Behavior Coach

This will be the fourth year for the Behavior Coach working in our three elementary schools, with our CARE Teams and our at-risk youth. When we started the program three years ago, we knew we needed someone who could help a certain population of students whose behaviors were affecting all students in the classroom as well as the staff and others in the building. Unfortunately, their behaviors prevent the classroom from functioning at its best as well as that child from getting the best out of their day in school. When we sat down as a CARE Team, we decided we needed someone skilled on behavior management who could work with the child, the school and the home to develop behavior plans, intervention plans, and make sure each is tailored specifically to the individual child as they are very different. 

The Behavior Coach not only helps with the students that are very challenging in the classrooms so that they allow the teachers to teach the high-risk students, they also let the other students learn in a better environment. Some of the children do not have the ability based on home life or lack of parenting skills to learn some of the socially acceptable behaviors and appropriate skills necessary to succeed in school and public settings. A great deal of the classroom time is spent on correcting behaviors that are getting in the way of their ability to learn and sometimes even the safety of themselves or others in the classroom. 

As we have worked on this program over the last three years, our Behavior Coach has been able to develop a wonderful program where she works with the teachers and the families to connect with the child. She gains the child’s trust, works independently with them on their behaviors and also works in the classrooms. Additionally, she works with the families and communicates with them to offer guidance and help them become personally involved in the behavior changes. 

Many of the students our behavior coach works with have experienced trauma or have mental health needs, so our Behavior Coach works with mental health providers to refer the students to the appropriate resources at school. Since she builds strong relationships with each family, our behavior coach is better able to make those connections. 

So far this year, we have seen marked improvement in behavior for almost every child she is working with as well as less aggression and more order in each classroom, as reported by the classroom teachers. 

Furthermore, the Behavior Coach formed a group with several students and the guidance counselor at one of the schools to help with social and coping skills. This program also provides additional resources for the teachers and school staff to manage behaviors in order to keep classrooms manageable and increase learning time for all students. We have found that this group has been incredibly beneficial in growing those skills and has given participants the opportunity to make friends in a comfortable, low-stakes environment. It is common for students to struggle during middle school, so by strengthening our students’ social and coping skills now, we hope to prevent those negative experiences later on. This group went so well that our Behavior Coach is hoping to extend it to the other two elementary schools this year.