Common
Questions Answered:

  • What is a functional assessment?

    A functional behavior assessment is an analysis of an individual student’s demonstrated behaviors and their purpose and triggers to determine the most effective proactive interventions in supporting that student’s unique behavioral needs. Functional assessments can be conducted informally at varying levels of intervention through an analysis of student behavior data and conversations with a student’s parent and teachers. More formal behavioral assessments are conducted as part of intensive interventions and supports and are guided by research-based protocols in order to obtain accurate, meaningful data.

    When conducted as a Tier 3 PBIS or RtI intervention, particularly on the path toward evaluation for special education services, a trained staff member, often a social worker or an experienced, interventionist, analyzes a student’s behavior data from sources like Kickboard and behavior tracker graphs and conducts interviews with the student, parent, teachers, and other staff members to determine the most frequent student misbehaviors and the causes of those behaviors. The results of the assessment then inform the creation of an intervention plan that minimizes the student’s triggers through adjustments to environment and proactively addresses misbehaviors through implementation of positive behavior supports and preferred reinforcers.

    To ensure faithful implementation and determine effectiveness, all stakeholders should meet to review both the functional assessment and intervention plan and be trained on how to collect implementation data. Clear communication about target behaviors, recommended methods for correcting misbehavior, student preferred incentives and rewards, and use of data trackers helps to build investment in and faithful execution of the plan across all components of a student's day. Kickboard’s behavior intervention plan feature is an excellent way to track both a student’s undesired and replacement behaviors and analyze trends in the student’s behavior over various settings and time periods.

  • What outcomes can I expect from a functional behavior analysis?

    A functional behavior analysis provides a wealth of helpful information for those who are responsible for a student’s behavioral development.  An FBA looks beyond the behavior itself and uncovers the environmental factors that produce the behavior, such as anxiety caused by large group settings or noise, verbal redirections that cause fear or embarrassment, unstructured times like transitions, length of schedule, etc. They also determine the purpose of the exhibited behavior, like work avoidance, attention seeking, or peer approval. Through the data collection and interview process, a more nuanced understanding of a student’s behavior is reached so that a proactive, effective plan can be created that addresses that student’s unique needs.

    While functional behavior assessments can produce valuable information, they are only as useful as the intervention plan they help to create. Many teachers and parents often hope for a fix-all once the process is completed; however, an FBA is just the beginning of the process and to see any meaningful change in student behavior all stakeholders must have a deep knowledge of the assessment results and implement the subsequent plan with fidelity. Since these plans are used as supports for students who exhibit significant behaviors, they can be expected to be successful most of the time with natural regressions of behavior or periods of ineffectiveness.  

  • What is the definition of school culture?

    School culture begins with clearly defined values and is comprised of the academic and cultural practices, traditions, priorities, and branding derived from those values. Often confused with school climate, which can be loosely defined as the overall environment, or feel, of a school, school culture refers more specifically to the values and priorities of a school and how those manifest in the day to day actions and experiences of community members.

  • How do you implement a school culture survey?

    One way to achieve a strong school culture is to prioritize open and frequent communication between the school and key stakeholders. Conducting surveys throughout the year to gather data on school culture opens a dialogue between members of the community and provides an opportunity to find out what is currently working and what should be adjusted to improve the culture of a school.

    Much research has been done regarding which questions provide meaningful data about school culture, and a quick web search can provide many models for a purposeful survey. Schools have the option of creating their own or working through a company specializing in survey data. Regardless of which method is chosen, surveys should be given multiple times a year, usually three times a year around early Fall, Winter, and Spring, and involve all school community members, including students, parents, faculty, and other staff.

    For the survey to have meaning and purpose, all participants should be made aware of what was learned and what will change as a result of the survey. To this end, a clear communication plan should be developed by administration. After data is collected and analyzed, the admin team should reflect on the data and create a narrative that guides staff members, parents, and other community members through a celebration of successes, what needs to be improved, and a how the school team will go about making the improvements.

  • What are the top attributes of a positive school culture?

    In a strong school culture, teachers, students, and other community members demonstrate a knowledge of and respect for the key values of the school and manifest those values in all aspects of daily life within the school, including academics, athletics, extracurricular activities, staff practices, and more.

