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Hawthorne Academy believes in using positive behavior interventions in all interactions when working with our students.  Hawthorne Academy provides all employees with appropriate positive behavioral intervention techniques through ongoing on site in-services and CPI (a crisis intervention system) trainings to ensure appropriate techniques are implemented. Hawthorne Academy’s assigned Behavioral Intervention Case Managers are Shawn Welch and Todd Bursaw.  Shawn Welch is a CPI-certified instructor. Todd Bursaw is a licensed MFT. All new staff members receive 13 hours of basic CPI Training, which includes both verbal interventions and CPI approved containments. Every year, during staff orientation, all staff members participate in a three-hour CPI refresher course. As a CPI Certified instructor, Mr. Welch completes all required training hours and renews his certification every two years.


Behavioral techniques are implemented to help facilitate appropriate behaviors. Consistency is an integral part of the program. When a contingency is set up, the positive or negative reinforcement must always follow. All teaching staff members within each classroom should respond to situations in similar ways. There are basic guidelines whereby all teaching staff will be consistent. It is our experience in working with this type of population that limits setting and structure is of utmost importance. Consequently students will be reinforced for using these behaviors. Simultaneously, they will also know what behaviors are inappropriate and the consequences of those behaviors.


In addition to the teachers offering reinforcement and immediate feedback to the students, a positive reinforcement system is utilized whereby students earn points for completion of work, participation in the class and positive behavior.


Students earn points each period for their work productivity, participation and behavior. Points are exchanged for money at the end of the week. This money will then be distributed to the students or their parents (at their request). 


The school store is another positive reward used to motivate out students. In addition to cash out the points that students earn can be used to purchase items in the school store. Students shop on a weekly basis for items such as clothing, ear buds, headphones, batteries, clothing and personal items (cologne, hairspray, etc.)


There is a student of the day, week and month from each homeroom. The student of the day receives a soda at lunch.  The student of the week receives an additional two dollars in cash out. The student of the month is invited to attend on off campus lunch with the Director or designee.  


Most of our students are able to modify their problem behaviors and exhibit appropriate behaviors through the reinforcements they receive via the behavior management system. However, some students may need a more structured system to help them improve. There are also times when teaching staff want to help student change specific behaviors even though that student generally does well. These contracts supplement the existing behavior system and are used for students who require additional reinforcement. In order for Individual Behavior Contracts to be effective, the targeted behavior must be specific and the reward must be one that the student wants. Therefore, it is important to talk with the student to determine a goal with which she/he will be successful. Once specific behaviors of students have been identified, special contract may be implemented to help shape these behaviors. Below are guidelines for special contracts.


Students also can earn additional reinforcements, such as playing basketball at lunch, helping at the front desk, etc. The reinforcements are used on an individual basis depending upon the needs of each student. As the student progresses, the reinforcement schedule will be extended and eventually the social praise will become reinforcing enough for the students. Thus the process of weaning students off reinforcements will occur.


Emergency interventions may be used if a student exhibits an unpredictable, spontaneous behavior that poses clear and present danger of serious physical harm to themselves or others and that cannot be immediately prevented by a response less restrictive than the emergency intervention.  If an emergency intervention is used, the parent or guardian will be notified within one school day. A behavioral emergency report (BER) will be written. The BER will be maintained in the student’s file and sent to the student’s school district or charter school. An IEP may be scheduled to address the student’s behavior and revise and update his/her behavior intervention plan.


Please feel free to contact Ray Richard, Executive Director, if you have any questions about Hawthorne Academy’s Behavior Management System.

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