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STUDENT ACCOUNTABILITY

STUDENT ACCOUNTABILITY STANDARDS HANDBOOK
K-12 INTERVENTION STRATEGIES


Early Intervention Programs

What is it?

Early intervention for students at risk of reduces and/or eliminates behavioral problems and school maladjustment through social skills training.

Why do it?

Every year, teachers and administrators identify school-wide and classroom discipline as major concerns in their schools. School personnel are faced with growing numbers of students who are disruptive and who demonstrate a potential for serious discipline problems while having little control over the environment in which these students live. In addition, school personnel are now even more sensitive to their responsibility for targeting children who pose the potential for violence.

One of the best predictors of violence and delinquency is poor academic achievement. However, in order for students to achieve and improve academically, they must have a safe and orderly environment in which to learn. All students deserve a classroom free of disruption and chaos and those students who are at risk of creating such chaos deserve early identification and the best educational strategies the school can provide.

Schools have an effect on a child’s development and potential for success as well as tendencies for aggression and violence. Antisocial behavior on the part of a youth and the lack of willingness to comply with adult direction can lead to problems in school and are the key components of academic failure (Patterson 1992, Tremblay 1992, Utting 1993).

Early intervention programs strengthen a student’s bond to school by improving academic achievement and assisting the child in developing social competencies (Elliot 1979). Social skills training has been shown to be effective in improving a student's appropriate interactions in school and decreasing the tendency for aggression. (Walker, Kavanagh, Stiller, Golly, Severson, and Feil, 1996) Social skills include the ability to participate appropriately in classroom activities and interact appropriately with peers. The development of adequate communication skills is important in establishing successful social relations. Social competence curricula aim to counteract antisocial behavior by teaching skills in school that include the ability to observe situations, collect and analyze information, identify consequences and choose alternative courses of action.

What does it look like?

It is important for a school staff to look carefully at students who exhibit signs of potential violence and students who are at risk of school maladjustment which often precludes aggression and violence. Communication between staff members regarding students who exhibit signs of potential violence and or school maladjustment is essential to providing the necessary interventions for those students. It is important for staff to be warned, however, that those students should not be singled out for stricter consequences or prejudicial treatment.

Students who have committed acts of violence at school have shown the following characteristics:

  1. has a history of tantrums and uncontrollable angry outbursts;
  2. resorts characteristically to name calling, cursing or abusive language;
  3. makes habitual, violent threats when angry;
  4. brought a weapon to school previously;
  5. has a background of serious disciplinary problems at school and in the community;
  6. has a background of drug, alcohol or other substance abuse or dependency;
  7. is on the fringe of his/her peer group with few or no close friends;
  8. is preoccupied with weapons, explosives or other incendiary devices;
  9. has previously been truant, suspended or expelled from school;
  10. displays cruelty to animals;
  11. has little or no supervision and support from parents or caring adult;
  12. has witnessed or been a victim of abuse or neglect in the home;
  13. has been bullied and/or bullies or intimidates peers or younger children;
  14. tends to blame others for difficulties and problems she/he causes her/himself;
  15. prefers TV shows, movies or music expressing violent themes and acts on a consistent basis;
  16. prefers reading materials dealing with violent themes, rituals and abuse;
  17. reflects anger, frustration and the dark side of life in school essays or writing projects;
  18. is involved with gang or an antisocial group on the fringe of peer acceptance;
  19. is often depressed and/or has significant mood swings; and
  20. has threatened or attempted suicide.

National School Safety Center

Peer relational difficulties, which have been associated with school maladjustment, include

  • being rejected, not having a best friend
  • having a poor quality friendship, lacking membership in a social network
  • being a member of an antisocial network
  • being severely victimized by other children.

Social skills training is an effective means of positively influencing social competence, adjustment, and acceptance of all children, including those with adjustment problems and those with special needs. Social Skills training should be a school-wide effort supported and embraced by all school staff. The classroom teacher is the primary deliverer of Social Skills training and should reinforce the skills and concepts in every aspect of classroom, school and playground interaction. An effective social skills training program should first identify developmentally appropriate skills, directly teach those specific skills, promote generalization and maintenance, reteach, involve parents and evaluate child progress (Alberg, Petry, and Eller, 1994). Social skills training should teach those skills which are commonly lacking in people prone to violent behavior: empathy, impulse control, communication skills, and problem-solving and anger management.


