At Crossroads School, we strive to individualize our learning plans for each student to best meet their needs. We use this principle in academics as well as social or life skills.
Recently, we have been working on making improvements to our individualized behavior plans. In our weekly staff meetings, teachers share information about students which allows us to coordinate our approach. It is to the student's advantage when we can be consistent throughout the school system. When we notice repeating patterns of inappropriate behavior, it triggers the need to implement a “Behavior Contract.”
First, staff confer and prioritize the behavior which needs addressing. It is more common for there to be several areas of concern but we can’t expect our students to change everything at once. So, we prioritize and tackle one component at a time.
The Behavior Contract has several key components.
- Preamble of Cooperation- The contract is presented to the student from the start with a statement that we are here to support the student and work together to create success.
- Behavior Goal- The general objective is written in one sentence.
- Clarifications of the Objective- Specific examples provide clarification so students can understand what behaviors are expected.
- School Rule- The general school rule or value is stated so students understand the context for this behavior contract.
- Support and Consequences- A list of ways the staff will support the student in reaching the goal and a clearly defined list consequences with escalating severity for continued infractions are provided.
The contract is presented to the student in a meeting lead by our Head of Social Development, Mr. Mitch Pengra and attended by at least one of the student’s teachers. As with any contract, it must be signed by all parties to signify understanding and agreement with the terms. Sometimes, if appropriate, a parent will be asked to attend this initial meeting.
The format of the contracts are consistent but the content of each is unique. It’s individualized and that’s exactly the point. Our staff can take the needs of each child into account when formulating the contract. The behavior goals and consequences are unique to the student. The student will carry a copy of the contact with them in their daily binder and a log, similar to the ones used with our daily Goal Sheet, to track success throughout the day.
Providing our students with the tools they need and modeling the steps to improving is at the core of what we do at Crossroads.