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Brief Description of PBS Related to State-wide Planning

The links below are intended to help you navigate among the pages related to State-wide Planning. The references or source material associated with the references on this website do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Association for Positive Behavior Support (APBS) nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by APBS.


Statewide planning teams can take on a variety of different meeting and organizational structures depending on the needs of the state. For example, while some states may focus on building positive behavior support (PBS) in schools, other states expand statewide planning efforts to include community-based programs and services including mental health, developmental disabilities, and child welfare.

School-wide PBS Statewide Planning Example
Many statewide planning efforts began with the implementation of school-wide positive behavior support (SWPBS). Currently, there are over 40 states that have statewide teams working systematically to implement SWPBS in the United States. In many of these states, self assessment and action planning efforts started on a small scale with one to two districts participating. In SWPBS, each district forms a planning team comprised of individuals representing:

  • Instruction and Curriculum Coordinators

  • Safe and Drug Free Schools Representation

  • Special Education Teachers

  • School Psychologists and/or Counselors

  • Representatives from Title or Other Related Initiatives (e.g., Character Education, Dropout Prevention)

  • Student Health Representation

  • Parents and Family Members

  • Students

  • Alternative Program Personnel

  • Data or Information Management Personnel

  • Multiculturalism and Affirmative Action Representation

  • Mental Health Representation

  • Children and Family Services Representation

  • Business and Community Organization Leaders

  • University or College Professionals, and

  • Representatives from the Local Teacher and/or Administrators Union.

The purpose of the district leadership planning team in SWPBS is to embed SWPBS in a small number of schools with a three year plan of expansion across the district. The district leadership team works collaboratively to establish training capacity so that the district can provide sustainable staff development and systems change efforts over time. The training system must be adapted to support more school teams as interest in SWPBS within the district grows. The leadership team makes sure that personnel and resources are organized to facilitate, assist, maintain, and adapt local school training implementation efforts. A district coordinator is identified who will facilitate district leadership team meetings, support coaches, ensure data are summarized, and coordinate training efforts within the district. Finally resources are committed by the district team to establish measurable outcomes and modify or adapt action plans based on these evaluations. To be successful, SWPBS implementation must have (a) adequate and sustained funding support; (b) regular, wide, and meaningful visibility; and (c) relevant and effective political support.

Statewide planning teams follow the same leadership planning team process set up for districts. The figure below describes the major activities coordinated by both district and state leadership planning teams

team diagram

Statewide Coordinators facilitate the planning process to build training and technical assistance efforts, increase interagency coordination, and evaluate statewide planning efforts. The statewide coordinator meets on a regular basis with other team members who represent key stakeholders within the state. Examples of state leadership team members can include:

  • Professionals representing key roles within the state department of education including curriculum and instruction, counseling and special services, special education, safe and drug free schools, response to intervention (RtI) initiatives, and teacher certification;

  • Mental health professionals who lead early childhood services, community mental health systems, substance abuse prevention, or supports for children and adults transitioning from restrictive, out of home placements back into community settings;

  • Developmental disability services supporting families, children both at home and in the community, supportive employment, and adult residential supports;

  • Child welfare services supporting foster care, prevention supports, and adoptive parents;

  • Juvenile justice systems;

  • Various local educational district representatives such as administrators PBS trainers and coordinators and school administrations;

  • Family members, self advocates and advocacy organizations; and

  • Professionals representing higher education.

Statewide leadership teams implementing SWPBS use the planning process to discuss how to create more effective school-linked services. Planning meetings that focus on school-linked services involve other human service professionals in mental health, developmental disability, and child welfare to provide better service coordination linked directly activities at the school building since children spend a significant amount of the day in educational settings. Click here for more information about how schools and districts implement SWPBS.

Expanding Beyond Statewide Planning in SWPBS
Some statewide planning teams use the same types of processes used in school-wide PBS to implement PBS in mental health, developmental disability, and child welfare organizations. Although these organizations have different systems and missions, the same types of self assessment and action-planning processes used by districts and school teams in SWPBS can be used to prevent problem behavior and improve service coordination. Examples of broader goals include designing state funding so that children or adults can receive access to PBS services using Medicaid funds, or reorganizing child welfare systems so that elements of PBS can be embedded into foster care, family preservation, and adoptive planning processes.

Although the ways in which interagency collaboration occurs is different from state to state, an important goal is to work collaboratively using state resources across human service organizations to:

  1. Implement strategies for preventing problem behavior,
  2. Identify children and adults at risk for serious problem behavior,
  3. Design early intervention strategies, and
  4. Improve service coordination for children and adults who engage in serious challenging behavior.

One common thread among all statewide leadership teams is action planning. Action planning allows teams to identify needs and priorities, assign responsibility for implementation, and monitor the implementation process and effects of implementation. A cyclical process of evaluation and re-evaluation is constantly reviewed by the statewide planning team as part of a formative evaluation process. Statewide planning teams identify goals and objectives for expanding PBS services across the state. Depending on the level of funding, statewide planning teams may provide training, resources, coaching, or mentoring programs. Finally, perhaps one of the most critical features of statewide planning is the ability of leadership teams to build sustainable implementation of PBS on a large scale so that more individuals benefit from limited state resources.

Statewide planning teams follow an organizational structure that is developed by and suited to the specific needs of each state. One state leadership team may establish smaller working groups or committees who address the goals and objectives related to certain topics such as: state and organizational policies, integration of related initiatives, political support and marketing, and funding for PBS. Another state leadership team may structure the planning process so that a larger group meets regularly on all of the state team's goals and objectives because that particular meeting format is more suitable and efficient for the team's needs.

Statewide planning teams tend to evolve and change over time as they increase their capacity to meet the PBS needs within a given state. Initially, new state leadership teams may focus efforts on establishing training capacity in specific settings with a clear goal for implementing PBS in a limited number of settings. Over time, the goals of the planning team shift towards expansion of PBS and more interagency planning processes.

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