Social Skills Training Topics to teach include:

TOPICS DESCRIPTION
Manners · How to listen
· How to greet
· How to wait
· How to take turns
· How to share
· How to help
· Using an appropriate tone of voice
Understanding Feelings · How to handle disappointment
· How to handle anger
· Communicating feelings
Anger Management · Dealing with name calling
· Am I angry?
· Anger triggers
· Self-talk
· Dealing with being left out
· Calming down
· Dealing with accusations
· Reading social cues
Impulse Control · Stop and think
· Taking turns
· Joining in at the right time
· Choosing the right solution
· Dealing with bullying
· Dealing with peer pressure
Understanding Others · Similarities and differences
· Perceptions
· Accepting differences
· Reducing labeling and stereotypes

A variety of programs are available for schools to employ in the effort to provide interventions for students who demonstrate the potential to disrupt the classroom and who fail academically due to their own behavior.

The intervention strategies that have demonstrated success are based on the theory that students who engage in violence or delinquent behavior have not developed appropriate skill and engage in aggressive acts out of an inability (and frustration) to solve problems and satisfy their needs in a more socially-acceptable way. (Richards and Dodge1982)

The programs listed here are examples of programs that have demonstrated success in improving the behavior of aggressive, acting out and socially maladapted students.

Each program has a somewhat different protocol, but each includes a direct instruction approach. The lessons can be delivered by classroom teachers or counselors, however, most authors of the programs emphasize the importance of the classroom teacher reinforcing the concepts of the lessons and creating a nurturing and supportive environment.


Making Choices: Early Intervention Program

Materials/Resources Needed:

Making Choices Curriculum, Mark W. Fraser, James K. Nash, and Kate Darwin, University of North Carolina, School of Social Work, Michael Jordan Institute for Families.

How is it implemented?

The purpose of the Making Choices curriculum is to teach cognitive problem-solving skills to children. It is designed to help children build enduring friendships, work more productively in groups, and respond positively to new social situations. Cognitive Prelim-Solving emphasizes the connections between the ways children think and act in solving social problems. Children (and adults) are exposed to the environmental cues when encountering social situations. Individuals respond to these social situations based upon their prior experiences and what they have learned about responding to the social cues. The Making Choices curriculum uses teacher-directed lessons which help children read and respond to social cues in the appropriate way. The curriculum is designed for use with all children, but specifically designed for children whose behavior is impulsive, oppositional, or aggressive.

This curriculum draws directly from the work of Crick and Dodge (1994) who described the social information processing model. Empirical evidence of effectiveness is still being collected as this program is tested around the state.

The program can be implemented in two different ways: school counselors can work with small groups of difficult and antisocial children, and teachers can use the curriculum with the entire class.

The curriculum is available for elementary school age, preschool, family, and child welfare versions and includes the following topics:

  • recognizing and identifying feelings,
  • identifying physical responses to feelings,
  • managing feelings,
  • situations and cues,
  • matching feelings with situations,
  • recognizing others’ feelings,
  • distinguishing intentional and unintentional behavior,
  • helpful and harmful goals,
  • setting personal goals,
  • using self-talk to generate responses, and
  • confidence and response decision.

How much does it cost to implement?

Making Choices will be available through the publisher in January 2000, so cost is not known at this time. However, copies of the curriculum in draft form can be obtained for nominal cost from the author.

What professional development is needed?

The University of North Carolina School of Social Work provides free staff development for schools that wish to implement this program. The one-day training consists of recent and pertinent research regarding aggressive children, introduction of the manual, and how to implement the program.

How is it assessed?

The University of North Carolina School of Social Work provides technical assistance in evaluating the effectiveness of the program. The curriculum includes pre- and post-tests for each unit.

What are the keys to successful implementation?

The authors recommend that those who will be teaching the lessons have adequate training. In addition, it is recommended that the groups of children who are taught the Making Choices curriculum include "socialized" children and those for whom the curriculum is designed.

Who can I contact to get additional information about this?

Mark Fraser, Project Director
Tate Professor for Children in Need
Jordan Institute for Families
School of Social Work
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
301 Pittsboro Street, CB #3550
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3550
919.962.6538
mfraser@email.unc.edu


Second Step: Early Intervention Program

Material/Resources Needed:

Second Step, Committee for Children

Second Step is designed to reduce impulsive and aggressive behavior in children, teach social and emotional skills, and build self-esteem. The program focuses on empathy training, impulse control, problem solving and anger management. The curriculum is available in kits designed for preschool-kindergarten, grades 1-3, grades 4-5, and middle school.

How is it implemented?

Each kit contains materials necessary for the lessons such as laminated picture cards, teachers guide, puppets (PreK-K), sing along tape, take home activity sheets, videos, classroom posters, reproducible homework sheets (grade 1 and up). At each grade level, the lessons build sequentially, and should be taught in the order intended. The lessons vary in length from 20 minutes at the preschool level to 50 minutes in middle school program. There are approximately 20 lessons for each grade level.

How much does it cost to implement?

Each kit costs approximately $275.00.

What professional development is needed to do this?

The Committee for Children regularly provides three-day training sessions around the country for a cost of $345.00 per person. They also provide one-day training. In addition, Committee for Children staff can provide training at individual schools and districts. The Committee for Children strongly recommends training for successful implementation.

