*This page contains a plan drafted for a high school for special education students (primarily students with Behavior Disorders).  I believe that it would be applicable to other settings.

Cover Letter Submitted with a Draft of the Plan

Dear Readers of this First Working Draft of the ***** School-Wide Behavior Management Plan:

Attached, you’ll find the initial draft of a comprehensive plan that addresses the concerns and suggestions brought out at the weekly meetings.  I believe that the proposed plan, with it’s emphasis on effective, respectful practices reduces the chances of defiance and confrontation, and increases the chances of pro-social and on-task behavior, all while meeting our stated goals and objectives.  It also meets the student outcomes as identified in the initial project plan:
 1. Decreased verbal and/or physical confrontation with peers and staff.
 2. Students remaining in school/classrooms for the entire day.
 3. Increased student time in the classroom
 4. Increased student time on task.

As stated in the project plan, this school-wide plan will provide positive behavior support strategies to increase students’ ability to demonstrate acceptable behaviors.  The proposed plan also matches the needs identified by faculty and staff as documented in appendix B of the this document:
 1. Demonstration of a united front
 2. Consistency in practice from classroom to classroom
 3. Faculty modeling of appropriate actions
 4. Enhanced communication with students
 5. Building student self-discipline

I believe that the proposed plan promotes school-wide consistency while allowing for individual teacher and administrator flexibility.  This plan, if implemented, should help to create an environment in which everyone feels welcomed, valued, and respected, providing safety and order within the building(s) and guaranteeing respectful treatment of students by school representatives.  I believe that the enclosed document includes:
 1. The views and suggestions of **** staff, faculty, and administration.
 2. The recommendations made in the professional literature (However, nearly all publications address elementary and middle schools.  There is LITTLE in the literature about high school plans.  We are breaking new ground.)

Despite set-backs, lags in progress, and vacations, we have accomplished in four or five months what the literature says should take more than a year.  With planning, effort, and a little luck, the plan could start up fully in the fall, an event that sometimes takes two to three years according to the literature.  That’s pretty darn good.

Please give a critical eye to the proposed plan and submit your written commentary to****** and/or *****.  Our working group will then consider the input and make recommendations to me for the rewrite of the plan.  Next, I’ll send the revised document back to **** for distribution to the entire faculty.  Their suggestions will then be incorporated into the final version of the plan.

Thanks for your efforts on behalf of the kids,



School-Wide Behavior Management Plan
(Working Document #1)


 Tom McIntyre, Ph.D.


Background on the Development of the Plan

 The initial goals are found in the original action plan for this project:
 1. Staff will be able to defuse situations more appropriately.
 2. Staff will incorporate a progressive “cascade” approach toward correcting situations.
  3. Staff will develop knowledge and make use of a school-wide behavior management plan.

 The **** mission is best accomplished in an academic environment in which all members of the school community demonstrate respect and concern for other, and responsibility for their actions.  That consensus is evident in the enclosed proposed school-wide behavior management plan (hereafter known as “the plan”).

 The process for the development of the plan was/is:
 Step 1 -  Tom McIntyre was hired as the consultant, and informed about the proposed project and the results of the faculty/staff needs assessment.
 Step 2 -  Faculty/staff were invited to volunteer to provide guidance to the consultant regarding the school-wide behavior management plan.
 Step 3 -  Volunteers (hereafter known as “the library group”) met with the consultant at weekly lunch meetings to provide recommendations and guidance regarding the proposed behavior management plan.
Step 4 -  Consultant developed a working document for distribution to a small group of readers.
 Step 5 -  (Present step) Readers provide feedback to a “document team” who direct the consultant as to how to rewrite the working document to reflect the input.
 Step 6 -  Submit the revised behavior plan document to all members of the school community (including security, parent group, student representatives, janitorial staff, cafeteria staff) and other interested parties for their feedback.
 Step 7 -  The “document team” directs the consultant as to how to rewrite working document #2 to incorporate feedback from the school community.
 Step 8 -  Inservice training is undertaken.  Handbooks and other materials are developed by committees.
Step 9 -  The school-wide behavior management plan is implemented.
Step 10 - The plan is frequently evaluated by committee and revised as necessary.

