Knapp School & Yeshiva consists of multiple teams and support systems. Like many schools, ours is comprised of teachers, teaching assistants and ancillary staff. However, one element in our school not so commonly found in others is our Support Team. Stationed strategically throughout our school, Team members provide intensive, often one-to-one support to students daily. When students are having challenges and need time outside of the classroom, Team members are ready and waiting to assist.
All school and support staff are trained in Therapeutic Crisis Intervention (TCI) and more recently, Collaborative Problem Solving (CPS). “CPS and TCI are both central to our work at Knapp,” shared Liz Mullen, Director of Student Supports. “While some of the vocabulary is different, both models rely on the same fundamental concepts of assessing behavior. They provide a framework for intentionally involving our students in discussions on how to develop safer and improved ways to deal with situations.”
The CPS model is based on the premise that challenging behavior occurs when expectations placed on a child exceed their ability to respond appropriately. Some children are lacking fundamental skills to respond to the most basic expectations and this model focuses less on the disruptive behavior and more on improving the lagging skills in the child.
A big part of this model includes problem solving collaboratively, where both the child and the adults express their concerns in a safe and neutral way. These discussions not only foster a partnership between adults and children by actively engaging the student in the process, they also help the child strengthen the lagging skills.
“When students feel that you care and that you’re willing to listen, they’re less likely to react defensively and more willing to hear your concerns. Sometimes, students just need space to get out whatever it is they’re feeling without adults placing judgement on that. When they get that time, they return to their baseline much quicker,” says Melvin Knight, Support Team member.
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