The Change Agent

Dr. Don Kincaid
University of South Florida; Primary Investigator on a number of Positive Behavior Support Projects

The Objective

To analyze the importance of PBIS and SEL practices in ensuring students continue to recieve the support they need, no matter the circumstances.

Show Notes

An in-depth discussion on Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) and Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) with guest Dr. Don Kincaid. Key factors to school success and areas of possible deficiencies are examined, as well as points of concern stemming from closures due to the coronavirus pandemic for the upcoming school year.

Host Bio: Dr. Chris Balow is the Chief Academic Officer at SchoolMint. Dr. Balow has a Ph.D in Educational Psychology and served for 33 years as an educator in various roles with focuses on literacy, mental health, and the behavioral and emotional growth of students. He has worked the last 6 years in the educational technology field to promote student success on a larger scale.

Episode 1
Title: PBIS and SEL: Conversation and Challenges
Subtitle: An examination of school strategies in the midst of a pandemic

Voice Over (00:04):

Change agents in K-12 motivating transformation and education is presented by SchoolMint and features top educators, practitioners, and leaders, sharing research and experiences, as well as stories of hope, opportunity and student success. Today's host dr. Chris Balow is the chief academic officer at SchoolMintDr. Balow served for 33 years as an educator and has spent the last six years in ed tech, working to promote student success on a larger scale. This interview was recorded in the spring of 2020 during the time of wide and extended school closures due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Dr. Chris Balow (00:43):

Welcome to the podcast today, everyone. Today we have the honor of speaking with Dr. Don Kincaid, who is professor in the department of child and family studies at the university of South Florida. And he also co-directs the Florida center for inclusive communities. He is the primary investigator on a number of really important projects, such as the Florida positive behavior support project, the Florida center for inclusive communities and the Florida school climate transformation grant. All of these projects integrate school-based positive behavior interventions and support within a multi tiered system framework. Much of his professional activity involves coordinating systems change efforts at the local state and national level to support the implementation of evidence based practices. Dr. Kincaid, thanks so much for being with us here today.

Dr. Don Kincaid (01:37):

You're welcome. It's good to be here.

Dr. Chris Balow (01:39):

Uh, awesome. So, um, our topics for today, a couple of kind of broad topics that, that we'll explore the first is we want to look at how positive behavior intervention and supports can really provide support for students when they return to school. Uh, perhaps this fall, um, with the school closures due to the pandemic. And we also want to explore why it's important to integrate social, emotional learning along with positive behavior intervention supports. Does that sound good? Dr. Kincaid?

Dr. Don Kincaid (02:15):

Sounds like a plan.

Dr. Chris Balow (02:16):

Okay, great. So let's start with the basics. How would you describe positive behavior intervention supports also known as PBIS and what are some of those core aspects of PBIS.

Dr. Don Kincaid (02:30):

Good, positive behavior, interventions and supports as you already indicated. The three tiered framework is an evidence based three tier framework for integrating data systems and practices that impact student outcomes. It's a way of designing our schools to support all students, to support everyone, to be successful, including students with disabilities. It's not a curriculum. It's not a one day professional Development training. It's a school team. And in cases where districts have scaled up a district, team's commitment to addressing student behavior through a systems change process, it is really intended to impact social and academic outcomes, but also to reduce exclusionary disciplinary processes and practices and, and help people feel more effective and efficient and improve school culture. The core components of PBIS are really aimed at how do we get schools to better support their staff's positive behavior? How do they engage in decision making and problem solving that's effective and how do they produce better strategies and use evidence based practices to improve student behavior as a result, increase social competence and achievement from their students. What they do in this process is engaged in a number of core fundamental practices that include developing a team, developing effective data systems, using those data and problem solving processes, matching evidence based strategies to the needs of students. Um, how do you encourage and discourage them encourage appropriate behavior and discourage problem behavior by students? How do you implement use implementation science to, uh, implement those practices and on a longterm basis, not just for one year or half of a year, but for five, 10, 15 years, until it becomes part of your way of work at a school level and then measuring outcomes for students. Uh, and those outcomes would be things that, um, include student outcomes, but also outcomes for the community and families and for school personnel,

Dr. Chris Balow (04:53):

As you describe all of that, it's clear that a PBIS is really more than just a, school's engaging in a few activities. It's really this system level framework that really changes, um, at a very basic level, uh, how schools function

Dr. Don Kincaid (05:13):

That's correct. Yep. Very much. So it is about changing the environment of the school and that requires not just the students to change, but all of the staff, administrators, uh, communities, families, it's a setting up a system that's effective and works.

