Teaching and Learning Posts

Integration of Restorative Justice Enhances Tier 2 Supports in High School

posted May 15, 2014, 2:12 PM by Michelle Grimms

In the fall of 2011, Alton High School in Alton CUSD 11 began an after-school group to reduce out of school suspensions (OSSs) for students with substance or physical aggression related discipline referrals. At the end of 2011-12, 55 students had been referred

to the four-session program. Thirty-seven students completed the program (67%) and six of this group had repeated offenses. The

following year, 2012-13, in an effort to improve the process and impact, the school's internal coach incorporated Restorative Practices into the program. The more interactive and restorative format had students meet in a circle, discuss the harm caused, and the relationships impacted by their actions. As a result, 30 out of 41 referred students completed the program in the 2012-13 school year (73%), with only one student having a repeat offense. The Restorative Justice practices added to the program in 2012-13 enhanced the engagement of students in the after school group, with increased positive behavioral outcomes outside of this group.

Focus on Vulnerable Populations: IEP Status and Ethnicity

posted May 15, 2014, 2:09 PM by Michelle Grimms

DiscDataIEPEthnic Discipline Data by IEP and Ethnicity
Illinois schools implementing PBIS are taking a closer look at discipline outcomes for students in vulnerable groups, such as students with IEPs and students who identify as ethnic minorities. Using the School-wide Information System (SWIS), schools are able to track office discipline referrals (ODRs) by ethnicity to assist in identifying areas of inequitable distribution of discipline. Since the 2009-10 school year, the number of Illinois PBIS schools using the SWIS features to monitor outcomes for students by ethnicity and disability status has increased 24%, from 508 schools in 2009-10 to 631 schools in 2012-13. The number of schools using the SWIS ethnicity feature has also increased over this same time, by 8% from 597 schools in 2009-10 to 646 schools in 2012-13. The number of schools utilizing both of these SWIS features concurrently has increased 29% over the past four years. These trends are evidence that schools are increasingly invested in assessing the impact of PBIS on vulnerable populations.

Fidelity Matters: Outcomes for Elementary and Middle School Students with IEPs

posted May 15, 2014, 2:06 PM by Michelle Grimms

Fidelity of implementation is related to student success in an intervention. Reaching PBIS fidelity indicates that the school is implementing the core components as indicated by the research of effectiveness. Schools in Illinois achieving fidelity of PBIS implementation are seeing benefits to students in the form of reduced out of school suspensions (OSSs) and discipline referrals.

ElemReduceOSSReducing Suspensions for Elementary Students with IEPs


A group of Illinois elementary schools implementing PBIS (N=191 schools) at fidelity in both FY12 and FY13 experienced a

reduction in out of school suspensions (OSSs) for all students, including those with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs). 

Between FY11 and FY13, the OSS rate for students with IEPs decreased 42%, from 0.069 in FY11 to 0.040 in FY13. Likewise, 

the rate for students without IEPs decreased 41%, from 0.091 in FY11 to 0.054 in FY13.


During this time, the risk ratio for OSSs for students with IEPs went down 20%. Students with IEPs were less likely to 

receive OSSs over the three years and were, in fact, less likely to receive an OSS compared to their peers without IEPs.

 MSReduceODRsMiddle School Success: Reducing Office Discipline Referrals for Students with IEPs


From FY11 to FY13, 37 Illinois PBIS middle schools monitored both discipline data by IEP status and fidelity of implementation

for Tier 1 PBIS. Over the three years, students with IEPs in these schools experienced a 12.5% decrease in ODR rate, 

from 1.011 in FY11 to 0.885 in FY13.

Impact on Vulnerable Populations

posted Mar 27, 2014, 12:33 PM by Michelle Grimms

A test of the implementation of a schoolwide system of support is if the most vulnerable students experience success.  In particular, students with disabilities have a history of being over represented in removal from classrooms and schools due to behavior challenges.  This newsletter highlights how students with disabilities in Illinois schools implementing the multi-tiered system of PBIS are experiencing greater equity with regards to school discipline as they gain access to effective interventions.


Building Capacity & Sustainability

posted Mar 27, 2014, 12:24 PM by Michelle Grimms

Over 1,800 Illinois schools in approximately 375 Local Education Agencies (LEAs) are implementing Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS).  This represents nearly 45% of all Illinois schools.  Additionally, high schools adopting PBIS have more than doubled in the past five years, with over 200 now implementing PBIS, representing 30% of all high schools statewide. 

What is Risk Ratio?

posted Mar 27, 2014, 12:20 PM by Michelle Grimms

Risk ratios compare the risk of an event happening between two groups. In this newsletter, we discuss the relative risk ratio for receiving an office discipline referral (ODR) or out of school suspension (OSS) between students with and without disabilities. 

