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Project SUPPORT & INCLUDE: Staff Development and Technical Assistance to Support Students with Emotional and Behavioral Challenges in Inclusive Settings


The intent of Project SUPPORT & INCLUDE is to provide the Middle Tennessee catchment area with high-quality professional development and technical assistance in an integrated approach to positive behavior supports that emphasizes inclusive programming to meet the academic, social, and behavioral needs of an increasingly diverse student population. Specifically, this project seeks to build schools' capacities to design, implement, and evaluate comprehensive, three-tier models of prevention to (a) prevent the development of learning and behavior problems and (b) respond more effectively to students with existing learning and behavior problems in inclusive settings. To this end, this project will address the following five goals as requested:
GOAL 1: - The provision of staff training and technical assistance in the development and implementation of the three-tiered model of school-wide positive behavior supports in school systems and alternative settings.
GOAL 2: - The provision of staff development and technical assistance to school systems with the purpose of creating more inclusive and integrated systems of education, and the development of multiple demonstration sites.
GOAL 3: - The provision of technical assistance to focus on low performing, high priority and/or high needs schools to help close the achievement gap between students with and without Individualized Education Plans (IEPs).
GOAL 4: -The provision of support, guidance, and feedback to school staff that have been trained in Positive Behavior Supports and inclusionary practices, and the research-based educational practices proven effective in improving achievement outcomes for students with disabilities in inclusive schools.
GOAL 5: - The provision of training and technical assistance to State staff regarding Positive Behavior Supports , inclusionary practices, and closing the achievement gap.
Project SUPPORT & INCLUDE proposes to address these five goals by conducting a three-phase plan implemented over the course of the 2009-2010 academic year.
Phase 1 (Goals 1, 2, and 3):  Staff Development and Technical Assistance Phase 1 involves providing a series of staff development and technical assistance training opportunities to assist middle Tennessee's schools in designing, implementing, and evaluating three-tiered models of prevention over the course of a three-part training series. As part of this model, schools in the Middle Tennessee catchment area will be invited to attend three successive training workshops. These three workshop focus on (a) primary prevention; (b) secondary prevention; and (c) tertiary prevention efforts that include academic, social, and behavioral components with the goal of providing inclusive, integrated systems of education. Our intent is to solicit a range of schools, including low performing, high priority, and high needs schools in an effort to develop model-demonstration sites to close the achievement gap between students who do and do not receive special education services.
We intend (see Table 1) to offer this three-part series on three separate occasions in three different locales: (a) series 1 at Vanderbilt University, (b) series 2 at a district south of Nashville, and (c) series 3 at a district north of Nashville
Phase 2 (Goal 4):  Follow up support, guidance, and feedback
Following completion of each workshop - which will include a model grounded in evidenced-based practices- we will offer (a) follow-up onsite to assist with initial implementation efforts, included limited individual case supports and (b) distal supports on a more frequent basis with the use of web-cams. Research on sustainability is very clear that "one-shot" staff development does not build a school's or individual's capacity to create and sustain change. Consequently, we propose a direct collaborative consultation model with primary, secondary, and tertiary levels of prevention (Lane, 2007). As part of this model we will provide initial workshops, limited on-site follow up, and sustained distal supports to assist participating schools in designing, implementing, and evaluating the evidence-based practices constituting each tier of this three-tiered model of support (Gersten, Fuchs, Compton, Coyne, Greenwood, & Innocenti, 2005; Horner, Carr, Halle, McGee, Odom, & Wolery, 2005).
As part of the evaluation component (see section on EVALUATION for greater detail), we will assist schools in selecting school-wide measures such as curriculum-based measurement and systematic screenings for behavioral concerns (e.g., Systematic Screening for Behavior Disorders, Walker & Severson, 1992; Student Risk Screening Scale, Drummond, 1994). Appropriate use of these measures will allow schools to determine how the students are progressing over time and to have reliable data to draw accurate conclusions about how different types of students (e.g., those who are and are not receiving special education services) are responding (e.g., Lane, Wehby, Robertson, & Rogers, 2007).
At the conclusion of this academic year, we hope to have 10-15 schools prepared to serve as model demonstration sites throughout the Middle Tennessee catchment area.
Phase 3 (Goal 5):  Training and Technical Assistance to State Staff and Additional Dissemination
As part of the third and final phase of this project, we intend to analyze de-identified data collected by schools to determine associated changes in students' academic, social, and behavioral performance. We plan to disseminate these findings at the local, state, and national levels by (a) publishing findings in practitioner oriented journals (e.g., Journal of Positive Behavior Intervention and Preventing School Failure), (b) presenting findings in the participating districts as well as at state and national (e.g., Teacher Educators for Children with Behavior Disorders) conferences, and (c) quarterly reports to the Tennessee Department of Education.
Also, we propose to offer training and technical assistance to state staff to provide ongoing information that will solidify the bridge between research and practice. More over, we will ensure that information acquired as part of this project as well as federally-funded research projects is disseminated regularly to state staff.