)}.

Reinforcing positive behavior or using positive reinforcement has been shown to be effective both with students with disabilities and in managing classroom behavior. Rewards and praise can be effective depending upon the conditions under which they occur. Praise increases the time spent performing the task. Expected tangible rewards have a consistent negative effect on task completion only when the rewards are performance independent. No type of reward negatively affected student's attitudes about the task. Verbal rewards had an overall positive effect. Quality dependent reward was associated with increased interest in the task. Eisenberger and Cameron found that the detrimental effects of reward on creativity are limited and easily avoided. One simply needs to reward creative performance, rather than trivial performance involving low cognitive effort, to prevent a decremental effect of reward on creativity. Reinforcement of student behavior is likely to be effective only to the extent that the consequences intended to function as reinforcers are actually experienced as reinforcing by the student, are contingent on the achievement of specific performance objectives, and are awarded in ways that complement rather than undermind intrinsic motivation and other natural outcomes of behavior. {Good, Thomas and Brophy, Jere (2000)} Well planned behavioral interventions, such as positive reinforcement procedures which include tangible reinforcement as well as social reinforcement, are effective in the specific setting with students with disabilities. These interventions help at the time but do not tend to generalize to other settings and to create longterm change. Thus the behavioral intervention focus should be to reduce the problem behaviors in order to help the student develop the skills which lead to long term behavioral and emotional change.

Various studies have shown that teaching students with disabilities specific social skills is an effective intervention. In whole school positive behavioral intervention and support programs, social skills instruction is an encouraged strategy for helping students who are still having behavioral difficulties after an effective universal school-wide behavioral system is in place.


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