The beginning of a new school year can bring on a wide variety of emotions for students and teachers alike. The first few weeks of the year are when students adapt to new teachers and new classroom environments. Educators can start the school year off strong by establishing expectations, teaching routines, and building positive relationships with students. Having a PBIS initiative in place can help smooth out rough patches as everyone settles in.
A PBIS initiative provides a strong foundation for positive behavior schoolwide, from the classroom to the common areas. All students begin the year at Tier I, which includes basic interventions and supports designed to create a supportive atmosphere in which students can thrive. Positive behavior expectations, both schoolwide and at the classroom level, become the foundation for effective relationships between students and teachers. As the weeks tick by, however, you may find that some students will struggle with these expectations. Such students can benefit from additional coaching to be successful. Beginning a Check-In/Check-Out (CICO) program can help them meet behavioral goals.
Identifying Students for CICO
Check-in/Check-out is a group intervention for students in Tier II of your PBIS initiative. Students who fall into Tier II need a bit of additional help mastering their actions and behaviors to meet expectations. When identifying students for CICO, look for these indicators:
- Negative behaviors across multiple settings
Poor behavior in a single setting may be the result of factors within that setting. If a student struggles with behavior in only one classroom or area, they may not be candidates for CICO. Instead, look for consistency in negative behaviors across the board.
- Low-level negative behaviors
Negative behaviors such as talking out, out of seat, or talking back are prime candidates for Tier II interventions. Often these types of behaviors are a result of developmental lags that need a little extra attention to correct.
- Problem behaviors that improve with sustained adult attention
Students who exhibit these types of behaviors typically respond well to small group supports and interventions like CICO. CICO helps bring focus to areas they may need a little extra help and shines a light on their successes in improving their behaviors.
Students who are new to a particular school, have had discipline referrals the prior school year, or have been a part of a CICO program previously are often candidates for Tier II interventions such as CICO. As you begin to identify potential participants keep in mind that ultimately, the goal is for them to graduate into Tier I supports.
Establishing a CICO Plan
Like most Tier II interventions, a Check-In/Check-Out works best when coordinated by a team. While your PBIS team oversees your entire initiative, it can be helpful to appoint a subset of individuals to CICO. A Tier II intervention such as CICO should be targeted for groups of students with similar needs. Quick access to supports, increased structure for students in the program, and frequent and specific feedback are critical components of Tier II interventions. All of these elements should be part of your CICO program. In addition, your CICO intervention should include:
A generalized response to behaviors
Students who are off-task or disruptive in class often need additional instruction to help them meet behavior expectations. Praise and encouragement can be powerful factors, particularly when they are freely given in the context of goals set forth in CICO.
A standard and simplified rating scale
Resist the temptation to set up an extensive rating scale, such as 1-10. CICO should be easy to follow for both teachers and students. A three-step scale of 0-1-2 helps teachers to quickly assess progress in a student’s CICO goals. This progress mirrors points earned over the course of the day – 2 for attaining the goal on a class-by-class basis, 1 for partial success, and 0 for “try again.” For students, a simple scale such as this makes it easy to understand their progress each day.
Begin the day with your CICO students by having them check in with their coach. This first contact can help set the tone for the entire day. Be positive, upbeat, and encouraging. This check-in should be brief and help them make sure they are prepared for the rest of their day. Make sure they have everything they will need for the day – materials, supplies, and positive attitude.
Teacher feedback throughout the day
As your CICO students move through their day, they will be in contact with one or more teachers who can provide feedback on their progress. This brief connection allows teachers to assess student progress on stated CICO goals and communicate that assessment to the student. This is where a simplified rating scale can be incredibly useful. This feedback can also help you to spot patterns and identify additional areas of need.
At the end of the day, CICO students check in with their coach and review their progress. Daily reports are sent home for review and signature(s) by parents or guardians. Discussing teacher feedback with CICO students at the end of each day can help them to see the progress they are making. It also helps encourage them in areas where they need additional effort.
Check-In/Check-Out doesn’t end when the school day is over. Sending daily reports home for review enables parents or guardians to discuss successes and challenges with their student. Inviting feedback from home to school can also be helpful. When school and home work together to encourage positive behaviors, students achieve success more quickly.
Willingness of teachers to implement CICO
Some educators may fear that Check-In/Check-Out programs will encroach on their already limited teaching time. Depending on how many students you have in CICO, individual assessment may take several minutes of class time. Providing teachers with a simple scale and a limited number of goals for each student can help the process go faster. A digital CICO management system can make it easier for everyone involved.
Moving Out of CICO
As a Tier II support, CICO is designed to be a small-group intervention over a short period of time.
Success in CICO lies in celebrating a student’s efforts to exhibit positive behaviors as defined by your school’s matrix. Tracking the data generated by your CICO program will help you to determine which students are ready to “graduate” out of the program. Ultimately, the goal is for the student to develop the behavioral skills that will allow them to join the majority of their classmates in Tier I.
Students who do not progress in meeting behavioral goals may need the individualized instruction typically found in Tier III supports.
When to begin a CICO program
Perhaps the biggest question about CICO is when to begin. The timing of your CICO program can make a big difference in how well students respond.
During the first few weeks of the new school year, you’ll begin to identify students who could use additional behavioral support. Some of these students needed Tier II supports the prior year or at their previous school. Others may struggle with adjusting to new or different responsibilities. Some may be a little behind their peers developmentally. Whatever the reason, getting started with a CICO plan can help them to catch up.
Implementing Check-In/Check-Out early in the year gives students the opportunity to develop positive behaviors sooner. Individuals who struggle with emotional regulation, focus, and/or attention are often keenly aware they struggle more than their peers. A Check-In/Check-Out program begun earlier in the school year can help them build confidence. This confidence can lead to greater success, both academically and socially.
Using PBIS Rewards to track your CICO students
While Check-In/Check-Out can help students develop positive behaviors and join their peers in Tier I, the program itself can add responsibilities to your staff’s plates. From CICO coaches to classroom teachers, CICO is an additional effort that can use precious time. PBIS Rewards knows that an educator’s time is at a premium. That’s why we’ve made Check-In/Check-Out a part of our software!
The CICO process in PBIS Rewards is completely digital – no paper involved! You can configure CICO goals based on your school’s behavior matrix and assign them to students in the program. Coaches can easily monitor student progress throughout the day by checking the app. This allows coaches to more quickly recognize opportunities for additional coaching or intervention. Because it’s a paperless system, parents and guardians can receive their student’s CICO report via the PBIS Rewards Family App. The system tracks all data and enables coaches to view a variety of reports to get a clear picture of student progress.