Trigg County Public Schools is taking a new approach that focuses on improving the behavioral and mental health of its students with the goal of impacting their performance in school.
“If we get behavior and mental health under control, we should see an increase in student achievement,” James Mangels, district director of student services and personnel, told school board members at their meeting on 10 November in the district office conference room.
The principal shared disciplinary data for the first quarter of the 2022-2023 school year, noting that there were 31 incidents at Trigg County Elementary School through October 7, 55% of which were due to disrespectful behavior.
At Trigg County Middle School, 39% of the 31 incidents were due to disrespectful behavior, he said, while at Trigg County Middle School there were 108 incidents. Twenty-four of those 108 incidents were due to disorderly conduct.
Additionally, of the 54 disciplinary incidents at Trigg County High School, 32 students or 5% of the TCHS student population accounted for those 54 incidents, and 44% of the incidents were due to disrespectful or disruptive behavior.
During the first few weeks of school, Mangels said the district witnessed several drug-related incidents, two terrorist threats and one assault.
Citing past college successes with a framework known as Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), Mangels said the local district began reconnecting with this framework last year at Trigg Middle and has now asked to be part of a PBIS cohort.
PBIS provides an evidence-based, tiered approach to supporting students’ behavioral, academic, social, emotional, and mental health, according to details on its website at pbis.org.
Mangels noted that the district wants to be more involved in behavioral health management.
“We really believe that in order for students to be somehow recognized and taught the behavior through positive behavioral interventions and supports, there may be some things we can do to support students and their case plans in our classrooms,” he said, pointing to Our educators spending the most time with children in the classroom.
Mangels said district staff attended a prep meeting to see if they “were ready for this challenge,” the manager said.
He noted that three district staff, including himself, special education director Mandy Byrd and school psychologist Katie Grimm, have been trained as district coaches for the PBIS effort.
The school district has also created a committee that includes school system partners and external agencies.
Members of this District Interconnected Systems Framework Committee are Councilor Alaysia Radford, George Radford of Genesis Express, Parent Representative Andrew Futrell, School Resource Manager Shawn Young, Horizon Youth Services Center Coordinator Laura Shelton, Sharon Alexander of Mountain Comprehensive Care, the three district coaches and Karen Solise, who is the assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction for the school district.
Mangels said the committee will analyze school data, identify issues and think about ways to provide interventions around social, emotional and behavioral supports.
He said school staff will deliver the interventions with support from the coaches; the three coaches will ensure that the interventions take place in each of the school buildings.
The Director of Student Services noted that behavioral health and mental health in the past were addressed separately from positive behavioral interventions and supports, and he said this new approach encourages positive interventions as well as mental health and health. behavior under a “big umbrella”.
Mangels said interventions implemented through Level 1 of the PBIS framework should “capture 80% of students in this safety net.”
He noted that 10% to 15% of students may need a more intensive approach at Level 2, while 5% of young people may need really intensive work.
Mangels said he truly believes in PBIS, the interconnected framework, and working with other departments and employees to create a youth-friendly environment.
“(There are) some really good things happening,” he said of recent efforts in the district.
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