Our program goal #3: By the end of the school year 2015-2016, 7th and 8th grade suspension rate will decrease by 20% from SY 2014-2015 (Number suspended = 60) as reported to the Hawaii State Department of Education data systems. The aggregated data from the 2014-2015 Disciplinary Action Tracking from HIDOE Comprehensive Student Support System (CSSS) Database and Longitudinal Data System (LDS) indicated that total of 60 students were suspended. The data did not show why those students engaged in problematic behaviors. To provide appropriate interventions, we needed to identify the needs of the students.
Our counseling team worked to develop a comprehensive intervention system that would meet all students’ needs. We were determined to take leadership and ownership by communicating our vision: “provides comprehensive counseling supports and services to all students to address individual and schoolwide student needs based on data.” To achieve this vision with the rest of the staff of Nanakuli High and Intermediate School, a few of our counselors were part of the school Multi-Tiered Support System team (MTSS). Together with the MTSS team, the counselors became leaders and made an effort to obtain buy-in from staff to carry out the vision. One result of these efforts was adopting a universal screener, Brief Externalizing and Internalizing Screener for Youth (BEISY). We focused on the fidelity of this intervention and progress monitoring with a small group of students, which were experiencing problems that interfered with academic success. Our closing the Gap target were five students who were identified at-risk of Internalizing and Externalizing negative feelings and thoughts, by using our universal screening process (steps shown below). These students had multiple behavior referrals in 7th grade, including having been suspended due to fighting. We implemented with caution and tested among 8th-grade students to ensure the fidelity:
Step 1: Identify the targeted gap group. Using the LDS to track 7th graders for school year 2014-15 who were suspended, total of 32 students.
Step 2: Identify the needs: We reviewed the BEISY data and found 27 out of 32 students were identified as at-risk for teachers.
Step 3: Identify intervention: Student Intervention Matching form used to determine a variety of characteristics associated with students that align with the active ingredients of evidence-based
Tier 2 interventions: By matching students, we found that there were five students with the following characteristics:
-Student is eager to earn rewards or access to privileges
-With the right incentive, the student's behavior likely will improve
-A student can behave well when she wants to or the appropriate incentive is available, e.g. recess, computer time, field trip, etc.
According to Cook (2012), the characteristics of these five students selected would match with the behavior contract intervention. We decided to use these five students as a pilot to try out the behavior contract as part of the intervention system in 8th grade.
Step 4: Develop the behavior contract with the students.
Step 5: Implement the behavior contract within 8 grade to involve teachers.
Step 6: Monitor: we used BEISY to see the progress of the student towards the end of the behavior contract.
In the future, we will focus the contract on positively stated behaviors that the teachers want to see and the student is capable of performing, i.e., those behaviors that are incompatible with problem behavior. The BEISY screening for the second time did not show as much growth, which might be due to the questions being too general. We will do some research to use a different screening tool in the future.
Amongst implementing MTSS and Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) system at Nanakuli High and Intermediate school, the 7th and 8th grade counselors also facilitated the practice of school-wide positive behavior expectation system. The Intermediate implemented throughout the 7th and 8th grade classes the following:
These positive behavioral expectations are posted in every classroom and the Intermediate school counselors are collaborating with their teachers to make these expectations a habit with all students. The high school has also worked on a PBIS matrix appropriate for our high school students and will implement this in school year 2016-2017.
The 2015 -2016 CSSS and LDS data indicated that all five students did not receive any disciplinary referrals. In general, 7th and 8th-grade suspension were dramatically dropped from 60 to 37. The gap was closed 100% for the targeted five students who received the intervention of behavior contract under the collaborative efforts of the teachers, administrators, students and their families.