Handbook - Progressive Behavior

Promoting Positive Relationships | Multi-Tiered System of Support | Tips for Calming Conflict | Skills and Strategies for Building Positive Relationships | School Practices | Parental Assistance | Intervention Strategies | Restorative Practices


Progressive Behavior is a whole child approach to teaching children by meeting their behavioral, social, intellectual and emotional needs. MNPS recognizes that many factors both inside and outside the school building impact our students. Our goal is to provide the support and services needed by our students and their families to address these needs and prevent a student from requiring disciplinary action.

Promoting Positive Relationships

Research shows positive relationships help children learn. When our communities, schools and homes are free from fear, anger and other distractions, children develop and grow better. We know that students are more likely to succeed when they feel connected to others in their community and are less likely to act out in ways that cause disruption to the school environment. (For more on this topic, see Bonnie Bernard's "Fostering Resiliency in Kids" and Robert Blum"s "A Case for School Connectedness".)

Multi-Tiered System of Support

Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) - Behavior focuses on teaching students appropriate behaviors, as opposed to punishing inappropriate behaviors, and develops positive relationships between students and school staff.

MTSS is a framework of evidence based, system-wide interventions and supports to address students' academic and behavioral needs, and helps schools identify and quickly provide help to struggling students. Schools that have shared leadership support systems that engage students—rather than demand student compliance—have fewer discipline problems, increased student achievement, and higher graduation rates (Bruening, 2014). 

Multi Tiered System

Tips for Calming Conflict

  • Show your student you understand. Listen with sincere concern to create positive relationships between your student and others. Trust then becomes the foundation for academic success and conflict resolution.

  • Ask open-ended questions. For example, say "What was that like for you?" or "Tell me more about that." This gets more than a "yes" or "no" response and helps students tell their story.

  • Use reflective listening when intervening in a conflict. Get the attention of an angry person by reflecting back the feelings you hear in a nonjudgmental way. Let students tell the story - say just enough to help them.

  • Help your student problem-solve disputes. Use open-ended questions and reflective listening to help him/her think about what happened. Trust that with guidance, he/she will identify a solution that works.

Skills and Strategies for Building Positive Relationships

  • Communicate understanding.

  • Structure tasks for success.

  • Reinforce behavior in a positive manner.

  • Set rules, limits and consequences.

  • Create a safe and trusting environment.

  • Remain neutral.

  • Use nonjudgmental language.

  • Respond only when a response is necessary.

  • Stay calm in tense situations.

  • Encourage people to "vent" while being aware of safety.

  • Listen and repeat what students say (reflective listening).

  • Identify and label feelings, values and topics to be resolved (strategic listening).

  • Ask open-ended questions.

  • Assist others in using a positive problem-solving process.

  • Create clear expectations that are consistent throughout the school.

School Practices for Establishing Positive Relationships

  • Daily Rap: Students need to learn to communicate with one another in ways that help them build healthy relationships instead of records of suspensions and arrests. The Daily Rap is an intervention designed around core categories of social and emotional skills. Working in dialogue circles, teachers and staff build open communication with students so they can talk about the topic and resolve issues before they escalate to violence.

  • Morning Meetings: Classroom meetings in which the teacher and all students come together are usually for one of two purposes: to build community at a relatively peaceful time or to resolve a conflict. At the Morning Meeting, students sit in a circle and do activities together that help build caring within the group and between individuals. The meeting provides a place for students to understand the truest meaning of "finding common ground." They come to see, tolerate and appreciate one another's ways. The most basic element of caring that aids this process is the genuine willingness to listen attentively.

  • Student Advisories: Students meet in small groups with an adult adviser every day or a few times a week to focus on character and civic development. Students discuss day-to-day issues, define their values, develop a trusting relationship with an adult advocate, hone communication skills and participate in social justice or service learning projects. Student Advisories offer emotional support for students during adolescence. Ideally, the advisory teacher is someone students know they can trust and talk to about their progress in school. The activity can provide peer recognition in an accepting environment and offset peer pressure and negative responses from peers in other areas.