Points that the Library Group Wished to have Incorporated into the Plan:
 1. The plan should promote teamwork and communication between faculty and administration in issues regarding student behavior.
  a. Administration should engage in actions that support teachers who refer students to the Dean’s office for disciplinary action.
  b. Teachers should consistently engage in a certain number of standardized positive attempts to manage student behavior before referring youngsters to the office for disciplinary action.
  c. Teachers who have referred students to the Dean’s office should be kept informed of the status of disciplinary actions.
 2. The plan should promote school-wide consistency in interventions so that a concerted effort is undertaken in the best interests of our students.
 3. The plan should promote critical thinking (see mission statement) and cognitive change in students, not merely obtain blind compliance motivated through fear of punishment.

 4. There should be allowances for flexibility within the system as long as those variances meet the intent of the plan and the mission statement.

5. Student pride in their school should be fostered.

*Additional Notes
 1. The consensus of the library group was that an interpreted “code of conduct”, emphasizing positive character traits, was preferable to specific rules.  However, some members of the library group expressed the need to have certain specified rules (e.g., “no hats or coats).
 2. The consensus of the library group was that he punitiveness, harshness, and barking of orders, sometimes witnessed at our school, must stop.  The plan should help to deter such interaction with students.



1.  The Code of Conduct

Each teacher posts (as directed in the City Wide Discipline Code) and promotes the following principles, using the “Teacher Intervention Procedures” (see #2 below) if any of the points are violated.

Be Respectful, Be Responsible, Be Safe

 Are my actions showing consideration for the rights of others?  Am I being kind, courteous, tolerant, and fair?

 Am I doing what is expected of me?  Can others depend on me to do what I promised to accomplish?  Am I taking responsibility for my actions and their outcomes?  Am I showing the courage to resist negative peer pressure?  Do my words represent the truth?  Am I “doing the right thing”?

 Are my actions safe?  Do they promote a safe environment for myself and others?

*To allow for flexibility within the plan, teachers may require other stated and posted rules (e.g., “No hats on head”, “No coats”, “Raise hand to contribute”).  Teachers would tell students of the specific behavior required in that classroom, and how these specific rules are subsumed under one or more of the principles of the code of conduct.

2. Teacher Intervention Procedures For Misbehavior

1. The teacher provides a friendly reminder in a respectful and supportive manner, using a warm voice. (e.g., “Can you think of a better way to handle this situation?”, or “Could you restate that comment again in a nice way please?”)

2. The teacher respectfully connects the student’s behavior with a principle found in the code of conduct.  S/he might ask the student to assure that his/her actions are in concert with a specified principle in the code of conduct (e.g., “Fran, please remember our principle about respect”, or “Please find a better way to express your views so that they are courteous.”, or “I just want to check...Are those words totally honest?”), or direct the youngster to align actions with the principle (“Whoa!  Remember what we said a minute ago.  What do you need to do first to be sure that safety procedures are in effect?”).

3. The teacher gives a polite, respectful direction to engage in a particular behavior, followed by encouragement or a supportive statement (e.g., “Please get back to work.  If you want some assistance, let me know.  I’ll be glad to help, or find you someone to work with.”; “I know that your statement is honest.  I also know that a mature young (wo)man like you understands the importance of making your points in a way that avoids attacking others.  Please restate your comment.”; “If you want to use the drill press, you have to put on the goggles.  I’m sure you understand the need to protect our eyesight.”)

4. The teacher politely tells the student to comply with the direction (see step #3 above) to avoid referral to the Dean. (e.g., ”I’d like to see the responsibility principle followed so that we can settle things here instead of calling in the Dean.  C’mon, let’s work together to get things back on track.”

5. The teacher expresses regret that things can’t be worked out between him/herself and the student, and completes a “Dean’s Referral Form”. (See Dean’s Referral Form on page 6) (e.g., “It’s unfortunate that our issue has to be referred to others.  I hope that next time we can resolve things here.”)

Items related to the five step teacher intervention procedure

 *The teacher ignores all rude or defiant remarks, resisting the urge to retaliate.  The teacher “takes the high ground” and simply moves through the steps above.

