Our Behavior Support Coaching model focuses on helping paraprofessional classroom aides learn about and implement evidence based behavioral interventions for students. Our team of coaches help paraprofessionals: identify student behavior needs, set goals, model interventions, facilitate practice, and provide ongoing feedback.
Over the course of the year, 8 collaborative coaching sessions are provided that are job-embedded, classroom specific, and tailored to individual students. Each coach teaches paraprofessionals and their classroom teachers how to choose evidence-based interventions that match the function of student behaviors and systematically support paraprofessionals’ intervention fidelity. Interventions can either target the whole class or the individual target student. Coaches conduct observations throughout the coaching process and use the data to drive key decisions and actions for improving paraprofessionals’ classroom and behavior management practices.
Our coaching model is based on a data-driven behavioral consultation framework (Bergan & Kratochwill, 1990; Sheridan & Kratochwill, 2008) which has been found to yield moderate to large effects on both teacher and student outcomes via decades of research (e.g., Erchul & Sheridan, 2014; Reddy et al., 2001; Sheridan et al., 2012). The BSC-P framework is guided by principals of behavior theory with three foundational concepts: (a) behavior is learned, (b) behavior is lawful, and (c) behavior is alterable through environmental modifications (Skinner, 1953). Within this framework, new behaviors (i.e., skills) are acquired, refined, and maintained through practice, monitoring, and reinforcement that is contingent on demonstration of desired behaviors. the toolkit of interventions used in this project are based on best practices identified through a review of over 250 experimental and quasi-experimental studies of school-based interventions where outcomes of disruptive and aggressive behaviors were obtained (e.g., Eyberg, Nelson, & Boggs, 2008; Evans, Owen, & Bunford, 2014, Reddy et al., 2009; Wilson & Lipsey, 2007). Behavior interventions and supports for student with externalizing behaviors also have been widely endorsed by the Council of Exceptional Children (2014) and American Academy of Pediatrics (2011).
Initial Project Outcomes
An initial study has been conducted on outcomes for two cohorts of participants from the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 school years. The initial sample from 37 schools included 108 paraprofessionals and 239 students with or at risk for disruptive behavior disorders. Schools were randomly assigned to the BSC-P or a waitlist control condition.
Paraprofessionals in BSC-P schools participated in eight coaching sessions facilitated by a highly trained BSC-P coach. Initial screening was conducted using the Behavioral and Emotional Screening System (MESS) and Behavioral Observation of Students in Schools (BOSS) system to identify students for whom intervention coaching would be provided to paraprofessionals in the BSC-P condition and for whom data would be collected in both the treatment and control conditions. Regular systematic direct observations were used to inform coaching sessions where coaches facilitated paraprofessionals’ identification of student targets/goals and selection and implementation of interventions. Student outcomes were assessed using the BOSS, Behavior Assessment System for Children-3 (BASC-3), and Social Skills Improvement System (SSIS).
Statistically significant differences were found between BSC-P and waitlist control condition on measured outcomes, with students receiving support from BSC-P paraprofessionals exhibiting greater pre-post intervention improvements on BOSS-measured academic engagement (F = 30.54, p < .01, d =. 67), inappropriate physical behaviors (F= 24.52, p < .01, d=.66), and inappropriate verbal behaviors (F= 17.87, p < .01, d =.42).
BSC-P paraprofessionals exhibited greater improvements on BASC-3 indicators of adaptive behavior (F= 12.40, p < .01, d= .48) and school problems (F= 7.48, p < .01, d= .29) and on SSIS measured social skills (F = 10.99, p < .01; d = .39) and academic competence [F = 6.20, p < .05; d = .32). BSC-P paraprofessionals rated higher levels of instructional support (F= 12.18, p < .01, d= .59) than controls.