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behavior intervention

03 Aug One School’s Behavior Intervention Process

By Tricia Halonen, ‎Behavior Coach/Dean of Students at Rowe Middle School

The Why

Over the years, our school has been through many changes with administration, counselors, and educators. High turnover has made establishing consistent expectations and systems a challenge. Along with that, we have experienced a rise in behavior challenges, largely due to direct trauma as well as secondary trauma. As an administrative team, we analyzed our behavior data and decided we needed to assess our current behavior intervention systems and change or add in more and different supports. We also needed a consistent process to follow.

Over the past couple of years, we focused on planning in August, and, in September, we hit the ground with integrity, intent, patience, and an internal motto of “we will win”.

In my experiences working in PBIS/RTI schools, the schools have really solid school-wide systems in place. I can walk around and ask students what the expectations are, and they are able to tell me. They understand and are motivated by the reward systems in place and they are excited about earning those rewards. Schools have assemblies, celebrations, spirit weeks, character lessons, family nights, team building activities, and classrooms where students are learning and feeling safe.

Moving to the next level of support for our students who are not maintaining/progressing at the same rate as their peers, behaviorally, is where it gets tough and the work gets murky. This is the point of the process where many schools have the meetings in which people ask, “what are other schools doing and how can we bring it here?” We have all participated in the trainings where we leave with notebooks full of brainstorming, new ideas, and inspiration. Then we get back to our sites and are met with our day-to-day lives and realities and the notebook is thrown in a file and the file labeled for later.

The What

Our school had the problem of practice: people were doing amazing work in silos. Our educators, counselors, support staff, and social workers were working hard for our kids, but we needed to work better together and we needed to start capitalizing on the strengths in the building as a team. Staff were getting depleted, and secondary trauma was having an effect on adult moral.

We decided to get the team together and begin to outline what was happening in the building and think about how we can systematize our interventions and hopefully begin to put the interventions into levels. Our process is a work in progress, but as a team we are seeing data showing positive change in behavior and the efficiency of working together is keeping energy levels up.

The How

Below is an infographic that very briefly gives you a look at our school’s process working towards establishing behavioral expectations, supports, and celebrations.

[Click to open]

As you look into your process and get ready for the new school year, one thing to keep in mind is that there is no one sure path or one sure way.

The growth comes when the data is collected, analyzed, and discussed and when evidence based interventions are implemented, monitored and adjusted, all the while keeping the student and their family at the forefront of what you are doing and why.

All the work has been done in collaboration with our administrative team Jessica Son and Greg Harris at Rowe Middle School in the North Clackamas School District.

How is your school managing its behavior intervention process? Email us at pd@rubicon.com. We’d love to work with you to share your story!

Tricia Halonen has worked in many sectors of education from private schools, public schools, and charter schools. She has worn the hats of a middle school science teacher, an instructional coach, a STEM coordinator, a Dean of Students, and an Assistant Principal. Through these varied experiences she has been able to craft her philosophy around education and support student growth.

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