Academic and Behavioral Supports

Students may need additional support to promote their school success. School-wide approaches that benefit all students include support for executive functions, a positive school climate, School-Wide Positive Behavior Support, and Response-to-Intervention. At the individual student level, teams must assess and make recommendations for accommodations, modifications, and/or assistive technology.

Executive Functions

The National Center for Learning Disabilities describes executive functions as "a set of mental processes that helps connect past experience with present action." People use executive functioning to perform activities such as planning, organizing, strategizing, paying attention to and remembering details, and managing time and space. There are a number of ways in which difficulty with executive function can impact learning, including:

  • Making plans
  • Keeping track of time and finishing work on time
  • Keeping track of more than one thing at once
  • Meaningfully including past knowledge in discussions
  • Evaluating ideas and reflecting on work
  • Changing one's mind and making mid-course corrections while thinking, reading, and writing
  • Asking for help or seeking more information when needed
  • Engaging in group dynamics
  • Waiting to speak until called on

For more information about executive functions and strategies to address executive function difficulties, visit the National Center for Learning Disabilities website.

Positive School Climate and Positive Behavioral Support

Students identified as having emotional or behavioral disorders continue to have the poorest postschool outcomes. There are a number of reasons cited for this: poor early intervention and prevention methods, under-identification and treating the disability with a pathology model rather than a strength-based model, and inconsistent implementation of positive school climate and positive behavioral support. The implementation of a School-Wide Positive Behavior Support model can positively influence the postschool outcomes of students identified as having an emotional and/or behavior disorder disability (Lewis, Jones, Horner & Sugai, 2010)

Positive Behavior Support and Response to Intervention

Connections are also being made between School-Wide Positive Behavior Support (a behavior systems model) and Response-to-Intervention (an academic systems model). Both models include three preventative approaches: proactive universal interventions, targeted group interventions, and intensive/individualized interventions.

Resources included here are offered as strength-based, student-centered approaches to learning that support all students: