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CalSTAT Technical Assistance and Training

IDEAS that Work!California Department of Education, Special Education Division’s special project, California Services for Technical Assistance and Training (CalSTAT) is funded through a contract with the Napa County Office of Education. CalSTAT is partially funded from federal funds, State Grants #H027A080116A. Additional federal funds are provided from a federal competitively awarded State Personnel Development Grant to California (#H323A070011) provided from the U.S. Department of Education Part D of the Individuals with Disabilities Education act (IDEA). Opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the position of the U. S. Department of Education.

The Special EDge

Autumn 2005
Volume 19, Number 1
Topic: Schoolwide Behavioral Supports/Secondary Level

Article List

Behavior Programs for Older Students: What's Helpful in Secondary Schools

Letter from the State Director

Positive Behavior Supports at the Secondary Level: Cabrillo and Thurston High Schools Work BEST

Peer-Reviewed and Data-Supported Programs: NCLB-Approved Approaches to Behavior

Practical Approaches That Work: A Recipe for Success: The Principal's 200 Club

Pilot Study in Santa Barbara: Education Addresses the Question of Character

2006 Calendar (Note: For events that have passed, you may still want to check out the websites to see if any resources from the events have been posted.)

Web Resources

RiSE Library

State Improvement Grant Money Supports Whole-School Behavior Program: BEST: Building Effective Schools Together

Insert: Resources for Teen

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Behavior Programs for Older Students: What's Helpful in Secondary Schools

By Leanne Hawken, Ph.D., Department of Special Education, University of Utah

Almost a decade of research has identified the most effective approach to addressing issues of behavior before they become a problem: schoolwide positive behavior support (SW-PBS). The most successful schools use this as part of a continuum of support that involves three levels: SW-PBS as a primary prevention strategy that addresses the needs of the majority of students; secondary prevention strategies that target the ten to fifteen percent of students at risk; and tertiary prevention strategies for the approximate five percent of the student population who need significant intervention strategies and supports (see Figure 1).

Implementing SW-PBS as a proactive approach to preventing problem behavior emphasizes teaching, monitoring, and rewarding students. It does not rely on punitive strategies (like suspensions or expulsions) to change student behavior. Six key components comprise SW-PBS:

Schoolwide Behavior Support Implementation and Evaluation

There is no one method or curriculum to follow when implementing SW-PBS. However, there is one goal: to establish a system that fits the culture of the school and that includes the six key components above. While the benefits do not occur overnight and schools must commit to continually refining and evaluating whether the schoolwide system is working, schools across the country that have implemented SW-PBS have seen a decline in office discipline referrals, increases in attendance, and increases in the time students engage in academics.

While the approaches to SW-PBS are-and must be-unique to each site, schools do not have to invent their own system of evaluation. For example, the Systems-Wide Evaluation Tool or SET (developed at the University of Oregon) reliably measures implementation. The following are indicators (as measured by the SET) that a school has an established schoolwide system in place:

Being able to present certain, positive data that reflects the desired results from implementing positive behavioral supports can go far toward achieving across-the-board buy-in and future funding.

Implementing SW-PBS in High School Settings

The majority of research on SW-PBS has been conducted in elementary and middle school settings. Recently, a group of high school educators and university researchers from across the country met in Illinois to discuss the challenges related to implementing SW-PBS in high schools. Out of this meeting came a monograph that addresses, among other things, how high schools are different from elementary and middle schools and how those differences make implementing SW-PBS more challenging. (For a copy of the monograph on PBS in high school settings, see the reference provided at the end of this article.) Two of the main differences involve 1) the typically large size of high schools, and 2) the expectation that students at the high school level should "know better" and be able to self-manage their behavior.

Larger School Size

Related to implementing SW-PBS, larger school size brings up a host of issues and challenges. To begin with, before implementing SW-PBS, schools ideally get buy-in from 80-85 percent of their staff. The typically large number of staff members in high schools immediately makes it more difficult to get even a majority agreement, let alone the recommended 80 percent or higher.

And then, when staff agree to implement SW-PBS, they must also agree on a number of things: what the common rules and expectations are that will be applied across settings; how to teach the expectations; how to implement rewards for following expectations; and what the consequences are for rule infractions. Staff agreement on all of these issues, besides being challenged by the sheer number of people involved, is further complicated by the faculty structures within high schools: most are divided into departments (e.g., science, language arts, special education), and the cultural habit is for decision making to occur at the department rather than schoolwide level.

Finally, when addressing the need to have a team of representative staff who meet regularly to develop and monitor positive behavior support efforts, size again presents a liability. A larger school usually requires a larger team in order to contain a representative sample of school staff. That representative group at an elementary or middle school may consist of six people; in a large high school, in may require over twenty. The challenge of finding a common meeting time for six is exponentially easier than for a dozen. Two dozen can seem impossible.

Strategies to Address Challenges Related to Larger School Sizes

However, there are ways to work around school size when implementing SW-PBS. Schools that have been successful often start small and build on their successes. Many schools do this by targeting one grade-usually ninth-in which to start their PBS. When staff start to see improvement in student behavior and teacher morale, the buzz begins, thereby building broader buy-in and support. In addition, information about SW-PBS is included as a regular agenda item at all staff meetings; and positive results, such as a reduction in office discipline referrals, are shared to celebrate successes and spread the word about the benefits of the effort. Information about SW-PBS is also posted around the school, in such visible places as the staff lounge or cafeteria. Finally, surveying staff to determine their top behavioral priorities is also an effective way to include all teachers in the effort and thereby promote buy-in (the Effective Behavior Support survey can be located at

The feeling of over-commitment is a common stumbling block in an attempt to gather the most effective staff members to serve on a SW-PBS team, since every teacher is faced with dozens of competing duties. This is where school leaders can help considerably by being sensitive to securing the most agreeable time for meeting, providing refreshments, and offering career development points as incentive for participating team members. In addition to that, participation can be increased by firmly following meeting etiquette: beginning and ending on time, sticking to the agenda, and generally being adamant about not wasting the time of those involved.

Emphasis on Self-Management of Student Behavior

In most high schools that don't ascribe to a system of schoolwide positive behavioral supports, students are typically expected to know how to behave and how to correct their behavior based on feedback or punishment-which usually involves some type of negative consequence (e.g., after-school detention, loss of credits, lunch detention, work detail, community service). In contrast, SW-PBS focuses on teaching, monitoring, and rewarding-before relying on punishment.

As students get older, they often want more autonomy and may see schoolwide rules and expectations placed upon them as inappropriate or childish. Educators who participated in the Illinois Forum reported that many of the older high school students rebelled when SW-PBS was implemented without their involvement, with some in the upper classes feeling their "lives were ruined" at school because of the changes they felt were being unfairly imposed on them. At the elementary school level, many students are motivated to perform, and they enjoy rewards chosen by school staff for following behavioral expectations. In middle and high school settings, students are more motivated by peer interaction and status. They do not readily respond to a system of staff-designed rewards.

Strategies to Address Challenges Related to Self-Management

Although students at the high school level are often more capable of managing their own behavior than younger students, they do benefit from consistent expectations leveled by all teachers from all areas in the school. Schools that resist the idea of teaching behavioral expectations need only to think about how other skill areas (math, reading, science) are taught. If students have difficulty reading, we teach them. If they have difficulty completing math problems, we teach them. But if students have difficulty following behavioral expectations, we punish them. When implementing SW-PBS, it is critical to help staff see positive behavior as a set of skills that, when absent, needs to be taught-similar to a deficiency in academic skills.

One way to improve student buy-in to this approach is to have them take on leadership roles in the development and implementation of SW-PBS. The team responsible for SW-PBS should include students-both students who are doing well and students who are at-risk-along with the staff. In addition, students can be involved in selecting the most enticing rewards for meeting and exceeding behavioral expectations. For many, time with friends or free homework passes may be the most attractive; and they're easy and inexpensive to deliver. In addition, many middle and high schools have been successful in implementing systems where students can nominate staff for rewards. Finally, students can also be involved in teaching schoolwide expectations. This may come in the form of performing skits at assemblies, making videos to train new students, or providing announcements over intercom systems. Overall, students will be more invested in SW-PBS if they help develop and implement it.

Summary and Resources for Implementing SW-PBS

Implementing SW-PBS at the high school level is new and relatively uncharted territory, but it offers rich ground for everyone involved-teachers as well as students. Research is being conducted to document the current efforts and their effect on problem behavior and academic achievement. Information included in the monograph from the Illinois Forum on High School Positive Behavior Support provides direction for schools that are interested in SW-PBS.

