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Statewide Leadership: Description and Links

Brief Overview

Statewide planning teams are created when larger systems change efforts in positive behavior support are identified. The characteristics of each state team is different depending upon the goals that are identified for implementing positive behavior support, the types of funding allocated for implementation efforts, how policies and procedures have been articulated, and the type of stakeholder groups who will be receiving positive behavior support.

For example, while some states may focus primarily on building positive behavior support (PBS) in schools, other states are implementing positive behavior support in mental health, the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities, within juvenile justice facilities, or in early childhood.

Statewide teams are needed to coordinate interagency positive behavior support efforts across education and human service systems. Other state teams may leverage limited funds in order to establish a training system that will meet the needs of multiple education and human service systems. Unified training systems at a statewide level are used to train professionals across different agencies and systems to facilitate positive behavior support with opportunities for professionals to learn more about how to facilitate the planning process within the unique settings in which they work.

School-wide PBS Statewide Planning Example: The most common type of statewide planning effort is occurring as part of school-wide positive behavior support (SWPBS) implementation. Currently, there are over 40 states that have statewide teams working systematically to implement SWPBS. A number of countries are also involved in coordinating large-scale SWPBS implementation efforts. In many of these teams, self-assessment and action-planning efforts start by building demonstration sites for SWPBS. The number of districts and schools beginning the implementation process starts on a smaller scale with one to two districts (or other units based on the country involved) participating. The state action plan involves gradually expanding the number of districts and schools involved over time.

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

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 representatives, such as district administrators, PBS trainers and coordinators, and school administrators;
  • 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. School-based mental health efforts tend to fit within the SWPBS model with mental health leaders indicating that the framework for SWPBS provides a way to easily connect data, systems, and evidence-based mental health practices with other prevention efforts.

Expanding Beyond Statewide Planning in SWPBS

Some statewide planning teams use the same types of processes used in SWPBS 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 generalized to other systems.

Increasingly, multiple state teams are forming to address large-scale implementation of positive behavior support in early childhood, juvenile justice, SWPBS and the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities. Examples of broader statewide planning goals include designing state funding so that children or adults can receive access to PBS services using Medicaid funds through state Medicaid plan or Home and Community Based Waiver services. In other states, teams are 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 of positive behavior support is to work collaboratively across education and human services to:

  • Implement strategies for preventing problem behavior,
  • Identify children and adults at risk for serious problem behavior,
  • Design early intervention strategies,
  • Improve service coordination for children and adults who engage in serious challenging behavior, and
  • Create more effective transition planning across the life span and to support children and adults who may need more intensive individualized support to live in the community.

Features that are common to all statewide teams includes self-assessment and action planning, goal development and documentation systems, and logic model and evaluation. Action planning processes allow teams to identify needs and priorities, assign responsibility for implementation, monitor the implementation process, and evaluate the overall impact 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. Perhaps one of the most critical features of statewide planning is the ability of the leadership team to design a sustainable PBS implementation effort 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 for addressing the goals and objectives related to topics such as: state and organizational policies, integration of related initiatives, political support and marketing, training and technical assistance, 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.

Planning teams tend to evolve and change over time as they increase the capacity to meet the needs for positive behavior support across the entire state. Initially, new state leadership teams may focus initial efforts on establishing training capacity in specific settings. The long-term goal, however, may be to expand implementation efforts to new service systems. Over time, the goals of the planning team shift from process-focused implementation efforts towards sustainability. Funding mechanisms, policies, and leadership may change over time creating new challenges for a state team to address.

Implementation Research: A Synthesis of the Literature

Fixsen, D. L., Naoom, S. F., Blaseé, K. A., Friedman, R. M., & Wallace, F. (2005). Implementation research: A synthesis of the literature. University of South Florida. Tampa, Florida. Download the monograph from The National Implementation Research Network.

Community Toolbox: http://ctb.ku.edu/en/

Scaling Up Tools and Resources from the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute

Implementing Statewide Planning Across Systems

Tertiary Level: PBS Practices From the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center

PBS Practices are brief fact sheets that describe effective practices in Positive Behavior Support. Each Practice includes a rationale, overview, examples, issues and needs, and frequently-asked questions on a designated topic. The purpose of the series on PBS Practices is to provide information about important elements of positive behavior support. PBS Practices are not specific recommendations for implementation, and they should always be considered within the larger context of planning, assessment and comprehensive support.

