BIST: From Defiant to Most Improved

BIST: From Defiant to Most Improved

Teachers at Turner Middle School use the Behavior Intervention Support Team (BIST) model to help students overcome emotional and behavioral difficulties through grace, responsibility and accountability. I met Alexis when she was in 7th grade. Each day she avoided the lunch room and instead would wander the halls. She clearly struggled with social situations and did not appear to easily maintain friendships. Because it was my plan time, I began to build a relationship with her over lunches and discussions at the copier as she followed me from place to place. When speaking with Alexis, you could tell she was articulate and bright, but her referrals told another story of defiance and disdain for authority. 

Then, when Alexis was in 8th grade, she was referred to my class — the Transition Room — as an intervention. My room is for students who need a smaller class size and a more one-on-one assistance with academics and/or behavior modification. While it was a bumpy few months at the start, Alexis thrived under the positive attention and constant support as she navigated the often-tumultuous days of middle school drama.

After spending the majority of the year with me for the four core subjects, Alexis blossomed into a wonderful young lady who is able to better self-regulate and manage social situations with more positivity. She has made an effort to work on her areas of difficulty each day, both academically and socially. Because of her consistency, Alexis will be receiving the GROWTH award at the end of the year. That means out of the 300 8th graders, she has been the student who has improved the most in every category. I am bursting with pride at how far Alexis has come, and am honored to have witnessed such a transformation. 

—Guest blog by Suzanne Worner, teacher at Turner Middle School in Kansas City, Kan.

To network with BIST educators and develop an understanding of the psycho-educational philosophy of the BIST model, as well as learn the skills and language to problem solve with difficult students, sign up for the Fall Basic BIST Conference from October 4-6.