Dr. Chris Balow (05:29):

Yeah. Excellent. Um, one of the things you mentioned so many different things that we could explore, one that, uh, peaked my interest was the notion about how PBS can impact school climate. Can you explore that a little bit?

Dr. Don Kincaid (05:44):

Sure. Uh, school climate is, can be a lot of different things, but PBIS has research has shown that the PBIS system is able to change student behavior, classroom behavior, improve academic performance, improve social, emotional competence and outcomes for students with disabilities, reduce bullying, decrease, uh, office discipline referrals, and suspensions and restraint, seclusion, uh, even improving teacher efficacy in school safety. We even have some data that PBIS has, uh, has been related to a decreased rates of students are decreasing rates of students reporting substance abuse issues. So it's has the capacity to impact so many different variables. All those variables are related to school climate. Um, and so any of those things, uh, can improve or worsen school climate based on how they are, how are they, they're seeing a new local school system. Yeah,

Dr. Chris Balow (06:47):

That makes great sense. Um, one of the things that I'm, uh, I would presume as well as that PBIS really helps teachers focus on positive behavior of students. I think sometimes teachers get a little overwhelmed with student misbehavior and they, they end up responding to a lot of the negative behavior. Would that be the case?

Dr. Don Kincaid (07:10):

That is the case. Uh, what we want to do with the school climate is to make sure that from a PBIS perspective, we want to have really clear expectations and, uh, of students, and we want to reinforce students. We're doing the right thing. We catch them being good. We want to make sure that we're reinforcing the social, emotional behavioral expectations of the school. And as such, uh, we're not going to be punishing students. We're not going to be, uh, identifying lots of increases in office discipline referrals, or other ways of disciplining students. We want to teach. We want to be as effective at teaching behavior, social, emotional skills for students in a PBIS paradigm, as we are in teaching math or reading or any other academic area.

Dr. Chris Balow (07:54):

Great point. I think a lot of schools, um, will implement positive behavior systems and use reinforcement and some of those positive approaches. But if students have not actually learned the skills, you know, you can reinforce all you want, but the students need to be explicitly taught. Wouldn't you?

Dr. Don Kincaid (08:14):

Absolutely. It's just like with reading or math, you want to make sure you're having good instruction for reading and math and it doesn't reinforcing behavior. Doesn't take the place of not teaching the behavior. We want to teach specifically explicitly appropriate behavior, and that can occur with teaching school expectations. It can come through social, emotional learning programs, but then that builds the, the system in place to now reward and recognize the student for engaging in those behaviors. Otherwise, we just taking a chance that we're reinforcing the students who already have those skills. We've got to set up a system that teaches all the students, those appropriate behaviors. And that's why it's a multi tiered system is some of those students, they already have those skills or maybe may be very little in changing their behavior in order to be recognized and rewarded for appropriate behavior. Other students will need a little more, and then there will be some students who need a very explicit in, in involved, uh, and intense support to learn the appropriate skills for the school.

Dr. Chris Balow (09:23):

So it really sounds like there's a science to the pedagogy of teaching students, the appropriate social skills and to develop those self-management behaviors.

Dr. Don Kincaid (09:36):

That's right. Uh, we're really about, uh, one aspect of that is classroom engagement. We want to make sure that we have classrooms in place that are effective in implementing a PBIS. And in fact, when we've done studies of schools that see change in student outcomes, um, they don't see change from putting a sign on the wall or reminding students of the expectations and rules where we see changes when school classrooms begin to implement PBIS systems, because that's where students spend most of their day. And so when we see classroom, uh, application occurring and they're meeting each student where they are some with needing more help with some, with needing a great deal of help to, uh, to be engaged, they only begin to see that engagement change. And we begin to see positive behavior emerge.

Dr. Chris Balow (10:26):

So what you're saying is that in, in classrooms where they they've really instituted clear expectations, positive reinforcement, acknowledgement systems, and really building a lot of students support between the student and the teacher that student engagement increases.

