Behavior Today (CCBD Newsletter)

Apr 2017 32-2









40th annual 

Teacher Educators for Children with Behavioral Disorders (TECBD)


in conjunction with

CCBD and Arizona State University


Arizona State University, in collaboration with CCBD, is proud to announce the Call for Proposals for the

40th annual Teacher Educators for Children with Behavioral Disorders (TECBD) Conference


October 26-28, 2017 
Tempe, AZ


All proposals must be submitted by July 1, 2017.

Click the link below to submit:
TECBD 2017 Proposal Submission


Don’t miss our Keynote Panel

Continued Concerns and New Directions: 40 Years of TECBD

Conference registration now open!  Register online at



The Janus Project:  Conversations from Leaders in the Field 

A Conversation with Dr. Chad Rose

Jim Teagarden, Robert Zabel, & Marilyn Kaff

Kansas State University

For more than 11 years, the Janus Oral History Project, with support from the Midwest Symposium for Leadership in Behavior Disorders (MSLBD), has collected and shared the thoughts and reflections of leaders in the field of education for children with emotional and behavioral disorder (EBD). Participants are asked questions designed to illicit responses about the people and events that have helped shape the field and their careers, the current state of the field, and their advice for people entering the field. The conversations have captured their perspectives about the past, present, and future of our profession. To date, videos of nearly 70 conversations have been collected, and they can be viewed at the following URL:


Dr. Chad Rose is an assistant professor at the University of Missouri who received his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois. His research explores the intersection of disability labels and the bullying dynamic, predictive and protective factors associated with the overrepresentation of students with disabilities in the bullying dynamic, and multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS) to promote anti-bullying policies and programs. Dr. Rose is co-investigator of the project, Online Racial Discrimination: The Impact on Adolescent Adjustment Over Time, and principal investigator for the project, Examining Predictive and Protective Factors Among Middle and High School Student with and without Disabilities. What follows are excerpts of the Janus Project conversation with Dr. Rose.

* * * * *

 JANUS: How did you get into the field of children with emotional and behavioral disorders?


Rose:  Well, this is interesting, but we're going to talk about football. I wasn't going to go to college. That wasn't really on my mind, but I got an offer for a scholarship to play ball at a small school called University of Saint Francis in Fort Wayne, Indiana. They wanted me to come even though they didn't have a football team at the time, so I was registered the first year while we got a team together. I knew that I wanted to coach football. I also wanted to be a math teacher. So, I was talking to the people there and they said, "Well, we don't have a secondary math program, but we do have an elementary education program," and "Our professor is really good." I found this professor named Ann Hernandez. She's now retired, but she's been a major influence on my career because she took me under her wing. I was never an academic…never a truly involved student. I always passed my classes because they came easy to me, but I never really cared. She saw through all of that.


I graduated with my elementary education degree in 2001, but I still wanted to coach football at the high school level. Unfortunately, our time frames didn't match up. High school let out at before elementary school, so I couldn't coach and teach elementary. I happened to have a minor in learning disabilities. In February 2002, I got a job at one of the local high schools, because they had a football position opening. The only teaching opening they had was a special education position with students with emotional/behavioral disorders. They thought I was a perfect fit because I'm a big guy. And, I thought I could handle it.


Well, you know what? I couldn't! It was tough. I didn't have any background in behavior other than working with young kids, so I immediately enrolled in my master's program, focusing specifically on behavior. I fell in love with working with students, but it was a challenge. That first semester was a challenge. I mean, my students had an entire semester with a substitute teacher in their classroom!


I got there and said, "We are going to learn economics." The students hated it…hated it! I had one student who said, "Look, I'm not going to stand for this. I'm going to get you out of here. You are out of here." I said, "Fair enough."  How are you going to do this?" He said, "I'm going to sign a petition." Alright, I said, "Explain to me how you're going to do this petition.” He went on to explain how and I said, "Oh, you're doing it all wrong." I helped him and the class create his petition to get me out of the school. I pointed them in the right direction, told them how to create one, how to get signatures, who they needed to talk to, and from that point on, even though I was struggling, at least they trusted me and knew that I would have their best interest at heart. That day set the stage for the rest of my career.