How is it assessed?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention funded a one-year study to examine the impact of Second Step on aggression and positive social behavior among elementary students. Results showed that the students who were taught the curriculum became less physically and verbally aggressive after participation and increased their positive social interaction. The full report can be found in the Journal of the American Medical Association, May 28, 1997.

If a school is interested in conducting an evaluation of Second Step, Client Support Services Department will provide a copy of "Program Evaluation: Choosing a Direction." This article describes the types of evaluations that can be undertaken and gives practical advice on getting started.

What are the keys to successful implementation?

The Committee for Children recommends carefully planned, long term implementation of the program including the following:

  • The classroom teacher should be the primary presenter of the curriculum.
  • Second Step skills and behaviors should be reinforced school-wide by all staff members.
  • All staff should be adequately trained in the use of the curriculum.
  • A system for ongoing implementation support should be in place.

Who can I contact to get additional information about this?

Client Support Services at Committee for Children 888.634.4449


Good Talking Words, A Social Communication Skills Program for Preschool for Preschool and Kindergarten Classes: Early Intervention Program

Materials/Resources Needed:

Good Talking Words, A Social Communication Skills Program for Preschool and Kindergarten Classes, Lucy Hart Paulson, Rick van den Pol.

How is it implemented?

This program incorporates basic communication skills to teach young children what interacting appropriately in social settings with their peers and adults looks like, sounds like and feels like.

Twelve target lessons are designed to be presented in weekly lessons of 15 to 30 minutes in a whole group activity. The activities are child-centered and focus on children’s participation and interaction. The lesson format includes the following components:

  • puppets are used to demonstrate negative and positive role-plays of the target skills;
  • colored posters are provided to illustrate various situations representing the target skill and provide a method to discuss the vocabulary and concepts;
  • a literature story focusing on the target concept is read interactively with the children: trade books that are generally found in the elementary classroom and include authors Bill Martin Jr., Eric Carle, Audrey Wood, and Rachel Isadora;
  • a certificate briefly describing the target skill is given to each child to take home and share with his/her family who will then know what was taught and can reinforce the concept at home; and
  • an Individual Child Progress Evaluation, Classroom Progress Evaluation and a Program Solving Form.

How much does it cost to implement?

A kit costs $65.00 and includes manual, posters and blackline masters.

What professional development is needed?

The materials include a Staff and Parent Inservice Outline that a school might choose to use in training staff or parents concerning the concepts and philosophy behind the program.

How is it assessed?

The manual includes guidelines for assessing individual students or the whole class before, during and after the completion of the curriculum. It includes directions for frequency counts and direct observations.

What are the keys to successful implementation?

It is important that the classroom teacher supports the concepts of the program and reinforces them in all social situations in the classroom.

Who can I contact to get additional information about this?

Sopris West
4093 Specialty Place
Longmont, Colorado 80504
1.800.547.6747


Incentive Programs

Big Bucks: A Creative Discipline System
Created by Carolyn Thompson Pruitt and Joanna Lebo Hazelwood
Reidsville City Schools

What is it?

Big Bucks is a management system using "money" to reward and fine students for their behavior. The system also allows teachers to conduct their classrooms with consistency and fairness.

Why do it?

Big Bucks allows teachers to

  • utilize positive peer pressure,
  • increase time on task,
  • create bonding within cooperative groups,
  • eliminate paperwork due to discipline,
  • focus on the "good" children,
  • build character and self-esteem, and
  • teach

What does it look like?

Big Bucks is based on students earning "money" for positive behavior and losing it for negative behavior. Students in a classroom are divided into cooperative groups of three or four. Each group earns money for following classroom rules (e.g. treating everyone with respect, not disturbing others, following directions the first time, completing all assignments on time), or for other behaviors the teacher wishes to encourage. Fines are levied for negative behaviors such as being off-task, disrupting class, being disrespectful to teachers or classmates, and misbehaving in the restroom. Students are allowed to spend their "money," once or twice a week, to purchase things such as movie tickets, outside time, extra breaks, computer time, extra privileges. An auction of donated items is held twice a year.

How is it implemented?