Dr. Don Kincaid (10:45):

Yes. Not only does student engagement increase, but those out longterm outcomes that we can sometimes measure, measure such as office discipline referrals in school and out of school suspensions. So the direct responses of that we some used to take, or sometimes still do take the student misbehavior decrease because the student's behavior is, is much more positive and because we're teaching it and we're recognizing not just in the entire school, but in the individual classroom.

Dr. Chris Balow (11:12):

Yeah. Excellent. And I've also read other positive impacts would be around improving student attendance, decreasing chronic absenteeism as it relates to the climate issue.

Dr. Don Kincaid (11:25):

Yeah. All of those things are outcomes that we've seen from decreasing. Uh, we've been had teacher efficacy and improved, uh, we've had schools that, uh, that were the least desirable school in a district to teach in where everybody wants to attend because they've completely changed their climate in their culture. Um, attendance is certainly one where we've seen a change occur also within our, our Florida schools. Um, it's, you know, most schools are not having low attendance, but even a small amount of increase in attendance is certainly a way that indicates an increase in engagement of students. So there are all kinds of outcomes that can be achieved when you're implementing positive behavior support, uh, with fidelity. In fact, one of the things we found in Florida and across the country is when you're implement with fidelity, you find better outcomes. It's one thing to say, we do PPIs. It's another to really implement that, that framework with fidelity. And when you do, you might have see anywhere from 30 to 40% fewer office discipline referrals, uh, in school suspensions and out of school suspensions, as well as improvements in school climate.

Dr. Chris Balow (12:38):

Yeah. You, you mentioned, uh, implementation science. And so there are many aspects to that I'm assuming, but say a few things about implementation science and how that can really help achieve that, that so needed fidelity.

Dr. Don Kincaid (12:55):

Well, I think one of the big contributions of implementation science is to just understand how any system has to go through stages to result in an implementation piece. And then it's not just about having a great practice, like we've done it. We had shown that this practice in the school or classroom is highly effective, but how do we make sure that that practice is now implemented in 20 classrooms or 20 schools or 20 school districts with fidelity, it's understanding all the systems variables that have to go into that. And that requires us to look at issues around coaching and training capacity and the system supports and the resources and that political buy-in, all of the kinds of things that will result in an innovation practice, being utilized and being effective. And we have over probably 28,000, more than 28,000 schools in the United States that have been trained and are implementing PBIS strategies. Others are implementing those, and they're just may not be part of the network, but we're finding that, that they're also very much differences within a school of whether they're just now initiating it. They've been implementing for multiple years. Now, they've gotten to the point where many of many school districts where they're innovating, they're leading the way and learning more about how to support students. We begin learning from them, CBIS facilitators across the country because they start experimenting, trying new things, revising some aspects of what they've learned to make it more effective. So it's a nice, uh, uh, circle of support if you would, where we might originally trained schools and as they grow and learn more, they learn how to adapt and how to engage in embedding restorative practices and mental health supports and trauma informed practices within PBIS um, so we learn from each other as we go.

Dr. Chris Balow (14:56):

Yeah, I'd imagine, you know, leadership is a very important, critical feature of that. Speaking of Florida, I was working with a group of schools in Florida recently reviewing their data after implementing PPIs approaches with fidelity for a year. And essentially these big, big schools in Florida recording a 40% decline in chronic absenteeism, 30 to 40% reduction referrals, a 50% reduction in suspension days. Uh, so I can definitely attest to what you're saying. Um, as I've worked with some of these schools as well,

Dr. Don Kincaid (15:33):

That's great to hear it from, from our state, but we see it in schools that implement that's. The average that we see is, and we're, we're from 30 to 40% reductions, uh, in a year or two from that process and implementing those processes and practices for PPIs. Um, so it's not something that only one kind of school can achieve. It's also the kind of approach that, as you said, large schools, small schools, rural, urban, private charter, public, all of those schools can achieve very similar kinds of outcomes.

