School Wide Behavior Intervention Systems

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It is research and evidence based that ongoing academic assessments and consistent analysis of behavior data is necessary and helpful in order to meet the specific needs and goals of our students. Understanding given student data gives schools the ability to use information gathered to create more efficient academic and behavioral gains for each individual student. This continuity creates accountability to school members in order to provide the most efficient of outcomes behaviorally and academically for all students. Systematic effective assessment tools are needed as well as a simple real time ongoing behavior data system that can be viewed and clearly understood when needed by all school practitioners. This proactive approach creates solutions and interventions for the individual students as well as for school team members. Likewise, it creates a systematic way of tracking students as well as an accountability system for schools. First, the review will discuss assessments and surveys used to gather data in order to make effective team constructed behavior interventions. Also, this literature review will discuss incorporated strategies and procedures designed to promote and sustain school wide behavior systems. The review will also analyze interventions and student behavioral outcomes that have helped reform efforts in the areas of school wide behavior systems with a RTI tiered support component. Lastly, this literature review will compile solutions from authors to promote professional learning communities to support SWBS.


The practice of suspension, expulsion, SARB letters, and Saturday school are archaic and ineffective at solving behavior problems long term. Likewise, many districts still resort to "zero tolerance" and other punitive practices, hoping to control these sometimes insurmountable behavior problems (Lewis-Palmer, Sugai, &Larson, 1999). It is time for a paradigm shift in solving behavior problems. Likewise, with the right collaborative supports in place and using data to create effective decision making the mindset of prevention is achievable. This collaborative team accountability creates action from words. The knowledge needed can be gained from clear information given by data driven sources taken from your school. The familiar focus has been on school academic assessments and what data can tell us about student progression and intervention. The other lens is we can use data to track and create a response to have effective outcome based behavior interventions in schools.

Self-Assessments and Data:

Assessment is the foundation for initiating and planning positive behavior supports in individual schools (Safran & Oswald, 2003). Initially, schools should be recommended to use data to help base their decision process. In comparision, in order to help guide schools, ongoing self-assessments are needed. With an effective assessment process school administrations can evaluate progress towards benchmarks or goals (Walker, Cheney, & Stage, 2009). It is evidence based that one of the key features of effective schools include meaningful data to help make valued decision making. Benchmarking is one form of assessment used in school development. Calabrese (2000) states, "Benchmarking compares organizational growth against best practices in the world. It means of constantly seeking, then maintaining optimum quality" (p.95) . The function of this data helps figure out the needs and improvements while also creating a plan of action.

Another form of data includes the School-wide Evaluation Tool. This measures schools progress and implementation of school wide positive behavior systems and also has a school wide information system. The information system helps tracks office behavioral referrals (Sugai G. H.-P., 2001). For instance, if a student has been sent to the office due to constant disruption, the referral is logged and tracked in the school wide information system. Also, if the student changes school the receiving school can access this incoming information and have interventions in place due to this data tracking. This more effective if the school's have continuity and implement their behavior tracking systems.

Another form of data is the effective behavior supports survey. This survey is a tool used to evaluate school behavior systems. The survey is broken into four categories: classroom, non-classroom, school wide and individual student. The survey is given to school staff in which they are given items to review. They then rate and pick from three categories. School Leadership teams will convene to review the feedback and create an action plan based on the given staff feedback. The survey is meant to help support internal decision making, annual action planning, assessment of change over time, staff awareness and team support (Walker, Cheney, & Stage, 2009). According to Safran (2004), "current best practices suggest that a combination of office referral/discipline contact data provided by systems such as the SWIS (2003) and results from the EBS Survey (Lewis& Sugai, 1999) represents a good starting point"(p.8). These practices above justify that a foundation must be created through assessment and data collection.

Procedures and Strategies

In order to continue to the structure of a school wide behavior system, schools must take part in the selection of behavior expectations that are explicitly taught and modeled throughout the campus. These are the schools values and principles that staffs as well as students understand. The function of these values and principles in part are used as a shared common language throughout the school. For example, "all students and staff will treat each other with respect, caring and fairness." Students and staff must know what these types of statements look like (McIntrye, 2010).

Next, expectations must be clearly defined and known by all students and staff. These expectations must be distinguished and consistently communicated by all school staff. The expectations must have the mindset and energy of a school with equity and good. In school, develop time each day to directly teach the values and expectations. Spend time to teach values, character education and social skills. That is, students will know what to do when a problem arises. The function of this proactive approach creates resolutions without staff watching every student and intervening. Students learn to internalize appropriate problem solving skills when behavior issues arise on campus and off without adults around. Next, clearly set up a sequence of consequences for minor infractions and more series incidents (McIntrye, 2010). The theme should include, be flexible and keep the mind that if the problem arises again, what will the student do differently this time?

