Intensive Behavior Support Program


Sometimes students struggle and need more support than their peers. The bottom line is kids do well if they can and if they aren’t doing well then it is the responsibility of all the “caregivers” in that student’s life to collaboratively figure out what is getting in the way of the student doing well and problem solve WITH the student to address the lagging skills that are contributing to their struggles. While this happens across all schools in Carmel on a daily basis there are times when more support is necessary and needed to help a student reach their potential. That is where the Intense Behavior Support Program comes in. 


The Intense Behavior Support Programs of Carmel Clay Schools are housed in 5 of the 15 buildings, Prairie Trace Elementary, College Wood Elementary, Mohawk Trails Elementary, Carmel Middle School and Carmel High School. Our programs are designed to provide a greater amount of support and services than a student’s homeschool. Low student to staff ratio, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker that meets with students once a week, a different physical structure, and staff highly trained in the district’s Integrated Approach all combine to give students a safe environment to work on the skills and strategies needed to be successful in the general education environment and in life.


The district program is staffed with 10 certified teachers, 2 licensed clinical social workers and a large number of instructional assistants who are committed to helping all students reach their potential. To this end the staff meet regularly for professional development and collaboration and have developed the following mission statement: 


Our passion is to recognize the worth of each individual and empower all to understand challenging behaviors and emotions so everyone can flourish.


We do this through providing:

-each individual a voice

-a safe and supportive community

-structure and predictability while being flexible

-skill building in social emotional learning


Carmel’s Integrated Approach seamlessly combines Collaborative and Proactive Solutions (the work of Dr. Ross Greene), Evidenced Based Practices for Autism, the expectation setting and verbal de-escalation strategies of Nonviolent Crisis Intervention and the principles of Trauma Informed Schools with the student directly in the center of all efforts. This approach within the Intense Behavior Support Programs provide students with the structure, strategies and skills necessary for success. The graphic on the next page is representative of the approach.



How a student gains access to the program:

It's hard when students struggle. Hard on parents, hard on staff who work with the student and hardest on the student who just wants to do well but can’t find his or her way in getting there. As staff in the neighborhood school continue to help a student self-monitor their behavior and teach lagging skills they may notice that the intensity, frequency and duration of challenging behaviors is not decreasing and sometimes they find it is actually increasing. This is the first signal that more support may be necessary. Sometimes students who struggle find that their best and only option is try to escape the situation by fleeing the classroom or building, and often students who are struggling become physically aggressive. These are also signals to the neighborhood school that a different type of structure or support may be needed. In most cases at this point the neighborhood school asks for support and/or consultation from a member of the Carmel Clay  Behavior Support Team. This team of seven work in all buildings coaching, modeling and problem solving with staff and the struggling student. The next signal that more support may be needed is when the interventions developed by the neighborhood school and Behavior Team are not reducing some of the challenging behaviors and struggles of the student. As the picture becomes clearer a teacher of record or administrator from a neighborhood school may suggest to a parent that there is a more supportive environment and take them on a tour of one of the four programs. While all staff in neighborhood schools are trained in the Integrated Approach, the Intense Behavior Support Programs offer a staff that have a higher level of expertise in working with struggling students and their parents as this is what they do all day every day. The goal is always to build the skills and strengths of the student in order for them to return to their neighborhood school. The Behavior Support Programs have the ability to do that in a way that can reduce many of the global frustrations a student faces daily in their neighborhood school, leaving space to gain the skills necessary for success in all environments. All final decisions about a student’s placement are collaborative and within the confines of a case conference committee.