UO to head expansion of special education technical assistance center

November 07, 2008

The University of Oregon's College of Education will spearhead an $8 million, five-year, multi-institutional program designed to foster positive behavior in the nation's schools.

The U.S. Office of Special Education Programs announced the first $1.6 million of the grant Nov. 7. It also allows the UO to continue and expand an existing technical assistance center aimed at helping address the needs of behavior-challenged students with disabilities.

The overall project, known as the National Technical Assistance Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports, helps schools provide both a climate and effective interventions that support students with disabilities who have behavioral issues, especially those at risk for expulsion, suspension or alternative-school placement.

"This new grant builds from our work documenting that the social culture of a school is directly related to the learning outcomes of the school," said Robert H. Horner, a professor of special education in the UO's department of special education and clinical sciences. "Students need not only good curricula and good teaching -- they also need a social context that is predictable, consistent, positive and safe. This includes teaching basic social competence, but goes beyond that idea to creating a coherent learning environment."

The National Technical Assistance Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) was launched by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Special Education Programs in the 1990s to help schools develop PBIS programs. The new grant will enable the UO, the universities of Connecticut and Missouri and eight other universities, state governments and service organizations to extend the work of the center.

Positive behavior interventions and supports promote practices that help students with behavioral challenges by focusing first on their environment, rather than just the person. For instance, PBIS stresses school-wide practices involving the total school -- all teachers, all staff and all students -- to help develop an atmosphere where students with behavioral challenges can succeed.

"This marks the third grant to the center, following two previous Education Department awards in which the center defined, implemented and evaluated PBIS projects across more than 7,000 schools in 30 states during the last 10 years," Horner said.

Under the new grant, Horner said, the participating universities and agencies will provide technical assistance that will allow states to:
About the University of Oregon The University of Oregon is a world-class teaching and research institution and Oregon's flagship public university. The UO is a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU), an organization made up of 62 of the leading public and private research institutions in the United States and Canada. Membership in the AAU is by invitation only. The University of Oregon is one of only two AAU members in the Pacific Northwest.

Media Contacts: Jim Barlow, director of science and research communications, 541-346-3481, jebarlow@uoregon.edu; Jim Bradshaw, U.S. Department of Education, 202-401-1576, jim.bradshaw@ed.gov

Sources: Robert Horner, professor of special education, 541-346-2462 ; robh@uoregon.edu; George Sugai, professor of special education, University of Connecticut, 860-486-0289, george.sugai@uconn.edu; and Timothy J. Lewis, professor of special education, University of Missouri, 573-882-0561; LewisTJ@missouri.edu

Links: Horner faculty page: http://education.uoregon.edu/faculty.htm?id=63 ; U.S. Department of Education news release: http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2008/11/11072008a.html; UO Department of Special Education and Clinical Sciences: http://education.uoregon.edu/field.htm?id=61; National Technical Assistance Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports Web site: http://www.pbis.org

University of Oregon

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