JCPS (Jefferson County Public Schools)
The Jefferson County Public Schools Early Childhood program’s approach to promote social and emotional competence has evolved considerably over the past six years infusing the ideas and logic of school/program-wide positive behavior support, response to intervention and most recently CARE for Kids, the district-wide social and emotional development initiative. During the 2008-2009 school year we have refined our model, embraced data-based decision making, and improved system-level issues related to what high quality practices are offered to children and families (see Figure 1) as well as which early childhood staff are responsible for delivering, or supporting the delivery of, these practices.
Figure 1. Early Childhood Stars Systems of Support by Level
LEVEL 1: SUPPORTS FOR ALL CHILDREN AND FAMILIES
The following components should be visible in all classrooms. Curriculum resource teachers are the primary resource to assist teachers to implement these practices in classrooms, but all support staff should also be able to assist.
Positive and nurturing learning environments and supportive classrooms
Practices in this category are largely defined by the Early Childhood Rating Scale-Revised. Teachers are encouraged to support children’s play; scaffold social interactions; acknowledge desirable behavior; and foster a classroom environment that promotes a sense of safety and community. The CARE for Kids initiative, including the Adventures in Peacemaking activity guide, morning meetings, and developmentally appropriate classroom meetings are all utilized to accomplish these goals. Supportive classrooms contain adequate materials, defined play centers, ample child-initiated play opportunities, structured transitions and clear directions.
Teachers and staff are encouraged to replace their current classroom rules with these program-wide behavioral expectations. These expectations are not meant to be rigid, and teachers should feel free to add up to 2 behavioral expectations for their individual classroom. All other references to rules or codes of conduct should be removed from the classroom to avoid confusion. The JCPS Early Childhood behavioral expectations are: 1) Be safe, 2) Be responsible, and 3) Be respectful.
Direct teaching of social skills
Table 1 provides examples of how the behavioral expectations can be defined, discussed, and practiced different routines throughout the day. Teaching at this level should also be linked to the program wide expectations; and focus on the identification and expression of emotions; self-regulation; managing anger, frustration and disappointment; and friendship skills. Teachers are encouraged to teach and practice a behavioral expectation until nearly all of the children follow them consistently. Additionally, these behavioral expectations can be discussed in morning meetings and class meetings and incorporated into other social emotional teaching lessons such as the Adventures in Peacemaking and Second Step lessons. Additionally, the expectations can be incorporated into reinforcement systems (e.g., stop light systems, card systems) within classrooms.
System to acknowledge appropriate behavior
NEEDS TO BE DEVELOPED- SHOULD BE TIED TO BEAHVIORAL EXPECTATIONS
System to respond to challenging behavior
NEEDS TO BE DEVELOPED- SHOULD include a hierarchy of responses.
Parent trainings, offered to all parents in the program, focus on these concepts as well, but concentrate on building supportive relationships, child development, and parenting strategies.
Resource teachers have the primary responsibility for supporting teachers at this level in the classroom. The Parent trainings are coordinated by the Disability Coordinator and delivered by consultants from the University of Louisville.
LEVEL 2: SUPPORTS FOR SOME CHILDREN AND TEACHERS
Additional supports will be provided for teachers who do not have these practices in place and/or children who have not been responsive to Level 1 interventions/support. At school, children who are not responsive to Level 1 interventions will require more intentional direct teaching of social skills. This teaching should include more opportunities (e.g., additional practice) individually or with small groups of children. Level 2 interventions for families includes parent training focused on the same constructs in the home setting.
Resource teachers have the primary responsibility for supporting teachers at this level. The Parent trainings are coordinated by the Disability Coordinator and delivered by consultants from the University of Louisville.
LEVEL 3: FUNCTION-BASED SUPPORTS FOR SOME CHILDREN AND TEACHERS
Children who are not responsive to Level 1 or Level 2 supports will require strategies that have been individualized for each child based on a functional assessment. These children may also be appropriate candidates for special education services, and/or benefit from community services. ECE resource teachers are responsible for supporting teachers to implement these recommendations with high fidelity when a child is receiving special education services. Disability liaisons, mental health consultants, and social workers will assist teachers to provide these services when children who do not qualify for special education, but still require this level of support.