 **A teacher who does not want to take part in the school-wide plan must submit another plan to administration describing:
  -the sequence of consequences
  -ways students will be recognized for appropriate behavior
  -rules and regulations (stated as the behaviors that should be displayed)

***Teachers will work to make students, feel valued, respected, and welcomed.

****Teachers will guarantee the physical and psychological safety of their students.

3. Dean’s Intervention Procedures for Referred Students

 1. The Dean politely greets the student, and asks him/her to complete a “Response Form” (See the Response Form on page 7).  Students with low reading/writing skills will have the questions on the response form asked of them, and have their answers transcribed onto the form by the Dean or student volunteer.
 (If the student is uncooperative, sullen, or emotionally upset, the Dean politely says: “I’ll get back to you when you’re ready to talk about the situation.”, and walks away for a few minutes.  S/he returns with the same supportive and nurturing demeanor.)

 2. The Dean checks the form to assure that the student has reported the event objectively and respectfully.  (If not done so, the Dean politely requests a rewrite and says “I’ll get back to you when you’re ready”)

 3. When the form is completed, the Dean respectfully discusses the incident with the student and reviews the response form with the youngster.  The focus of the conversation is on solutions rather than blame (although administration of penalties may be necessary in order to provide victims with a sense of justice). (*It is assumed that the Dean will be trained in (and will make use of) respectful communication skills, Life Space Crisis Interviewing, and/or similar respectful methods of dealing with students in crisis.)

 4. The Dean completes the Dean’s Summary Form (see page 9), and places a copy in the referring teacher’s mailbox as soon as possible, but before leaving the building at the end of the day.

** If the Dean is unable to “work with” the youngster, s/he makes a decision regarding appropriate action.  The Dean attempts to meet with the youngster later in the day or during the next school day in order to accomplish steps 1-4.

4. Support Plan for Students Who Display Serious or Repetitive Misbehavior

 1. Conduct a “functional behavior assessment” of the student’s behavior (no later than 10 days after the infraction) as required by federal law (IDEA-97).  Consider conducting a “manifestation determination” for violent behavior or possession/use of weapons, drugs, or controlled substances (as required by IDEA-97).

 2. Develop/Revise the “Behavior Intervention Plan” in the student’s IEP as required by federal law (IDEA-97).  Those individuals who devise the “Behavior Intervention Plan” should strongly consider the inclusion of:
   a. instruction in appropriate behavior (e.g., social skills instruction, self control/character education, anger management/aggression replacement, stress management, communication skills, etc.)
  b. the assignment of a staff member to serve as a mentor
   c. counseling
   d. other methods and procedures for helping the student to display appropriate student behavior

 3. Consider identifying students at risk for getting in trouble by asking all teachers to identify the three students who most need to change their behavior.  Those youngsters who are identified by more than one teacher would receive targeted interventions.


Dean’s Referral Form

Dear Teacher: Please complete this form and deliver it to the Dean’s Office as soon as possible.

Student________________________ Date________ Time/Period_____________

Please mark the principle(s) that were violated:
  ___Showing kindness
  ___Showing courtesy
  ___Showing tolerance
  ___Being fair

  ___Doing what’s expected of him/her
  ___Doing what s/he promised s/he would do
  ___Taking responsibility for his/her actions
  ___Taking responsibility for the consequences of his/her actions
  ___Resisting negative peer pressure
  ___Telling the truth
  ___“Doing the right thing”

  ___Keeping him/herself safe
  ___Keeping the area safe for others

Please describe what happened before, during, and after the incident.  Describe the events in objective language that treats the student respectfully.  Describe how the principles identified above were violated.

Did you follow the five step referral procedure? ___Yes ___No

Before, during or after the incident, did you violate the principle(s) to any extent?
If so, please explain on the reverse side of this form.

Student Response Form

Dear student: Please complete the following form.  Please be respectful and honest in your words.

1. Describe what happened before, during, and after the incident.
 Tell what happened in the order that events occurred.  Describe what each person did.