For additional information, see the following resources:

Positive Behavior Support in High Schools: Monograph from the 2004 Illinois High School Forum of Positive Behavioral

The full document can be retrieved from:

Positive Behavior Support Websites
Offers an overview of PBS, with many links for additional resources
Summarizes PBS efforts in Maryland
Summarizes PBS efforts in Illinois
Provides information about the School-wide Information System, a Web-based system for summarizing office discipline referrals Features information about the Association for Positive Behavior Support

Author Biography

Dr. Hawken is an assistant professor in the University of Utah's Mild/Moderate Special Education Program. She received her M.A. from the University of the Pacific in psychology, with an emphasis in behavior analysis, and her Ph.D. from the University of Oregon in school psychology. Leanne has provided behavioral consultation services for students with disabilities in California, Oregon, and Utah and has worked with several state departments of special education to help improve their positive behavior support efforts.

Figure 1: Continuum of Schoolwide Positive Behavioral Support

Tertiary Prevention: Specialized individualized systems for students with high-risk behavior (about 5% students)

Secondary Prevention: Specialized group systems for students with at-risk behavior (about 15% of students)

Primary Prevention: School- and classroom-wide systems for all students, staff, and settings (about 80% of students)

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Letter from the Director

by Alice Parker, Director, California Department of Education's Special Education Division

Today we as educators are deeply involved in reform, reform with its roots from our national educational history. We are celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of Brown v the Board of Education, and 30 years of civil rights for children with disabilities in our schools. These are laudable and forward-looking efforts. There are many successes and many challenges left us. Both of these powerful initiatives, along with the GI Bill of rights, point us to equality, civil rights, and education. Are we meeting their promise? In part, yes; but in spirit, I think not.

Since 1974, special education has focused on developing quality programs, and that focus has resulted in just that-programs and labels for each type and category of disability. With the passage and implementation of No Child Left Behind and with the reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, a renewed focus is squarely where it began, and, I believe, should have always been-on high expectations for all children and improving educational outcomes.

School systems may feel under siege. They are faced with a growing congruence between their words and actions for each of the constituencies they serve: children, parents, business leaders, advocates, and the larger political landscape. The congruence has an old name-access-but this access is no longer about if or where children attend school. It is about access to high quality, standards-based education for all children. It is about systems that are accountable for improving outcomes for all. This type of challenge needs to be the focus for each of us for our next 50 years!

The passage of the 1975 Education for All Handicapped Children Act established the right of all children to an education and literally opened the schools to millions of children with disabilities. In addition, this "defining moment" significantly influenced the public's awareness of disability issues and contributed to the integration of people with disabilities in the broader society. When reauthorized in 1994 as IDEA, and again in 1997, the focus sharpened to access to and progress in the general curricula. In the most recent reauthorization, just signed into law by President Bush, we see again the charge, a national expectation for improved outcomes for all children with disabilities while preserving a balance of procedural guarantees.

The questions that remain for all of us are three fold. First, how do we move from the mindset of access to a place or placement to access to standards and high expectations? Second and third, how do we redesign the two major components (some might call them icons) of the current service delivery system: (1) the use of categorization by disability, and (2) refocusing the IEP.

These three issues define the opportunities and challenges facing us. The issue of access to standards and high expectations to me is a nonentity. Sadly, it is not so for many. It is no longer acceptable to think that standards are for others. They are for all children. Children with disabilities have for too long been left from the "table of rigor" in education. The challenge lies in retooling, or starting a revolution, in general, special, and higher education. The revolution needs to focus on all of our responsibilities for all children, including those with more learning challenges. Access to the standards, the core curricula and powerful and proven ways for providing that access are our goals.

The final two issues (categorization and the IEP) define the entire service delivery system. As delineated by my good friend, Dr. Martha Fields, it is time to look behind these icons, these symbols of "quality". We need to revisit these two areas because, in my mind, there are problems inherent in the philosophical underpinnings of the use of disability categories and the IEP. In fact, I believe that they are conceptually flawed. Do not take this wrong, I believe and advocate passionately for the rights of children with disabilities and their families. But the evolution of these two issues has fundamentally changed their original conceptual construct. I now believe, because these two are so fundamental to current thinking and the service system evolving from them, that significant changes much occur before forward progress can be made in other areas related to the reform initiatives we are all embracing-higher standards, accountability, improved post school success, teacher preparation and the like. In fact, I would be so bold as to state that we need to establish two goals: the elimination of the use of categorical labels and reconceptualization of the IEP. Certainly the second is the easier of the two and California has already taken the forward thinking step of preparing for just that opportunity through our Superintendent's IEP Taskforce (see web for the report from that taskforce).

The categorical philosophy and practice have resulted in several unintended negative consequences, foremost of which is the segregation and isolation of children. Granted, with inclusive education practices and Least Restrictive Environment requirements of the law, this has lessened considerably, but we must be continuously vigilant to make sure this practice does not reoccur. Another consequence is our inability to diagnose discrete disabilities. We all agree that a child can have one label in one state or district and another if she/she moves. Variances across incidence rates are large with lack of precision or understanding as to what caused this variance, but we continue to put labels on our children that sort them.

An additional negative consequence of categorization is the creation of an overly complex service delivery system. We classify children and teachers and then go about setting up programs, program standards and guidelines based on these categories. This can lead to categorization of teachers, class and caseload sizes, curricula, assessment accommodations and the like. This is indeed an interesting paradox based on a fundamentally flawed construct and drives decisions at all levels rather than the very premise upon which IDEA was based, individual needs and individual entitlements. Most obviously absent from many of our conversations is the absolute right for children with disabilities to have access to and make progress in standards, core content, and rigorous curricula.

We must be willing and able to step into this opportunity, and indeed implementation of a new IDEA is just such an opportunity. I firmly believe that you and I can be a catalyst for the needed change. We will be met by skepticism at best and open hostility and a refusal to participate at worst. However, by working within the system, providing information to all, evaluating the system itself, we will be able to articulate a vision of how we can together achieve positive outcomes for all of our children.

What does this translate to for you or for me? We must see children with disabilities and ourselves as General Education participants and partners first. We (all of education collectively) are responsible for the little girl or little boy who did not learn to read in San Mateo or San Diego or Compton or any district in this state. We are responsible for the boys placed in a restrictive environment because of their pigmentation or primary language or socioeconomic status. We are responsible for achieving greatly improved outcomes and for the learning of each and every child in each classroom and every school every day in California, from the Oregon and Mexican borders, from the large urban schools of Los Angeles to the rural 10 student schools in Syskiou County.

In closing, and most importantly, hold a child's face in your mind's eye every day as you go to work, so you never forget that child is depending on you and me for their future, remember the trust parents show us as they send us their most precious gifts each and ever day, do not ever violate that trust. The fruits from our labors will be evidenced as people gather 50 or 100 years from now to celebrate the equity, the access, and the achievement of every child for the steps you and I take today! And may they say that what we did helped kindle the lights in children with disabilities, lights which helped to illuminate the world in which we all will live.

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Positive Behavior Supports at the Secondary Level: Cabrillo and Thurston High Schools Work BEST

They sound like the most obvious of ideas: to make students come to school-and behave well while they're there-schools should offer a positive atmosphere; and, students who do well should be rewarded-not just for academics, but also for good behavior.

In order to create this sort of place, an increasing number of districts around the state are systematically implementing schoolwide positive behavioral supports (SW-PBS). In great part, these are new to the world of general education, but, as Ed Mendelssohn, Vice Principal at Thurston High School in Springfield, Oregon, observes, special education teachers have been using these techniques for years. "We're following in their footsteps. It's amazing how long it takes for some good ideas to get out."

Betty McCallum, Principal of Cabrillo High School in California's Lompoc Unified School District, agrees. "I think a lot of what this does is at the core of any good special ed program." She says that special ed teachers can be good resources for getting the adult population on board.

In the1990s IDEA (the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) formalized Functional Behavioral Assessments and SW-PBS for students with disabilities. Now, as statewide standards set goals for all students in this area as well as academics, SW-PBS methods are finding a wider audience.

SW-PBS is based on a simple concept: If you're nice to each other, you can achieve more. But it demands some rigorous consistency, and some shifts in thinking. Mendelssohn explains: "Many times in education the rhetoric is around expectations. Now every time we want to say ‘expectations' about student behavior we have to replace it with ‘intention.' It's like going from being a judge to being a coach-you become a participant in the preparation of the performance."

If Mendelssohn sounds inspired, it may be because his motivation was especially strong. In 1998, a 15-year-old student at Thurston High killed his parents and two students and injured 25 others. "We had an edge." Mendelssohn says. "We were not a typical school."

He and his staff knew that if they took the program on, they had to do it right. "There was good data that PBS worked at the elementary level, but not much so far about its effectiveness in high school. We knew that the last thing high schoolers want to do is something that smells of elementary school; so it would need to be re-thought."

