Clifton Hills Elementary and The Howard School are 2020-2021 Silver-level RTI2-B (Response to Instruction and Intervention for Behavior) Model of Demonstration Schools selected by the Tennessee Behavior Supports Project at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. The Tennessee Department of Education funds the TBSP program. There are over 1,800 schools across the state, and each year a small percentage of schools meet the criteria to be selected an RTI2-B Model of Demonstration School.
"Our teachers and staff have worked to create a positive culture and climate, and Clifton Hills is proud to be recognized as a Model School for implementing a positive behavioral framework within our school," said Dr. Lindsay Starnes, principal, Clifton Hills Elementary. "Our mission at Clifton Hills is to ensure that every student has a safe and welcoming environment where all are respected, engaged, and challenged to meet high expectations."
Clifton Hills and Howard participated in training and technical assistance provided by TBSP and implemented a positive and proactive behavioral systems framework for all students to promote positive behavior at school. The RTI2-B framework consists of identifying common behavioral expectations across campus, teaching, re-teaching, and reinforcing. The TBSP program also regularly acknowledges students, faculty, and families for exhibiting these positive expectations. The staff and students at Clifton Hills Elementary and The Howard School have applied this framework to improve the climate, culture, and proactive disciplinary practices, which directly seeks to improve student engagement and school connectedness. In meeting this award criteria, Clifton Hills and Howard demonstrated the use of school-wide behavioral data to improve teaching practices and levels of support provided to students based on need. Twice a year, the school staffs also reflect on overall successes to guide their implementation of the RTI2-B plan. At The Howard School, the plan is called The Tiger Way initiative.
"The Tiger Way has united our school in a simple ideology for students to reflect on character and provides stability and the opportunity to excel because they know what's expected each day," said Dr. Charles Mitchell, assistant principal, The Howard School. "Overall, the Tiger Way reminds students at Howard of the greater good and their purpose at The Howard High School."
Academic and behavior deficits are related and have been identified as significant predictors of success once students leave school. While RTI2 focuses on academic instruction and intervention, students also require instruction and intervention in behavior to be successful academically, within their communities, and later in postsecondary experiences and careers. Tennessee's approach unites evidence-based problem-solving strategies to address student behavior. RTI2-B focuses on teaching students appropriate behaviors as opposed to punishing inappropriate behaviors and also develops positive relationships between students and the school staff.
"Academic success in school and positive behavior are connected and necessary for student success in our schools or a career or on a college campus after graduation," said Dr. Bryan Johnson, superintendent of Hamilton County Schools. "We are proud that other schools in the area look to Clifton Hills and Howard as model schools in this important effort."
Clifton Hills Elementary and The Howard School are both in the Missionary Ridge Learning Community. "I'm really proud of the efforts these schools are making to support our students and prepare them for success, said Dr. Jason Vance, community superintendent in the Missionary Ridge Learning Community. "The data obviously speaks for itself of how successful these schools are; however, it's always nice to get recognition from the state for a job well done."