2. Please mark the principle(s) that the teacher believes that you violated:
  ___Showing kindness
  ___Showing courtesy
  ___Showing tolerance
  ___Being fair

  ___Doing what’s expected of me
  ___Doing what I promised I would do
  ___Taking responsibility for my actions
  ___Taking responsibility for the consequences of my actions
  ___Resisting negative peer pressure
  ___Telling the truth
  ___“Doing the right thing”

  ___Keeping myself safe
  ___Keeping the area safe for others

3. Did you violate the principle(s) at any time?
 (If so, please answer the following questions:)

 What wrong behavior did you show?

 What did you want to accomplish with that behavior?
  ___avoid work
  ___impress other students
  ___get attention
  ___get revenge
  ___other (please write your reason)

 How should you have acted in that situation?

4. Did the teacher violate any principles?  If so, which ones?
  ___Showing kindness
  ___Showing courtesy
  ___Showing tolerance
  ___Being fair
  ___Doing what was expected
  ___Doing what was promised
  ___Taking responsibility for actions
  ___Taking responsibility for the consequences of actions
  ___Resisting negative peer pressure
  ___Telling the truth
  ___“Doing the right thing”
  ___Keeping oneself safe
  ___Keeping the area safe for others
5. Please explain what the teacher did that violated the principles you marked.

6. Please read the three items below and tell us how this situation can be resolved so that everyone has their dignity respected, and feels good about the outcome.  Tell us how this situation can be prevented from happening again.

A. If you feel that the teacher was right when he or she sent you to the Dean, please suggest a fair and reasonable solution to this incident.  What can you do to make things better?

B. If you feel that you and the teacher were both wrong, please suggest a fair and reasonable solution to this incident.  What can you and the teacher do to make things better?

C. If you think that you have no fault in this incident, please suggest something that can prevent the situation from happening again.  What can the teacher do to make things better?  What can you do to help?

All statements I have made on this form are truthful and honest.

Signed:_____________________________        Date:_______________


Dean’s Summary Form

Student name:     Date of referral/action:

Referring teacher:

I conducted an interview with the student identified above.  The conversation covered the following points:

The student offered the following considerations in defense of his/her case:

Given the information gained from the interview and:
  ___the Dean’s Referral Form
  ___the Student Response Form
  ___interviews/conversations with:

   I have decided upon the following action:

____I need to speak with you as soon as possible.

 ___I do not need to speak with you at this time, but please contact me if you wish to
 discuss this case further.

Signed:____________________________________   Date:___________


Evaluation Criteria for the Plan
 To determine the effectiveness of the program, a committee will need to be formed with the task of gathering and evaluating information:

1. General feedback from faculty, staff, students, and other members of the school community
 2. Review of the number and nature of referrals and superintendent’s suspensions (as per the plan), and comparison with pre-plan data.

3. Faculty and staff survey of their comfortability with the program (as per plan)
 4. Administrator rating of teachers regarding their compliance with the plan (or effectiveness and respectfulness of plans submitted by teachers who choose to vary from the plan).

Questions for Readers to Consider:
 1. How will the time out room be used? (If at all)  If not used, how will the freed-up faculty members be used...or should a full-time “crisis intervention teacher” position be created?

 2. How do we make use of those who have training in LCSI and other conflict  resolution strategies?

 3. Should there be reallocation of teacher time or “release time”?  Committees will need to be formed for different purposes (Plan assessment and revision, Pupil support team, Teacher assistance committee, personal mentor for students who have chronic problems, etc.).  How can we convince people to serve?  Should we form special  behavior support teams (composed of those who are trained in supportive procedures and are known for using them) who are “on call” in order to provide support to students, faculty/staff, and parents.

4. How do we make use of the skills of school support personnel like the counselors?

5. Does the plan translate well to the off sites?  What modifications are necessary?

 6. Will more money be needed to make the plan work? (For staff development speakers, prizes for kids, signs, etc.)  One plan in Oregon required $2000-$3000 for supplies and reallocated staff time.