The SW-PBS techniques developed by the Institute on Violence and Destructive Behavior (IVDB) at the University of Oregon provide school staff with methods, backed by research and testing, for creating a safe and healthy school with a positive atmosphere. Training in these methods is being provided by IVDB, in association with the California Institute on Human Services at Sonoma State University through the BEST (Building Effective Schools Together) project (see article on BEST in California).

Although there are conditions recommended for implementing SW-PBS (e.g., consistency of message, participation from all the adults on campus, involvement of the principal, commitment to sustained implementation, involvement of all the students-even the tough ones), the activities each school chooses to undertake are as different as the schools themselves (see the front-page article on SW-PBS).

Among the many methods taught by IVDB, there is one McCallum uses regularly-that of giving students five positive comments for each negative. She says that the technique is catching on: at a recent Parent Teacher Student Association meeting, one person made a negative comment, and the others asked her to make five positive comments afterward. "Though it was said in jest, it did serve to change the mood."

Cabrillo High has posters in every classroom reminding students of their expected behavior based on the 5 Ps: Be Prompt, Prepared, Positive, Polite, Productive. At Visitacion Valley Middle School in San Francisco, Principal Jim Dierke made their three basic SW-PBS phrases into a pin for teachers to wear. A teacher can refer to the pin to remind students of the rules.

Thurston High has implemented a program that channels competition between the grades into positive goals, offering points for specific activities throughout the school year. One of the activities is "Operation Backpack," a collaboration with the National Guard, where the students assemble backpacks for students affected by the recent hurricanes along the Gulf Coast. Points are counted throughout the year, and the class earning the most points gets $5,000 to spend on a celebration.

They have also turned the idea of referrals on its head. "Usually referrals are negative," says Mendelssohn, "but in this case kids can get called down to the office where we thank them for doing good things." He says this causes teachers to start looking for students who are doing the right thing, and that changes what happens at school. "If I'm looking for good, my chances of seeing it are better-as are my chances of recognizing it next time."

Students also receive points for participating in various homecoming activities and for good attendance. "We are encouraging the students to get involved and be part of school," Mendelssohn says.

He says that SW-PBS really needs to be happening "at a lot of different levels. We model to teachers what we are trying to get them to teach students."

"We didn't want to make this ‘one more thing I gotta do' for teachers. We started by petitioning the district for the one thing teachers say they need: time." The district approved an arrangement on alternate Wednesdays, when classes would start an hour later, and teachers could use the time to share information and collaborate. Mendelssohn says teachers appreciate it, since chances to work with each other are "few and far between." To sweeten the deal even more, he says, "We feed them really well-we're in there flipping the pancakes for their breakfast."

Visitacion Valley administrators and staff began their BEST effort by making charts that were posted around the school and made clear to students what behavior was acceptable in every part of the campus. They then instituted a zero-tolerance activity for any unacceptable behavior. They currently enjoy a 98 percent daily attendance rate, the highest in the district, and a gain of 26 points in the Academic Performance Index (API). "I think something must be working," Dierke says modestly. "It all came about because we took the BEST training and took it to heart. Now for two years, instead of teachers packing their bags at [the] end of a year, they decide to stay." Like Thurston High, Visitacion Valley has also made teacher prep periods consistent so teachers can work together.

They also regularized the schedule and made all special activities, such as field trips, occur on Fridays so the rest of the week could be devoted to consistent educational activities. "It's really simple," Dierke says, "but no one had thought of it."

At Cabrillo, McCallum offered her students an attractive reward: if they could have a month without a physical conflict anywhere at school, they could have an extended lunch period. "We made it three weeks. The kids were very motivated. I think they can do it, so we'll try again." Last year she gave away two iPods for perfect attendance. But she also points out that not all SW-PBS activities are large-scale. "A lot of the things you do are indirect-just adjustments to the climate."

Jim Dierke gives awards and prizes for good behavior every six weeks. "We were already giving awards for students who made the honor roll. We added a perfect attendance award, a most improved student award, and a Student of the Week." He says it is also much easier now for parents. The rules are clearly spelled out, so everyone understands them, and they're applied consistently to everyone.

The program has had unexpected benefits. Mendelssohn calls it "a wonderful creative outlet." Dierke explains that new activities at his school, such as a peer court, "came about because we recaptured time we were spending on nonsense."

SW-PBS addresses not only individual student behaviors, but environmental variables as well-things like a school's physical setting, demands, pace, and reinforcement. Studies currently underway show that adopting SW-PBS results in a 20-60 percent reduction in office disciplinary referrals. And as one might predict, it positively affects academic achievement and teacher morale.*

McCallum has a message for others contemplating the program: be patient with yourselves. "It's a process and takes time. And it's different for every school." Mendelssohn says "If there's one thing I'd say to someone just starting, it's don't forget the staff [school secretaries, custodians, etc.]. And you're not just working for buy-in from them-you're looking for belief."

Dierke agrees that buy-in, or belief, is important. "Everybody has to agree that they're going to do it, and everybody has to do it. It works best not only top-down but bottom-up, with everybody agreeing. And your counselors have to help enforce it."

He says that you also have to "tune-up every six weeks, since kids don't always remember." And lastly, not to be afraid of it-"it's not really new, just a very good use of your time. It's worth the trouble to become consistent."

McCallum says that resources such as movies from the BEST training have been valuable, since she can bring them out in response to a particular incident.

How will they measure success? Though each school will be reporting on indicators such as referrals and attendance, Mendelssohn says they will ultimately judge by how many kids graduate. "Usually you have a class of freshman, and by the time they become seniors, you have a considerably smaller number. Our goal is to have a net gain because we've created a climate where people want to stay."

* According to researchers Rob Horner, Rachel Freeman, C. Michael Nelson, and George Sugai in the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports Newsletter, preliminary study results show that "effective behavioral systems melded with effective instruction are likely to result in improved academic gain" (

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Peer-Reviewed and Data-Supported Programs: NCLB-Approved Approaches to Behavior

As most educators themselves are quick to admit, the field of education has not typically been guided by the scientific method. Critical observers have noted the historically common practice of embracing trends in the field because of compelling theory and professional judgment-but only thin evidence. The landmark No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) is reshaping education with its clear charge to teachers and administrators to change that and to begin using scientifically based research (SBR) as the basis for the programs and practices they choose. The goal is to realize student achievement through what has been proven to work.

The U.S. Department of Education provides a hierarchy of "evidence-based" practices reflecting the level of research rigor applied to test an intervention. At the highest level is a randomized, controlled trial design; at the next, a quasi-experimental controlled design (which typically denotes non-random assignment to condition). Other levels list opinions of respected authorities, studies with a statistically significant positive effect, a positive effect sustained for at least one year post intervention, and replication of the effect in one or more settings and/or populations.

Several government agencies (e.g., U.S. Department of Education, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) have created lists of "research-validated" practices. These may be compared to "evidence-based" programs that use a combination of research validated practices (e.g., social rule teaching, positive reinforcement, classroom management).

The SBR requirement can only improve schools across the board-and it presents challenging questions. At the middle and secondary school levels, for example, how can teachers and administrators determine whether behavior programs that promise amazing results actually improve student behavior? What kind of trials or pilot testing must have occurred to meet the scientific test? Where can one go to find this information? The good news is that these questions have helpful answers.

Definitions of Scientifically Based Research

NCLB legislation delineates the components of "scientifically based research" (see below). However, it is widely acknowledged that few studies of educational programs meet all the stated requirements.

To help educators navigate the requirements of the new legislation, the American Institutes of Research in a 2002 U.S. Department of Education project suggested two standards for judging education research: the "gold standard," which involves research that meets all the requirements of SBR; and the "silver standard," which includes research that meets all requirements except for random sampling. State agencies have developed variants of this framework.

In simplified form, the requirements are: 1) a statement of the theory, goals, and program components; 2) evidence of effects or results in terms of student learning; and 3) details on implementation and replicability over different settings.

Finding What Works

A central resource for educators is the What Works Clearinghouse (WWC), founded in August 2002 by the Institute of Education Sciences, a branch of the U.S. Department of Education. Its purpose is to assist schools in making decisions related to the requirements of NCLB. The WWC identifies promising programs, products, practices, and policies, and it provides reviews of them at This website also includes a registry for those educational approaches and policies that are presented in evidence-based research reviews, a test instruments registry, and an evaluator registry. Research standards approved in 2003 are used to guide the teams of analysts who conduct systematic reviews of evidence. The Evidence Reports examine the effects of programs, practices, products, and policies that are designed to improve student outcomes within a topic area. This approach allows for the review of multiple studies that address the same topic, thus increasing the accuracy of its determination that an intervention had a large, small, or no effect.

