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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



1. Emphasize Academic Achievement
Every child is capable of academic success at some level. Schools should provide all students with a strong emphasis on achievement in the classroom. If students are struggling with their studies on a regular basis, they are more likely to act in an undesirable manner. Students are more likely to demonstrate appropriate behavior at school when they are able to successfully focus their energy on learning and are reinforced in doing so.

2. Implement a System of School-wide, Targeted Early and Targeted Intensive Interventions
All schools should develop and implement a comprehensive, school-wide set of strategies for supporting positive behavior for all students. This comprehensive system should include school-wide activities and policies that work to prevent behavior problems and to reinforce positive behaviors, classroom strategies and additional resources to provide targeted early interventions and supports for at-risk students, and targeted intensive intervention strategies to support students with recurring behavioral challenges.

3. Clearly State Behavioral Expectations
Classroom and school-wide rules should be clearly stated and prominently displayed throughout the school to assure that students, parents, and staff are aware of behavioral expectations at all times. The rules should emphasize appropriate behavior rather than listing inappropriate behaviors. Staff should also provide regular feedback to students regarding both positive and negative behaviors.

4. Provide Consistent Consequences
Consistency in consequences is a critical component in positive student behavior. Students should understand that the same behavioral consequences apply to every student. Every staff member should understand the importance of maintaining consistent standards of behavior at all times and arbitrary punishments and/or rewards for specific students should be avoided.

5. Utilize Developmentally and Culturally Appropriate Interventions
All behavioral strategies and interventions utilized in the school should be child-centered and appropriate for the age, gender, cognitive, emotional, and cultural backgrounds of the students. A diverse team of staff members and parents should review and agree on all behavior policies, strategies, and interventions prior to their use.

6. Make Connections Across Individual, Classroom, and School-Wide Behavioral Consequences
Multiple layers of behavioral interventions require an integrated approach in order to work together. Students should be made to understand that their individual efforts to engage in positive behavior contribute directly to the behavioral success of their fellow students, their classroom, and the entire school. In addition, the consequences that are applied to students (both positive and negative) should be applied similarly across both the classroom and school-wide settings.

7. Listen to Students
It is important that students feel that their opinions and concerns are considered when decisions on school policy and behavioral consequences are made. Students will be more committed to meeting behavioral expectations if they feel that they had some input into the rules. It is therefore important that students feel safe talking about their feelings. Positive relationships between staff and students can also help to foster ongoing communication and students who feel connected to staff will have a stronger sense of responsibility for maintaining a positive school environment. In this environment, staff will be more likely to have success with offering guidance to struggling students and in modeling appropriate behaviors.

8. Provide Staff Training and Professional Development
Everyone on the school staff needs to feel highly qualified and committed to successful implementation of the behavior support plan. The entire staff should receive training and follow-up support to ensure consistency in expectations, interactions with students, and delivery of consequences.

9. Reach Out for Family Support
Students are less likely to engage in inappropriate behavior when their families are actively involved in their school lives. If schools and families can agree on common rules and expectations and enforce them fairly, students will have a much better chance of success. Parents should be encouraged to participate in all phases of the school-wide behavior support planning and delivery.

10. Collect Data to Monitor Intervention Effectiveness and Student Outcomes
All programs, strategies, and interventions should be monitored in order to determine their effectiveness. Implemented programs and interventions should include a monitoring component that allows for the collection of data on changes to student behavioral and academic outcomes. Interventions that do not show improvements in student outcomes should be modified or replaced. Additionally, support should be provided to all teachers to ensure that interventions are implemented as intended by the school improvement team.

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