  • Other school practices include:

    • Teaching Important SEL Competencies and Skills

    • Integrating Important SEL Competencies and Skills into Academic Instruction

    • Running Community Gatherings or Advisory Circles

    • Mindfulness Awareness Practices

    • Respectful Communication

    • Predictable Routines and Procedures

    • Restorative Discipline

Parental Assistance

There are times when students exhibit repeated patterns of challenging behavior. These steps can be followed to advocate for your student:

  1. If you suspect your student needs additional help with his/her behavior, contact your student's teacher, school counselor or principal in writing to request a conference to discuss your concerns.

  2. During this meeting, parents and teachers can discuss proactive solutions to repeated behaviors.

  3. If the behaviors continue after the parent/teacher conference, the parent and/or teacher should request a Student Support Team (S-Team) meeting.

  4. If the interventions are successful, the S-Team will document and may continue to monitor as needed.

  5. If the behaviors continue after interventions and a disability is suspected, the appropriate assessment specialist is invited to a meeting by the S-Team.

  6. If a disability is suspected at any point in this process, the school and parent should convene a meeting within 10 days to obtain written parental consent to an evaluation for special education services or a 504. Learn more about our support for students with disabilities.

Intervention Strategies

To help students conduct themselves appropriately, this handbook lists prevention and intervention strategies that may be used prior to, or in addition to, any disciplinary response to student behavior. To more effectively support students, MNPS strives to provide increasingly intensive interventions and support to monitor student progress toward the clearly defined behavior expectations. This often takes the form of first teaching the expectation that we expect, providing encouragement when students are making progress toward the expectation and providing clear consequences that are consistent and well-defined.

Examples of such strategies include the following:

  • Check and connect: Allows students to reflect on their behavior and teachers to provide feedback to students throughout the day.

  • Community conferencing: Allows students, school staff and others involved in a conflict to discuss the conflict and how it affected them, and to propose solutions.

  • Community service: Allows students to participate in an activity to serve and benefit the community. Examples include working at a soup kitchen, cleaning up public spaces, helping at a facility for the elderly, etc.

  • Conference: Involves students, parents, guardians, teachers, school staff and principals in discussion about student misbehavior and potential solutions that address social, academic and personal issues related to the behavior.

  • Conflict resolution: Empowers students to take responsibility for peacefully resolving conflicts. Students, parents, guardians, teachers, school staff and principals engage in activities that promote problem-solving skills and techniques, such as conflict and anger management, active listening and effective communication.

  • Functional Behavioral Assessment: Involves gathering information about a student's inappropriate or disruptive behavior and determining approaches that school staff should take to correct or manage student behavior. This information is used to develop a Behavioral Intervention Plan for the student.

  • Behavioral Intervention Plan: An approach to correcting inappropriate or disruptive student behavior through a plan designed by school staff to offer positive behavioral interventions, strategies and supports. This plan is appropriate for students with and without disabilities.

  • Individualized Education Program (IEP) teams: IEP team can convene at any time to consider the need for supports and interventions for an individual student.

  • Mentoring program: Involves pairing students with mentors (a counselor, teacher and fellow student or community member) who help their personal, academic and social development.

  • Parent outreach: Requires school staff to inform parents or guardians of their student's behavior and seek their assistance in correcting inappropriate or disruptive behavior. Outreach made in writing or by telephone is intended to make parents aware of students" behavior, task completion and achievement, and can include a request for parents to accompany students to school.

  • Peer mediation: A form of conflict resolution in which students help other students deal with and develop solutions to conflicts.

  • Referral to appropriate substance abuse counseling services: Occurs for behavior related to substance abuse, or with those for whom there is reason to believe substance abuse counseling is needed. Services can be school or community based.

  • Self-Monitoring: Self-monitoring systems are used for students to earn rewards based on their reporting/evaluating behaviors. A self-monitoring system focuses on the student's recognition of his own behavior.