The RTI component

The Response to Intervention component shares the same goals as the school wide behavior system. RTI supports outcomes, data, best practices, a proactive approach and efficient systems. RTI supports the use of data to create decision making. RTI believes in self directed work groups or teams to co-construct and collaborate interventions for student's campus wide. RTI supports a common language, common experience and a set of values. However, RTI supports a multi tier support system. The goal of the three-tiered response-to intervention (RtI) model is to catch students who are a behavior risk early and provide an appropriate level of preventative intervention (Hawken, Vincent, & Schumann, 2008). Tier 1is similar to the school wide behavior system shared above. Tier 1 consists of school wide behavior expectations that are taught throughout the year. There are clearly defined expectations with positive rewards and realistic consequences. Tier 2 consists of a more targeted approach to behavior interventions for at risk students. Interventions include, behavior contracts, mentoring, re-teaching school wide expectations and consistent communication with parents. Other interventions include "Check and Connect" and "First Steps to Success (Hawken, Vincent, & Schumann, 2008)." Tier 2 students can take part in after school programs such as "Challeging Horizons (Lindsey & White, 2008)." Challenging Horizons is a program that teaches social skills, recreational activities, academic instruction and family support. Challenging Horizon skills include (Lindsey & White, 2008): " notetaking, study skills, recording assignments in assignment notebooks, gathering required materials for completing homework assignments, organizing lockers, book bags, and notebooks" (p.669). Another intervention students can take part in is the peer pairing model. The motive of this model is to have students that do not work well in group settings to be paired with another student with similar behaviors and levels. Social skill training is the function of this model. However, students can invite a guest student when a level of progression has been shown. This guest is a student whom can help model and support their peers to be successful in school (Lindsey & White, 2008).

Tier 3 is the most intensive of tiers with less than 5% of your school population falling under this tier. Tier 3 students have BSP's that are created from a functional analysis. From this analysis, appropriate functional interventions are put into action. At Tier 3, access assessment information is critical for team based decision making. Comparing data is necessary for identifying students in need of more intensive support. At this point, intensive monitoring techniques should be used and evaluated. Teacher rating surveys or scales still will still provide valuable information through this process. However, the intensity of surveys will be more specific compared to Tier 2 scales. For instance, time periods, hourly daily progress, target behaviors, replacement behaviors will be used to create a more precise measure of what the teams' view of the student's behavior either improving or escalating over time (Sandomierski, Kincaid, & Algozzine, 2007). You will discover that tier 2 interventions are used even more intensely. Safety plans may be put into place as well as intensive academic interventions. Continued social skill training, coping skill training and self monitoring are seen more intensely in tier 3 students. Professional learning communities are designing and monitoring outcomes.


In combination with a SWBS and RTI, school action teams or professional learning communities are created to provide effective team decision making. The culture of the school (Tier 1) requires an environment where people want to work and train together. Both PLC's and self directed work groups cause schools to work together which will create a collaborative culture and community of practice (Sergiovanni, 2009). The community works like a close family that will be able to work through the obstacles that they encounter when it comes to behavior and academics. The self directed groups allow teachers to work in teams that commit to a revolution of questions that help students learn and behave. In order to accomplish this though it is the mindset that teachers and administrators are consistently learning throughout their daily and weekly routines. As mentioned above, this approach leads to higher level of social skills among students and higher levels of achievement (DuFour R. , 2004). The end result is a collaborative outcome driven culture.

DuFour offers successful tips that will support efficient, productive learning communities. For example, structures should be put in place in order for work teams to function proficiently. There must be time factored in on the school calendar in order for teams to meet. As mentioned above, what do we want our student to know? How will we be able to tell? What are our interventions for students who are in need? Create effective clear rubrics that will help clarify team member's commitment to each other when meeting with each other. Be firm that every team develop goals that are measureable, attainable, outcome driven and under a timeline. As mentioned above, use a data system that is efficient, reliable and easy for the team to understand. Leaders should monitor progress and support teams in ways that will advance their efficiency. Lastly, take part and honor and rejoice teams who are making progress and supplying effort and energy into their team and goals.

In final analysis, this review of school wide behavior systems, their assessments, data, PLC's and the RTI tiered component are best practices for schools and can tremendously meet the needs of students. However, this systematic approach has also created a shift in the paradigm of how schools respond to students. In contrast, long term lasting change is difficult for many people especially our education system. The trend is all too familiar with yet another system that will die out like the others before depending what administration is in office. On the contrary, educators want to improve their practice and maximize their efforts. This learning process still has shown immeasurable amount of teachers that want to know more about what they are so passionate about. This knowledge and caring like the school values listed above is powerful enough for action. This action creates change. Change helps us through this quest to continue to meet the needs of our children.