Behavioral Support in the New Normal – Hanover Research

As district leaders prepare for the 2021-22 school year, school discipline is one area requiring further planning and attention. Nationally, K-12 schools anticipate an array of mental health and social-emotional challenges as education returns to its “new normal,” driving uncertainty in how strictly schools should apply existing disciplinary policies and use punitive consequences. At the same time, many districts have developed new policies for in-person learning (e.g., social distancing, mask requirements) and virtual instruction (e.g., not having specific objects onscreen, tardiness) that students may be unfamiliar with. Teachers may also need clarification on how to promote expected behaviors appropriately given the post-COVID realities of schooling.

As you explore the best path forward for student discipline and behavioral supports, the following resources available through Hanover’s Digital Library can help with internal discussions and communications to parents, teachers, and students.

Identify & Monitor Students’ Behavioral Needs

  • Infobrief: Support Students with Mental Illness – This infobrief summarizes information on identifying and supporting students with mental illness. In particular, it outlines potential signs of mental illness that teachers can look for in order to tailor their own behavior management appropriately and to direct students to additional supports as necessary.
  • Re-Envisioning Data Processes for Educational Equity– This toolkit presents district leaders and local board of education members with recent best practices and reputable guidance to support data review processes—including those for behavioral and disciplinary data—through an equity lens.
  • K-12 Equity and Inclusion Diagnostic – This survey instrument presents questions in seven core areas to help districts assess the current state of equity and inclusion their schools. Specific questions allow districts to gather data on the treatment of students from different backgrounds, the application of school disciplinary procedures, and the overall school climate. The survey is designed for students in Grades 6-12, parents, and staff members.

Implement Proactive, Preventative Behavioral Supports

  • Best Practices for Instructional and SEL Recovery – This report examines the best practices for addressing academic and social-emotional recovery post-COVID and includes strategies and innovative ideas from notable districts. The results of this research will provide guidance for district leaders as they strategically plan and communicate with parents about addressing the academic and social-emotional needs of students.
  • Practices for School-Wide PBIS Implementation – This report details best practices for the implementation of school-wide Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports (SWPBS) via a literature review and case profiles of school districts that have successfully implemented SWPBS. Specific areas of focus include professional development, student engagement strategies, and program evaluation and assessment.
  • PBIS Professional Development and Data Monitoring – This report focuses on PBIS capacity-building and explores the professional development and trainings that should be provided to teachers and staff. It also reviews recommended metrics used to track student behavior, as well as strategies for program evaluation.
  • Preventing and Addressing Behavioral Problems in the Elementary Classroom Toolkit – This toolkit is intended for K-6 teachers seeking to improve classroom culture by refining classroom and behavior management systems. It provides guidance and resources to prevent disciplinary infractions, address behavioral issues as they arise, and increase teachers’ capacity to improve their classroom management skills.

Virtual Professional Development for Teachers and Principals

  • K-12 Educator Learning Center – The Hanover Educator Learning Center uses engaging, interactive content to support teachers and principals on the critical needs facing districts—at a time and place that works best for them. It deploys built-in accountability measures and allows for tailoring of learning modules to district needs. Currently, modules are featured in six topical areas, including Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) and Social-Emotional Learning (SEL).