  • Students are assigned to cooperative groups and each group is assigned a number
  • Groups are assigned to an area of the room and their ID number is laminated for durability and displayed on a tag board (referring to the group by number eliminates name calling and the teacher can effectively praise or discipline three or four students at a time.)
  • Because Big Bucks is based on earning and losing "money," money pockets will be needed to hold each group’s earnings. The pockets are made from manila folders, construction paper, and heavy-duty, clear tape. The pockets should be four to five inches wide and long enough to contain and display the earnings easily (it is helpful if the money pockets are color-coordinated with each group’s number.)
  • "Money" is produced by photocopying the bill contained in the manual (it is illegal to photocopy real money), or could be one that the teacher has drawn.
  • Designing the payment/fine system will be based on the teacher’s expectations in their classroom. The Big Bucks manual lists classroom rules and positive behaviors that may earn payments and a sample of negative behaviors that may receive fines.
  • Each class begins with a starting exercise and the distribution of money pockets. Most days the students come in and settle quickly to their work, but there are some days when that doesn’t happen. In that case, the teacher collects a fine from the student. Peer pressure gets the students on task quickly; they don’t want to lose money.
  • As the lesson begins, the teacher moves about the room and notices if students are on task. If not, she takes money from the group’s money pocket. Seconds later, she may see that another student is on task and productive; she reaches over and places money on his/her desk. Money continues to be given and taken away throughout the school day.
  • Students keep a running total of their money throughout the day. At the end of the day, money pockets are picked up and stored in a secure area.
  • Once or twice a week students are allowed spending opportunities and each group must decide cooperatively how to spend their money. Guides on how to set up spending opportunities are contained in the program manual.
  • A team auction of donated items takes place twice a year, one in December and another at the end of the year. The auction continues until all of the money is spent, all of the items are sold, or there is no time left.

How much does it cost to implement? What are possible funding sources?

Many of the privileges students can purchase require no additional funding (e.g. outside time, activity time, extra breaks, free time, computer time, no homework pass, seating in the cafeteria.) Other items such as movie tickets, books, food coupons are donated by the parents of students and by businesses in the community. The principal may also allow some school funds to be used to purchase action items.

What professional development is needed?

Limited training is needed to implement the program. However, any classroom discipline system needs a firm set of rules. The rules should be concise and realistic, but should also allow for a safe, calm and inviting environment. The manual for the Big Bucks program contains information about establishing classroom rules, how to deal with non-compliant, unmotivated, and/or reluctant students, and how to manage the program.

How is it assessed?

The success of the program will be measured by how well it meets the goals of increasing student’s time on task, bonding within groups, eliminating paperwork due to discipline, finding additional ways for students to be successful, improving student behavior in the classroom, and giving teachers more time and freedom to teach.

What are the keys to successful implementation?

Enthusiastic, motivated teachers who are willing to try something new and who have the support of their school administrators.

Who can I contact to get additional information about this?

Maupin House Publishing, Inc.
P. O. Box 90148
Gainesville, Florida 32607-0148
1.800.524.0634


Renaissance

What is it?

Renaissance is an invitation to excellence. Performance is recognized and students are rewarded for academic, activity and athletic achievement. Respect, recognition and rewards motivate students to channel their skills and enthusiasm in positive, productive ways. Performance criteria and rewards are based on specific, tangible objectives determined by each school.

Why do it?

In a recent national Renaissance foundation survey of 1,100 schools (31 percent of those inquired) results indicate that, in schools which have successfully implemented Renaissance strategies.

  • 95 percent experienced grade point average improvements,
  • 63 percent showed SAT/ACT or achievement score improvements,
  • 72 percent saw improvements in average daily student attendance,
  • 42 percent showed a decrease in drop out rates, and
  • 60 percent saw a decrease in disciplinary problems.

Rod Moorman, Principal, Liberty Union High School, Baltimore, Ohio reported that "Recognition and praise for a job well done are two of the key benefits of Renaissance at Liberty Union High School. We’ve been a Renaissance school for three years, and since we started, the atmosphere at Liberty Union is a heck of a lot better. The kids like being in school. During the last six-week period, our overall average for perfect attendance was 95.6 percent. Teachers and students are positive and enthusiastic. Everyone is talking about Renaissance.

Roger Deville, Principal, North Marion High School, Aurora, Oregon reported "North Marion High School has the lowest drop out rate of all the schools in our athletic conference. Our drop out rate has fallen from about 10 percent a few years ago to approximately 4.8 percent. An upswing in the number of kids involved in Renaissance has contributed to that decrease. Renaissance is a way for us to tell students it’s OK to do good in school."

What does it look like?

A Renaissance school is one that creates a culture in which academic excellence is supported and rewarded. The Renaissance vision is based on the belief that every student has the right to learn and every teacher has the right to teach. In a Renaissance school, learning is valued and seen as a critical tool to better prepare students for the 21st century. A Renaissance leader is someone who is willing to take risks and pursue excellence.

Renaissance is the process by which schools promote the pursuit of excellence and weave the concept of academic achievement into the fabric of the school community. This process revolves around three primary principles; performance, promotion, and partnership. What you reward, respect and recognize gets accomplished. In Renaissance schools, student performance is rewarded, academic achievement is actively promoted and strong partnerships are built among administrators, teachers, parents, the community and local businesses.