JANUS:  What do you think has had the greatest positive impact on the field of E/BD?


Rose:  I'm going to give like a canned answer here. I've been talking about law and policy in class - about PL 94-142. I don't think you can refer to anything with a greater impact on providing free and appropriate education to students. I think the most important thing we can teach our pre-service teachers and graduate students is the history of how we've come to be as a field.


JANUS:  What do you see for the future of the field?


Rose:  I see a couple things happening. I think that we're going to see more inclusive practices, because there are a lot more of us jumping on the idea that kids with behavioral disorders can receive services in a general education classroom. Why they can't, I don't understand. I struggle with the idea of placing a kid with challenging behaviors into a room of other kids with challenging behaviors and then expecting them to learn more socially appropriate behaviors through a role play with the teacher. I've really struggled with the development of behaviors and how they're reinforced, because we know that peer influence is much more influential than teacher influence. So, I think we're going to see more inclusive practices and more schools understanding and adopting that kind of framework.


I also believe that we're going to see more schools adopt more social/emotional learning curricula with the basic tenets of social/emotional learning embedded in the curriculum. These tenets are important, not just for social communication skills, but they're important for academic achievement. Our end-goal is to have these kids come out and have positive post-secondary outcomes. If that's not our end-goal, we're fooling ourselves. We have evidence suggesting that social/emotional learning can do that. I would say that we're going to see more inclusion, more positive behavior support, and more structures within our schools for social/emotional learning.


I could probably add another thing. We're going to start seeing more schools collecting and using their data. Some schools already do a great job collecting data - they have tons of data sources - but they struggle with how to use them. I would hope that we, in higher education, can help inform them on using that data.


JANUS:  What advice would you give to people in the field?


Rose:  My first advice to practitioners is very simple: You have 180 days to make a difference. I say this all the time. If you view your educational career that way, if you go into your classroom and say, "I have 180 days to make a difference that will last for these children,” chances are that you'll make an impact on their lives. But more broadly speaking, if every teacher goes into class believing they have 180 days to make a difference in the lives of the children, those kids are going to find at least one teacher that can have a positive influence.


I had a teacher that turned my life around. He made an investment. He said, "I have 180 days to help you." He took full advantage of his 180 days. So, if teachers really approach teaching that way, I can guarantee that every student will find one teacher that's going to positively influence their life.


* * * * *


Chad’s effort to “make the most of 180 days” could serve as a model to our field where the connection between a teacher and a student can change both of them for the better. That’s especially true for teachers and their students whose behavior can make those connections difficult to establish and maintain. A video of the entire Janus conversation with Chad Rose may be accessed at the following URL: Upcoming issues of Behavior Today will include excerpts from other Janus Project conversations with leaders in our field.



The Role of the Teacher of Students with E/BD

in Working with Paraprofessionals

By Bev Johns

Mrs. Holden has been teaching students with emotional/behavioral disorders for the past five years.  In past years she has had a paraprofessional assigned to her classroom. Even though her paraprofessional is older than she is, they have forged a positive relationship.  They work well together and the paraprofessional understands that she supports instruction planned by Mrs. Holden, she does not plan the instruction.  This year things changed—a new one on one paraprofessional assigned to one of the students who has significant needs has entered the classroom.  This paraprofessional has worked in the district in other capacities for the last 10 years. She is about the same age as Mrs. Holden’s other paraprofessional but has a very different attitude.  She is used to being in charge. She sees herself as the expert in working with students with behavioral problems and has worked with this student in another situation. She knows the child’s family and has always lived in the community.  She sees herself as the planner of instruction and is quick to tell the other paraprofessional what she should and shouldn’t do.  Mrs. Holden has never had a problem supervising someone until now.  Mrs. Holden doesn’t know what to do and her other paraprofessional is not happy. Both Mrs. Holden and her paraprofessional are ready to quit.  What can they do?   It was fine when there were two of them but three is a crowd has become a nightmare.


In previous columns, I have discussed the importance of the teacher of students with e/bd in collaborating with families and other agencies, in planning specially designed instruction, in being an integral part of the evaluation team, being an effective advocate for your students, and being a collaborator and supporter of general education teachers.  This column focuses on your role as a supervisor and collaborator with the paraprofessionals with whom you are working.  Some of you may have one or two or even more paraprofessionals working in your class.


