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Thought you'd like to know...

Safe & Civil Schools has a new Web look! Check it out!

In late December, we revamped our website, giving it more functionality and pizzazz! We've updated old features (like adding to our associate biography section) and added new features (now you can find out about the research that underlies the strategies that we advocate).

Please visit and let us know (use the new feedback link at the bottom of each page) what you think -- what would you add to improve the site even further? We'd like to hear from you!

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SCS Spring Conferences

Susan Mulkey (Teach All, Reach All) will join Randy Sprick for a three-day workshop in Kalamazoo, Michigan, March 16-18, 2009.

On the first day, Monday, March 16, Randy will talk about An Introduction to CHAMPs: A Proactive and Positive Approach to Classroom Management.

The next day, Tuesday, March 17, Susan will introduce Teach All, Reach All.

On the final day, Wednesday, March 18, Randy will present an introduction to Interventions: Evidence-Based Behavioral Strategies for Individual Students.

For more information, download the PDF brochure on our website. Then call us at 1-800-323-8819 to register!

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SCS in the News!

Recently, we began working with Fairbanks North Star Borough School District in Alaska. We are pleased to see they are doing well!

According to an article in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, schools in the district have cut their tardy rates by half in some cases, and in other cases, by almost two-thirds.

Congratulations to staff and students in these schools for your hard work and effort in achieving these results!

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Journal of Special Education Leadership

In its September 2008 issue, the Journal of Special Education Leadership published an article that district and school administrators might find helpful as they plan for school improvement.

The article, Lessons Learned and Strategies Used in Reducing the Frequency of Out-of-School Suspensions, describes the efforts of staff in the Los Angeles Unified School District as they implemented a schoolwide positive behavior support (SWPBS) initiative to reduce out-of-school suspensions and reinforce appropriate behavior among students.

Please look for this very informative article the next time you visit your local library!

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Releases from Pacific Northwest Publishing

Available Now

Behavioral Response to Intervention, by Randy Sprick, Mike Booher, and Mickey Garrison. A companion volume to Interventions, B-RTI proposes a model for the efficient organization and delivery of services to individual students with challenging behavior.

Click here to read what leading experts, such as Jim Ysseldyke, Rob Horner, Russ Skiba, Don Deshler, and others, have to say about this resource!

Coming Soon

Teach All, Reach All, by Susan Mulkey and Karen Kemp. Designed for K-8 general education teachers, this book is about effective lesson design and delivery supplying teaching techniques to promote student achievement.

Visit the Pacific Northwest Publishing website to order.

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Safe & Civil Schools will be exhibiting at several conferences this year. Here's a schedule:

  • NASP
    February 24-28th, 2009
    Boston, Massachusetts
    Randy Sprick will present on 2/24 and 2/25.
    Tricia McKale Skyles and Donna Meers will be exhibiting in Booth 321.
  • ASCD
    March 14-16, 2009
    Orlando, Florida
    Tricia McKale Skyles and Jim Whitaker will be exhibiting in Booth 616.
    April 2-6, 2009
    New Orleans, Louisiana
    Tricia Mckale Skyles and Jim Whitaker will be exhibiting in Booth 129.

If you're attending any of these conferences, come by our booth and visit with us!

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Upcoming Events

Randy Sprick and Safe & Civil Schools consultants continue to provide presentations across the country. Some of these offer open registration. Registration may be limited and/or may involve a fee. Contact information is provided for each on our website.


Reducing Behavior Problems in the Elementary Classroom: An IES Practice Guide and Its Alignment with the Safe & Civil Schools Approach

By Randy Sprick

The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) was established by law in 2002 as a branch of the US Department of Education with the specific purpose of providing "rigorous evidence on which to ground education practice and policy" IES. In this role, the IES occasionally publishes practice guides designed to inform educators about effective evidence-based educational practices.

In September 2008, the IES released a practice guide, Reducing Behavior Problems in the Elementary School Classroom, intended for elementary school teachers and administrators. The guide offers five recommendations for curbing behavior problems and fostering positive student behavior. The authors present each recommendation with supporting evidence of effectiveness.

As we read through this practice guide, we were amazed at how closely their recommendations align with strategies and practices espoused throughout the Safe & Civil Schools series.

For example...

Their second recommendation (strongly supported by research) advises teachers to, "Modify the classroom learning environment to decrease problem behavior." (p. 6) They offer three suggestions that teachers can follow to implement this recommendation in their classrooms:

  • Revisit, re-practice, and reinforce classroom behavioral expectations.
  • Modify the classroom environment to encourage instructional momentum.
  • Adapt or vary instructional strategies to increase opportunities for academic success and engagement.

Since 1998, Safe & Civil Schools has been advocating these recommendations (and more) in the classroom component of the series, CHAMPs: A Proactive and Positive Approach to Classroom Management.

CHAMPs is designed to help classroom teachers create (or fine-tune) an effective classroom management plan that is both proactive and positive. While there are eight modules in the book, three bear particular application to this recommendation:

  • Module 3: Expectations, where teachers learn about a three-step process for communicating and reinforcing behavioral expectations.
  • Module 2: Organization, where teachers explore seven task, two of which address modifying the daily schedule (Task 1), and rearranging the classroom (Task 2).
  • Module 5: Motivation, where teachers practice six skills to help them engage students and keep them on-task.

In addition to these three aspects of effective classroom management, CHAMPs goes beyond the recommendations by guiding teachers in developing short- and long-term classroom goals, preparing for the first month of school, monitoring student behavior and revising their classroom management plans accordingly, and using effective correction procedures.