Another rich resource for quality educational research is the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), located on the Web at In 2003, ACSD began publishing a monthly Web-based publication, entitled Research Brief, to help educators and policymakers translate high-quality research into usable decision-making tools. Archived issues address such topics such as classroom management, substance abuse, and cheating. In addition, ASCD has published three books highlighting proven educational programs and strategies: What Works in Schools: Translating Research into Action; Classroom Instruction that Works: Research Based Strategies for Increasing Student Achievement; and most recently School Leadership that Works: From Research to Results.

A third organization devoted to reviewing and guiding scholarly research on education is The American Educational Research Association (AERA). AERA's publishes an online quarterly series, Research Points, connecting research to education policy. The series gives decision makers access to sound and important research on timely education topics (See

Proven Behavior Programs

The WWC is currently conducting a review on "Comprehensive Schoolwide Character Education Interventions: Benefits for Character Traits, Behavioral, and Academic Outcomes." Behavioral outcomes targeted through character education include "an increase in prosocial behaviors (e.g., voluntary participation in school activities and community service, as well as other altruistic acts) and a decrease in harmful and antisocial behaviors (e.g., substance use, vandalism, theft, violence, attendance/truancy, disciplinary referrals, and school suspensions)."

The Blueprints Project, a federally funded program conducted by the Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence (CSPV) at the University of Colorado at Boulder, identifies research-proven behavior programs. This is a national violence prevention initiative to identify violence prevention programs that are effective. The Blueprints for Violence Prevention Project has identified 11 prevention and intervention programs that meet a strict scientific standard of program effectiveness. The identified programs, called Blueprints, help to reduce adolescent violent crime, aggression, delinquency, and substance abuse. Another 18 programs are identified as promising programs. To date, more than 600 programs were reviewed, and the CSPV continues to look for programs that meet the selection criteria. Soon after the initiation of Blueprints, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) became an active supporter of the project and provided funding to CSPV to sponsor efforts to replicate the program in sites across the United States. As a result, Blueprints has evolved into a large-scale prevention initiative that identifies model programs and provides training and technical assistance to help sites choose and implement a set of demonstrated effective programs with a high degree of integrity. Find out more at the project at the CSPV website:

California Anti-Drug Programs

Underway in California are three Blueprints-endorsed, behavior-related projects that have a substance abuse focus. All three rest on many years of pilot testing with adolescents in a variety of educational settings. Key components include building motivation, social skills, and decision making skills.

  1. Project ALERT works with students from elementary through middle and secondary school levels in the city of Long Beach. These students reflect the area's diverse racial, linguistic, and ethnic mix, including a high percentage of immigrant households. Two years ago the Long Beach Unified School District adopted this program, motivated by a need to receive Title IV funding and a desire to build upon earlier successes in reducing substance abuse in the youth population. According to Long Beach's Curriculum Leader Robin Sinks, "Project ALERT does impact students. It helps them to set goals and make good decisions." Eleven major endorsements are given to this project, including the U.S. Department of Education, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (See for more information.)
  2. Project Towards No Drug Abuse (TND) focuses on senior high school-age students and is being carried out at the Institute for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Research in the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California. The project is the fruit of two decades of studies involving some 3,000 youth in 42 regular and continuation high schools in Southern California.

Project TND includes 12 classroom-based sessions described as "highly interactive, with the use of the Socratic method (a teaching technique that encourages critical thinking by asking students questions instead of telling them answers), classroom discussions, skill demonstrations, role-playing, and psychodrama techniques throughout the curriculum." It helps students review information through "the TND Game," in which teams of students compete for points by answering questions about the curriculum material. This project provides face-to-face training at enrolled school sites by certified trainers who are health education specialists. (Go to for more information).

  1. The Midwestern Prevention Project (MPP) is the third California substance abuse program listed by Blueprints as a model program. The MPP deals with tobacco use, as well as other harmful substances, which explains its affiliation with the Norris Comprehensive Cancer Care Center at the University of Southern California.

The MPP recognizes the tremendous social pressures upon youth to use drugs and provides training on how to avoid drug use and situations in which drugs may be present. These skills are presented in a school program and reinforced through parents, the media, and community organizations. The central means of drug prevention programming, however, is the school. Active social learning techniques (i.e., modeling, role playing, and discussion, with student peer leaders who assist teachers) are used in the school program, along with homework assignments designed to involve family members. The parent program includes two parts: parent-child communications training and a parent-principal committee that meets to review school drug policies. Through media programming, community organizations, and local health agencies, a consistent message is delivered: drugs are simply not used. Period.

Additional, Far-reaching Efforts

Another important program in California is BEST (Building Effective Schools Together, see below), supported by both state and federal funds in an increasing number of schools across the state, although not yet granted an evidence-based standard. The focus and structure of BEST-whole-school behavioral reform and numerous interrelated techniques for changing the climate of a school, respectively-differs significantly from the programs described above, complicating efforts to earn it the "gold standard" of research validation. However, BEST has recently been selected by the U.S. Department of Education to participate in experimental, randomized trials in middle schools, and the Office of Special Education Programs has funded a randomized trial in elementary schools.

Conclusion: Working Together

The future of education inaugurated by NCLB is one marked by collaboration between practitioners and researchers. Many classrooms today are taking part in rigorous, measured studies to test new programs and products. Communication between and among researchers and educators now takes place swiftly, thanks to online information clearinghouses such as WWC and Blueprints, as well as by more traditional methods. Everyone stands to benefit from this collaborative effort-most of all, the student!

NCLB Definition: Scientifically Based Research

(A) means research that involves the application of rigorous, systematic, and objective procedures to obtain reliable and valid knowledge relevant to education activities and programs and
(B) includes research that-
i. employs systematic, empirical methods that draw on observation or experiment;
ii. involves rigorous data analyses that are adequate to test the stated hypotheses and justify the general conclusions drawn;
iii. relies on measurements or observational methods that provide reliable and valid data across evaluators and observers, across multiple measurements and observations, and across studies by the same or different investigators;
iv. is evaluated using experimental or quasi-experimental designs in which individuals, entities, programs, or activities are assigned to different conditions and with appropriate controls to evaluate the effects of the condition of interest, with a preference for random-assignment experiments, or other designs to the extent that those designs contain within-condition or across-condition controls; v. ensures that experimental studies are presented in sufficient detail and clarity to allow for replication or, at a minimum, offer the opportunity to build systematically on their findings;
vi. has been accepted by a peer-reviewed journal or approved by a panel of independent experts through a comparably rigorous, objective, and scientific review."
-From Title IX, Part A, Section 9101 [37]

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Practical Approaches That Work: A Recipe for Success: The Principal's 200 Club

By William R. Jenson, Ph.D., University of Utah and Hollie Pettersson, M.A., Utah Behavior Initiative Project

Have you ever played bingo and won a toaster that you really didn't need? But you told yourself that it was worth the time and investment, because just playing the game was fun? Or, have you ever entered an office sports pool for a playoff game, even when you knew that the odds of winning were very small? These pursuits are enormously popular because they have random payoffs, the information is constantly changing, and you're competing against others-all of which make the effort challenging and invigorating. The Principal's 200 Club was modeled after these games, but with an entirely different purpose. Rather than winning a toaster, the players (staff and students) are rewarded with an increasingly positive school climate, reduced office referrals, and a positive link with parents. And students receive rewards for following the rules.

The 200 Club was developed in Utah 15 years ago as an inexpensive discipline approach designed to improve the positive behaviors of students. It uses the same behavior management practices that hook people into playing bingo or betting in sports pools, but it also incorporates well-researched principles for changing behavior: the importance of advertising for success, providing changing and dynamic feedback systems for students, and offering random rewards for good behavior and for following school rules.

In 1999, J.A. Baker (in an article in the Elementary School Journal, titled "Teacher-student interaction in urban at-risk classrooms: Differential behavior, relationships quality, and student satisfaction with school") found not only that students like to receive positive feedback, but that when they receive it consistently, they rate their relationship with school staff higher. The Principal's 200 Club is a systematic way for schools to increase the positive feedback its staff gives for rule-following behavior. Other researchers have found that the more problematic the student behavior, the greater the need for high rates of positive feedback to change that behavior.

Of course, a few important things need to be in place before a school can implement the club. There needs to be a common understanding of what appropriate school behavior looks and sounds like prior to implementing the program. Schools reporting optimal success with the program have three to five simply stated and defined schoolwide rules or expectations that are taught in a systematic manner by all teachers and staff (see article on BEST as one effective way to do this, page 11). When starting the 200 Club, staff need to review with students the rules/expectations and explain-in a short assembly, morning announcement, or advisory period-how the program will work.