Renaissance schools create ceremonies, ritual and celebrations that honor and recognize academic achievement. Students are encouraged and rewarded. Teachers are valued and recognized. The quality of life of the entire community is enhanced.

Becoming a full-fledged Renaissance school is a process, as well. Integrating the principles of performance, promotion and partnership takes time, teamwork and attention. Step by step, the pursuit of excellence becomes ingrained in a school’s culture and daily activities. And, all along the way to success, Renaissance appreciates, celebrates and rewards student achievement.

How much does it cost to implement? What are possible funding sources?

In order to increase and broaden support for Renaissance and other academic programs, many schools form a local education foundation. The Internal Revenue Service recognizes this nonprofit entity as tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3), which allows it to receive grants, individual gifts, stocks, bonds and scholarship funds for specific programs. Since foundations are independent of the school district, contributions are tax-deductible and can be used for targeted programs involving Renaissance (New Heights Journal, May, 1994, p. 8). Although the IRS filing is standard, each state has a different procedure to charter a foundation. Check with your local school board attorney or the state Attorney General’s office.

For some Renaissance schools, like Conway High School in Conway, South Carolina, an educational foundation became an integral part of their quest for excellence in education. Dollars can be designated to specific school departments, teachers or student groups. A foundation can also support the formation of an alumni association, a teacher of the year award program or a student-driven community project. Scholarship programs become more visible and a greater source of school pride. Ruth Worthington, co-coordinator of the Renaissance program at Cedartown High School in Cedartown, Ga. encourages those establishing a foundation to seek help from the community, including parents and alumni. One local lawyer, and a parent of a CHS student, provided legal counsel to Worthington and her Renaissance team. "His expertise was instrumental in helping us get the ball rolling," she said. "We couldn’t have done it without his help."

What are the keys to successful implementation?

Excellence is a partnership among students, teachers, school administrators, parents, businesses and the community. Working together, they create a solid base of support leading to success. Through partnerships, Renaissance fosters opportunities for student achievement, rewards performance and changes the perception of schools.

Who can I contact to get additional information about this?

Call Jostens Renaissance Educator Hotline at 1.800.624.5534 to request a Renaissance information packet, receive information about a Renaissance conference, obtain the name and numbers of other Renaissance schools in your area, or to order Renaissance products.


Mentor Program Based on Resiliency Model

What is it?

This mentoring program is based on the Risk/Resiliency Model.

Why do it?

Research has shown that mentorship that promotes certain identified qualities, activities, perceptions and competencies seems to have positive effect on not only social behavior, but also all outcome areas including education. Recent school interventions involving mentors have yielded significant improvements in the area of attendance, suspensions and grades. Another improvement related to mentoring was in the area of reading. The wide range of areas impacted by providing mentoring services should not be surprising. Outcome studies on existing mentor programs has long had a positive impact in non-related areas such as reducing substance abuse, lowering teen pregnancy, and improving academic grades.

What does it look like?

A mentor program can be established to serve a specific school or school system.

  • Each mentor will have a caseload of five to six students and average 5 to 10 hours a week with each student.
  • Mentors will focus building a relationship with each assigned student.
  • Each mentor will seek to promote those specific qualities, activities, and competencies associated with improved outcomes.
  • Program evaluation can be based on comparison of attendance, grades, and discipline records pre and post intervention.

How is it implemented?

Step 1: Identify at-risk students the school wishes to serve.

Step 2: Establish mentor pool in order to insure 1 to 5 mentor/student ratio.

Step 3: Train mentors in the risk/resiliency model.

Step 4: Identify a school contact person.

Step 5: Match mentors to the most appropriate students.

Step 6: Establish schedule that insures that each mentor will be briefed weekly by a school contact person on the academic and behavioral progress prior to having weekly contact with the student.

Step 7: Establish each mentor’s schedule.

Step 8: Do a Brief Resiliency Checklist (BRC) assessment on each participating student.

Step 9: Establish goals based on assessment.

Step 10: Establish petty cash fund for mentor student activities.

Step 11: Establish mentor staff and training schedule.

Step 12: Collect pre-intervention data on suspension, grades, and attendance.

Step 13: Collect annual data on suspension, grades, and attendance and up-date BRC in order to conduct programs evaluation.

How much does it cost to implement?

Director $40,000
Mentors $25,000
Expenses:

travel

$2,000 (per mentor)

petty cash

$100 (per student)

supplies

$100 (per student)

What professional development is needed to do this?

The program requires three days of training that covers the following topics:

  • resiliency theory,
  • Neurobiology of mentorship,
  • promoting protective factors for at-risk students,
  • developing relationships with at-risk students,
  • understanding some major diagnostic features, and
  • establishing outcome and instruments.

How is it assessed?

