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IRIS & the Alabama SDE: Addressing Behavior

Alabama stories

The IRIS Center’s productive relationship with the Alabama State Department of Education began when the state required its teachers to complete the IRIS module Effective School Practices: Promoting Collaboration and Monitoring Students’ Academic AchievementThis resource highlights partnerships between general education and special education teachers that result in the creation of a collective responsibility and shared high expectations for all students. State education agency (SEA) personnel were so impressed with the module that they decided to embed IRIS resources even further into their statewide professional development activities.

As part of those efforts, the SPDG requires a three-part professional development process targeting all of its new hires: teachers, school administrators, evaluators, and others. After new teachers receive initial awareness training as the first component, they are then responsible for working through a pair of IRIS Modules on classroom behavior management: Classroom Management (Part 1): Learning the Components of a Comprehensive Behavior Management Plan and Classroom Management (Part 2): Developing Your Own Comprehensive Behavior Management Plan. These resources cover some of the causes of negative classroom behaviors, as well as details on how to prevent them by developing effective statements of purpose, rules, procedures, consequences, and action plans, while at the same time acknowledging the role of cultural and linguistic diversity and learning differences. 

Designed with classroom teachers in mind, IRIS Modules deliver information in a way that is approachable while also giving educators detailed information about evidence-based practices. As a result, new hires not only complete the Assessment questions at the end of each module but they must follow the guidelines in the second module to develop their own action plan, which they can use to incorporate the behavioral practices into their classrooms immediately. Each district handles this part of the onboarding process differently, based on their unique needs and staffing configurations.

Finally, as part of the Alabama Continuum for Teacher Development, IRIS Modules are listed among the approved online professional development options that teachers can embed in their Professional Learning Plans (PLP). Each teacher’s PLP identifies professional learning goals that are tied to Alabama Quality Teaching Standard Indicators and focus on improving educator practice.

The IRIS Modules were used to such a large extent among Alabama educators that the AL SPDG Website has become one of the IRIS Center’s largest individual referring sites. Read the next IRIS story to learn where Alabama and IRIS went from there.