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Reducing Behavioral Problems and Absenteeism

The Boys Town Specialized Classroom model was implemented to reduce disruptive behaviors, discipline referrals, and absenteeism among students with emotional and behavioral problems in Bridgeport, Connecticut. The model is implemented by classroom teachers and has strong evidence of reducing office referrals and disruptive behaviors, and increasing academic engagement, instruction time, and on-task behaviors among students. Bridgeport saw a decrease in chronic absenteeism from 25.1 to 17.4% from the 2012-13 to the 2015-16 academic year, with an even more dramatic decrease in “focus schools” that received the Boys Town intervention from 35.6 to 21.2% over the same time period. In addition, Bridgeport schools saw decreases in in- and out-of-school suspensions, school policy violations, and suspensions from the 2012-13 to the 2015-16 academic year.

Bridgeport teachers implemented this comprehensive social skills and positive behavior motivation system into classrooms for students with emotional and behavioral problems. The model helps teachers use personalized social skills instruction to create an orderly, inclusive learning environment. In addition to teachers integrating components of the model throughout the school day, elements of the curriculum can be applied by parents and guardians at home.

“Since the implementation of Boys Town, chronic absenteeism rates have decreased, with a 25% decrease overall in the past 3 years”

Nekita Carroll-Hall, LMSW

District Wellness Project Coordinator

Bridgeport SSHS Project Manager

More than 75 educators and support staff in Bridgeport, Connecticut have been trained throughout the district in the Boys Town Specialized Classroom model for students with emotional and behavioral problems. To support implementation and sustainability, Bridgeport also conducted fidelity review of model implementation and conducted a training-of-trainers for several lead teachers. To date, seventy-five percent of students in therapeutic programs benefit from trained teachers.

Behavioral Health/Mental Health
Family Strengthening/Family Engagement
School Violence
System Change