Student behavior focus of Professional Learning Series 

HISD educators trained on preventative and proactive behavior management  

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Nearly 2,000 district and school based employees gathered at NRG Park June 13-15 for the HISD Professional Learning Series (PLS), an intense three days of professional development, team building, and preparation for the upcoming 2016-17 school year.

A major focus of this year’s series included a look at current student and classroom behavior management practices as well as guidance for schools and teachers on how to shift from a reactive discipline approach to a more preventative plan of support and intervention.

“This training has really opened my eyes and got me thinking about my own campus when it comes to behavior and discipline,” said Kashmere High School Assistant Principal Natalie Priwer. “I am leaving with some great tools, resources, and strategies that I can implement right away.”

Priwer attended one of several choices sessions focused on managing student behavior, including one led by Dr. Trista Huckleberry from HISD’s Child Study Department.

“A strong and effective Tier I classroom management system will pick up and cancel out 80 percent of the behavior issues,” Huckleberry said. “For Tier II and III interventions, a school must develop a strong plan with the necessary resources and team in place before the kids walk through the door in August.”

PLS, which normally is reserved for school and district leaders, was expanded this year to include teachers, counselors, instructional coordinators, and other school based employees to provide district support and guidance surrounding a new HISD policy that bans suspensions and expulsions for students in second grade and below, except as required by law.

HISD’s Leadership Department and Student Support Services collaborated with multiple departments including Counseling and Guidance, Child Study, Health and Medical Services, Psychological Services, and with Region IV to offer a variety of choice sessions at PLS related to behavior management at both the elementary and secondary level. Concurrent sessions provided participants opportunities to learn essential skills to manage behavior proactively and examine implicit bias and its impact on discipline.

“I really enjoyed the variety and quality of the sessions,” said Robinson Elementary Assistant Principal Roshanda Johnson. “A lot of times at training there is too much going on, but not enough happening. The sessions I attended had both relevant content and useful tools that I can take back to my school and my teachers.”

In addition to behavior management, PLS participants also engaged in training and learning surrounding Literacy in the Middle, HISD’s initiative to increase literacy levels at the middle school level.