Measuring Equity

 A risk ratio of 1.0 means that there is equitable distribution between the two groups. A risk ratio over 1.0 means a group is over represented and more likely to experience that event, while under 1.0 means they are less likely to have the event occur. Risk ratios are one way to determine how PBIS systems are impacting students with and without disabilities equitably.


Schools Expand Efforts to Address Equity

posted Mar 27, 2014, 12:16 PM by Michelle Grimms

The Illinois PBIS Network is piloting a Culturally Relevant PBIS (CR-PBIS) self-assessment tool.  The tool was developed based on practices identified by Sugai, O’Keeffe, and Fallon (2012)  to ensure that all students benefit equally from schoolwide PBIS.  Overall consensus from teams using the tool (n=6 schools) indicated that it generated awareness of the importance of culture, and provided insight on how to integrate more diverse perspectives into PBIS implementation. 

Examples of activities that were planned or implemented as a result of completing the CR-PBIS include: 

  • ŸForming a student council to incorporate youth voice in PBIS at the building level.
  • Ÿ Incorporating a cultural perspective into “Cool Tools.”
  • Ÿ Sending letters home written in Spanish and following up with phone calls placed by Spanish-speakers to  encourage parent involvement.
  • Ÿ Translating the behavioral expectations into Spanish and posting in all public areas.

 For more information about disproportionality, please visit www.pbisillinois.org/curriculum/equity. 

Sugai, G., O’Keeffe, B., Fallon, L. (2012). A contextual consideration of culture and school-wide positive behavior support.  Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions,14(4) pp. 197-208.


Commitment to Coaching Leads to Wraparound Success

posted Mar 25, 2014, 2:12 PM by Michelle Grimms

Evidence-based approaches to supporting students in need of intense intervention begin with a thorough assessment of student strengths and needs defined by the student and family.  Although this skill set can be difficult to shift into, student and family strengths are crucial as the basis for successful intervention planning. Several recent wraparound interventions in a central Illinois district point to the importance of a strengths-based approach. After a year of struggling to succeed with wraparound attempts, a social worker facilitating Tier 3 reconnected with wraparound technical assistance opportunities. This coaching helped her maximize student and family strengths in the development of individualized plans. As a result, two students (siblings) with wraparound plans have seen increased parental involvement and decreases in absences for the 2012-13 school year, with "Joe" reducing daily absences by 60% and "Beth" by 66%. In addition, since starting a daily behavior card  in September to track his classroom behaviors, Joe has met his goals for 99% of days. The increased parental involvement and attendance has set the stage for continued growth, connection, and academic success.


District Progress Building a Tier 3 Foundation

posted Mar 25, 2014, 2:10 PM by Michelle Grimms

Districts can build their capacity to support students with more complex behavior needs by building district structures and investing in a comprehensive professional development process. For example, Kankakee SD 111 garnered district-wide support for coaching and training PBIS systems in all schools in 2011. In 2012, most schools began implementing higher tiered intervention systems including Check-in Check-out (CICO).  The junior high, high school, and alternative school also began installing the wraparound-based RENEW process. Coaches and school teams also participated in training on function-based behavior planning followed by monthly technical assistance sessions. The investment in the foundations and ongoing coaching was evident in the successful evolution of interventions for a middle school student who was struggling with attendance, grades, and discipline. When the CICO process was not successful, the Problem Solving Team developed a function-based behavior plan.  Within two weeks, the student's attendance, referrals, suspensions, and grades improved. The success was cumulative, and within a one month period the student's grades had improved from all F's to passing three out of five classes.


Tier 3 Implementation Requires Training, Practice, and Feedback

posted Mar 25, 2014, 2:09 PM by Michelle Grimms

The 2013-14 Tier 3 Training Series includes Functional Behavior Assessment and Behavior Intervention Plan (FBA-BIP); person-centered wraparound; and Rehabilitation, Empowerment, Natural Supports, Education, and Work (RENEW) approaches.  To ensure these complex interventions are installed with effectiveness, the series includes in-person training supplemented by webinar-based trainings and technical assistance. The composition of the series reflects best practices in instruction by allowing for multiple, ongoing opportunities to practice the skills, ask relevant questions, and receive immediate feedback.  Trainers embed frequent activities and provide "homework" opportunities. Participants’ fluency in the skills drives the pace and scaffolding of the instruction.  These training series will continue during the second half of this school year with increasingly refined content. Coaches and personnel facilitating Tier 3 interventions with students can gain additional skill building during monthly regional Coaches Network meetings and through participation in bi-annual statewide leadership conferences.


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