The essential steps for setting up the program are simple and concrete:

  1. It starts with a large visual chart of squares-a matrix divided into 200 numbered cells. Different schools construct it in different ways: as a plastic-covered or laminated sheet of cardboard, a sheet of fabric with Velcro sewn into each cell, or a large window outside the principal's office divided into cells with colored tape. Regardless of its construction, the most important characteristic of the matrix is that it is placed in a prominent spot in the school and is large enough for students to easily see when they walk by.
  2. Next, 200 disks (i.e., pennies, poker chips, round pieces of cardboard) are numbered 1 to 200 and put in an opaque container, like a plastic pitcher or box. Each numbered disk corresponds to a numbered cell on the matrix.
  3. A Celebrity Book is made where students can write their names.
  4. A set of paper coupons is made that include spaces for the student's name, the staff person's name who gave the coupon, and the date.
  5. Last, a Principal's Mystery Motivator is made and posted on the principal's door. This is simply a large envelope with a question mark drawn on the front. Inside on a piece of paper is written the name of a reward that the winning students will receive.

It is also important to post the school's agreed-upon, "rewardable" behaviors right next to the matrix. These should be specific, observable, and measurable-able to pass the "Flash Test": students and staff should be able to tell immediately-in a flash-whether the student is observing the appropriate behavior or following the rules. For example, rewardable behaviors could include walking down the hall (rather than running, skipping, or skating), following staff directions, or using polite words.

To start the 200 Club, the coupons are distributed to ten randomly selected teachers at the beginning of each day (e.g., put in their mailboxes in the morning). If a teacher gets a coupon, their job is to catch a student following the school rules that day. In order to generalize the program across the whole school, it helps to instruct teachers to catch students they do not know, as well as ones they have in class. Some schools color-code the coupons for this purpose. A pink coupon requires a teacher to catch a student they know; a blue coupon, one they do not know.

In "catching" a student following the rule, the teacher stops the student, describes the rule they're following, and then writes the student's name on the coupon with the date. The student is then instructed to go to the office by noon the next day. At the office with coupon in hand, the student signs the Celebrity Book. His parents are then called, informed, and congratulated for their child's appropriate behavior in following the school rules. Calling parents is important as it develops a positive link between the school and home. If the parents are not at home, a message is left or a postcard is sent, reporting the good news.

At any point in this process, it's important not to threaten to take the student's name off the matrix or out of the Celebrity Book. The emphasis needs to be always on the positive. And regardless of any subsequent behavior, the student did do something that deserved recognition and reward.

After signing the book, the student draws a disk (e.g., penny engraved with a number) out of the container. The number on the disk corresponds to a numbered cell on the big matrix. The student then writes his or her name in that numbered cell. The disk is not replaced in the container at this point. Over time, with ten students being caught each day, the 200 Matrix starts to fill up randomly with names.

The first ten students in any column, row, or diagonal are the winners and receive the reward in the Principal's Mystery Motivator. Mystery Motivators can be anything students value, like sitting with the principal at lunch and having pizza, or being given an extra 15 minutes at lunch or a homework pass that's good for any class. One of West Jordan High's most valued Mystery Motivators is VIP parking next to the school's main entrance. Many businesses donate items and gift certificates for the program.

The number of cells in the matrix-200-was selected because experience has shown that, with ten students being caught each day, on average it will take approximately two weeks before there are ten student names in a row, column, or diagonal. After the ten winning students have been announced and they receive the Principal's Mystery Motivator, all the names on the matrix are erased, the disks that were drawn are replaced in the container, and the process is started all over again. A more detailed description of the 200 Club and its steps for implementation are given in the new Tough Kid Principal's Briefcase (in press) or School-Based Interventions for Students with Behavior Problems (2004).

The Principal's 200 Club has been implemented in many parts of the U.S., after emerging out of the Utah Behavior Initiative (UBI). It has been implemented in elementary schools, middle/junior high schools, charter schools, special education schools, and high schools. Research in these schools has shown significant reductions in office referrals for discipline problems, tardiness, and suspensions. Some of the improvements have been dramatic: North Cache Middle School, in Richmond, Utah, reduced office discipline referrals by 70 percent, tardiness by 50 percent, and bus discipline referrals by 80 percent; North Ogden Junior High has reduced its office referrals by 50 percent and tardiness by 30 percent, and over a single year they have also reduced its out-of-school suspensions by 60 percent. In the words of the UBI Director, "The Principal's 200 Club has been a key component in the success of these schools." And there is no arguing with success.

Dr. William Jenson has co-authored numerous books in addition to the ones mentioned in this article: Tough Kid Tool Box: The Resource Book and Tough Kid Book: Practical Classroom Strategies. His School-Based Interventions for Students with Behavior Problems, now available at the RiSE Library, offers techniques for teachers, administrators, and school counselors for preventing problem behavior. To order, see the RiSE Library below.

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Pilot Study in Santa Barbara: Education Addresses the Question of Character

The Academy of Healing Arts (AHA!) of Santa Barbara is pilot testing an innovative program dedicated to the development of character, imagination, emotional intelligence, and social conscience of teens. AHA! originated some seven years ago as the brainchild of veteran family therapists and educators Jennifer Freed and Rendy Freedman and operates as an offshoot of the Family Therapy Institute of Santa Barbara.

Last year AHA! obtained funding from the California Department of Education through a CalSTAT (California Services for Technical Assistance and Training) grant for the purpose of expanding its reach to area youth and their families. From a previous level of about 50 teens and families served per year, the number rose to 80 last year, and an estimated 150 teens and their families will be served in the current year.

In addition to helping hire a bilingual (Spanish-English) program outreach person, the funds are being used to maintain a website (, develop and duplicate training materials, and gather and evaluate project data. The faculty has grown in number to twelve talented and enthusiastic professionals. The teen-to-adult ratio is just four-to-one, thanks to the participation of volunteer interns as well as paid staff, which creates the desired climate of mentorship.

The Program. Some teens come into the program with suicidal feelings, learning disabilities such as attention deficit disorder, or suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome. Others have been in trouble with the law or school authorities, or are having difficulty grappling with home and peer pressures or abuse.

AHA! delivers classes in an action-oriented style where youth and adults are sharing equally and each participant may explore topics through specially designed awareness games, verbal dialogue, written work, crafts, creative expression, and team-building exercises. Topics include: compassionate communication, character development, self-expression, prejudice reduction, substance abuse and healthy choices, and anger management.

Each class contains a creative arts component to help teens discover outlets for personal expression. For example, participants may choose to write plays, which are then produced at the Academy for Healing Arts.

The curriculum is delivered through a multi-cultural lens, with a focus on honoring and celebrating commonalities and differences among people. AHA! is offered both as a summer program and as a year-round after school program. Teens arrive at the program by court order, by school referral, or on their own initiative. Family involvement is encouraged, and family therapy is provided on a donation basis as a part of program enrollment.

School credit is offered to continuation high school students and boys' prison camp inmates who attend AHA! classes at lest twice a week. The local public high schools offer community service credit instead for student participation.

"We are seeing some amazing benefits," says Dr. Freed. Teens are learning to set goals, stop bullying and hatred, support their peers, and serve their community. "We find that mastery of these emotional skills is the best predictor of success later in life," Freed adds.

Since program facilitators participate with the teens in lessons and exercises, it has been observed that group trust and cross-generational alliances grow and even flourish.

As one teen participant testified, "[AHA!] adds fun and originality to the classroom which helped me stay in school." Others have called the experience "life changing." One teen stated, "If I hadn't come to this program I wouldn't know who I am and now I believe in myself."

Freed is particularly proud of the program's "Breakthrough Performance" component, whereby teens overcome their fears and gain self-confidence by expressing themselves musically and artistically in a nightclub-style public performance. "It's very moving to see them blossom onstage," says Freed. "We all cry!"

Future Spinoffs. Interest in expanding AHA! services and replicating its model has come from service agencies and school districts not only in California but from ten other states so far. A training manual and video are available for sale through the project website (see above), and additional activity workbooks are currently being developed. New grant proposals are also in the works.

Can schools incorporate this type of class or individual lesson plans and activities into their curricula? "It will depend upon the resources and forward-thinking spirit of the particular school and district," says CALSTAT specialist Anne Davin. While some schools are simply struggling to meet current local and state testing requirements, others have the funds and motivated teachers and administrators to explore the great promise of character education.

