On Monday, November 21st, Chris Dodge and Frank Calano designed and facilitated an in-service training for paraprofessionals.


The focus of the institute, PBIS for Paraeducators, explored the elements of Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) as a part of a Multi-Tiered System of Support and its application to support universal best practices for all students. PBIS is a schoolwide system of support that focuses on teaching strategies  and supporting student behaviors to create a positive school environment. Paraeducators play an integral role in supporting student and applying PBIS strategies to promote the school-wide success of this approach. The training provided the background information about PBIS along with its practical application. Paraeducators had an opportunity to practiced strategies on with peers by recognizing and labeling positive behaviors.


The institute concluded with a presentation from Joelle van Lent on the topic of Differential Discipline, “Fair is not equal. Fair is meeting the needs of every student”. She covered the importance of developing relationships and creating a sense of belonging for all students.  This was a thought-provoking training that had a practical application and connected the topic of PBIS with daily work of a paraeducator. It was an engaging presentation which concluded with a thoughtful group discussion.


Paras had this to say:

  • My take away from today is to try to inspire the child to be part of the group so they feel like they belong and are invested. 
  • Learning my child was not unique and what causes a lot of the problem.  There is no simple solution, but being here.
  • Celebration Moment: My ah-ha moment was Joelle’s presentation. Defining differential discipline as being both a community challenge and community solution. She brought specific scenarios that I could relate to my specifically assigned students. I now have ideas to work with – as well as utilizing PBIS language. I am looking forward to Fairfax having a more cohesive approach to these behavior challenges. Thank you.
  • I learned that rewards that are relational are about social connection not “related” to the problem that arose.
  • Good Company, Good Info!  Love Joelle! Thank you for group work. This was one of the best!  Hope we can work with teachers on this in the future.
  • I am going to re-evaluate how my “lunch bunch” group is set up, including having them participate in brainstorming their rules and responsibilities. Thank you for today.
  • Addressed how we can change behavior at all levels.
  • Joelle always bring me to a good place to start fresh with our kiddos!
  • Positive behavioral integration system, naming the behavior you want them to repeat. Taken – when you notice them reaching the expectation.

It was a great day of professional learning!


Target 3. Flexible Learning Environments: FWSU maximizes flexible learning environments by redefining the school day, promoting learning experiences that extend beyond the classroom, and fostering creativity, innovation, and personalized learning opportunities for all.

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