    Top attributes of a positive school culture include:

    • Clearly defined values that align to the school vision and mission.
    • High expectations for both student and adults that foster a culture of achievement.
    • Inclusive practices in both academics and other activities that promote diverse perspectives and build community.
    • Support and collaboration among key stakeholders in a school, including students, parents, faculty and staff, and community members.
    • Prioritization of feedback and constant learning in all aspects of the school.
    • Creation and honoring of traditions that incorporate school values and promote community involvement. 
  • What is positive behavior support?

    Positive behavior support is a proactive management strategy that creates the behavioral systems and structures needed for students to grow academically and socially. Its goal is to provide a safe and supportive school climate by meeting the unique needs of students at varying levels of behavioral and social/emotional development. At the core of positive behavior support is the belief that all students can exhibit appropriate behavior when provided with the proper supports.

    When a school implements positive behavior supports, it teaches student expectations and character development with the same intentionality as academic content. Positive behaviors are reinforced through individual and group reinforcers, such as tangible rewards or recognition, with a focus on maintaining a high ratio of positive interactions to negative ones.

    More individualized plans built using research-based intervention strategies are created for students who have difficulty meeting the expectations with basic supports. These positive behavior support plans involve identifying the challenging behavior and its purpose, teaching replacement behaviors and coping strategies, reinforcing and rewarding positive behaviors, and minimizing the causes of the negative behaviors.

  • As a principal, how can I provide positive behavioral supports for teachers?

    As a principal, there are various ways to support teachers in the implementation of positive behavioral supports:

    • Model positive behavior support techniques during interactions with students.
    • Support grade level or other school-based teams in developing consistent behavior expectations that are clearly communicated to and modeled for students.
    • Create a common language around behavior, both positive and negative, for the school community.
    • Provide professional development for teachers in research-based interventions, such as positively framing desired behaviors, using proximity, etc., with a focus on deliberate practice of the skill(s).
    • Encourage teachers to observe peers who are already faithfully implementing positive behavior supports.
    • Promote the use of data and consistent feedback (from coaches, peers, and students) to promote a solutions-oriented staff culture that is flexible and adjusts practices when necessary.
  • What are positive behavior support examples?

    The goal of positive behavior supports is to provide a safe and supportive school climate by creating consistency across a school and meeting the unique needs of students at varying levels of behavioral and social/emotional development.

    Positive behavior support examples that succeed in achieving this goal include:

    • Establishing clear behavioral expectations and reinforcing positive behavior.
    • Prioritizing character development through explicit instruction and modeling of behaviors.
    • Rewarding students with tangible incentives and/or preferred activities to reinforce appropriate behavior.
    • Opting for nonverbal cues, such as hand signals or cards, to remind students of expectations in a less invasive manner.
    • Using proximity control to encourage a student to continue meeting expectations or fix behavior to meet them.
    • Set achievable goals for targeted behavior(s) that gradually build mastery over time (ie. In week 1, student will display behavior 60% of the time. In week 3, student will display behavior in 70% of the time.)
    • Involving the student, parents, and other key stakeholders in the creation of a support plan to increase investment and ensure faithful execution.
  • Is a positive behavior intervention plan key to improving my student’s behavior?

    Positive behavior intervention plans are designed to be proactive rather than reactive in improving a student’s behavior and in teaching the lifelong habits necessary to be successful in both school and life. With a targeted, research-based approach to behavior support, a student can more easily navigate the challenges of replacing negative behaviors and take more ownership of the process as well.

    Purposeful intervention plans also provide more support and guidance to teachers through the introduction of research-based intervention strategies that are more likely to promote growth and success. With a plan that includes all key stakeholders, a student receives strong, consistent support that reinforces positive behaviors in all settings, helping all involved to feel more successful and motivated.

  • How should I develop a positive behavior support plan?

    To develop a positive behavior support plan, collect data through behavior reports, observations, and interviews to determine the most common behaviors a student exhibits. From the data, determine the most frequent behaviors that need to be addressed, such as “Responds negatively to verbal feedback about negative behavior”. 