 7. How do we use personnel differently during the first few days of the plan to promote effectiveness?.

8. How do we involve parents?  How do we develop a family support network?  Develop web site?

 9. Should we include student rewards (Why not?  It might help to build school pride and motivation to follow the code of conduct)  Perhaps if ½ monthly referrals are down:
  1. The whole school earns a school-wide lunch out of doors?
  2. Motivational rallies/assemblies  held with themes/performers popular with the kids
  3. Others????
 Could participation by students on committees (e.g., school pride, beautification, community relations) result in privileges/rewards.
 Could social skills/stress management/communication skills/or child rearing classes be offered during an elective period or after school, with those who “graduate” receiving  privileges/rewards?


Possible Faculty Questions and Possible Responses

Why does the School-Wide Plan use a “code of conduct” rather than specific rules?
The use of a code provides guidelines that students can apply to all situations in their lives.  The code helps youngsters to monitor and evaluate their actions in all academic, vocational, and social settings.  This self-reflection helps kids to become self disciplined.  After all, the goal of discipline is self-discipline.

Why isn’t there a set series of consequences to be implemented by the Dean?
The flexibility built into the system allows for consideration of all circumstances in an attempt to administer reasonable and fair justice, while helping the youngster to resolve the situation, and learn to display better behavior.  Negative consequences alone do not work.  Punishment does not teach (although it may be necessary in order to guarantee justice).  Consequences should be educational, promoting the behavior we wish to see.  The educational approach to discipline promotes restitution to those who were victimized, the making of amends to sooth a tense situation and build relationships, and the learning of more appropriate behavior.  The **** Discipline Code states that “Intervention measures and penalties should be related to the infraction.  Service to the school, including service to other students and to the community, is a positive measure to be encouraged for many infractions (e.g., decorating the school, homework assistance, volunteer work, errands for senior citizens)...the student may be asked to make restitution...”(page 6)

What if I don’t want to use the system?
If a teacher decides not to “buy into” the plan, it is expected that s/he would submit an alternative plan describing the rules (stating the behaviors they expect to see), the series of consequences for misbehavior, and how s/he will recognize students who display appropriate behavior.  It is expected that s/he will implement an effective system that makes students feel valued and respected.  The ability to do so should be part of the periodic administrative rating.

Why do students get to evaluate my actions on the “Student Response Form”?
The **** Discipline code requires that “Educators are responsible for... nurturing the skills students need to succeed in school and in society.  As role models, ...school staff should exhibit behavior wit\ch they would like to see emulated.”(page 2).  If we are going to hold students accountable for certain standards of behavior, we must also hold ourselves accountable to those social norms.  We cannot expect students to obey social skills that teachers fail to observe.  The reactions of the teacher to a student’s action can make a situation better or worse.  Therefore the behavior of both parties must be considered by the Dean.

Why am I required to display respectful and patient behavior when a youngster might be showing disrespectful and impatient behavior toward me?
We don’t just teach academics, we also teach social skills and appropriate behaviors in group situations.  As educators, we must model the behavior we wish to see.  We must also model better ways to respond to others in disagreeable situations.  If our goal is to calm tense situations and help students return to appropriate behavior, we should intervene in ways that help us to “connect” with our students and allow them to save face so that they don’t feel the need to confront, retaliate or escalate.  Another reason to remain calm, supportive, and respectful is that if this style of intervention fails, the last step of the five step intervention procedure results in the youngster leaving the room.  The Dean is more likely to side with the teacher when that faculty member has followed the program.

Sample Letter to Accompany the Rewrite of the Proposed Plan
(Working Document #2)

Dear Staff and Faculty of *****:

 It has been my pleasure to assist in the process of developing a school-wide behavior management plan.  In my time here, I have had the opportunity to observe the workings of your school.  I am impressed.  This school works well.  The staff competently direct activities within the school.  There is order in the hallways, graffiti is rare, and bulletin boards are respected.  Teachers show concern for their students, and their strong instruction motivates youngsters.  My respect for your professionalism is heightened by the fact that you serve a population with academic and behavioral challenges and disabilities.

