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US DOE Helps DARES Support Pasco Schools

DARES (The Division of Applied Research and Educational Support) has teamed up with Pasco County Schools and the Family Network on Disabilities to develop a model that will help increase the amount and the quality of parental participation in the school's processes of functional behavioral assessment (FBA) and positive behavior interventions and supports (PBIS). FBA is a process for describing environmental influences on behavior of professionals and caregivers, and guides the development of effective and efficient behavior support plans. It is the foundation of positive behavioral support, representing a preferred practice for all students, especially those with problem behaviors.

The Collaboration and Family Involvement in Functional Assessment Model Demonstration Project is a four-year project for children with disabilities funded by the U.S. Department of Education/OSERS/OSEP. Housed within CFS, the project is a partnership of USF, Pasco County Exceptional Student Education, and Family Network on Disabilities (FND), the state parent and training information center. Pasco County Schools has agreed to support the project within it's district for two of the four years as a demonstration site.

With a goal of producing a model that will work at the district level, the focus will be to work on awareness, training, materials development and policy implementation. The first step will include training, technical assistance and specific coaching for behavior specialists and other team facilitators in schools volunteering to participate.

In March, another important aspect of the project will begin. A training will be conducted that will include the development and implementation of procedures for determining the extent to which teachers, specialists, parents and others are involved, knowledgeable, and satisfied with the FBA and FBIS processes. Ongoing technical assistance will be provided as behavior specialists and team facilitators apply their strategies learned in training sessions.

The desired outcomes include: reducing the incidents of severe problem behavior; increasing the occurrence of least restrictive placements; increasing family involvement in the educational process; increasing families' satisfactions with school procedures; and reducing episodes of mediation, fair hearings and law suits.

CFS staff include PI Glen Dunlap, and Co-PI's Lise Fox and Bobbie Vaughn. Glen will have the overall responsibility for the management of the project, communicating with the funder, and dissemination. Lise will work with Pasco County Schools, including the activities specified in the Pasco contract. Bobbie will be responsible for linkages and coordination with FND, as well as developing and overseeing the implementation of the evaluation plan. For additional information, contact Lise Fox at 813-974-6100 or Bobbie Vaughn at 813-974-6104.

DARES is located within the Department of Child and Family Studies, a division of the Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute at the University of South Florida. Since its inception in 1984, the Institute's mission has been to improve service delivery systems for children with serious emotional or behavioral disabilities and their families.

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