  • Referral to community-based organizations: Can involve a variety of services, including after-school programming, individual or group counseling, leadership development, conflict resolution and tutoring.

  • Referral to school-based health and mental health clinics or other social services: Provides counseling and assessments to students in need. Students are encouraged to privately share issues or concerns that lead to inappropriate or disruptive behavior or negatively affect academic success. In counseling sessions, students discuss goals and learn techniques that help them overcome personal challenges. Parents are to be regularly informed of student progress during counseling sessions and at school. Sessions can also involve family members or can be done in groups.

  • Restorative justice strategies: Interventions designed to identify and address the harm caused by an incident and to develop a plan to heal and correct the situation.

  • Student Support Team: Usually consists of teachers, school principals, social workers and parents and may also include nurses, mental health clinicians, psychologists and external agency representatives who help develop prevention and intervention techniques and alternative strategies that ultimately lead to student success. When student behavior requires intervention, the student support team develops a plan to address the behavior.

Restorative Practices

Restorative justice is an approach to teach non-punitive discipline. One way to respond to an incident is to organize a meeting between the offended person and the offender, sometimes with representatives of the wider community. The goal is for the two parties to share their experience of what happened, discuss who was harmed by the offense and how, and create a consensus for what the offender can do to repair the harm from the offense.

"One of the most persistent myths in school disciple is that punishment is a way of "holding students accountable." But punishment only works when the authority is watching and relies on external control. Restorative methods impose a consequence rather than a punishment and help to create empathetic and active involvement. A consequence dramatically improves the chances that positive attitudes and behaviors are internalized, and the young people will behave well, not merely out of fear, but because they want to feel good about themselves and have positive connections with others" (Costello, et al. p.77). MNPS embraces the implementation of restorative structures in schools.


Concepts of Restorative Practice

Restorative Practices embraces the following three concepts:
• Community – promoting and strengthening a sense of belonging
• Relationships – creating and fostering relationships among all stakeholders
• Accountability – everyone in the community is held accountable for behavior

Components of Restorative Practices

In a restorative environment, the following components must be present:
• Repairing the harm caused by any wrongdoing (restoration)
• Encouraging appropriate accountability for addressing needs and repairing harm
• Engaging those impacted by the wrongdoing, including the offended person, the offender, and the community
• Ensure three principles of a fair process are occurring: engagement, explanation, and expectation clarity
• Respectful to all and provides the opportunity for equitable dialogue and decision-making
• Involve relevant stakeholders, including the Restorative Practice Assistant
• Provide time for all staff to be trained in Restorative Practices
• Fair Process which includes engagement, explanation and expectation clarity

Restorative Framework

Every school should have a restorative framework that is proactive and responsive. Through restorative practices, members of the school community will:
• have an opportunity to be heard/ share needs
• understand the impact of one's actions
• learn to take responsibility
• repair the harm one's actions may have caused
• recognize one's role in maintaining a safe school environment
• build upon and expand on personal relationships in the school community
• recognize one's role as a positive contributing member of the school community
• develop, practice, and reinforce the five social and emotional competencies(self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, responsible decision making).

Restorative Peace Center

The Restorative Peace Center provides a space to facilitate restorative processes for students who need a break to refocus or not meet school expectations. In this space, staff assist students and guide them to redirect, recover, and/or return to an internal state conducive to learning.
Students can request to use the room or be referred to spend time in the room. This space is non-punitive and supportive.

The referral process includes questions to help each student reflect on his/her goals and progress, internal state and process, as well as restorative questions in the case that his/her referral to the room is related to an incident where harm may have occurred. Restorative Peace Centers are intentionally calming in design and have sensory tools for students to utilize while refocusing. Every school must have a Peace Center to be recognized as a level III Restorative School.

Restorative Practices also embraces the following:
• Implicit Bias
• Mentoring
• Parent Engagement
• Transitions