Severe Behavior Modification with PBIS and Trauma-Informed Practices in One Middle School

Severe behavioral and social emotional problems can manifest from adverse childhood experiences and personal trauma. In middle school adolescents, this translates to behaviors that disrupt normal school day operations and threaten the safety of the students. To address the harmful effects of trauma and mediate the negative behaviors manifested from adverse childhood experiences, one district developed the Trust, Relationships, Empowerment, and Choice program. The program used highly individualized and intensive Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports strategies and trauma-informed practices to support the highest at risk middle school students. The goal of the program was to help at risk students develop behavior management and coping skills through social emotional learning. This study investigated the behavioral change and the perceptions of the students who participated in the program. Behavior data, including incident counts and severity, and survey data was analyzed. The behavior data before students joined the program were compared to behavior data collected while the students were in the program to determine if the students changed their behaviors. The survey asked students to reflect on their typical behaviors before the program and describe what they learned in the program to gain perspective on how the students’ perceptions changed. The results of this study showed that all students who participated in the program made positive behavior changes.