    Once you’ve determined the two most common behaviors, script the replacement, or desired, behaviors that the student should exhibit. For example, “Accept feedback about behavior by fixing addressed behavior with 1 or less reminder”. Directly teach and model the desired behavior for the student and train teachers and other staff in preferred support strategies, such as nonverbal cues or proximity, to use when student needs support in meeting expectations.

    Create a method to collect behavior data for the student to determine the effectiveness of the positive behavior support plan over time. Data can be collected through various methods, such as using points based trackers, charting merit totals, or recording observational data.

    Some best practices to follow when creating positive behavior support plans:

    • Set goals for the student that can be met relatively quickly to encourage effort and teach that student that s/he can be successful behaviorally. Goals can be readjusted for rigor as the student meets them.
    • Include all stakeholders in the process. Involving the student, teachers, parents, coaches, and other important staff (i.e. bus drivers) increases investment and encourages faithful implementation of the plan. 
    • Gather info from multiple sources about the student's behaviors across various settings, like the classroom, home, and school bus, which is helpful in determining the most important behaviors to target. A target behavior should happen frequently and across various settings to be addressed in an intervention plan. 
    • Target only two to three behaviors at any given time, making the plan more manageable for both students and teachers. Once a behavior is mastered, according to collected data, a new target behavior can be added to the plan.
  • What is Response to Intervention?

    Response to Intervention, or RtI, is a research-based, proactive strategy that creates the academic and behavioral systems and structures needed for all students to grow academically and socially. At the core of RtI is the belief that all students can perform academically and exhibit appropriate behavior with the implementation of proper supports.

    RtI has three tiers, or levels, that begin with high quality instruction and positive behavioral supports for all students and moves to more individualized intervention plans for students who require more targeted supports. All three tiers require interventions to be research-based and tracked consistently through data collection and analysis.

    In relation to special education, particularly as it is introduced in the 2004 iteration of IDEA, RtI is a process used to determine whether a student is in need of special education services. Some states require that RtI systems and procedures be followed before a student can be recommended for psychoeducational evaluation and placed in special education. Other states allow the use of RtI to qualify students for academic special education services under the diagnosis of Specific Learning Disability. With the proper implementation of RtI, evaluations that result in no diagnosis or a misdiagnosis can be avoided, saving both valuable time and resources.

  • What are the three RTI tiers?

    There are 3 RtI tiers, or levels, that are designed to produce a positive school climate and address the needs of students at varying levels of development. All three levels require faithful and consistent implementation in order to be effective.

    Tier 1 interventions are universal for all students and include high quality curricula, universal academic screeners, rules, systems and procedures, and other schoolwide strategies consistently implemented to support students. At this level of support, it is crucial that faculty and staff members use common language and practices around academics and behavior management to ensure the program’s effectiveness. When executed with fidelity, Tier 1 supports are successful with approximately 80% of all students.

    Tier 2 supports include systems and strategies built to target a smaller contingent of students that are not responding consistently to Tier 1 supports. These students are more likely to not master introduced skills in a whole group setting and/or display behaviors that are detrimental to the school community as evidenced by behavior data collected by school personnel. Tier 2 supports include small group instruction or support groups with research-based curricula, check-in/check-out, peer or teacher mentors, and generalized behavior intervention plans. Assessment of the supports’ effectiveness over time determines whether a student requires further intervention of will continue with Tier 2 supports.

    Tier 3 supports are personalized interventions designed for individual students that are performing significantly below grade level and/or demonstrate a consistent pattern of behavior severe enough that Tier 1 and 2 supports do not suffice. Tier 3 academic supports are provided either individually or in a leveled, small group of 6 or less students and uses research-based curricula to address skills at the student’s functional level rather than grade level. Tier 3 behavior supports begin with a Functional Behavior Assessment conducted by a social worker or other trained staff member to determine what problem behaviors require support. From that assessment, an individualized behavior intervention plan is created that provides supports, such as personalized student trackers, counseling sessions, structured breaks, and changes in daily schedule. Assessment and evaluation of Tier 3 supports should happen more frequently (daily or weekly) than other supports and should be used to determine whether a student is responding positively or if adjustments need to be made to the plan. 

