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Behavior Main Page

Ten Principles of Positive Behavior

Programs & Strategies for Positive Behavior


     Targeted Early      Interventions


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Support for Positive Student Behavior


Welcome to the positive behavior section of the EMSTAC website (http://www.emstac.org). The resources provided on this site focus on establishing, reinforcing, and maintaining positive student behavior. The research-based programs, strategies, and interventions highlighted in this section will be useful to teachers, parents, administrators, and other school staff both in and out of the classroom. Users of this site can also access Ten Principles of Positive Behavior and Programs & Strategies for Positive Behavior, resources that offer practical tips, classroom management strategies and program information that will expand your awareness of effective, research-based techniques for supporting positive student behavior in schools.

Safe, child-centered schools implement universal, early, and intensive interventions that include a full array of services and supports, and that coordinate the resources of the school with those of other community agencies. The multiple levels of support discussed here, when implemented in schools as a complete system, provide an effective model for supporting positive student behavior and academic success. Each of these levels of support are critical to achieving successful outcomes for all students. The graphic A School-wide Model for Positive Student Behavior, shown below, provides a visual representation of an effective, school-wide approach to supporting positive student behavior.

A Schoolwide Model for Supporting
Positive Student Behavior

Information about each of these levels of support is presented and explained in greater detail in our Ten Principles of Positive Behavior and Programs & Strategies for Positive Behavior.

As increased numbers of children enter school without the background experiences or supports necessary for academic and behavioral success, it is important that school-wide environments are developed that can promote both academic and social-behavioral skills. Traditionally, school policies and procedures have been primarily designed to encourage academic success. Five or ten years ago such an approach made sense, however, today students who might otherwise be academically successful may not have the chance to succeed due to interfering social skill deficits or behavioral difficulties. Importantly, the students entering school with these difficulties are not the only ones affected, other students are negatively impacted as well, due to such problems as bullying or frequent classroom disruptions. Indeed, the level of academic success of students within a school will largely be impacted by the prevalence, severity, and persistence of behavioral problems occurring within that school. Policies and procedures that support both academic success and social/behavioral success are complimentary and considered necessary to ensure positive student growth.

It is therefore important that schools develop priorities or goals outlining the importance of healthy social, behavioral, emotional, ethical, and intellectual development. In fact, schools may want to spell out these priorities within a school improvement plan in order to ensure that organizational structures are developed and resources are allocated for planning and implementing comprehensive behavior supports.

One of the most important organizational structures needed to develop positive behavioral supports is a school-based team that oversees the initial development and monitors, in an on-going fashion, the positive behavior support plan. This team should include a diverse group of educational professionals, parents, and if possible, community members who collectively have knowledge and skills in effective instructional practices, curricular modifications, academic and behavioral interventions, problem-solving, functional assessment, and community and cultural resources and supports. School-based administrators and other leaders in the building should actively support the work of this team. The functions of this group are likely to vary but may include:

  • Developing the initial school-wide behavior support plan
  • Providing support to teachers and other school staff to ensure that they are clear about the plan and have the necessary skills for implementing specific interventions
  • Reviewing data on intervention outcomes and student academic and behavioral progress
  • Modifying the plan as needed
  • Receiving and providing recommendations regarding individual behavior plans.

Finally, other supports should be in place to ensure that budget resources are available to support the initiative. In addition, teacher and staff support, professional development, and ongoing time for coordinating the initiative should be provided. Development of an organizational support system that includes the above elements is a critical prerequisite to developing a school-wide system of positive behavior supports. The staff of EMSTAC wishes you and your school much success in your efforts to ensure positive outcomes for all students.


We would like to offer our deep appreciation to Dr. Andrew Clever, a school psychologist for the the Allegany County Public Schools in Maryland, who reviewed the information related to this Behavior product, and provided invaluable suggestions for improving the content.

We also welcome your feedback on the information, as well as any comments that would help us enhance the content. Please send us an email - emstac@air.org.

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