I began last month reviewing behavior data, looking at grades across all contents for those on my caseload, and beginning to determine who needs new interventions or added measures going forward. It means I have had many meetings this month, when we are already swamped; but it also means that after the break we are ready again for a fresh start with appropriate supports.
What happens when one students’ behavior starts to slide? All the teachers report to you (the case manager) to fix it. And this student is on a behavior plan, so what is really going on?
Behavior plans require constant review and re-evaluation. Take one student, who left last year for summer break under a flurry of behavior issues and quick fixes to earn promotion to the next grade level:
We started the year off with team meetings and a behavior plan before the first day of school. We were flying high and off to a great year. However, the anecdotal stories I began hearing from staff were the first red flag. I sent reminders about the extreme need to offer behavior specific praise and reward student with positive post-its and stickers. However, even the teachers lost their umph. It isn’t surprising then to see the slip. This students’ behavior function was adult and peer attention. As soon as the positive attention diminished, the negative behaviors and correlating attention arrived on a steady rise.
As I began to pull apart my data, I looked at the 3 target behaviors individually and as a whole. I have collected data weekly from quick surveys and rating scales that I send out to all teachers on a google doc. Then those numbers become my graphs and charts. Behavior across the board had a percent decrease of 40%. (take new average – baseline average then ÷ baseline average). Then I asked the data which behaviors were most pressing or were there any successes? Unfortunately, the data was fairly consistent with just a slight relative increase in the specific behavior of remaining seated during class.
So where do we go now? We head to our meeting next week with an entire team of parents and teachers to bump up the supports in her current plan. Here are the questions we will address:
- What strategies did you use in class that resulted in positive outcomes?
- What strategies did you use in class that resulted in negative outcomes?
- What rewards and behavior specific praise did you give consistently?
- What consequences did the student receive when target behavior was not met?
- What are some rewards the student would prefer based on student survey that can be implemented by the classroom teacher?
- What reward system and planned consequences will be implemented and managed by case manager?
I know the staff admits to sliding on our positive behavior reinforcements and so we need to beef them up and determine how to use them with fidelity. I also bet that the consequences for missed behaviors were in fact teacher attention and therefore supported the function of the behavior. Our action plan:
- Create a daily checklist for behavior in class to be filled out daily by all teachers.
- Give incentive at end of day for positive results from checklist.
- Create weekly meeting with adult to review behavior data and offer larger incentive.
- Discuss weekly behavior and use missed behavior as teaching moment for expectations.
- Have planned consequences in class including planned ignoring or visual cue, verbal reminder, visual warning, mini-paper reflection/time out, lunch or after school detention.
So here we go, it will be set in place for our January return. All teachers will be trained on positive supports, strategies, and planned consequences. Student will be included on the expectations on plan going forward. It feels like a lot of work, but in reality being the point person for all the stories, concerns, and complaints from the teachers is a huge mental drain. My efforts actually put the change and action back on the teacher and the student. I cannot control either, I can control the situations, settings, and reteach expectations as they implement new strategies and supports.