Alamogordo Public Schools (APS)

Alamogordo Public Schools (APS)

How Kickboard’s Professional Development for Teachers Helped to Revamp Alamogordo Public Schools PBIS District-Wide framework

Alamogordo Public Schools (APS) is a school district composed of 15 schools that are committed to positive school culture, social and emotional wellbeing, and preparing their Southern New Mexico students for college and 21st Century careers. 

The Need for Change

When Cara Malone began as the Deputy Superintendent of Alamogordo Public Schools (APS) in May 2019, she identified the need for something that would make PBIS a more integrated and positive force within the school district. Malone analyzed district data and staff surveys and noticed that student behavior was a huge concern for staff across APS schools, even with PBIS and Boys Town programs currently in place. 

APS was awarded a DODEA grant for PBIS, so Malone began searching for different partnerships that could help address this need. She decided on Kickboard because, “I started looking for something that would make PBIS more than something checked off of a list, as well as something that would bring campuses into the conversation and give them some autonomy.”

Kickboard’s Formula for Success

Deputy Superintendent Malone used the DODEA grant that APS was awarded to partner with Kickboard beginning in the Fall of 2019. The goal was for Kickboard to help improve school culture and behavior in APS by enhancing their PBIS system through professional development. 

Kickboard’s PD implementation in APS included a wide range of services spanning over 100 days of onsite and virtual professional development:

  • Districtwide Culture Audit
  • District Strategic Planning for Positive School Culture
  • Staff Training: Trauma-Informed Mindsets
  • Campus-level Strategic Planning for Positive School Culture
  • Campus-level Planning for Consistent Recognition and Response Systems
  • Staff Training: Empowering Staff for Success-Mindsets, Tools and Strategies for a Positive School Culture
  • Principal Collaborative Data Meetings
  • Campus PBIS Team Progress Monitoring
  • Teacher Collaborative Culture Data Meetings
  • Campus Core Team Planning for Student and Family Engagement
  • District-level Goal Reflection and Forward Planning

Districtwide Culture Audit Process

The first step in the PD implementation, the districtwide culture audit, involved an in-depth district-level audit in addition to individual school audits for all 13 schools. All Kickboard Culture Audits use the Kickboard Tier 1 Positive School Culture Rubric© to gather evidence and analyze culture data. School-based audits also include building walk-throughs, classroom observations, individual interviews, leader survey data analysis, and discipline data review. 

In APS, Kickboard’s professional services team analyzed the data collected during the districtwide culture audit to determine strengths, growth areas, and ways to improve culture at each school site. Then they compiled the data and presented recommendations to APS for improving Tier I culture systems at all schools through a two-year implementation plan. 

Year 1: Strategic Planning for PBIS

APS and Kickboard collaborated within district- and campus-based teams to create a strategic action plan for PBIS improvement based on the Kickboard Audit findings. The plan included establishing:

  • A set of district core beliefs about behavior
  • District and campus measurable goals around culture and behavior
  • Common positive behavior expectations across the district and across each campus
  • A calendar of planning, professional development, and data activities
  • An explicit protocol for discipline and corrections 
  • A PBIS roll-out plan for the 2020-2021 school year
  • Guidance for campus teams on which components needed be consistent across the district and which allowed for school-level autonomy

Year 2: PBIS Implementation

In March of 2020, Alamogordo Public Schools moved into a virtual learning model due to Covid-19 restrictions. Kickboard’s PD team worked closely with district and campus leaders to ensure a virtual implementation plan was put in place to stay on track toward meeting their culture goals.

Each APS school was assigned a Kickboard coach to work alongside campus principals and a core team of teacher representatives. The Kickboard coach guided campus core teams in creating school culture goals that were aligned to districtwide goals and were included in their School Improvement Plan. For example one school’s goals were to: 

  1. Maintain a positive ratio of 3:1 (75%) across classrooms
  2. Reduce office referrals and suspensions by 15%
  3. Have each student receive a minimum of 10 pieces of positive feedback verbally

Support for Teachers and Administrators 

With the guidance of their Kickboard coach, each APS campus team focuses on their unique virtual PBIS plan with teachers, students, and families. APS schools use Kickboard’s Level II ESSA evidence-based software for data collection, progress-monitoring, supportive response practices and positive recognition systems. 

Schools teams also engage in regular virtual data meetings to analyze culture data points such as the number of staff-to-student interactions, positivity ratios, and the behaviors staff most often reinforce. By regularly using this powerful formative data at the campus and classroom level, APS schools have become much more proactive and intentional in their approaches to PBIS.

At the district level, Malone’s team and Kickboard’s coach meet monthly to analyze data, progress-monitor the districtwide plan, and ensure alignment to the DODEA grant. Malone appreciates this data focus from the partnership with Kickboard’s Professional Services team, “My personal Kickboard coach is wonderful and helps me to keep Kickboard and school culture at the forefront by sending me monthly data. We have received excellent support as needed. The professional development has been great.”

Positive Culture Changes

There are many aspects of APS schools where results and positive culture changes can already be seen. All APS schools provided student feedback on the district’s core values (called Galactic Journey Traits) and schools are consistently providing behavior feedback to students daily. School teams are able to reflect and act on their culture data at least monthly, in addition to principals reflecting on their data at district monthly principal meetings. 

The 2019-2020 end of year data showed that teachers were more positive about student behavior, with all schools exceeding their 3-to-1 positivity ratio goal. Malone has seen positive mindset shifts within the staff across APS schools, “Kickboard supported the mindset of my team that all of the students belong to us, that we had to find things that worked, that positive behavior must be taught, that teachers had to handle behavior issues and they needed tools to do so.” Kickboard’s data system helped teachers give students positive behavioral reinforcement. Teachers have realized the benefits of positive ratios and that students will behave more positively if they receive positive feedback.

Together, the Kickboard software and leadership coaching are pushing our schools to think differently about what makes students and teachers successful, how they can create stronger cultures, and how they can sustain this improvement over time.

— DAVID HARDY, DEPUTY SUPERINTENDENT

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