It’s that time of the year again, school is starting and it’s time to get organized. If you are running a school wide behavior program, there are few things you need to do in order to start the school year off right. The most important thing that you need to make sure happens, is behavior intervention training for teachers who have students with behavior plans. Too often we assume all teachers have received IEP paper work on the kids, but most of the time, teacher haven't received any IEP paper work, or if they did they havent really looked through the paper work. New teachers especially may not really know how to implement student plans.
So, as a behavior specialist, what I tend to do is schedule professional development, training teachers during their conference time or after school on how to implement the students behavior plan. This allows me to get to know the teachers, and it gives the teachers an idea on what to expect from the student and how to mange any behavior problem from the student that they might encounter. Remember, this could be the only training a new teacher will have on managing behavior in the classroom. So it is crucial that BIP training be done at the very start of the school year. Another reason why BIP training needs to be done at the beginning of the school year, is to prevent behaviors from happening.
The last thing you want to do, is start the school year off with behavior problems, when all you needed to do was train teachers what to look for and how to manage that behavior in the classroom. After you train all teachers on the behavior intervention plan, you need to look at your student IEP goals. How are you measuring those goals? Do you dedicate time throughout the school day to sit in on the kids classes to take data on their goals? One of the systems I have created for my behavior program, The Champion within me, gives me a structured system to take 15-20 min observations on our students two times per week. We also check on our students every class period as well. The key to taking data is simple, you need to make sure your goals are actually measurable. Believe it not, some goals that have been written in the past are not measurable at all. So make sure you actually have some really good measurable goals to start with. You also need to know the baseline for the goal. Taking data on a goal with no baseline proves nothing. Its hard taking data on a goal with no baseline. So if your goals have no baseline. then start taking data to get a baseline.
The second thing you need is a team. Conducting two 15-20 minute observations per week on a caseload of 15-20 students can be tough to do if you do not have the staff available to do it. I have extra help in my program, so its easier for me to be able to take this much data. If you do not have staff members to help out with taking data, I highly recommend you develop a weekly or daily behavior report card based off the students goals, and work with your teachers to help you take data. I can defiantly say, teachers can be very busy, and sometimes they forget to take the data. This is just a time to send out a friendly reminder about the importance of taking data. When you send out a friendly reminder, it is best if you talk to them in person about it. Sometimes emails can be read harshly, and your reminders may sound negative when all your trying to do is be positive. I always assume people read their emails in the current mood they are in. So if they are mad or upset at the time they read your email, then your email may come off negative to them. I believe the best communication is in person. So, to recap. You need to train teachers on all your students current behavior intervention plans, and organize the best way to take data on those goals.