  • What is the definition of school climate?

    School climate refers to the quality of the schoolwide environment. The school climate is composed of all major stakeholders’ experiences, practices, and interpersonal relationships. A strong, positive school climate encourages academic learning, character development, and community engagement that are necessary to the long-term success of students and the school.

  • What are the key attributes of a positive classroom climate?

    In a positive classroom climate, students are actively engaged in their learning at high levels of rigor. Teachers, students, and other community members demonstrate respect for one another and eagerly accept both positive and critical feedback in order to improve.

    Other key attributes of a positive classroom include:

    • Reinforcement of positive academic and cultural behaviors.
    • Clear and honest communication between key stakeholders.
    • Modeling and nurturing of a growth mindset.
    • Differentiating to meet the diversity of individual student needs.
    • Taking pride in the physical classroom space.
  • What are examples of positive school climate?

    Positive school climates can manifest in a number of different ways, but all positive school climates feature community members that feel safe, included, and accepted because the interpersonal relationships within the school are characterized by respect and inclusiveness. Schools can foster these relationships by including equity training and team building for staff in professional development, creating school wide plans to build strong student habits, and building curricula that are responsive to the diversity—both academically and culturally—of learners within the community.

    Another way to develop a positive school climate is to prioritize open and frequent communication between the school and key stakeholders. Conducting surveys throughout the year to gather data about how students, parents, faculty, and staff members feel about how the school community functions or doesn’t. The data opens a dialogue between members of the community and provides an opportunity to find out what is currently working and what should be adjusted to improve the climate of the school. Being responsive to community feedback can increase student, community, and family engagement and trust within the school community.

    The choices a school makes about academic and character development also contribute to the school climate. In a positive school climate, academic curricula are culturally responsive, appropriately rigorous, and address the diverse needs of learners. A purposeful character development curriculum directly teaches and models for students the habits that are critical to their success. Through acknowledging and incentivizing students when they exhibit these habits, the school climate benefits from positive, safe, and inclusive classrooms, where culture killers such as disrespect and bullying are diminished. 

  • What is PBIS in education?

    PBIS, or Positive Behavioral Intervention Supports, is a research-based, proactive strategy that creates the behavioral systems and structures needed for all students to grow academically and socially. Its goal is to provide a safe and supportive school climate by creating consistency across a school and meeting the unique needs of students at varying levels of behavioral and social/emotional development. At the core of PBIS is the belief that all students can exhibit appropriate behavior.

    When a school implements PBIS, it teaches student expectations and character development with the same intentionality as academic content. Schoolwide expectations are created by a multidisciplinary team made of faculty members after an assessment of the school’s culture needs. These expectations are positively stated, such as “Be respectful,” and are then further defined across various settings within the school. Positive behaviors are reinforced through individual and group incentives while more targeted plans are created for those students who struggle to meet the expectations.

  • What are PBIS tiers or levels?

    There are 3 PBIS tiers, or levels, that are designed to produce a positive school climate and address the needs of students at varying levels of development. All three levels require faithful and consistent implementation in order to be effective.

    Tier 1 supports are universal for all students and include rules, systems and procedures, and other schoolwide strategies consistently implemented to prevent misbehaviors from occurring. At this level of support, it is crucial that faculty and staff members use common language and practices around behavior management to ensure the program’s effectiveness. When executed with fidelity, Tier 1 supports are successful with approximately 80% of all students.

    Tier 2 supports include systems and strategies built to target a smaller contingent of students that are not responding consistently to Tier 1 supports. These students are more likely to display behaviors that are detrimental to the school community as evidenced by behavior data collected by school personnel. Tier 2 supports include check-in/check-out, small support groups of 8-10 students, peer or teacher mentors, and generalized behavior intervention plans. Assessment of the supports’ effectiveness over time determines whether a student requires further intervention of will continue with Tier 2 supports.