Conducting a BRC on each participating student will provide the program with an inventory of risk and protective factors each student has and is lacking. This will allow the tracking of which specific protective factors have been gained by participation. The outcome data will be based on improving grades, attendance, and lowering the number of suspensions. Therefore recording pre and post participation data on grades, attendance and suspension will provide outcome data on effectiveness of the program.

What are the keys to successful implementation?

Establish criteria for student participation:

  • adhering to the model by all participating schools,
  • recruiting mentors,
  • training mentors, and
  • maintaining outcome data.

Who can I contact to get additional information about this?

Horacio Sanchez, Consultant, Willie M./BED Section
Exception Children Division
301 N. Wilmington Street
Raleigh, NC 27601-2825
Phone: 919.807.3295


Student Service Management Team/Student Assistance Program

What is it?

A Student Service Management Team/Student Assistance Program is a school-based comprehensive prevention and intervention program for students in kindergarten through grade 12 characterized by a team approach. This professional, systematic process is designed to provide education, prevention, early identification, intervention, referral and support services for students exhibiting risk behaviors which are interfering with their education.

Why do it?

The Student Service Management Team/Student Assistance Program fosters risk reduction and encourages students’ success in school by addressing barriers to learning. This program provides a structured approach to addressing the needs of students whose self-destructive and/or anti-social behaviors are interfering with their education or the education of others in the school. Key components include a referral process that enables school staff to identify and refer problems early; a team approach to early intervention that involves teachers and staff; a second level of intervention involving parents and community resources; and continuous case management. The program is designed for on-going evaluation of program effectiveness. Researchers have reported program effectiveness in the following areas:

  • decreased substance use,
  • decreased acts of violence and vandalism,
  • increased self-esteem and relationships with others,
  • improved grades and attendance,
  • increased ability to cope with problems,
  • ability to communicate better and express feelings,
  • ability to cope with stress, and
  • positive changes in family life.

What does it look like?

The model has four basic phases:

  • early identification of at-risk students;
  • initial intervention involving collection of existing data, utilizing available in-school services to remediate or prevent problems;
  • secondary intervention involving families and community resources; and
  • ongoing support and case management.

How is it implemented?

  1. At-Risk Student Identification/Referral
    1. A student may be identified as having a personal, academic, or social problem in several ways
      1. teacher, parent, or other staff referral based on grades, observation of conflicts, etc; and
      2. self-referral by student to school services (e.g., counseling).
    2. A list consisting of all at-risk students may be developed by:
      1. screening based on major risk factors, e.g., attendance, grades, group test data, retention, behavior, other SIMS indicators; and
      2. identifying students currently enrolled in special needs programs.

  2. Initial Actions/Decisions
    1. Once a problem is recognized, which the identifying parties cannot resolve, a referral is made for further assistance. Referral may occur in one of two ways.
      1. Student or referring party may seek direct assistance from a student services consultant in the school or system (e.g., counselor, student assistance coordinator, nurse). This professional may provide consultation to the referring party or direct services to the student.
      2. Student or referring party may refer the case to the Student Services Management Team Coordinator.
    1. Student Services Management Team Coordinator: Each school will have a contact person who receives and channels all referrals. This individual collects existing data on new referrals, reviews the available data, and makes decisions about appropriate action. The following options may be pursued:
      1. refer the student for individual assistance such as in-school individual/group counseling, tutoring, peer helper, etc;
      2. based on needs and available information, refer the student to existing programs or services inside or outside the school; and
      3. recognize the need for additional assistance in determining appropriate action and refer to the Intervention Team to resolve the problem (academic or behavioral).

  3. Early Intervention Steps
    1. Student Services Management Team/Student Assistance Team: This team needs to be rather small in size to facilitate effective action and decision-making. Its primary purpose is to provide intervention strategies for cases referred from the Team Coordinator. Composition of the team might include regular classroom teachers, student services personnel, other support professionals, coaches, non-certified staff, or others. Interest and training in providing these services are critical determinants for membership.
    2. Plan for appropriate intervention strategies.
    1. Review existing data and any interventions that may have already been initiated. Assign a case manager.
    2. Determine needs and opportunities for further assessment/data collection to better define the problem(s) and needs.
    3. Assign a team representative to meet with the student if not already undertaken.
    4. Apply strategies for a hierarchy of interventions and monitor for three to six weeks; this could include:
      1. recommending for intervention in the regular classroom/education setting;
      2. providing direct interventions with students and parents by team members or others;
      3. consider referral to other programs/services within the school for which the student would be eligible and/or services outside the school. The student would be entered into the school’s total At-Risk Student List managed by the Student Service Management Team.

