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Sustainable Bullying Prevention
Any program that is implemented in a school without a plan for sustainability is subject to poor results across time. With this in mind, an effective plan for sustaining the results derived from the Bullying Prevention and Education Grant beyond the life of the grant is of great importance. One of the most effective ways to ensure sustainability of an initiative is to use Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) and Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) as a prevention-based framework. In addition to MTSS and PBIS, you may choose to consult resources here to assist your implementation efforts.
In Colorado, a Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) is defined as: a prevention-based framework of team-driven data-based problem solving for improving the outcomes of every student through family, school, and community partnering and a layered continuum of evidence-based practices applied at the classroom, school, district, region, and state level. Within Colorado, this definition reflects an evolution, and MTSS incorporates both Response to Intervention (RtI) and Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS). The five Essential Components of CO-MTSS should be integrated into a comprehensive system that ensures stakeholders have the knowledge, skill, and disposition to contribute to a problem-solving culture. Through collaboration, communication, and coordination, systems alignment occurs; educational stakeholders understand they are valuable members of a larger system that has the collective capacity to achieve its goals.
When initiating and working toward sustainable systems change and educational reform, educational stakeholders may engage in new learning experiences that challenge or stretch their existing theories of practice. Applying elements of Implementation Science to building an infrastructure is foundational to MTSS implementation; processes, protocols, and procedures are defined and refined. Effective implementation of MTSS includes considerations for introducing information or systems configurations and coaching personnel toward competency and fluency. Effectiveness is also revealed in the development, execution, and monitoring of strategic scale-up plans that prioritize endurance. An MTSS framework unifies complex inputs within an organizational frame contingent on the interaction of interdependent supports including: administrative and distributed leadership, teaming structures, use of a problem-solving process, coaching, operating routines, embedded and continuous personnel development, and action planning. An enabling context is established so that systems-level and stakeholder-level innovations can be initiated, provided a secure identity, and maintained successfully over time. Simply put, implementing MTSS is “doing the business of school…well!”
For more information on MTSS, please visit the CDE MTSS webpage.
PBIS is a prevention-based framework for assisting school personnel in adopting and organizing evidence-based behavioral supports and interventions into an integrated continuum that enhances academic and behavioral outcomes for all students. The CO-PBIS initiative is firmly placed under the MTSS umbrella and utilizes its 5 components. PBIS is uniquely-suited as the vehicle for sustainability of bullying prevention and education efforts as evidenced by its core components:
- Data to determine goals and outcomes, progress monitor efforts and effectiveness, and measure fidelity of implementation.
- Systems thinking to build collective capacity, redesign environments, and promote common language and consistency of responding.
- Practices that are evidence-based, relationship focused, and build on a foundation that requires explicit teaching, practicing, monitoring, and reinforcing of prosocial skills.
For more information about PBIS, please visit the CDE PBIS webpage.
Building Sustainable Programs: The Framework
The Office of Adolescent Health in the Department of Health and Human Services has created a document entitled, Building Sustainable Programs: The Framework (PDF) that provides an overview of the framework for building sustainable programs. Although the focus of the document is centered around creating adolescent health and disease prevention programs, the concepts can be applied to implementing a bullying prevention program with sustainability.
Building Capacity and Sustainable Prevention Innovations
Johnson, Hays, Center, and Daley (2004) published an article (PDF) in the journal Evaluation and Program Planning that "presents an informed definition of sustainability and an associated planning model for sustaining innovations." The article includes a framework for implementing programs with sustainability as well as specific action steps that can be taken to ensure sustainability is a continuous part of program implementation.