    Tier 3 supports are personalized interventions designed for individual students that demonstrate a consistent pattern of behavior severe enough that Tier 1 and 2 supports do not suffice. Tier 3 supports begin with a Functional Behavior Assessment conducted by a social worker or other trained staff member to determine what problem behaviors require support. From that assessment, an individualized behavior intervention plan is created that provides supports, such as personalized student trackers, counseling sessions, structured breaks, and changes in daily schedule. Assessment and evaluation of Tier 3 supports should happen more frequently (daily or weekly) than other supports and should be used to determine whether a student is responding positively or if adjustments need to be made to the plan.

  • How should I conduct a PBIS assessment?

    PBIS assessments happen at all phases of implementation and are often done through surveys and behavior data collection. Assessments can range from school-wide needs assessments to functional behavior assessments conducted for individual students.

    When implementing PBIS for the first time, a universal survey of current school wide systems and behaviors is conducted. Once implementation begins, periodic progress monitoring of PBIS systems is conducted to determine effectiveness and areas that need adjustment.  

    Frequent assessment of consistency and effectiveness of Tier 2 and Tier 3 supports should happen in addition to the universal screeners. Additionally, individual student progress monitoring should occur for all students receiving Tier 3 supports.

    Resources that provide PBIS assessments for all levels of implementation are available online. Tools that collect data and analyze trends, like Kickboard, can also be used to assess school wide and individual student culture needs.

  • What are examples of school wide PBIS rewards?

    Examples of school wide PBIS rewards take the form of tangible items, privileges, and recognition. Each category’s incentives can range from free to costly, depending on the chosen incentive and the number of students who earn it.

    Free rewards are the easiest both on a school’s budget and for teachers to implement.  Free rewards are most often earned privileges or public recognition. Examples include:

    • Dress Down or Jean Day
    • Extra Recess/Free Time
    • Homework Pass
    • First Class to Cafeteria/Recess
    • Decorate Bulletin Board/Wall/Ceiling Tile
    • Student vs. Teacher Dodgeball Game
    • Special Parking for a Day or Week

    Tangible rewards are also very powerful but usually cost. To alleviate the cost of rewards, schools can seek out donations or fundraise specifically for PBIS initiatives. Some budget friendly and easy to execute ideas include:

    • Ice Cream Party
    • Field Day
    • Free or Discounted Tickets to Events or Dances
    • Lunch from Off Campus
    • Candy, Chips, or Snacks
    • School Spirit Gear (Buttons, Pins, Sunglasses, or Other Bulk Items)
    • Teacher Car Wash (Teachers wash student cars)
    • Coupons for School Store
  • What are the best PBIS apps for teachers?

    PBIS apps and other online tools provide the means for schools to assess culture needs, track behavior data, evaluate program effectiveness, and reward students. The best apps are those that help facilitate all phases of PBIS implementation and engage all stakeholders, including students and parents.

    We may be biased, but we think Kickboard is unique in its ability to help facilitate all parts of PBIS implementation and support schools in creating a positive school climate. Kickboard supports teachers and administrators in collecting behavior data, analyzing trends at multiple levels, and reinforcing positive behaviors. Student friendly reports make it easy for students to own their behavior data and determine growth areas while the parent portal increases parent engagement and opens a clear line of communication between school and home.

  • Which PBIS strategies succeed in developing a safe school culture?

    The goal of PBIS is to provide a safe and supportive school climate by creating consistency across a school and meeting the unique needs of students at varying levels of behavioral and social/emotional development.

    PBIS strategies that succeed in achieving this goal include:

    • Establishing clear behavioral expectations and reinforcing positive behavior.
    • Prioritizing character development through explicit instruction and modeling of behaviors.
    • Providing consistency for students through faithful execution of the program in all facets of a school community.
    • Tiered support for students at all levels of social and emotional development, especially those who consistently struggle to meet expectations.
    • Data-based decision making throughout all phases of PBIS implementation.
  • What are some effective ways to help my teachers with behavior modification in the classroom?

    Effective behavior modification in the classroom begins with training teachers in best practices. Authentic practice of positively stating and explicitly teaching desired behaviors, calmly and consistently consequencing students using strong voice, and creating student behavior plans or contracts, provides teachers with the foundational knowledge crucial to their execution of behavior modification.