Dr. Chris Balow (16:06):

All right. Very good. Um, with the, the closing of schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic, um, we know that many students live in conditions of abuse, neglect, household dysfunction, and, and some folks are saying that may be exacerbated, uh, because of the closure. Um, what concerns do you have? Are we concerned that the kids are going to have some trauma induced, uh, conditions when they return to school? And what kinds of symptoms and things might educators see when, uh, upon students return?

Dr. Don Kincaid (16:42):

It's a good question. I think we're starting to ask those questions and seeing some of the data coming in. I think that we have concerns for the trauma of students returning to school. I think there are concerns about the trauma students are experiencing now at home. Uh, we know that there are instances of emotional and physical and sexual abuse and, uh, students that see violence in their home and in their communities and addiction and mental illness, um, and other things that students are experiencing every day. Well, one of the ways that we have been able to touch base with those students is through schooling is through contact with teachers and guidance counselors and others, and, and schools are very challenged to try to have those same levels of support occur remotely. And some students are engaging in, uh, but a lot of students aren't engaging and we're concerned about those students who are not because we feel they may be experiencing many of these kinds of, uh, situations. You know, when I also mentioned all the different kinds of things, trauma, inducing situations, one of those is sickness. Well, there's a good question as to whether COVID-19 is actually going to be an additional trauma inducing situation, that a, what we might call an ACE or an adverse childhood experience that, that just exacerbates already challenging situations for students.

Dr. Chris Balow (18:08):

So clearly when, when our students return, there's going to be great complexities, and I feel that positive behavior intervention supports can offer a very predictable, positive, consistent, and safe environment that may have help ameliorate some of the symptoms. Could you expand on that?

Dr. Don Kincaid (18:28):

Uh, yes. Uh, I think that, uh, you know, some of our estimates of the students who are experiencing trauma are anywhere from 34 to 30 to 40% of students already have three or more adverse childhood experiences that we see COVID-19 and the stress and strong of their family struggling and, and being out of work and all of us, cohabited the great hall. I appreciate cohabitating together a lot more than we're used to, and some of the stresses that might present. So a lot of students may be struggling now and they may be struggling when we come back to school. And, and frankly, we don't know what that coming back to school is going to look like it's unlikely. It will be business as usual. It is unlikely that September or August of this year is going to look like last year. But we do know we have some experience with, uh, being back to school after a long breaks, uh, because of natural disasters in Florida, you have hurricanes quite frequently and, and schools or districts will shut down. And, and we know from those experiences that one of the ways that works best is when students come back to school, there's paramount need to develop a safe and secure environment. That's the most important thing. So emphasizing that safety, that security, addressing trauma, talking about it, giving students skills to address it, continuing to work on developing social, emotional, behavioral skills of those students, um, that has to happen for all students. It, it may be more challenging with this coming back to school because, uh, it's not, may not be a short term event. It may be something that we're not going to get back to. Business's usual, normal may look a little differently, um, but we've really got to figure out a way to support schools in this, coming back to the school, uh, so that, uh, whether it's virtual learning or face to face learning that we don't retraumatize students, that we really spend time addressing social, emotional and behavioral skills. What, one of the things that's been very helpful is to make sure schools don't rush back to, we've got to really increase the academic demands to make up for lost academic growth that will come, that will come in time, but let's make sure that students feel safe, supported, and enabled to fit in and into a learning environment is not filled with trauma. Again,

Dr. Chris Balow (21:05):

It really sounds like schools really need to ramp up their multi tiered system of supports to, to address this wide range of needs. Some, it sounds like some students and maybe a significant percentage are going to have significant mental health issues.

Dr. Don Kincaid (21:24):

Yes. I think that that's what we're going to be seeing, but we also have to be aware that in a multi tiered system, when students aren't successful at tier one, they received tier two supports. And if they're not successful at tier two, they might receive tier three supports or whatever their needs are matched to the, the tier. But what we've got is an unusual situation where students may need more help in tier one, and doesn't necessarily mean that they need a tier two interventions or that they need tier three supports. It may simply be that we've got to re rethink the fact that our tier one behavior supports need to be front and center. They have to be what we emphasize at first and not be, Oh, remember the expectations and rules have a good day. It's going to be something that really has to take front and center, because if we don't do that, we're going to have so many students that need supports. We won't have the resources to meet their needs. So one of the things we are going to be emphasizing to our schools and across the country is make sure you're investing in the tier one supports for social, emotional, and behavioral learning for students when they return and addressing trauma and looking for signs of trauma within students to provide support, um, at an early stage before, uh, you've wasted time. And the student has not benefited from, uh, some of the supports that are provided. So we really want to make sure that, that we're able to create an environment across that continuum, but really emphasize tier one, as soon as we get back. And maybe before we come back to prepare students.

