Every classroom presents a unique community of learners, in which no two students share the same experiences, knowledge, or ability. The philosophy of R.I.S.E. involves a student centered, strength based approach. Students are able to access their strengths to remediate areas of need. The key to this is providing students with opportunities to experience success. It is the belief of R.I.S.E. that students will do well if they can. It is a goal of educators to help students meet their full potential by individualizing instruction to the unique and ever changing needs of students. Collaboration as a team is crucial in order to ensure that all students receive these supports in the least restrictive environment.
In order for this to happen, students must be presented with an environment that is safe, supports risk-taking, and is open to the sharing of ideas. This will only lead to student growth. It is a goal of R.I.S.E. that students have the opportunity to learn in various ways using a multi-sensory approach that includes visual, auditory, and tactile modalities.
Students need to be active participants in the learning process and become aware of both their strengths and areas of need. R.I.S.E. allows students to make mistakes and learn from those mistakes in a structured and supportive setting. Teaching students at their current level of ability and providing opportunities to practice skills across settings allows for the generalization of skill development. R.I.S.E. views education not only as a means of personal development, but also as a gateway to becoming an active and contributing member of the community.
R.I.S.E. will work on behaviors in a proactive, versus reactive manner. TEAMS will collaborate to interpret the message being communicated by a student’s challenging behavior. This involves identifying the individual student’s lagging skills that contribute to frustration and challenging behavior/experiences. Helping students to develop a greater understanding of their challenges and frustrations is also part of the behavior support process. Not only will framing the student’s difficulties foster proactive problem solving, but it also aids in the development of meta-cognitive skills and increased self-awareness. To this end, expectations for student behavior must be clear and explicit.
Much like academic education, students will receive individualized support to help them better manage their behavior. This may include the development of positive behavior support plans to target specific areas of need. Collaborative Problem Solving is also a cornerstone of the behavior support philosophy of R.I.S.E. Open and direct communication will be used to help students share their concerns, express the concerns of staff members, and move toward a mutually agreeable solution to a given problem. Involvement of individual students in this process is critical.
Challenging behavior will be supported through positive reinforcement (verbal praise, social rewards, tangibles as appropriate) as opposed to punishment. R.I.S.E views challenging situations and behaviors as opportunities for both students and staff members to learn and prepare to handle a similar situation more adaptively in the future. Very often a student suffers natural consequences when he/she engages in negative behavior. Pointing out and discussing these natural consequences is part of the debriefing process staff members do with students. R.I.S.E will also use a restorative justice approach. This involves identifying the parties that were wronged or hurt by a student’s actions, and taking steps to rectify the situation. This could involve restoring physical damage, but more often there is a need to repair a relationship in order to regain trust. Care is always taken to avoid shaming, and the student is always involved in the process of identifying appropriate consequences and/or steps that should be taken to repair any physical or emotional damage.