    After initial trainings, one of the most effective ways to help teachers with behavior modification in the classroom is the use of Real Time Coaching. Since behavior modification relies on immediate and effective response to both positive and negative behaviors, coaching at the point of instruction increases teachers’ awareness of behaviors exhibited in the classroom and improves their practice in responding to behavior. Real Time Coaching can be done as simply as holding up colored index cards or paper in the back of the room to signal a teacher or involve more advanced methods like speaking to the teacher through wireless earpieces.

    It is also important to provide teachers with the necessary tools to reinforce desired behaviors and redirect or consequence misbehaviors. These tools can range from a budget for tangible incentives or tokens of recognition to behavior tracking and consequence systems, like Kickboard. Resources that both track data and act as a consequence system are vital to behavior modification as they help address both student behavior and assist teachers in analyzing trends and making adjustments based on those trends. 

  • How can I easily modify a behavior plan template from child to child?

    While target behaviors and goals should vary from student to student, behavior plan templates can remain consistent, making teachers more likely to implement them with fidelity. Every individualized behavior plan should feature the following sections that can be modified for each student:

    • Statement of student’s strengths.
    • Target behavior to be improved.
    • Replacement behavior.
    • Strategies to reinforce replacement behavior and redirect negative behaviors.
    • Method for tracking student’s behavior data.

    To further support the writing of behavior plans, create a bank of target and replacement behaviors as well as behavior modification strategies that can be used across the school, particularly for students receiving more generalized Tier 2 PBIS supports.

  • Which behavior modification techniques are the most effective for early grades?

    Behavior modification techniques in early grades have a strong focus on preventative measures, such as explicitly teaching and modeling expectations, and positive reinforcement of desired behaviors. These techniques can include anything from positive narration, praise/recognition, and tangible rewards to creating and implementing a schoolwide character development curriculum.

    Choosing developmentally appropriate consequences while still teaching the desired behavior is crucial to students’ behavior development. When misbehavior occurs, effective responses are immediate and make the connection between the behavior and the consequence clear to the student so that s/he knows how to adjust in order to grow.

    When setting behavior goals that are incentivized, consider a student’s age and ability to stay motivated long term before setting the goals’ time frame. For student in kindergarten and 1st grade, daily or sometimes half-day goals may be most appropriate, whereas older students could work toward weekly or bi-weekly goals. 

  • How do different behavior strategies vary from early to middle grades?

    Primary grade teachers often focus on explicit teaching and modeling of desired behaviors and then reinforce them through frequent praise and tangible incentives. In middle schools, however, research has shown that reacting to negative behaviors is prioritized and a balanced ratio of positive to negative reinforcement can be lost.

    While practices and strategies like target behaviors, goal time frames, length and severity of consequences, and preferred reinforcers may change with a student’s age, the need for purposeful character development that teaches the what, why, and how of expectations and sets students up for success remains a crucial component of effective behavior modification. 

  • Which behavior management techniques are the most effective for special education students?

    Just like their peers, students in special education respond positively when expectations are made clear and desired behaviors are reinforced. While some expectations may need to be modified for students with disabilities, with the proper supports, like structured breaks, individualized schedules, and differentiated work, they can meet and often exceed the same expectations as their classmates.

    For a student with more severe behavior and mental health needs, a functional behavior assessment and accompanying behavior intervention plan should be created by a trained staff member, like a social worker, and executed by all adults who interact with the student throughout the day.  These plans detail which behaviors should be targeted and the strategies most effective in getting the student to exhibit those behaviors. When implemented with fidelity, these plans can be very successful in improving student behavior and making the classroom safer for all.

    Other strategies that produce positive results for students with disabilities include:

    • Nonverbal cues that minimize embarrassment in front of peers.
    • Cool down areas within the classroom.
    • Therapeutic tools, like kinesthetic sand and stress balls.
    • Journaling.
    • Peer or teacher mentors.
  • How do I get buy in from parents on a behavior plan developed for my student?

    To increase parent engagement in behavior intervention plans, involve them from the outset of the process. Interview parents about their students’ behavior at home, what they do to consequence behavior, and what preferred rewards the student receives at home.  Ask for feedback from the student and parent about their experience in the classroom. It demonstrates that their perspective is welcomed and valued and provides an opportunity for a more effective behavior plan.