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2006 Calendar

January 11
Introduction to Intensive Behavioral Interventions
For special education staff, itinerant staff, psychologists, and instructional aides, this program addresses how to support students with autism and related disorders in highly structured settings to "naturalist." Topics include discrete trial teaching, pivotal response training, incidental teaching, and floortime. Apple Valley, CA. To register, go to; for more information, contact Laurel Holler at 760-242-6333 or

January 11-13
Different Paths, Common Destinations, Leadership Matters!
The Association of California School Administrators' 2006 Student Services, Special Education and Diversity Symposium features workshops targeted for administrators. Numerous topics are discuseed in detail, like understanding student records, collaboration strategies, the high school exit exam, and much more. Monterey, CA. For more information, call 800-672-3494 or go to

January 12-14
Winter Reflections: Improving the Climate
The 17th annual Region 1 Winter Conference is designed for teachers, administrators, parents, and other interested in building collaborative partnerships between general and special educators to better serve and support ALL students. Presentations will address literacy, behavior, instructional strategies, and family involvement. Rohnert Park, CA. For more information, call 707-964-9000, fax 707-964-6219, or go to

January 26-28
Technology, Reading & Learning Difficulties Conference
This 24th annual conference, sponsored by the International Reading Association and the Education Computer Conferences, Inc., encourages educators to integrate technology while teaching students to read. Over 80 speakers address such topics as using digital photography to help students learn and build social skills, using email to promote literacy, writing grants in the digital age, and much more. San Francisco, CA. For more information, call 888-594-1249, email, or go to

February 3-4
24th Annual Cal-TASH Conference
At this conference, professionals, individuals with disabilities, advocates, parents, and teachers will present on such topics as inclusion, self-determination, universal design, transition, and much more. Burlingame, CA. For more information, contact Ann Halvorsen at 510-885-3087 or email

February 6-April 6 (every Thursday for ten weeks)
Parent Project
This ongoing training is free to parents of 10-18-year-olds. It provides strategies on working with out-of-control adolescents and deals with topics like gangs, drug and alcohol abuse, truancy, and bad grades. Features include activity-based instruction and ongoing parent-led support groups after completion of the program. Apple Valley, CA. To register, go to, or for more information, contact Ramona Aceves at 760-242-6336 or

March 1-4
California Association for Bilingual Education 2006
This professional development opportunity helps educators through all aspects of teaching English learners: planning instructions, adaptation of lessons, assessing learning, integration of technology, engaging parents, and becoming culturally competent. San Jose, CA. For more information, call 866-814-2223, email, or go to

March 7
Behavior Strategies: Ideas for Parents and Caregivers
This morning workshop instructs parents and caregivers on how to implement social skill interventions and positive behavior methods to reduce negative behavior. Participants will learn about environmental and instructional strategies and techniques that assist the development of alternative, positive behaviors. Colton, CA. To register, go to, or for more information, contact Teresa Saenz at 909-433-4794 or

March 14
Student Discipline, Suspension, and Expulsion Workshop
This interactive workshop presents an overview of suspensions, expulsions, and the appeals process to administrators and safe and drug-free school coordinators. The workshop also includes an overview of recently enacted legislative changes. San Bernardino, CA. To register, go to, or for more information, contact Sherman Garnett at 909-386-2903 or

March 23
Changing Behavior: Functional Assessment and Behavior Intervention Planning
This one-day training introduces general and special education teachers, psychologists, counselors, and administrators to the basic principles of positive behavioral support (PBS). Participants will learn to write and plan implementation of quality PBS plans. Apple Valley, CA. To register, go to, or for more information, contact Daria Raines at 760-242-6333 or

March 23-25
3rd International Conference on Positive Behavior Support
This international gathering of the behavior support community provides attendees with the latest research findings, as well as skill-building workshops on schoolwide applications, early intervention, family support, and practical applications. Reno, NV. For more information, call 570-389-4081, email, or go to

April 11
Behavior Strategies Workshop
General and special education teachers, support staff, and administrators will learn how to implement social skill interventions and positive behavior methods to target and reduce negative behavior. This workshop includes training on writing behavior plans, interventions, environmental and instructional strategies, and techniques to overcome resistance. To register, go to, or for more information, contact Teresa Saenz at 909-433-4794 or

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Web Resources
Be Safe and Sound Campaign
The National Crime Prevention Council offers online resources like the School Safety and Security Toolkit: A Guide for Parents, Schools, and Communities. The website also provides information for various stakeholders, like caregivers, as well as a searchable database of resources on school safety, security, and violence prevention.
Safe Schools
The California Department of Education provides links to make schools safer: preparing for crises, bettering the environment at the school, and preventing violence.
California Safe Schools Coalition
This coalition aims to protect students from discrimination and harassment based on actual and perceived sexual orientation and gender identity. It offers information on rights and tools for schools and districts.
CalSTAT Library
The library offers resources submitted by CalSTAT community members. Resources include links to websites and journal articles.
Center for the Prevention of School Violence
This site represents one of the nation's first state-sponsored school safety centers. The center provides information, technical assistance, and materials on safe schools, positive youth development, problems of school violence, and the development of solutions, using creative means like plays on positive behavior that can be performed at schools.
Institute on Violence and Destructive Behavior
This institute aims to empower schools and social service agencies to address violence and destructive behavior-at school and after students leave school-to facilitate the academic achievement and healthy social development of children and youth. IVDB also provides services like program evaluation, outreach, training, and technical support.
Is Reading Fluency a Key for Successful High School Reading?
This article, in the September 2005 issue of the Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, posits that reading is taught and mastered not in elementary school, as is the common belief, but in the ninth grade.
Justice Information Center
The center, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice, provides services and resources: a question-and-answer section about juvenile and criminal justice, victim assistance, and drug policy; and a twice weekly E-newsletter listing new publications, funding opportunities, news, and announcements. The website also provides an international database of publications, articles, and multimedia products with statistics, research, and training materials.
Keep Schools Safe
This organization assists all stakeholders in making schools safe. Resources are broken down into sections that appeal to each group of stakeholders: students, parents, and administrators.
National Youth Gang Center
This center of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention aims to help policymakers, practitioners, and researchers reduce youth gang involvement and crime by contributing information, resources, practical tools, and expertise towards the development and implementation of effective gang prevention, intervention, and suppression strategies.
NICHCY Connections ... to Behavior Assessment, Plans, and Positive Supports
The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities is a clearinghouse for information to help with children who have behavior challenges. It's broken down into multiple sections: communication, assessment, intervention plans, and support.
Partnerships Against Violence Online
Pavnet is a virtual library of information about violence and at-risk youth, representing data from seven different federal agencies. A discussion board provides a forum to communicate and share resources with other violence prevention professionals.
Public Schools of North Carolina, School Improvement Division
This website provides numerous resources, like An Educator's Guide for Prevention and Early Intervention, a guide for identifying early warning signs in students at risk of being involved in disruptions, crime, or violence, and Bullying Prevention is Crime Prevention, a report from a national anti-crime organization, Fight Crime: Invest in Kids. It also provides information on closing the gap between expectations and actual achievement, safe and drug-free schools, and alternative learning programs.
Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Program
This section of the SchoolsMovingUp website provides information on reducing drug use and violence, texts about safe schools and archived presentations, and information on regulations and legislation.
Technical Assistance Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports
The Office of Special Education Programs' TA Center on PBIS provides practical demonstrations of positive behavior and offers technical assistance that allows for large-scale implementation. It links to specific topics like schoolwide, district-wide, statewide, and high school PBS; families and PBS; and PBS and the law.

New Supplements Available: A Composite of Laws

The latest three supplements to the 27th Edition of the A Composite of Laws covering amendments to California Education Code are available at These supplements address, among other things, the federal requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) as amended in 2004, relating to pupil identification, assessment, and eligibility; individualized education program development, including notice, representation, and hearing procedures and requirements; and pupil data confidentiality.

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RiSE Library

The RiSE (Resources in Special Education) Library lends materials to California's residents free of charge. The items listed on this page are just a sampling of what is available. Go to to view the library's complete holdings and to request materials by email. To order by phone, call Judy Bower at 408-727-5775.

Accentuate the Positive . . . Eliminate the Negative: Managing Behavior Problems
By Jo Webber. Teaching Exceptional Children: Reston, VA, 1991; 7 pages. This text discusses numerous concepts like Differential Reinforcement of Zero Rates of Behaviors (DRO), of Incompatible Behavior (DRI), of Lower Rates of Behavior (DRL), and of Communicative Behaviors (DRC). Call number 5269.

Behavior Survival Guide for Kids: How to Make Good Choices and Stay Out of Trouble
By Tom McIntyre. Free Spirit Publishing: Minneapolis, MN, 2003; 167 pages. This guide helps children and the adults who work with them to better understand behavior and the problems it can create. The author offers strategies kids can use to handle strong feelings and make positive choices. Call number 23381.