Dr. Chris Balow (23:05):

Great advice, and that really fits with don't, don't rush into the high powered academics. We've got a focus on these foundational aspects of students, uh, mental status. Well, let's transition just a little bit. Um, and, and you've already referenced this quite a bit, talking about social, emotional learning, and I'd like to examine how that fits in with positive behavior intervention and supports. So again, let's set the stage by describing what is social, emotional learning.

Dr. Don Kincaid (23:36):

When we talk about social, emotional learning, we're talking about the skills that students need, and they're, they're very diverse. I, I talk about it as social, emotional and behavioral. Um, social learning are those things of getting along with others and engaging with other individuals in a positive way. And then emotional may be things like self-regulating dealing with their own emotions and identifying those and learning strategies to address stress or anxiety. Um, and then there's just behavioral. Um, you know, being able to remain on task, to engage with a task, uh, to, uh, to engage in different activities that that may not be related to another student, but are important for academic success, like coming to school, getting up in the morning, setting your alarm clock, any of those kinds of things. So it's a wide range of, of skills that encompass in the social, emotional behavioral domains. Uh, but they're all critically important for students' success. Uh, they're not just about the success academically, which are, which is true. Uh, students are going to have a difficult time succeeding academically. If we don't, they don't have the social, emotional behavioral skills. They're also going to have longterm impacts. We know that students that do not receive the kind of supports they need to deal with social, emotional behavioral concerns have poor life outcomes from employment to substance abuse, to marital issues, to for other kinds of relationships. So we've really got to address those early and frequently throughout, um, a student's career within a school.

Dr. Chris Balow (25:17):

And as I've read through surveys of educational leaders across the country, I think most now understand that these are, these are core things that schools need to be doing. Uh, unfortunate. I think some of our families, um, haven't, uh, focused on really teaching their children some of these skills. And so it, it really becomes part of our core curriculum also.

Dr. Don Kincaid (25:43):

Yeah, and I think that that's a critical thing to, for school personnel to understand when they engage in a PBI process is, uh, many families will do a great job with this and already doing a great job with it, but we can't leave that up to chance. Uh, we have students within our school for six to eight hours a day, and, and we've got to make sure that they have those skills to get along with other students and afterschool and during school, when in their communities. And we can't leave it up, that the families will always be able to do that many are wonderful and do a great job, but these students are, are very difficult living in community and rank environments that are not teaching the kinds of skills that are necessary for success.

Dr. Chris Balow (26:24):

Yeah, absolutely. Um, would you say in your, based on your observations in schools, um, you know, a lot of schools are embarking on, uh, looking at SEL social, emotional behavioral work, as well as PPIs, and some contend that they kind of come from different theoretical camps, but do you, them often being implemented in a, in a integrated synergistic way, or do they sometimes seem a little, uh, disjointed in how they're approaching it?

Dr. Don Kincaid (26:54):

Uh, I think they, they can be, and usually are. I think most folks are able to see that PBIS is a system that can fit a system approach and multi-tiered approach that can fit many different kinds of learning, many different kinds of, of support. Um, and so there are very few things that can't fit within that paradigm of PBIS, unless you had some sort of a program based on punishment. That's not going to be something that would fit within our paradigm, but social, emotional learning fits well within that. And it's, I think the only thing that we run into is with educators sometimes is we have a tendency to go after the shiny new penny. Here's the new thing we just learned about we're going to do that. We can't do this. Oh, but we're going to do this now. We're not going to do that. The goal is to integrate what's good from one with what's good from another, and combine those together to be very effective. Social, emotional learning has some tremendous and wonderful teaching tools. Uh, and so use those within that PBIS system to teach the, the behaviors, the mental health supports the, um, approaches to mental health concerns and strategies for students. We have how to be engaged, all of those kinds of things that, um, should be taught within a PBIS as approach the social, emotional learning. You can do that.

