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Positive Behavior Strategies Expanding In School Districts Across Michigan

December 27, 2018

LANSING – Training educators across Michigan to implement positive behavior interventions is showing success at the local school level in Michigan, the Michigan Department of Education reported today.

Thirteen Intermediate School Districts (ISDs) are involved in a project to help train educators at the local district level to implement Positive Behavior Interventions and Support (PBIS) – an evidence-based, multi-tiered behavioral framework for improving behavioral outcomes and learning conditions for all students.

Example outcomes from Genesee ISD (one of the largest implementers of PBIS supported by the project) demonstrated reductions of suspensions for students with disabilities. Across the participating Genesee County area schools, 428.5 days of instruction were recovered last year that would have been lost due to suspensions.

“To help Michigan become a Top 10 education state, we need to have our students in school and learning,” said Interim State Superintendent Sheila Alles. “Positive behavior strategies have broad and profound implications for schools and students, and it is encouraging to see this kind of progress at this point in the project.”

A vision for improving the school climate and social behavior of all students through implementation of PBIS came out of a Special Education Task Force convened by Michigan’s Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley.

The Task Force recommendations included: (1) expanding the use of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) in all Michigan schools, (2) provide professional development of educators in regard to PBIS, and (3) offer local school districts technical assistance for the implementation of evidence-based behavioral initiatives with fidelity and sustainability.

"Effective behavior management practices result in safer schools and increased access to curriculum for the students who are most at risk of falling behind," said Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley, who chaired the Special Education Reform Task Force. "Expanding PBIS across the state is possible because of the collaborative work of the Special Education Reform Task Force, focused on improving outcomes for all Michigan students."

Funded through the School Aid Act (Sec. 54b), this project provides resources to develop, enhance, or expand statewide systems of support by providing technical assistance to ISDs and constituent schools implementing PBIS. Additionally, this project further supports ISDs and their school districts to adhere to state law (MCL 380.1307) restricting the use of seclusion and restraint.

The PBIS ISD Project provides an opportunity for ISDs to develop local capacity for implementation of PBIS with fidelity, that is sustainable, and can be scaled-up within and across partnering ISDs.

The project allows for state-level personnel to provide training, coaching, and technical assistance to ISD teams, while building local implementation capacity. This project works with ISD-level implementation teams to develop a coordinated plan for local training, coaching, behavioral expertise, and evaluation capacity.

This plan creates a comprehensive PBIS model that is aligned from the state level to the classroom that considers multiple state and local initiatives to improve academic outcomes, instructional environments, safety, and mental health.

Technical assistance to achieve this vision was delivered through the Michigan Integrated Behavior and Learning Support Initiative, (MIBLSI) working on behalf the Michigan Department of Education.

Over 150 training sessions have been conducted to date to improve the competency of educators to implement PBIS through this project. ISDs have developed local capacity (i.e., leadership teams, trainers, coaches, content experts, and evaluation) to effectively support implementation of PBIS that is both sustainable and scalable across the region, based on a capacity assessment.

Technical assistance for the implementation of PBIS and more broadly, a Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) will continue as part of the Michigan Department of Education’s Top 10 in 10 strategic plan. MDE is working to ensure that students access effective practices and educators can successfully implement multi-tiered frameworks. MDE will continue to support current participants with future applications for participation each year.