Best Behavior: Building Positive Behavior Support in Schools
By Jeffery Sprague and Annemieke Golly. Sopris West: Longmont, CO, 2005; 241 pages. This evidence-based discipline program integrates family collaboration with proven, easy-to-implement interventions that can be used with the entire school, an individual classroom, or just one student. Call numbers 23704, 23705.

Communication-Based Intervention for Problem Behavior: A User's Guide for Producing Positive Change
By Edward G. Carr, et al. Paul H. Brookes: Baltimore, MD, 2000; 251 pages. This user-friendly manual details methods of conducting functional assessments, communication-based intervention strategies, procedures for facilitating generalization and maintenance, and crisis management tactics. Call number 23390.

Coping with Noncompliance in the Classroom: A Positive Approach for Teachers
By H. M. Walker. Pro-Ed: Austin, TX, 1991; 95 pages. This books presents research on noncompliance, strategies for remediation, and classroom applications, with guidelines and procedures for coping with noncompliance. It includes resources on overall behavior for general parenting skills and for methods of maintaining behavioral gains. Call number 21227.

Families and Positive Behavior Support: Addressing Problem Behavior in Family Contexts
Edited by Joseph M. Lucyshyn; Glen Dunlap; and Richard W. Albin. Paul H. Brookes Publishing Company, Inc.: Baltimore, MD, 2002; 465 pages. Essays by parents show how positive behavior support strategies have helped children of all ages communicate, participate in activities, form friendships, and reduce challenging behavior. Call numbers 23150, 23151.

Functional Analysis Assessment: Chapter 3 of Positive Interventions for Serious Behavior Problems
By Diana Browning Wright. California Department of Education: Sacramento, CA, 1994; 41 pages. This chapter provides an overview of basic concepts in functional analysis assessment. It includes worksheets from the appendix. Call numbers 20011, 20012.

On Our Best Behavior
By Barbara Zimmerman. LRP Publications: Danvers, MA, 2000; 105 pages. This book provides positive behavior management strategies for the classroom. Call number 22456, 22457.

Positive Behavioral Support as a Means to Enhance Successful Inclusion for Persons with Challenging Behavior: Getting a Life
By Ann Turnbull and H. Rutherford Turnbull. Beach Center on Families and Disabilities: Lawrence, KS, 1998; 38 pages. The authors offer a value-based approach to addressing challenging classroom behaviors, which in turn fosters inclusion. Call number 21364.

Positive Behavioral Support in the Classroom: Principles and Practices
By Lewis Jackson and Marion Panya. Paul H. Brookes: Baltimore, MD, 2002; 365 pages. With its blend of research and practical strategies, this text helps education professionals evaluate children with challenging behaviors, tailor support for individual students, and link behavioral support concepts to the broader practices of schools and society. Call number 23427.

Positive Intervention for Serious Behavior Problems: Best Practices in Implementing the Positive Behavioral Intervention Regulations
By Diana Browning Wright. California Department of Education: Sacramento, CA, 2001; 311 pages. This text discusses best practices in implementing the Hughes Bill (AB 2586), including processes for developing the behavioral intervention plan, and the role of the behavioral intervention case management. Call numbers 14445, 22445.

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State Improvement Grant Money Supports Whole-School Behavior Program: BEST: Building Effective Schools Together

Starting in 2000, the State of California contracted with the Institute on Violence and Destructive Behavior (IVDB) at the University of Oregon, along with the California Institute on Human Services (CIHS) at Sonoma State University, to deliver training in Positive Behavioral Support (PBS) to schools and districts across the state. The project, entitled BEST (Building Effective Schools Together), trains school teams to develop positive school rules, teach these rules clearly to students, and put reinforcement systems in place to build motivation for positive behavior.

PBS is based on the idea that students who exhibit negative behaviors have learned to do so because the behavior "works" for them-they get something out of it, even if it's just negative attention. PBS seeks to reduce these problem behaviors at school, replace them with positive ones, and ensure that the positive behaviors are recognized and rewarded. According to Jeff Sprague from the University of Oregon's Institute on Violence and Destructive Behavior, "Evidence suggests that sustained use of PBS practices can alter the trajectory of at-risk children toward destructive outcomes and prevent the onset of risk behavior in typically developing children." Sprague cites numerous studies that provide strong evidence that sustained implementation of PBS helps a school realize both academic achievement and positive social development for all children (Horner, Sugai, Todd, & Lewis-Palmer, in press; Walker et al., 1996). Best Behavior (Sprague & Golly, 2004) was selected for use in California because it is a comprehensive staff development curriculum for installing a wide range of PBS practices. Its development is based on research from the National Center on Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports ( at the University of Oregon.

From 2000 to 2003, a total of 57 BEST trainings were held for nearly 2,600 attendees. In follow-up emails, 91 percent of the respondents (representing 41 percent of those to whom the survey was sent) indicated that they were using strategies they had learned at the trainings. Respondents reported a 30 percent increase in their average level of knowledge about the subject, and rated their experience high in every category, with an overall rating of 4.4 on a five-point scale.

The effectiveness of the trainings can be credited in large part to good training design. Sites interested in attending the two trainings were required to participate as a team and as a team to attend a follow-up session several months later. Teams were typically made up of school administrators, special education teachers, general education teachers, and parents. Survey respondents indicated that having the buy-in of administrators helped deliver a consistent message about behavior to the students.

In 2003 the project's focus shifted to a train-the-trainers model, as 62 professionals and parents were chosen to become part of a California cadre of trainers, to enlarge the reach of BEST practices. Funding for this new phase came from the federal government as an enhancement to California's existing State Improvement Grant (SIG). Cadre members were given intensive coaching in BEST strategies and in methods of sharing this information with others. The cadre model increased the capacity of the state and bolstered the sustainability of the project, as the cadre then went on to deliver 37 trainings to 1,600 participants from 190 different sites by 2005.

In a survey conducted with 73 sites after the first year of implementation, staff trained by the cadre reported that they have begun to effectively implement aspects of the BEST behavior program, both in the classroom and schoolwide. Sites reported progress in the participation of administrators, supervisors, and teachers; in defining rules for the school; and in making positive behavioral supports a priority.

Much of PBS is focused on changing school climate-essentially helping students and teachers discover a positive and welcoming attitude toward education. This has a snowball effect and creates even more positive change. One of the most important steps toward this goal is to have the enthusiastic participation of everyone at every level of the school. This seems to be happening at the schools participating in the BEST trainings: on evaluations, teachers note with enthusiasm the complete buy-in-bus drivers, teachers, administrators, students, parents, office staff-everyone. By helping all of these people learn and then teach ways to communicate a clear and consistent positive message to students about behavior, the BEST participants-even though most of them are newly trained-are already changing school climate across California and positively affecting students lives for the better. It's not called BEST for nothing.

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For teens only!:
Resources: A list of websites, books, and hotlines to help you get through life


Physical Health
GirlHealth is run by young women for young women, and it offers help on healthy relationships with families and partners, knowing your rights, taking pride in yourself, pregnancy, effects of drugs on the female body, and more.
You can submit non-urgent questions to Go Ask Alice! about health (general, physical, emotional), relationships, sexuality, sexual health, emotional health, fitness, nutrition, and alcohol and drugs. All questions are answered.
Planned Parenthood isn't just about sex education, but also life education, like safe and healthy relationships, necessary medical exams, making choices, and current world events related to sexual rights. You can also make an appointment or find an office in your area.
The Students and Young Adults section of the National Institute on Drug Abuse website is developed specifically for teens, offering information about specific drugs. It also has an extensive section in Spanish.
The TeensHealth > Your Body section talks about bullying, health, drugs/alcohol, cutting, and staying safe. There is an extensive section dealing with all parts of the body, like skin ailments, tattoos, braces, and tumors.

Emotional Health
The Sex, Etc. > Emotional Health section is for teens by teens. You can submit non-urgent questions or read articles by teens who feel just like you (or worse!).
The Suicide Prevention Resource Center helps you help your friends if they are suicidal. They also have a 24/7 hotline: 800-273-8255.
The Teen Depression website covers all aspects of depression: how to avoid it, how to know if you're depressed, and how to get help. The entire site is also available in Spanish.
Teen Help is an online community and forum for anyone 13 or older and has members from around the world. Registered members can talk to each other and post on the forum. All posts are reviewed for appropriateness of content.
The TeensHealth > Your Mind section helps you deal with your friends, your family, and, most importantly, yourself.