The use of paraprofessionals within special education has grown significantly; yet many special educators struggle in their role of supervising with these individuals.  Special education teachers have been taught to work effectively with their students but they may not have been trained to supervise other adults. There are days when the special education teacher may be more challenged by the paraprofessional than they are with their students.


An effective paraprofessional can make or break teacher and student success.  If the teacher is so upset by the paraprofessional’s behavior, it will probably impact his or her work with the students. Special educators have to determine how to best supervise and collaborate with the paraprofessional so the students benefit.  We teach the parapros and we reinforce them.


Supervising the Paraprofessional

The teacher is in charge of the classroom and is responsible for planning the instruction.  Some teachers who are significantly younger than their paraprofessionals (the paraprofessional may be old enough to be his or her mother) find themselves in the position of being in a role reversal situation. The paraprofessional is taking charge and telling the teacher what to do.  The special educator is uncomfortable in a supervisory role and lets the paraprofessional take charge.  The paraprofessional may be planning instruction for the student or students and the teacher allows it because the teacher believes that he or she can spend more time with the other students.  Without realizing what is happening the special education teacher doesn’t even know what the child is accomplishing. The special education teacher gets to the IEP team meeting and finds that she doesn’t really know much about how the student is doing; she has transferred all responsibility to the paraprofessional.


The teacher needs to accept responsibility for the planning of instruction of the students. When assigning a task for the parapro to conduct with the student, the teacher has to observe what is being done to make sure it is being done correctly while providing feedback to the parapro about what was done correctly and what could be done differently.  Just like the teacher provides clear expectations to the students, the teacher needs to provide those same expectations to the parapros.  From the beginning of the school year, the teacher should outline what is expected and clarify the role of the paraprofessional.  When there are problems that occur, those should be dealt with quickly but privately and with a positive and reassuring attitude.  We may want to avoid dealing with a situation but we need to face the problem in a calm and constructive manner.


I was in a classroom for children with autism who engaged in multiple behavioral problems.  There was a teacher and six one on one paraprofessionals in the class.  Even though they were assigned to individual students they were arguing with each other and never appeared to be sure about what they were supposed to do.  I talked with both the teacher and principal and suggested they take at least 15 minutes before the students arrived each morning to review what the expectations for the day were and what was expected of each person.  They at first were reluctant to do so saying there wasn’t time, but I explained that students were losing valuable instructional time when there were unclear expectations.  The process did work and was continued the rest of the school year.


Collaborating with the Paraprofessional

The paraprofessional can bring a lot of insight into what is working with a student and what might not be successful.  We should respect the opinions of the parapro and recognize that within the classroom there must be a team effort and we have to work together.   We treat the parapro with respect and engage in active listening when they bring a problem to us. We problem solve together.


We can help each other by monitoring the other’s behavior. For instance if we are both working on increasing our use of behavior specific praise we can agree to tally each other’s use of praise. Then at the end of the day, we can work together to look at the results and determine what actions we can take to increase our use of reinforcement of the students.


Teaching the Paraprofessional

We often give the least trained individuals, our paraprofessionals, the students with the most significant needs and we expect them to just know what to do.  Most of them have not had the training we have had and we need to recognize our role in teaching the paraprofessional.  We can teach through meeting with them on a regular basis, setting the expectations before the day starts, and debriefing at the end of the day about what went well and what could be improved.


We serve as a model for effective reinforcement and effective instruction.   We also teach them about the important role of reflection in making improvements in our relationships with students.


Reinforcing the Paraprofessional

Our paraprofessionals do not make a great deal of money but make significant contributions to our field. We can’t give them a better salary but we can recognize them for the good work they do and their dedication to our students. When we see them do something well, we need to let them know.  We can also brag about their performance to the building principal.  We can share their successes with other staff members.  We can nominate them for recognition.  The list is endless and those positive words mean a great deal and will result in the parapro’s willingness to make changes when change is needed.


Paraprofessionals are an integral team member in our everyday work and we must value their contributions while providing appropriate supervision, teaching, and recognizing their successes.