Arrowhead Middle School's System Wide Discipline System

This multilevel discipline system is based on the model developed by Behavior Intervention Support Team (BIST), an outreach program that provides training and consultation to hun-
dreds of schools throughout the Midwest. Information about the BIST model is available at

Level 1: Procedures and Routines

At the beginning of the year, every class learns and rehearses key classroom procedures, such as how each class will begin, a how students will be dismissed, and a signal that means "come to attention."

Level 2: Common Rules and Step-Based Consequences

Every classroom has five basic rules; (1) Stay in your assigned seat unless you have permission to move; (2) Raise your hand and get permission before you speak (unless directed to discuss a topic as part of a structured learning activity); (3) Keep
all body parts and possessions to yourself; (4) Keep your head up and your eyes open at all times; and (5) Follow all adult instructions.

All teachers use a consistent, step-based consequence system to ensure that students comply with our simple standards for classrgom behavior. Consequences escalate from a simple verbal warning or reminder; to a phone call home; to a 20-minute detention (supervised by the teacher and used as a time for building relationships and solving issues); to an office referral. This four-step system is effective with 85-90 percent of our students.

Level 3: Behavior Interventions for Chronic Misbehavior

If a student displays chronic misbehavior, the teacher implements our Behavior Intervention Support Team (BIST) model. The student may be moved from his or her assigned classroom seat to a designated safe seaf, to a buddy seat in another classroom, or, finally, to the school recovery room. With each move, the student is given the opportunity to regroup and to talk with a supportive adult about his or her struggles and goals. If the student begins to spend more time in BIST movement than in regular class, we create a more intensive intervention plan - for example, a monitor sheet that a teacher reviews regularly with the student and parent.

Level 4: Student Behavior Plan

If the monitor sheet alone is not enough, the teacher and student complete a BIST planning sheet to explore the student's strengths and weaknesses, to examine when and where the problems occur, to identify missing skills that cause these problems, and to set goals toward acquiring those life skills. Planned interventions might include sheltered arrival and dismissal; preferred seating; an adult escort to every class; color-coded cards (for students who can't talk when they are angry or upset); and other ideas. An adult monitors the student's plan and meets with the student daily about his or her progress
toward these behavior goals.

Level 5: Team Focus

The most intensive plan facilitated by a classroom teacher is team focus. One of the teachers on the grade level team volunteers to take a chronically misbehaving student on team focus. In our school, it is not uncommon for every teacher to carry at least one student at this level. This teacher monitors an intervention plan that helps the student understand the reasons and consequences for his or her behavior and plan how to make
things right. The team focus teacher provides daily support until the student can handle the majority of his or her day, even if much of it is spent with the team focus teacher and not in a regular classes.

Level 6: Second Step Program

A student who fails to cooperate with his or her team focus teacher is assigned to a 10-day program in the recovery room, called "Second Step." Regular teachers deliver the student's
assignments, and the recovery room teacher holds up to three one-on-one sessions a week with the student about specific behavior goals and struggles. To reenter the team focus level, the student must identify the behaviors that resulted in his or her being assigned to Second Step, review his or her life skills, and commit to partner with the team focus teacher successfully.

Level 7: School Within a School

This past year, we created a School Within a School program for our most severe behavior problemsÑstudents who would otherwise have received long-term suspensions for their
extreme misbehavior. A few exceptionally skilled teachers who have one 45-minute period unassigned at the beginning of the school year provide instruction in the core subjects of math, reading, science, and social studies to a total of 16 students. These students receive nearly one-on-one attention for their schoolwork, but the hidden curriculum consists of understanding the behavioral expectations of the school and developing the life skills they lack.

Dr. Robert Sweetland's Notes ©