Dr. Chris Balow (28:20):

So what I'm hearing is that a PBIS framework can really provide the necessary structures to really teach social, emotional learning effectively. That's great. Um, what do you see as the biggest gaps in schools in terms of implementing social, emotional learning?

Dr. Don Kincaid (28:40):

Oh, let me think. Um, I think that the challenge is, um, are some of the challenges we've run into is one identifying evidence based strategies and implementing them with, with fidelity. A lot of times we see folks say, well, we have this curriculum and we give it, but we don't use that piece. And we don't do this well. And only some of our teachers, well, we wouldn't ever allow that to happen for the reading curriculum. We would say, no, this is our first grade reading curriculum, and everyone needs to do it and do it really well. We've got to do the same thing with social, emotional learning, and we've got to have the system in place to make sure that, that we're doing that. So paying as much attention to the social, emotional, and behavioral success of students as we do to the academic success is really critical. Um, and I think that that's a challenge because schools are stressed. Um, you know, they're stressed right now, but even outside of this crisis, uh, they've been stressed with so many things that are required. Um, but you have to be able to balance that and realize that it's not an E it's not a, we're going to do this and not do this. It's how do we do all of this together in an integrated way?

Dr. Chris Balow (29:57):

Yeah. That's one of the things I've heard from educators is SEL is quote, unquote, one more thing. We don't have time for it, but if they can really look at how it can be integrated into their teaching of academics, part of their, their standard process. Um, I also worry about the proliferation of all the SEL products out there on the market, um, that, that may or may not have any research based behind them. Um, so I have, have you, do you have concerns along those lines as well?

Dr. Don Kincaid (30:30):

We do. I think there is that there is a lot of that, again, that goes back to that shiny penny. Well, this is a really look, looks really good, but does it have good research supporting it? So we sometimes teach our teams to begin to analyze the kind of research that's out there and their kind of support for something. Does it have good evidence? Does it have a, is it published in peer review journals? Is, is any of the evidence actually done by anyone other than the authors of the, of the, uh, material, the training material. So does it have widespread acceptance? And there are lots of programs out there that have good evidence supporting them, and you can find sites that will give you good reviews of those. And then the final thing is to actually look and see whether even if it's got great evidence, does it fit within your school? Does it fit within your community within the needs that you have? Um, if you've got needs to address, uh, anxiety issues of your students, then you don't want to select programs that aren't targeted and don't have a track record and don't have research supporting it. So it's teaching folks to make wise decisions about where they put their energy time and resources in developing and applying social emotional programs.

Dr. Chris Balow (31:44):

So again, it really sounds like you're talking about implementation science, being very systematic and thoughtful. Um, and if you do that, you're likely to have great outcomes. That's a key, uh, right. Um, I've, I've read research over the years around SEL social skills training that, that, uh, generalization of, of those competencies is really an issue where maybe you'll, you'll teach them in the classroom, but they don't generalize to the bus or the playground. And I'm wondering, can, do you feel that, um, using, uh, token reinforcement systems and other, uh, aspects of PBIS and acknowledgement systems could help improve that skill generalization?

Dr. Don Kincaid (32:31):

Well, yes. I think there are a couple of things that, that are problematic in the skill generalization. One of those is that, uh, a lot of times we want to do application of programs within, for instance, we want to do this in a group group setting with six other students, and the student has great skills in the setting where he's learned that, but have we set up a system within the rest of our school, in the classroom, in this school environment to actually measure whether that's working or not? It's one thing for the student to be highly successful in your one hour social skills training program. It's another thing for him to be successful in the classroom or on the playground or home with his family. We've got to do that piece too. Uh, but I, I also think we've got to look at different way. What was the second part of the question that you were? I lost my,

Dr. Chris Balow (33:22):

Yeah, yeah. The, uh, the notion that using token reinforcement and a systematic feedback behavior, specific praise, those kinds of things done across all the environments, if that might help with generalization.

Dr. Don Kincaid (33:37):

Well, that's, that's one of the foundational features of the PBIS system is making sure you have a reward recognition reinforcement system, uh, across the board and for students that need more there, for instance, those who are receiving more intensive intervention around social skills or any other kind of curriculum, you're going to want to ramp that up, to make sure that they are rewarded and recognized for the new skills they're learning again, if they're only learning those and they're being rewarded for those in the one hour, a group intervention that they have with a guidance counselor, it's unlikely that they're going to practice those within the classroom setting. So one of the things we definitely have to do is to make sure that we're supporting and involving teachers and curriculum administrators and school personnel, and the expectations on them to, to reinforce the kind of new behaviors that students should be, should be learning and exhibiting. And that can be through tokens. It can be through recognition systems. It can be through praise. It can be through lots of different ways to impact that student.

Dr. Chris Balow (34:46):

Oh, very good. I, I also think that, um, get your opinion on this, that it's not only reinforcing when the behavior occurs, but if they're not quite on the mark, that, that, uh, feedback process that, that would, that would give students information on how they could improve the next time would be helpful.

Dr. Don Kincaid (35:07):

And that's one of the things that we do. Within that PBIS approach when a student is engaging in a behavior that is problematic, maybe not one that would result in office discipline, referral, or severe or dangerous situation, but there's a very clear approach. The teachers or other school personnel take to make sure they practice the appropriate behavior and then a reinforced and recognized for doing it. Right. Um, so instead of yelling at the student for not doing what they were supposed to do, we're going to stop them, have them think about it, practice it. We might even model it for them. They're going to practice it. And then we're going to reinforce the fact that they're doing it inappropriately now, and we appreciate it. So again, very simple time, just a one minute, probably is all that takes to teach and remind that student of the appropriate behavior.

Dr. Chris Balow (35:58):

What are your thoughts? Uh, you know, one of the tenants of, uh, is putting together a, basically a chart of the expectations for students and what that looks like across environments. What are your feelings about mapping out social, emotional learning competencies, uh, on an expectation or a teaching matrix?

Dr. Don Kincaid (36:20):

I think that's a great idea. In fact, we've been doing that for the last several years within Florida and across the country, as we've been integrating mental health and social emotional approaches within PBI S so, uh, you know, we might take, but just say a school head respect, be respectful, responsible, and safe, um, as their expectations for their school. Well, you can expand those beyond simple trivial kind of behaviors like being respectful is engaging in this kind of behavior, but it could be respect, could be finding someone eating alone at lunch and ask them to join again. It's social, emotional relationship building kind of, of behavior. We want a city responsible could be something along the lines of, instead of wash your hands, it could be pick up others, your trash and other trash in the environment, be a citizen of the world. Uh, safety could be teaching students how to check their feelings once a day, or talk to someone if they're sad. Um, so again, having an opportunity to embed some of the skills we want students to exhibit in a social, emotional behavioral paradigm within the school expectations is really important. And it's an important step for, for schools to take, uh, to make sure that they're not developing some separate social, emotional curriculum and a PBIS curriculum integrate those together across the tiers is much more effective.

Dr. Chris Balow (37:45):

That's fantastic. So you've been working with schools for several years in this endeavor.

Dr. Don Kincaid (37:51):

Yes. You've been doing that for many years now and finding it's a very important change too, that we need to do address.

Dr. Chris Balow (37:59):

And, and I can imagine that the expectations and the matrix could evolve, um, as you're working through a social, emotional learning, uh, curriculum,

Dr. Don Kincaid (38:10):

Uh, yeah, it's, it's indeed the case that many times the expectations are very general, but we follow up expectations in rules or expectations and suggestions or whatever we want to call them that. So they're, they're more about the expectations are greater broad. There could be very specific social, emotional skills you wanted to see practice like, uh, here's how can make a friend here's how engage with someone. Here's how to deal with someone who disagrees with you. Those are all things that can be put in that, that charter, that matrix that we could teach in terms of specific skills. So the expectations may not change, but the, the skills we're teaching will change based upon what we're targeting, social, emotional behavioral, or any other kind of skill.

Dr. Chris Balow (38:59):

Excellent. Well, Dr. Kincaid, I want to thank you for your time today to share with us your expertise around positive behavior, intervention supports, and social, emotional learning. Uh, it's just been fantastic to learn about how PBS can really support our students when they do return to school and how important it is for schools to really consider the social, emotional and behavioral needs of students as, as really a job one when kids returned to school. Any closing comments?