  • Methods of Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA) PDF
  • Collaborative Teaming in PBS PDF
  • Proactive Support Strategies PDF
  • Positive Consequence Strategies PDF
  • Teaching Replacement Skills PDF
  • Systems Change in Positive Behavior Support PDF
  • Competing Behavior Model PDF
  • Group Action Planning and PBS PDF
  • Addressing Cultural and Economic Diversity in PBS PDF

Research-based Case Study Summaries

The following vignettes come from peer-reviewed research articles or chapters found in the literature. These summaries are intended to provide ideas that are related to validated intervention strategies that are implemented in the field. While these vignettes are helpful in learning more about positive behavior support and behavior intervention strategies, they are only intended to be examples. All PBS plans should start with person-centered or wraparound plan and functional behavioral assessment. The functional behavioral assessment is used to identify interventions that are based on the function maintaining the behavior and that are individualized for the person receiving support. Please gather valuable information from these vignettes, while being cautious not to over-generalize to all individuals who engage in challenging behavior.

Intervention Case Study 1:


Todd, A.W., Horner, R.H., & Sugai, G. (1999). Self-monitoring and self-recruited praise: Effects on problem behavior, academic engagement, and work completion in a typical classroom. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 1, 66-76.

Intervention Case Study 2:


Dunlap, G. and Fox, Lise (1999). A demonstration of behavioral support for young children with autism. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 1, 77-87.

Intervention Case Study 3:


Todd, A., Horner, R., Vanater, S., & Schneider, C. (1997). Working together to make change: An example of positive behavioral support for a student with traumatic brain injury. Education and Treatment of Children, 20, 425-440.

Intervention Case Study 4:


Dunlap, G., White, R., Vera, A., Wilson, D., & Panacek, L. (1996). The effects of multi- component, assessment-based curricular modifications on the classroom behavior of children with emotional and behavioral disorders. Journal of Behavioral Education, 6, 481-500.

Intervention Case Study 5:


Dunlap, G., & Plienis, A.J. (1991). The influence of task size on the unsupervised task performance of students with developmental disabilities. Education and Treatment of Children, 14, 85-95.

Intervention Case Study 6:


Clarke, S., Dunlap, G., & Vaughn, B. (1999). Family-centered, assessment-based intervention to improve behavior during an early morning routine. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 1, 235-241.

Intervention Case Study 7:


Vaughn, B.J., Wilson, D., & Dunlap, G. (2002). Family-centered intervention to resolve problem behaviors in a fast food restaurant: A case example. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 4, 38-45.

Intervention Case Study 8:


Mirenda, P., MacGregor, T., & Kelly-Keough, S. Teaching communication skills for behavioral support in the context of family life. In J. M. Lucyshyn, G. Dunlap, & R. W. Albin (Eds.), Families and positive behavior support: Addressing problem behavior in family contexts (pp.185-207). Baltimore: Brookes.

Intervention Case Study 9:


Horner, R.H., Albin, R.W., Sprague, J.R., & Todd, A.W. Positive behavior support. In M. E. Snell & F. Brown (Eds.), Instruction of students with severe disabilities (5th ed) (pp. 207-243). Upper Saddle River: NJ: Merrill.

Intervention Case Study 10:


Durand, M.V. (2004). Description of a sleep-restriction program to reduce bedtime disturbances and night waking. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 6, 83-91.

Intervention Case Study 11:


Horner, R.H., Day, H.M., Sprague, J.R., O’Brien, M., & Heathfield, L.T. Interspersed requests: A nonaversive procedure for reducing aggression and self-injury during instruction. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 24, 265-278.

Intervention Case Study 12:


Sigafoos, J. & Meikle, B. (1996). Functional communication training for the treatment of multiply determined challenging behavior in two boys with autism. Behavior Modification, 20, 60-84.

Intervention Case Study 13:


Reichle, J., Drager, K., & Davis, C. (2002). Using requests for assistance to obtain desired items and to gain release from nonpreferred activities. Implications for assessment and intervention. Education and Treatment of Children, 25, 47-66.

Intervention Case Study 14:


Davis, C.A., & Reichle, J. (1996). Variant and invariant high-probability requests: Increasing appropriate behaviors in children with emotional-behavioral disorders. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 29, 471-482.

Intervention Case Study 15:


Stiebel, D. (1998). Promoting augmentative communication during daily routines: A problem solving intervention. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 1, 159-169.

Intervention Case Study 16:


McGee, G. & Daly, T. (1999). Prevention of problem behavior in preschool children. In A.C. Repp and R.H. Horner (Eds.), Functional analysis of problem behavior: From effective assessment to effective support (pp. 171-195). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Intervention Case Study 17:


Todd, A., Haugen, L., Anderson, K., & Spriggs, M. (2002). Teaching recess: Low cost efforts producing effective results. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 4, 46-53.

Intervention Case Study 18:


Taylor-Greene, S., Brown, D., Nelson, L., Longton, J., Gassman, T., Cohen, J., Swartz, J., Horner, R.H., Sugai, G., & Hall, S. (1997). School-wide behavioral support: Starting the year off right. Journal of Behavioral Education, 7, 99-112.

PBS Glossary: http://apbs.org/new_apbs/files/glossary.pdf

Statewide Leadership References: http://apbs.org/new_apbs/statewide-leadership-references.html

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