OutProud is an online community for queer and questioning teens. You can read stories about teens coming out, learn about role models in the community, and browse online brochures for teens who are questioning or living out of the closet. It also has a link to QueerAmerica, a national support network.
The Trevor Project helps teens who are queer or questioning. They run a 24/7, 365 days per year confidential suicide hotline at 866-488-7386. You can also submit non-urgent questions online and find local services by state.
Youthhood is an online space where all youth belong. You can check different sections of the website, like the "Community Center" (about giving back), the "Health Clinic" (about your body), the "Apartment" (about your home life), and much more.

The Ability Online Support
Network allows teens with disabilities to log on and meet mentors, role models, and friends. All messages are filtered and monitored for appropriateness.
Best Buddies works to make the lives of people with intellectual disabilities better by helping them socialize with non-disabled peers. People with intellectual disabilities are introduced to those who do not have them in the hope of building tolerance, friendship, and self-esteem.
The I Can Work-Youth Audience brochure is for youth with disabilities. It lists resources-like information about high school and college, healthcare, and employment-available to California teens with disabilities. Available in English, Spanish, Tagalog, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Korean.
The Independent Living Institute compiled a list of universities and organizations in foreign countries that welcomes people with disabilities to study, work, volunteer, and receive training.
Download a PDF of "Job Seeking Skills for People with Disabilities: A Guide to Success," a handbook that answers common questions and concerns of students with disabilities. It also provides information on setting career goals and looking for work.
The National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability (NCWD/Youth) has information about disability, education, and employment. You can read stories about people who successfully transition from school to work. They also have useful resources, like "The 411 on Disability Disclosure: A Workbook for Youth with Disabilities," a workbook helping youth make decisions about disclosing your disability and its impact on your education, employment, and social life.
Kids as Self Advocates encourages youth with disabilities to be leaders and advocate for themselves. You can read reports written by these self advocates or learn more about numerous topics like civil rights, staying safe, leisure and recreation, dating, and more.
Sign up for the PACER Center's transition listserv "Reference Points." Receive emails about transition, scholarships and going to college, and newly launched websites and projects that can help you.

Giving Back
When you feel it's time to give back to your community, you can check out this list of volunteer organizations.
Mobility International USA empowers people with disabilities to fight for the rights of people with disabilities around the world. You can check out the Just for Teens and Peer-to-Peer Network sections to see how you can help.

This online version of Next Step Magazine has information about going to college, scholarships, careers, and help with life in general.
Shout Out is a newspaper for and by teens in California's central coast. They cover culture, current events, and personal events (like immigration) from your point of view.
Teen Ink, free to view online, is for teens by teens (it takes submissions from the public). It's all about being creative, with resources on writing, art, photography, and publishing. It also talks about community service, history, and health.
The motto of TranscendMag, an online magazine by and for African American teens, is "no limits, no boundaries." And it's a message they want to pass on to their readers. This magazine addresses world news, discusses creative outlets (particularly fashion and entertainment), and provides information for school and scholarships.


(check your local library or your library at school)
* = fiction; ** = non-fiction

*For Teens Only: Quotes, Notes, and Advice You Can Use
by Carol Weston
This guide offers helpful advice for girls and guys, tips for teens on being themselves, and positive thoughts about life.

*Get Over It! How to Survive Breakups, Back-stabbing Friends, and Bad Haircuts
by Beth Mayall
This book is entertaining, but also offers a ton of very real, very healthy, very useful advice. The theme throughout is: calmly confront the problem, express your feelings and needs, and move on to a solution, even if it means saying goodbye to a relationship or a plan.

*How I Stayed Alive When My Brain Was Trying to Kill Me: One Person's Guide to Suicide Prevention
by Susan Rose Blauner
Survivor of multiple suicide attempts, Blauner offers guidance for those thinking about suicide and their families, as well as affirmations and suggestions.

**Know It By Heart
by Karl Luntta
A racially mixed family moves into an all-white neighborhood in Connecticut in 1961, and they have to deal with burning crosses and worse. The teens seek justice and find themselves in the process.

*The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens: The Ultimate Teenage Survival Guide
by Sean Covey
This collection helps teens with self-image, building friendships, achieving goals, making important decisions, and preventing and alleviating depression.

by Jerry Spinelli
An eccentric high school student named Stargirl deals with popularity, nonconformity, and first love.

*Too Old for This, Too Young for That! Your Survival Guide for the Middle School Years
by Harriet Mosatche and Karen Unger
This guide helps middle schoolers with issues like physical and emotional changes, connecting with friends and family, setting goals, and handling peer pressure.

*Yes, Your Parents Are Crazy! A Teen Survival Handbook
by Michael Bradley
This book talks about why adults behave the way they do and how to handle parents and other adults in life's confusing and difficult situations. Libraries RiSE and Parents Helping Parents (free lending library for California residents-408-727-5775, ext.110)

*Autism-Asperger's & Sexuality: Puberty & Beyond
by Jerry Newport, Mary Newport, and Teresa Bolick
A husband and wife with Asperger's Syndrome give invaluable advice to teens and adults going through this difficult period. RiSE call number 2040.

*A Bird's Eye View of Life with ADD and ADHD: Advice from Young Survivors
by Chris Dendy and Alex Zeigler
Written expressly for teenagers and children, this book was written by twelve teens and a young adult based on their own experiences of living with this challenging condition. PHP call number 4583.

*The Care & Keeping of You: The Body Book for Girls
by Valorie Schaefer
This book is a preteen girl's guide to basic health and hygiene, explaining braces, bras, pimples, periods, hair care, and healthy eating. PHP call number 4748.

*Epilepsy in the Teen Years (video)
by Epilepsy Foundation of America
This 12-minute video explores the lives of four teenagers with epilepsy. They discuss issues of special importance to them including school, sports, friends, and driving. PHP call number v518.

*Finding a Career that Works for You: A Step-by-Step Guide to Choosing a Career and Finding a Job
by Wilma Fellman
Written by a counselor who specializes in working with adolescents and adults with ADD, this guide helps young adults with learning disabilities and other challenges with respect to career issues. RiSE call number 0900.

*Help4ADD@High School: The Book You'll Want to Read Even if Your Mom Bought it for You
by Kathleen Nadeau
This book includes tips on how to study smarter, not harder, information about your rights in school, and the way that your high school can help you succeed. There are also tips on getting along with your family, dating, getting enough sleep, and the importance of exercise. PHP call number 4826.

*Intricate Minds: Understanding Classmates with Asperger Syndrome (video)
by Coulter Video
This 30-minute video shows candid interviews with teenagers designed to promote positive interactions between classmates and reduce harassment, bullying, and isolation. PHP call number v4706.

**Jarvis Clutch: Social Spy
by Mel Levine
Jarvis's wry and insightful observations of student interactions at Eastern Middle School bring to light the myriad social challenges that adolescents face every day, including peer pressure, the need to seem cool, the perils of dating, and the difficulties of finding your niche. PHP call number 3483.

*Learning a Living: A Guide to Planning Your Career and Finding a Job for People with Learning Disabilities, Attention Deficit Disorder and Dyslexia
by Dale Brown
This is a career guide written for people with learning disabilities by someone with first-hand experience. It discusses everything you need to know in order to find the best possible job that emphasizes your strengths and minimizes the effects of your disability. RiSE call number 0902.

*Life Happens: A Teenager's Guide to Friends, Failure, Sexuality, Love, Rejection, Addition, Peer Pressure, Families, Loss, Depression, Change, and Other Challenges
by Kathy McCoy and Charles Wibbelsman
The title says it all. PHP call number 4658.

*Speakout! Get Some Attention! Just for Teens (video)
by Laura Lambert
This is a very supportive and engaging video that features a large group of teens getting together and sharing their feelings about having ADD/ADHD. They talk openly about their experiences, often difficult and painful. They also share their thoughts on self-management, communication, medication, friendship, self-esteem, schoolwork, and more. PHP call number v458.


ChildHelp USA Child Abuse Hotline
800-422-4453 (toll-free 24/7 nationwide)

Focus Adolescent Services Directory of Family Help Resources (find your state) (for California)
Find hotlines-suicide and crisis, youth services, domestic violence/abuse, runaway, teen lines-as well as downloadable documents about bullying, special education rights, teen pregnancy, drug abuse, and violence at school.

National Runaway Switchboard
800-621-4000 (toll-free 24/7 nationwide)
Call for crisis intervention and referral and communication help for youth and their families.

National Youth Crisis Hotline
800-448-4663 (toll-free 24/7 nationwide)

Suicide Hotline
800-784-2433 (toll-free 24/7 National Hopeline Network)
800-273-8255 (toll-free 24/7 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline)
Call the national numbers or find your local number by state.

The Trevor Project
866-488-7386 (toll-free 24/7/365 nationwide)
Call for confidential suicide help for queer and questioning teens.

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