Dr. Don Kincaid (39:31):

No, I'm good. Thank you for the opportunity to share with you.

Dr. Chris Balow (39:35):

Okay. Well, before we completely wrap up, we'd like to have a little fun here. We're going to play a game of this or that. Very simple. I'm going to say two things and you have to tell us which one you prefer, and you can explain yourself if you want. So let's start off with an easy one dog or cat.

Dr. Don Kincaid (39:54):

Uh, that's an easy one for me. Uh, I would say cat. And the reason is that I'm a runner and I've never been attacked by a cat.

Dr. Chris Balow (40:01):

That's a good point. Okay. Phone call or text?

Dr. Don Kincaid (40:06):

Uh, probably phone call.

Dr. Chris Balow (40:08):

Okay. All right. Cake or pie.

Dr. Don Kincaid (40:12):

Um, wow. This is really hard. Now you've hit, you've hit it. The core, all suites are important to me, but I would a good chocolate cake or carrot cake is the best thing there is.

Dr. Chris Balow (40:22):

Yeah, you can't go wrong with that. Do you prefer a big party or a small intimate gathering?

Dr. Don Kincaid (40:29):

Small, intimate gathering.

Dr. Chris Balow (40:30):

Small intimate. Okay. Football or basketball?

Dr. Don Kincaid (40:34):

Wow. That's a hard one too, but I played a lot of basketball and I've missed the NCAA tournament. So I'm going to go with basketball right now.

Dr. Chris Balow (40:43):

Oh, me too. I'm a big college basketball fan. That's been tough. Um, jogging or hiking.

Dr. Don Kincaid (40:50):

I'm a jogger. I've been jogging for over 40 years.

Dr. Chris Balow (40:55):

Awesome. Awesome. How about a car or a truck? What do you prefer?

Dr. Don Kincaid (41:01):

I don't have a truck. My wife wants to get one and I prefer a car.

Dr. Chris Balow (41:05):

Okay. Now this is a critical one toilet paper over or under?

Dr. Don Kincaid (41:11):

Um, over, over, I don't have a rationale for that other than just over.

Dr. Chris Balow (41:17):

Yeah. You can't, uh, no, one's right on that one. Okay. Uh, well, I want to thank you for spending time and, and, uh, doing a little, this or that with us. That's always fun to hear people's preferences. And, uh, thanks again, Dr. Kincaid.

Dr. Don Kincaid (41:34):

Thank you for the opportunity. Have a good time and be safe.

Voice Over (41:40):

You've been listening to the change agents in K-12 podcast, brought to you by school. Be sure to subscribe. So you never miss a show and follow us on social media. Remember our brightest years are still ahead. See you next time.

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Season 1

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Listen Now District Spotlight: Seminole County Public Schools 22 District Spotlight: Seminole County Public Schools Guest Dr. Walt Griffin, Superintendent of Seminole County Public Schools, shares how his district’s focus on building relationships, changing the culture, and taking good care... Listen Now District Spotlight: Illinois School District U-46 21 District Spotlight: Illinois School District U-46 In this District Spotlight, Tony Sanders (Superintendent of Illinois School District U-46) describes his professional journey to leading the second largest school district in Illinois.... Listen Now What Makes Us Different 20 What Makes Us Different How can we build a more inclusive system in order to make things better for all? Join guest, Dr. Kenneth Magdaleno, as he discusses his... 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Listen Now Becoming Transformational in Education 5 Becoming Transformational in Education How do we define transformation in education and what challenges lay ahead? Guest Gary Soto provides an extensive dialogue on what schools need to focus... Listen Now School Spotlight: Hilliard City Schools 4 School Spotlight: Hilliard City Schools In this school spotlight, guest Dr. John Marschhausen (Superintendent of Hilliard City Schools) shares district information and answers questions related to the pandemic closures. Dr.... Listen Now Post-Pandemic Preparation 3 Post-Pandemic Preparation How has the pandemic affected students and how should schools address these needs when preparing to reopen? Dr. Howie Knoff provides valuable answers to these... Listen Now PBIS & SEL: Conversation and Challenges 2 PBIS & SEL: Conversation and Challenges An in-depth discussion on Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) and Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) with guest Dr. Don Kincaid. 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