  4. Outgoing Service Provision/Maintenance/Support
    1. Student Services Management Team or Student Assistance Team is an interdisciplinary team that consists of all support service program personnel in the school, selected classroom teachers, and other contractual service providers as needed. All ongoing members would be selected from building staff and might include representation from counselors, in-school suspension coordinator, Title I personnel, Exceptional Children’s program staff, assistant principal, and remediation personnel. As needed, membership from the central office might include school psychologist, social worker, nurse, Safe and Drug Free Schools coordinator, mental health personnel, and others. The focus for this team’s efforts is the total list of students at-risk, including those students in existing categorical programs. The team divides the workload of the entire at-risk list so that mentoring, assistance with paperwork, and monitoring of student progress is more manageable. Each team member would be designated as the mentor/case manager to provide ongoing support and maintenance for a specified number of at-risk students within the list.
    2. The role of the mentor/case manager would encompass such tasks as:
      1. daily monitoring; to include the handling of scheduling and discipline for assigned students;
      2. ongoing paperwork; and
      3. linkage with the student’s parents and any service provider outside the school system.
    3. The refinement of intervention initiated in the Early Intervention Phase continues as additional needs of the student are identified through the services provision and monitoring process. All students on the at-risk list are candidates for ongoing interventions. The goals toward which the student support and assistance process works are:
      1. effective case management and delivery of services to students who continue to be at-risk for a variety of reasons; and
      2. exit from the system of services for those students whose needs have been met.
    4. It would be the responsibility of that student’s mentor/case manager to bring additional concerns to the attention of the SSMT for the purpose of deciding upon an appropriate course of action. This team would meet on a weekly basis.

  5. Different Levels of Intervention for the Student Service Management Team:
    1. Level 1 intervention involves referrals to the Intervention Team that come from a variety of sources. In-school referrals may include student self-referral, staff referral or disciplinary referral due to a policy violation. Out-of-school referrals may include parent referral, juvenile justice or court referral and agency referral. All out-of-school referrals must come through the SSMT Coordinator.
    2. Once the referral reaches the Intervention Team, a case manager is assigned to begin collecting data on the identified student. This process includes contact with pertinent in-school resources and distribution of behavior report forms/check lists to all of the student’s teachers. Following initial data collection, the case manager presents the case to the Intervention Team, and a decision is made regarding an immediate course of action. That action includes preparation for a Level 1 Intervention. A team member is assigned to meet with the student, present the data gathered by the case manager, clarify the team’s perceptions and expectations of the student, and negotiate a plan of action. Results of this interview guide further action in the case. Routinely, the student’s ability to uphold his or her part of the action plan is monitored and follow-up action is based on that outcome. However, referral to an outside resource can be made any time data supports such a referral and can be accomplished through compliance with established procedures or through implementation on a Level 2 Intervention.
    3. Level 2 intervention occurs when a pattern of deteriorating performance is noted for a student who has been through a Level 1 intervention and has demonstrated inability to follow his or her action plan. In this intervention, parents, student and select Intervention Team members meet to discuss disposition of the case. The focus is to establish parental alliance for an agreed upon next step. When evidence suggests the need for additional student services, the team may recommend that the student participate in some form of in-school support group or individual counseling, tutoring, etc. The student’s performance and behavior continue to be monitored, evaluated and documented by the Intervention Team.
    4. Level 3 intervention occurs if a student’s behavior and performance continue to deteriorate beyond this stage; the next level of intervention would be referral to an outside resource. For substance abuse cases, the appropriate recommendation would be referral for a professional chemical assessment by a qualified chemical dependency specialist. For other behavior, social or emotional problems, a referral to a mental health clinician or social service worker may be appropriate. This step is Level 3 Intervention and necessitates an additional meeting with parents, students and select Intervention Team members. To facilitate a referral, the team should have on hand a list of respected referral sources within the community.
    5. If professional assessment is refused, the Intervention Team once again continues to monitor, evaluate and document the student’s behavior and performance. When referral to professional assessment is accepted, then the team links with the treatment facility, usually through the SSMT coordinator, to provide essential data and to begin planning for re-entry back to school.
  6.  

    How much does it cost to implement? What are possible funding sources?

    Some large schools will employ a full time Student Service Management Team Coordinator. Otherwise, there is no cost associated with the implementation of this intervention. The Department of Public Instruction provides this training through Safe and Drug-Free Schools funding.

    What professional development is needed to do this?

    Staff implementing the Student Service Management Team model will need basic information and professional development on identification, data gathering and assessment, referral to appropriate service, appropriate use of continuum of care, support in maintaining change and case management. The staff that runs the SSMT will need to provide in-service training to all staff members on the purpose of the SSMT and the identification and referral procedures.

    How is it assessed?

    The success of a Student Service Management Team can be determined through the number of programs offered, number of students served, subjective impressions of students and faculty and objective assessment of changes in academic performance, disciplinary referrals and attendance.

    What are the keys to successful implementation?

