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Improved Outcomes for Students with Disabilities

Our Bright Spot this month comes from Trinity Elementary school in New Rochelle, where administrators and staff are working to implement the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) framework with fidelity.  Look at the positive impacts they have achieved!

What were students able to achieve?

Office discipline referrals during the first two months of this school year have decreased by over 50% since the same two months last year, from 190 to 89. Students are engaging in appropriate behaviors and are not losing opportunities to socialize and interact positively, especially during recess.

What practices or systems made this possible?

The principal and PBIS team identified recess as a source of frequent behavioral incidents and office referrals.  They changed a number of practices and systems that resulted in significant improvement:

* Instead of having all students in a grade go to recess together, students are grouped by class for recess.

* Instead of having all monitors supervise all recess areas, each class now has an assigned monitor .

* Each day, each class has a designated play area and play equipment.

* The principal is training all monitors in active supervision practices.

What can we learn from this Bright Spot?

One of the critical components of the PBIS framework is on-going collection and analysis of data across school settings.  When this is done well and consistently, specific changes in practices and systems can be tried and tested to identify and sustain improved student outcomes.

Our Bright Spot this month comes from Narolin Reyes, teacher at School 13 in Yonkers Public Schools.

What were students able to achieve?

Ms. Reyes saw her students improve accuracy on reading comprehension tasks in class, and improve reading scores on the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) assessment of reading.

What practices or systems made this possible?

Ms. Reyes used the simple strategy of providing students with step-by-step checklists for complex tasks.  For instance, when Ms. Reyes wanted her students to engage in close reading of a text, she not only taught them what this meant, but she also provided them with a checklist that they could use independently until they had memorized the required steps.  She collaborated with the Speech Teacher in developing and teaching students to use the checklists repetitively until they became independent.

What can we learn from this Bright Spot?

We know that adults can more easily and accurately perform complex tasks, from airplane pre-checks to neurosurgery procedures, when they have written guides that walk them through the key steps in the procedure.  Why not provide students with the same support when they are learning complex new skills?  If you are not convinced, check out The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right, by neurosurgeon Atul Gawande.


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