(how difficult was that title to mentally read?)
We are approaching the half-way mark of the school year, which is insane to think about. Where the heck did it go?!
Here is a rather delayed update on Check-in, Check-out (CICO), our Tier II Positive Behavior Intervention Support (PBIS) initiative. We currently have 63 students involved in CICO, but 5-8 will be leaving the intervention by the end of January, due to moving to another setting (smaller classroom out of our building or an alternative school). Honestly, I haven't been as diligent with data entry as I should have been. With the state review and an intense Committee on Special Education (CSE) caseload lately, it hasn't been on the forefront of my mind. But, it's been steadily plugging along in the background, with some great and not-so-great things to report:
1. CICO is hard to implement with fidelity when one of the mentors decides to stop seeing kiddos, but doesn't tell you for two weeks. It is equally as difficult to maintain when the second mentor assigned to that caseload leaves her position and doesn't return to your building. We ended up fixing this when two interns with our community mental health providers came on full-time, as we had two more mentors available, but for two months 10 kids were not receiving CICO because of a lack of volunteers. Recommendation: choose people to be CICO mentors who WANT to participate, not who are assigned to or who are apt to change their minds. Make sure they are people who understand the power of consistent, positive behavior interventions, and who are invested in making change.
2. Your administration needs to be fully on board with PBIS and behavioral interventions in general. Recommendation: make sure they understand the positive effects that PBIS can have on the culture and climate of a school building, stress the need for consistency and continuity, get them involved in the positive aspect of PBIS, rather than promoting punitive consequences (i.e. suspension), and emphasis patience, as change does not happen over night. Having the support of the administration is vital to any effective, well-run program.
3. Kids are not always honest. At the beginning of the observation, some eager students were filling out their own sheets, rating their behavior as "great" when it may not always have been. Recommendation: having adults initial each part of the Daily Report Card that they complete, to show that it wasn't done by little hands.
4. Middle school kids are less than responsible when it comes to getting their Daily Report Cards filled out. I have MANY days of incomplete data because our 7th & 8th graders forget to have their sheets filled out, lose their sheets, or choose not to participate in CICO. Still working on a good fix for this issue--suggestions welcome. Recommendation: we have removed some kiddos from CICO and put them on other Tier II interventions because of their lack of responding (carrying around a sheet about your behavior isn't the most thrilling idea for some kids). Also, add an extra incentive that will entice kids to participate--see below.
1. CICO produces real change, if you give it time and provide kiddos with positive reinforcement for a job well done. Sometimes the only thing that kids need to have a productive, on-track day is a good interaction with an adult. We have been able to "graduate" some kids off of CICO due to progress, which has been sustained after the intervention ended.
2. Lines of communication have been expanded. Staff members are talking about behavior in concrete terms and are referring children they think would benefit from CICO. They're better able to describe behaviors, as they can pinpoint areas of difficulty during the day and make changes accordingly (i.e. if Ahmed receives low scores in '"being responsible" because he forgets to complete homework, his CICO mentor can spend more time at the end of the day helping him prepare to take the right materials home. Or, if Sue receives low scores in "being safe" in math, which is after lunch, her teacher can give her a reminder about appropriate classroom behaviors vs. what's acceptable in the lunch room as she transitions).
3. In a similar vein, collaboration between colleagues has increased. We're able to secure services and/or other interventions quickly by sitting down with the data, talking to providers, and seeing which kids need something more, like a small group, individual counseling, or a Functional Behavior Assessment/Behavior Intervention Plan (FBA/BIP). When kids are showing steady improvement behaviorally, staff have let me know that we can try phasing CICO off. We've talked about a bigger reward when kids who typically have a tough time have a stellar day, and bounce ideas off each other about what might work for kids who need a little modification to their CICO plan (i.e. like the one kid who kept losing his Daily Report Card sheet, so we laminated one that can be re-written on, and stapled it inside his agenda).
4. Kids are getting rewards for good behavior. This may seem like a no brainer, but many people have difficulty understanding that what is fair is not always equal and what is equal is not always fair. Kids receiving Tier II interventions need the extra incentive towards shaping good behavior; they don't automatically do what they're "supposed to" and need guidance to do what is expected. Personally as a CICO mentor, I give every child who meets their daily point goal a Tiger Ticket, which goes into a pot for daily prize drawings within the classroom and monthly prize drawings for big items (amusement park tickets, zoo tickets, Lasertron passes). If a kiddo meets their goal for 4 of 5 days in a week, I buy them the candy bar of their choosing. The middle school CICO mentor throws a pizza party for all students who meets a certain amount of points within that month. You just need to find out what works for your staff and students.
Are you doing Check-in, Check-out in your building? What observations and recommendations do you have to help the intervention run smoothly? I hope to continue refining the program for the rest of the year and into next year, so suggestions are ALWAYS welcome!
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