The Best of Both Worlds: Elementary Student Assistance Meets RtII

woman standing in front of large cardboard print out of Bellefonte SD's ESAP meets RtI plan
  • Bellefonte Elementary School

    IU10 - Central Intermediate Unit (CIU)
    Bellefonte Area SD
    318 North Allegheny Street
    Bellefonte, PA 16823

  • Success Story Contact

    Dr. Gina MacFalls
    Phone: 814-355-4814
    School Website:

  • BSE/PaTTAN’s Role in Success:

Students who needed more intensive mental health services had to travel out of the school district to a neighboring district, removing them from their peers.

Bellefonte Elementary School’s students who required more intensive mental health services had to travel to a neighboring school district for programs. The facility where they received those services did not facilitate a smooth transition back to public school.Several positive components existed at Bellefonte Area School District to address the challenging and diverse needs of students in need of mental health services; however, an established “model” did not exist. The school’s configuration could best be described as fragmented and in need of a clearly articulated program. To begin, gaps in services existed with regard to the implementation of universal preventions for all students. Research based social skills and anti-bullying programs were implemented on a regular basis at the elementary level but could be expanded while providing clear objectives for the students accessing the services.The development of the school based mental health program uses the Response to Instruction and Interventions (RtII) framework as well as the Elementary Student Assistance Program (ESAP) philosophy of prevention and intervention.

Bellefonte enlisted the help of Central Intermediate Unit 10 and PaTTAN consultants, as well as staff from the Meadows Psychiatric Center, to assist with training a core team of professionals in School-wide Positive Behavior Support (SWPBS). The team believed that to implement SWPBS effectively, that a five-year timeline and an action plan would need to be developed. The team committed to five days of initial training and development, including: goal setting, setting SWPBS expectations/rules and implementation of a data collection system for student behaviors.Currently, the team continues to work through its training and action plan. A matrix of behavior expectations by students, for all areas of the school (i.e. hallway, playground, classroom), has been developed. And, “Cool Tools” include the Behavior Support Lesson Plan, which provides students, teachers and administrators with achievable guidelines for behavior. Expectations for student behavior are to “Be Here, Be Ready” and these are expected of all students.Several students have been transitioned back into Bellefonte Elementary School because their overall behavior incentives have been met. The success of the program at the elementary level has prompted plans to expand the program to the Middle School during the 2009-2010 school year.Congratulations on the success with the SWPBS program at Bellefonte!