WWU Plans Program to Promote Safe Schools

Problem behavior spells trouble for teachers. To help current and future educators deal with disciplinary problems, William Woods University is planning a safe schools program next week.

“Problem behavior is the hardest thing to deal with for teachers, especially new teachers,” Robert Trussell, WWU instructor of special education, said, adding that disciplinary concerns are steadily increasing.

“We have found most schools are reactive to problem behavior, but we need to be proactive and focus not on managing misbehavior, but support pro-social, pro-academic behavior to reduce the occurrence,” he said.

William Woods is particularly interested in helping prepare teachers to meet this challenge. Education is one of the top five majors for undergraduates at William Woods, with nearly 100 students enrolled as education majors on campus.

In addition, 1,306 graduate students are pursing the master of education degree and 258 are working on their specialist of education degree at locations throughout Missouri.

Trussell has invited Dr. Timothy J. Lewis to speak at William Woods about current research-based practices to promote safe schools and classrooms. The discussion will take place at 4 p.m. Nov. 16 in the Library Auditorium. It is free and open to the public.

Lewis, professor and department chair of special education at the University of Missouri, has been involved in training schools statewide to create systems for problem behavior. He is in charge of the National Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) center.

PBIS gives schools capacity-building information and technical assistance for identifying, adapting and sustaining effective school-wide disciplinary practices.

“There is a huge need for preservice teachers to learn new ways to prevent problem behavior,” said Trussell. “I would encourage all current teachers and those who are interested in being teachers to come to the event.”