    1. The staff has been well trained and provided the tools to identify and screen students with problems or those at risk for problems.
    2. The planning and implementation process is comprehensive and addresses multiple issues related to problem behaviors.
    3. Mechanisms are in place in the school/community to handle referrals appropriately so those students get the help they need.
    4. An adequate range of support services is available in the community, including independent assessment services, counseling and treatment services.
    5. The program is effectively promoted so that staff, parents, students, and the community are aware of the resources available to students.
    6. Ongoing education for staff, parents and the community is built into the program.
    7. A recognition and incentive program is initiated to acknowledge and reward those supporting and implementing the programs.

    Who can I contact to get additional information about this?

    Safe School/ Safe and Drug-Free Schools
    Division of School Improvement
    North Carolina Department of Public Instruction
    919.807.3940

    Empowering Purpose: Strengthening Student & Families
    Miriam McLaughlin
    8344 Muirfield Dr.
    Fuquay Varina 27526.
    919.515.8502
    miriam3@bellsouth.net


Transition Programs

Freshman Seminar - Cabarrus County

What is it?

The Freshman Seminar is an orientation and transition course for students beginning their high school experience. Several skills such as effective study practices, test taking, and career development help produce a successful transition from middle or junior high school.

Why do it?

The freshman year is targeted because Cabarrus County’s research found that, like most school systems, the highest dropout rate is in the ninth grade. In that county, over fifty per cent of dropouts are ninth graders when they leave school. The Dropout Data Report, published by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, shows, of all dropouts in 1995-96, 36.49% were in the ninth grade. In 1996-97, 38.96%, and in 1997-98, 37.95% were in the ninth grade. In all three years, only the tenth grade came close, trailing by around ten percentage points. Many other studies have shown repeatedly that students who drop out often report that they believed no one cared about them at the school they left. Therefore, a goal for Freshman Seminar is to build relationships between teachers and students and among students. The Seminar addresses this issue in several ways, including an eight-person peer group led by trained older student peer helpers. Another goal is to improve student skills for success in high school and life, such as responsibility for self, interpersonal communication, study and test taking strategies. Records have been kept for four years at Mt. Pleasant High School comparing students who took the Seminar with those who did not. These records indicate that the dropout rate and grade point average among those who take the course is significantly improved over those not taking the course. Three other county high schools, after one year of offering the seminar, show significant positive differences as well. Professionals have observed that school climate has improved over the four years that the class has been offered at Mt. Pleasant High School. As a result, improving school climate has become another goal of the Seminar.

What does it look like?

The Seminar is a first semester course taught within the block scheduling used in all Cabarrus County high schools. The class generally begins with a half period on affective skills such as interpersonal communication, responsibility, self-esteem building and setting goals. Two or three times a week, there is a half period meeting with peer helpers who work on classroom matters and other pertinent topics. The administration meets with the students in informal sessions designed to get to know each other. Orientations are provided to the media center and the computer lab. Non school-based speakers are invited such as community employers, Think Smart representatives and DARE officers. Counselors and career development coordinators work with students on their four-year and career development plans. And, of course, the class includes academic preparation such as test-taking skills, study skills and vocabulary improvement.

How is it implemented?

Principals are sometimes reluctant to include this course since it changes scheduling. However, there are often not enough electives for freshmen, so in this way, it helps scheduling. Administrators and faculty may assume early that this is only for at risk or low performing students. "Bright" students may also have personal and social skills or study and test-taking skills that can be significantly improved. Peer helpers and teachers should be selected just for this program. The students get a semester credit for it and they are trained before school opens and continually throughout the school year in basic counseling and group facilitation. Teachers are picked from volunteers on their ability to relate well and to avoid enabling. The curriculum is a combination of programs from the Affective Skills Development Institute and Lions Quest. Classes can enroll up to twenty-five students. Careful scheduling is required to use non school-based speakers and to move the classes through the media and computer centers.

How much does it cost to implement and what are possible funding sources?

Where in-house printing is available, material masters can be purchased and materials can be produced economically. Cabarrus uses a book called "Study Skills and Test Taking" which costs about $4 and may be consumable or not. Costs are now about $6-$7 per student for materials, which includes the above book. Funds can be obtained from staff development and from textbook money. Cabarrus obtained a grant for the first year.

What professional development is needed?

Teachers volunteer for this program and then accept the seminar as a class assignment. They then receive two to five days of training and planning. A counselor and/or the lead teacher provide the peer helper training.

How is it assessed?

The central office staff compared Seminar participants against non-participants using data that has been collected for up to four years. Students evaluate all aspects of the course on a Likert scale. Modifications have followed student feedback.

What are the keys to successful implementation?

The keys are enthusiastic, caring teachers, administrative support, and careful planning.

Who can I contact to get additional information about this?

Dr. Andy Farrow
Student Support Services
Cabarrus County Schools
Box 388, Concord, NC 28026
704.786.6195, Ext. 141