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Community-Based Research E-Publication


Supporting After-School Program Teachers

The Department of Special Education at San Francisco State University conducted a pilot study in collaboration with the Mission Learning Center (MLC), which provides after-school literacy programs for students who are reading below grade level (kindergarten-grade five). The MLC program was housed at a school where 71 % of students received free or reduced lunch (an index of family poverty), and 44% were English Learners (linguistic minority students not yet proficient in English) in an ethnically diverse student body.

Assisted by faculty researchers who facilitated workshops, MLC program teachers, aides, and directors identified challenging classroom behaviors that impeded student learning, and then developed program expectations and procedures for supporting positive behavior. Based on classroom observations before and after the workshops, MLC staff demonstrated a marked improvement in use of positive behavior supports. Notably, such positive behavior corrections as redirecting a student to an appropriate activity or behavior increased from 31% to 63%. In contrast, such negative behavior corrections as telling a student to stop or saying “no” without clear redirection decreased from 56% to 30%. This result is very promising, because positive behavior corrections teach students new skills that affect longer-term change, while negative behavior corrections merely reduce a challenging behavior for that incidence.

This project confirmed that facilitated workshops are useful in the context of limited professional development because program staff take ownership of the process. As a result, the same process is being applied to other, more complex collaborative projects.

Alexis Filippini, Special Education
San Francisco State University

Key words: literacy, after school programs, teacher education

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Last Updated: May 06, 2016