Clifton Hills Elementary and The Howard School are named Model of Demonstration Schools in Tennessee
Posted on 10/15/2019
Lydia Heddleston and Calvin James, students at The Howard School, with a reminder of The Tiger Way in a school hallwayClifton Hills Elementary and The Howard School are 2019-2020 Bronze-level RTI2-B (Response to Instruction and Intervention for Behavior) Model of Demonstration Schools selected by the Tennessee Behavior Supports Project (TBSP) 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 criteria to be selected as an RTI2-B Model of Demonstration School.

“Clifton Hills is proud to be recognized as a Model School for implementing a positive behavioral framework within our school community,” said Dr. Lindsay Starnes, principal, Clifton Hills Elementary. “Our teachers and staff have worked diligently to create a positive culture and climate that supports student engagement and achievement. Our mission at Clifton Hills is to ensure that every student has a safe and welcoming environment where all students 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 initiative is an all-inclusive, data-driven mindset that has united our school in a simple ideology for students to reflect on their character and provides students stability and the opportunity to excel because they know what’s expected of them each day,” said Dr. Charles Mitchell, assistant principal, The Howard School. “Overall, the Tiger Way process gives everyone equality and reminds them of the greater good of 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, as well as within their communities and later in postsecondary experiences and careers. Tennessee’s approach unites evidence-based, problem-solving approaches 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 certainly connected and necessary for students to graduate prepared for success in a career or on a college campus,” said Dr. Bryan Johnson, superintendent of Hamilton County Schools. “Clifton Hills and Howard are not just models in this important effort for other local schools but also for schools across Tennessee.”

As a Bronze-level RTI2-B Model of Demonstration School, Clifton Hills Elementary and The Howard School can now serve as mentors to other schools across East Tennessee. The schools will receive the award and network with other schools across the state at the Tennessee Department of Education’s Partners In Education Conference on January 27, 2020, in Nashville. Miller Foutch, an educational consultant with the Tennessee Behavior Supports Project will also visit the schools on October 17 at Clifton Hills at 9 a.m. and The Howard School at 10 a.m. Foutch will join with district leaders to present a temporary banner to recognize both schools for their accomplishments.

Photo: Lydia Heddleston and Calvin James, students at The Howard School, with a reminder of The Tiger Way in a school hallway.