 While ***** needs a school-wide behavior management plan less-so than other schools, we don’t want to negate concerns that have been voiced.  Every school environment can benefit from consistency, but you folks start the ascent to the peak from a much higher base camp than most.  Your mission has a great chance for success.  Indeed, this school seems poised for greatness, and could serve as a model for all high schools, no-matter what their student compositions.  Your faculty, staff, and administration have the skills and drive to meet the challenges that have been identified.  This school can become the one you’ve only  imagined in your professional dreams.  To assure that this vision comes to being, I am writing to ask you to provide feedback on the enclosed document.

 Attached to this letter, you will find the working draft for the new school-wide behavior management plan.  Thanks to the efforts of your colleagues, it outlines procedures that will allow for support and communication between staff, faculty, and administration as you adopt a common mission and provide a “united front” in order to promote appropriate behavior within the buildings and programs of *****.  Please examine the document critically, and provide suggestions to our “document team” who will incorporate your commentary and direct me in my rewriting the manuscript.

  Please give your written commentary to **** and/or ******by Monday June 12th.  Last, I wish to thank you for your time and effort expended on behalf of the kids.


Tom McIntyre
Special Education
Hunter College
695 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10021
212/772-4706 phone
212/650-3542 fax

There are a number of tasks that will need to be accomplished if the plan (in whatever form it eventually takes) is to be implemented in September.  For example, teams will need to meet a few times over the summer to accomplish the duties identified below.  However, how do we motivate faculty/staff/administration/parents to serve on a committee during the summer?  Can money/rewards be found to reimburse them for two or three days of meetings?

Staff Development Preparation 
The following would probably be included in staff development in the days just before start-up:
  -familiarization with the plan (someone will need to provide an overview, give examples of how the plan would work, explain how each of the 37 behaviors identified in the CityWide Discipline Code fall under one or more principles in the school-wide code, and describe how specific rules desired by individual teachers can be connected to the principles)
 -informing teachers of their roles/responsibilities:
  -using the plan (or submitting a suitable replacement for evaluation)
  -always treating kids with respect, and making them feel welcomed and valued
  -catching kids being good.
  -presenting a meaningful curriculum in a captivating manner.
  -modeling the principles of respect, responsibility, and safety
  -using discipline in an educational, not punitive manner
  -how to teach the plan and principles to the students (Someone will need to lead teachers in the development of lesson plans)
  -how to communicate respectfully as required by the plan (Practice activities will need to be devised)

Plan Implementation
Previous to the school year, several things will need to be readied:
 1. Signs saying “We support *****” or “Go *****  Bulldogs” should be printed for local merchants (who make money off kids and faculty) to post in their windows.
 2. Large signs announcing the principles of the plan (see page 3) should be printed and distributed to teachers for posting in their rooms (and other places in the school).
 3. ***** will need to spend a great deal of time during the first week of school orienting students to the code of conduct principles (see page 3) and promoting demonstration of appropriate behavior.  Teachers will need to be prepared to talk about how each principle and how it translates into real life in the classroom.  They also need to be prepared to role play/demonstrate actions that reflect the principles.
 4. In the early days of the plan, greater supervision will be needed in the hallways and other common areas by faculty/staff who are proficient at reminding youngsters in a respectful way.
 5. Enthusiastic announcements should be made in the morning (by someone good at this type of public speaking).
 6. A contest might be held for the development of good mottos for both the plan and the school in general.  Proactive student training in conflict management, anger control, etc.
 7. Procedures will need to be devised to guarantee that every new student who arrives mid-semester receives an immediate briefing on policies and expected behavior.


Dear                            :

 This letter is written to request your service as a reader of the first draft of the proposed school-wide behavior management plan.  We need input regarding it’s utility, practicality, alignment with the suggestions of the library group volunteers, etc.

 If you are willing to serve as a document reader...thanks!  Please give a critical eye to the manuscript, and provide written feedback to one of the members of the “document committee” who will help me to interpret the feedback, and will guide me in how to rewrite the manuscript to better meet the needs and demands of the ***** faculty, staff, and students.

 Thanks again.  Please submit your written commentary to **** and/or **** by May 15th.


Tom McIntyre, Ph.D.
Special Education
Hunter College
695 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10021


Author: Tom McIntyre at www.BehaviorAdvisor.com