Course #20 Behavior Code


Friday- March 10, 2017

Course #20 – The Behavior Code: Understanding and Teaching the Most Challenging Students

by Nancy Rappaport, MD, Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School

About the Speaker

HiResNancyNancy Rappaport, MD, is Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. She is Attending Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist at Harvard teaching affiliate Cambridge Health Alliance, where she is also Director of School-Based Programs with a focus on servicing youths, families and staff in public schools. Her research, teaching, and clinical expertise focus on the collaboration between education and psychiatry. Nancy recently received Cambridge Health Alliance’s 2013 Art of Healing Award. She is the author of In Her Wake: A Child Psychiatrist Explores the Mystery of Her Mother’s Suicide (Basic Books, September 2009) and The Behavior Code: A Practical Guide to Understanding and Teaching the Most Challenging Students (Harvard Education Press, April 2012), written with behavioral analyst Jessica Minahan. Dr. Rappaport has designed numerous courses for teachers on psychopharmacology, adolescent development, and instructional strategies for disruptive students. She has worked at the national level with the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. With several publications in peer-reviewed journals and multiple invited presentations, she is often called upon for her expertise at both the local and national level. She received the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry’s Sidney Berman Award for the School-Based Study and Treatment of Learning Disorders and Mental IIlness in 2012.  Disclosure: Financial- Dr. Rappaport receives compensation from the Department of Psychiatry, Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Cambridge Health Alliance and she receives royalties from Harvard Education Press for her publication. Nonfinancial-There are no nonfinancial relationships to disclose.

Target Audience (who should attend): General Education Teachers, Special Education Teachers, Resource Room Teachers, Title 1 Teachers, School Psychologists, School Counselors, Principals, Administrators, Social Workers, Behavior Specialists and Professional Assistants

Target Age Range: Kindergarten through 10th Grade

Course Description: This interactive course will teach participants about classroom interventions for students who have anxiety or oppositional behavior and may be explosive. The morning’s presentation will introduce participants to the FAIR Plan method of understanding and improving behavior in challenging students, which looks at the function of the behavior, accommodations, interventions, and response to the behavior. The impact of trauma will also be addressed, and many tools and concrete strategies will be introduced. In the afternoon, an overview of key psychopharmacology information for educators will be presented, as well as a discussion of resilience and how to care for ourselves when working with challenging students.  In addition to these detailed presentations, the presenter will use case studies to allow participants to work in groups throughout the day to gain hands-on experience examining a case study including an existing behavior plan and creating an improved plan focusing on preventive strategies, such as antecedent management, self-monitoring, and alternative responses. Handouts will cover behavior data collection, alternative strategies, self-monitoring sheets, and recommendations for important components of IEPs for these students. Participants will also be able to discuss their own students who may be struggling in school and possible interventions. This workshop will provide the information, skills, and concrete strategies that educators need to truly make a difference for these students.

What You Will Learn

Course Objectives- Participants will be able to:

  • Describe why traditional behavior plans of reward and consequences often do not work for students with challenging behavior such as anxiety and oppositional behavior
  • Emphasize approaches that enhance relationships with students with challenging behavior as a life-saving connection and address underlying skill deficits.
  • List the elements of a FAIR behavior plan
  • Collaborate with parents and educators to offer concrete suggestions to help these students
  • Summarize basic information on psychopharmacology that educators can use to better understand their students
  • Name key factors to maintaining one’s resilience when working with challenging students


8:00-9:00               Introductions, overview, and group work with case studies
9:00-10:00             Understanding and teaching the most challenging students
10:00-10:15           Break
10:15-11:00           Understanding and teaching the most challenging students-continued
11:00-12:00           Patient video, continued group work with case studies
12:00-1:00             Lunch- On your own
1:00-2:00               The meaning of medication: psychopharmacology for educators
2:00-2:45               Final session of group work with case studies
2:45-3:00               Break
3:00-4:00               Resilience
4:00                       Complete Program Evaluations