    As the plan is executed, maintain frequent, clear, and honest communication between school and home to update parents about a student’s progress and alert them to any adjustments being made to the plan. It is as important to call home for positive behaviors as negative behaviors, signaling investment in students’ success and growth rather than simply focusing on punishing them for misbehavior.

  • What are the best classroom management strategies?

    The best classroom management strategies are easy for teachers to implement and for students to understand. They focus on creating a positive culture that acknowledges and celebrates students who are meeting or exceeding classroom expectations.

    When a student is struggling to meet expectations, clearly restating the expectation before moving to a consequence based approach can often produce the desired behavior. In order to be proactive in addressing student needs and preventing misbehaviors, a classroom management plan should be developed.

  • How should I develop a classroom management plan?

    Strong classroom management plans begin by creating clear, developmentally appropriate expectations that positively state desired behaviors and are explicitly modeled for students. All classroom management systems and procedures should align with these expectations.

    When planning systems and procedures, the goal is to prevent undesired behaviors by clearly outlining for students what is required of them in the classroom. This strategy applies to the full range of systems from passing out papers to more complex procedures like partner or group work.

    If a student is still unable to meet expectations, consequences should be developed that begin with redirecting a student by restating the expectation and get progressively more serious to address the severity of the behavior. Calming strategies, such as a cooldown spaces, check-in buddies, and other therapeutic tools should be included in the plan to prevent escalation of behavior and consequences.

  • What are the best tips for fostering respect in the classroom?

    Fostering respect in the classroom establishes a safe and healthy culture that allows students to focus on learning. To foster respect, it is important to be aware of and responsive to student needs. Building a culture of active listening between all classroom stakeholders is imperative to a culture of respect. Additionally, when a strong classroom management plan is implemented consistently and effectively, students respect the teacher and classroom culture because they understand what is expected of them, feel successful, and are able to engage in higher levels of learning.

  • What should I consider when creating good classroom rules?

    Classroom rules, or expectations, are simple, observable, and enforceable. Good classroom rules positively state desired behaviors. If the rules are not immediately understandable and meaningful to students, then students will be less likely to adhere to them. When creating good classroom rules, first consider the most common misbehaviors exhibited by past students. If new to teaching, collaborate with other teachers who have worked with the same age group.

  • How should I develop the best classroom management techniques?
    To develop best practices in classroom management, frequently observe experienced teachers with strong results and ask colleagues to observe your classroom to provide both positive and critical feedback on the implementation of your classroom management plan. There are also many online resources available and communities of educators that are eager to collaborate and provide support. When trying anything new in the classroom, start slowly. Implement one or two techniques at a time until mastered.
  • What is the best way to create a behavior intervention plan?

    To create an effective behavior intervention plan, collect data through observations and interviews to determine the most common behaviors a student exhibits. From the data, determine the most frequent misbehaviors that need to be addressed, such as “Gets out of seat without permission, which can lead to negative peer interactions”. 

    Once you’ve determined the two most common misbehaviors, script the replacement, or desired, behaviors that the student should exhibit. For example, “Remain in seat at all times unless given permission to get up by the teacher”. Directly teach and model the behavior for the student and reinforce the behavior through verbal affirmation or incentives.

    Create a method to collect behavior data for the student to determine the effectiveness of the behavior intervention plan over time. Data can be collected through various methods, such as using points based trackers, charting merit totals, or recording observational data. 

  • What are successful behavior management strategies?

    Successful behavior management strategies provide clear expectations for students and focus on reinforcing positive behaviors to prevent misbehaviors from occurring. Having a classroom management plan that clearly outlines systems and procedures that are implemented consistently can prevent misbehaviors and make it easier to get students back on track.

    Even with the best plans, however, undesired behaviors occur. Strategies for addressing the behaviors can vary depending on the type and severity. In choosing redirection and consequence strategies

    • Be fair and consistent. Students are more likely to respond calmly and accept critical feedback when they know what to expect and what is expected of them. 
    • Choose the least invasive redirection or consequence possible to minimize emotional escalation or further misbehavior. Less invasive behavior management strategies include positive narration, nonverbal redirections, and increased teacher proximity.
    • Acknowledge when a behavior is successfully adjusted. Positively affirming a student who uses feedback to correct a behavior promotes a growth mindset and balances the negative experience of receiving a redirection or a consequence.
  • Can you provide examples of behavior interventions that work?

