Transformation Begins With…
Transformation cannot occur until we apply researched-based ideas to schools and classrooms. We must close the knowing-doing gaps. Transformation can’t occur until we see the significance – until we enthusiastically accept the responsibility. Now it’s time for us to act and collaboratively tailor the foundational of Tier 1 for each of our unique contexts; it’s time to build something transformative.
What it is not
We recognize and respect that we did not invent the RTI triangle or the concept of the integration of academics and behavior. We did not intend to invent a new, prescriptive behavior program.
Prescriptive behavior programs built on a system of rewards and consequence, and a concept of scale and functionality will not fully meet educators’ expectations because we do not own them. We have attempted to address the functions of behavioral Tier 1, respecting that teams of educators will necessarily craft the forms that match their realities. The realities about the pitfalls of behavior programs have become the signpost of our story because it addresses the problem we want to solve, and sets forth the journey we want to grow together in.
What it is
We have attempted to re-conceptualize the challenge and redefined the opportunity. We have reconnected to those priorities and principles to which we should have been connected from the beginning. We created a framework and approach that enables us to meet the comprehensive needs of students. Our goal was to create new schemas for integration. New schemas require a new set of “engagement rules.” Looking at behavior from the EFIB approach is more than just the process of connecting academic pedagogies and practices to behavior. It’s about clearly seeing where we’ve been, where we are now, and where we must go. It’s recognizing the opportunity that exists in our current reality. There is an opportunity to meet students right where they are, growing learners academically and behaviorally.
We all want our students to live a full, positive, and productive life. But we want more. We want them to thrive, succeed, give, connect, and change the world. As we continue on this most important of journeys, our society will rely even more on schools and educators to prepare the next generation of citizens for an increasingly more connected and collaborative world. We count on educators to provide every child with an education that nurtures both the academic and behavioral skills.
All stakeholders, not only our dynamic teachers, must be involved in sustaining holistic, comprehensive learning. Leaders must equip and build capacities to guarantee that every child receives a high quality education every day. As instructional leaders and guides, administrators can collaboratively craft high-quality professional development for all educators, consistently and with fidelity. Like any new skill learned, the EFIB approach must be continually promoted, communicated, supported and refined as we progress through this journey.
Support in discovery
We will succeed in this journey because we journey together. So many educators have contributed and are contributing to the need to craft a systematic set of behavioral supports for all students, beginning with Tier 1, as we have referenced throughout this chapter. We hope we have continued to ask the questions that prod, poke, uncover, disrupt, and diverge.
Just as we must build a sense of community in our classrooms, we must build a collaborative culture amongst educators. We cannot be successful in building a comprehensive and impactful Tier 1 behavioral system without trust and belief in one another. In the midst of high takes testing, accountability measures, progress monitoring, and data disaggregation, there exists an even more heightened focus to create deeper connections and genuine relationships with our students and our fellow colleagues. The power of these relationships will always transcend any RTI intervention strategies or pull out program. The more tangible metrics become a part of our educational and society reality, the more we must purposefully seek those intangibles: care community and connection that increases collaborative capacity.
We began our conversation with a peek into Billy’s world and that’s where we will conclude. A bit of Billy’s story resides in all of us. There is an aspect of being unheard, undervalued, and misunderstood in each one of us. If education is going to truly transcend academics, we must refocus our sense of empathy. Transformative and empathetic learning requires that we view realities through our student’s eyes, and through one another’s eyes, seeking to understand human behaviors and how they fit into our educational schemas. Our students have unique needs, beliefs, and worldviews, and they are waiting for us to appreciate this fact. Their futures and our future depend on it.