Another example...

Their fifth recommendation (moderately supported by research) advises teachers to, "Assess whether schoolwide behavior problems warrant adopting schoolwide strategies or programs and, if so, implement ones shown to reduce negative and foster positive interactions." (p. 7)

They suggest that school personnel should:

  • Address schoolwide behavior issues by involving a school improvement team.
  • Collect information on the hot spots throughout the school (the frequency of particular schoolwide behavior problems and when and where they occur).
  • Monitor implementation and outcomes using an efficient method of data collection and allow ample time for the program to work.
  • If warranted, adopt a packaged intervention program that fits well with identified behavior problems and the school context.

Since the 1980's we have advocated for schoolwide positive behavior support and intervention as necessary for behavioral change. This baseline level of support should be designed to meet the behavioral and emotional needs of most students. Only when these universal supports are in place can we know that a student exhibiting chronic behavior problems needs individualized intervention. (Sprick & Booher, 2006)

The Foundations process is directed by a "school improvement team," as suggested in the recommendation, but beyond that, we recommend that the team should be representative of all school staff and be site-based.

The Foundations process is data-driven and provides surveys and observation forms that can be adapted for school use to collect information about problematic behaviors in all common areas of the school.

The Foundations process is ongoing and revolves around an improvement cycle that incorporates "efficient methods of data collection" and the ongoing examination of "outcomes."

In conclusion...

These are but two examples of how closely we align (and exceed) these IES recommendations. We invite you to read a more in-depth analysis about how these recommendations align with the Safe & Civil Schools approach on our website. You may find the analysis in this link useful for convincing administrators of the efficacy of our approach, or for justifying expenditures for your positive behavior support and behavioral response to intervention efforts. If you have any further question or comment, please feel free to contact us through our website or by phone at 1-800-323-8819 or 1-541-345-1442.

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Introducing Susan Isaacs

Susan Isaacs

The consensus is that working with Susan Isaacs is a delight! When we review the feedback forms that participants fill out after a training session, we are awed by the magnitude of praise and appreciation she receives. Here's an example from an assistant principal who attended one of her trainings:

"I just wanted to thank you for coming out last week! We really appreciated your message and how you delivered it! I've had so many teachers come to me to comment about the impact your training had on their perceptions of classroom discipline and their practices with children. Many of our teachers are rethinking their interaction with our students! Bingo!"

Quote from Carolyn Novelly

Susan has been working with Safe & Civil Schools since the 2001-02 school year when she began a Foundations project in the Duval County Public Schools in Jacksonville, Florida. Since then, Duval has worked with Susan through nine cohorts. She has trained leadership teams from over 160 schools at Duval, guiding them through the Foundations process with her distinctive splash of humor and common sense.

In fact, Susan is responsible for a good many of our long-term projects across the country. She is currently working with the School District of Clay County in Florida, Pasadena Independent School District in Texas, and Portland Public Schools in Oregon. In California, she is working with teams from Long Beach Unified School District, Los Angeles Unified School District, and 14 Green Dot Charter High Schools. This week she will begin a project with nine middle schools in the Santa Ana Unified School District, also in California.

As a leading Safe & Civil Schools training consultant, Susan is working with these districts to help them establish positive schoolwide discipline policies using Foundations. She meets with leadership teams from each school in the project in training seminars four or five times over the course of each year, and occasionally visits a particular school to work with a team on an individual basis.

She excels at leading trainings. According to James Suarez, Assistant Director with Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD), "Susan Isaacs is a phenomenal presenter. She knows her content extremely well having 'lived' it in her teaching career. But what makes Susan so special is the way she engages the participants. Her stories, her examples, her style and flair bring Safe and Civil alive in Long Beach."

Susan relishes her work. "I like the process, watching them [the leadership teams] interact with each other and, through discussion, come to realize that the strategies we're presenting can work for them. If I can help them understand the Foundations process, they begin to see that they can solve their behavior issues."

Quote from James Suarez

Although she occasionally conducts a short-term training in CHAMPs, Discipline in the Secondary Classroom, Teacher's Encyclopedia, or the like during summer months, she saves her time from August through June for the long term projects. "I like to stick around and see what happens -- and I've seen some incredible results. That's what has convinced me that this is the best direction for schools to be going in now."

Susan excels at connecting with the people in her trainings and it makes a positive difference for them. Carolyn Novelly, District Resource Specialist with Duval County Public Schools, has watched Susan in trainings since the district started its Foundations project in 2001. She continues to be amazed! "Susan is able to remember important events in people's lives like a new grandchild or a son or daughter getting married. She makes a point of asking about these things when she sees them. And she remembers names of teachers in my district that even I can't remember. The way she makes personal connections with people is inspiring."

For Susan, it is the people connection that she treasures most in the work that she does. "When I work with leadership teams in these long-term projects, I get to know people. I've made lasting friendships in the years I've been doing this and I love that! I'm on the road 180 days a year, so I don't get to spend time with my family and friends back home. When I come back into a training that I've started, it makes up for that a little bit because I'm visiting with newfound friends!"

When she is home, Susan enjoys spending time with Sam, her husband of 27 years. She also gets to romp with her two dogs -- a 12-year-old bloodhound and a 6-month-old Swiss mountain dog. She LOVES to cook (note the capitals) and when she has the time, she can't wait to get out on the golf links for a quick round with friends!


As we begin the second half of the school year, all of us at Safe & Civil Schools hope you enjoyed a relaxing winter break!

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