    Choosing a behavior intervention is a skill that is developed through practice and experience. Behavior interventions work best when a teacher chooses interventions that are responsive to the unique personalities and needs of the students s/he teaches. Behavior interventions vary in complexity and invasiveness, ranging from nonverbal cues to isolation from peers.

    The least invasive intervention strategies are nonverbal cues—silent signals that remind a student of class expectations and provide an opportunity to fix the behavior. These cues are most appropriate for behaviors that are not actively disruptive or unsafe or for students who are triggered when redirected in front of peers. Nonverbal signals include strategies like hand signals, holding up colored post-its, and increasing teacher proximity to a student

    Verbal redirections serve the same purpose as nonverbal cues but are slightly more invasive as they briefly stop instruction and can single out a student. Verbal cues can address the student directly or the class as whole. They include strategies like positive narration, restating an expectation, giving a directive, and simply saying a student’s name.

    If less invasive strategies aren’t effective or the behavior is more severe, then consequences are needed. Consequences can and should differ to match the behavior. At times, a consequence like a demerit or moving down a color may be all that is needed to stop a behavior. Other times, the behavior breaks culture in a more significant way and requires a more significant consequence, like removal from peers to a timeout area or an administrator’s office.

    Logical consequences are a way to maintain fairness and consistency in the implementation of interventions. Logical consequences attempt to match behavior and consequence more directly. For example, if a student writes on a bathroom wall, then s/he could clean the bathrooms or the classroom as a reminder of the work that goes into keeping a school building clean for everyone.

    For students that consistently don’t respond to interventions and need an individualized plan, a behavior intervention plan should be created. These plans directly address target behaviors and involve methods, such as peer or teacher mentors, check-in/check-out systems, built in breaks throughout the day, and other calming and accountability strategies that curb misbehaviors. 

  • Do you recommend developing a behavior journal?

    Behavior journals can be a successful behavior management strategy for students who enjoy writing and prefer a quiet, isolated activity in order to deescalate their emotions. When using a behavior journal as a management tool, it is important to set clear expectations for the use of the journal and make those expectations explicit for the student. Consider questions like “How long does the student have for journaling before s/he must participate in class again?” and “Should the student stay at an assigned desk to write or is there a cool down area available for journal time?”

    It is important to remember that any behavior management strategy will work only for a certain percentage of students. Successful classroom management plans anticipate diverse needs among students and provide a menu of options for de-escalation and emotional regulation. 

  • What are some best practices to follow when creating behavior interventions plans?

    When creating a behavior intervention plan, it is best practice to include all stakeholders in the process. Involving the student, teachers, parents, coaches, and other important staff (i.e. bus drivers) increases investment and encourages faithful implementation of the plan. 

    Gathering info from multiple sources also provides data about the student's behaviors across various settings, like the classroom, home, and school bus, which is helpful in determining the most important behaviors to target. A target behavior should happen frequently and across various settings to be addressed in an intervention plan. 

    A strong intervention plan targets only two to three behaviors at any given time. Focusing on a couple of key behaviors makes the plan more manageable for both students and teachers and makes clear a path to success. Once a behavior is mastered, according to collected data, a new target behavior can be added to the plan.

    Once a plan is created, all stakeholders should meet to review the plan and be trained on how to collect implementation data. Clear communication about target behaviors, recommended methods for correcting misbehavior, student preferred incentives and rewards, and use of data trackers helps to ensure investment in and faithful implementation of the plan across all components of a student's day.

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"Kickboard has made a huge difference. We reduced disciplines by 44% in just 18 weeks. If I go to another campus and come back to ours, I can see and hear the difference. It’s so positive here and that’s changing the culture of our school. This not only improves students’ behavior but it improves their academic performance as well."

– Kasie Jackson, Assistant Principal - Dallas ISD

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