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About this Professional Learning Series

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About this Professional Learning Series

This series was designed to assist adults in the development of adaptive mindsets, foundational strategies, and system features to support day-to-day interactions across educational environments between adults and students who receive special education services through an Individualized Education Program (IEP). This series is intended to provide adults with a critical thinking framework that can be used in everyday practice to create optimal environments and relationships for and with students. In particular, this series was developed to address the needs of students with IEPs who have shown significant behaviors that interfere with their learning or the learning of others. “Significant” in this context means that a student’s observed behavior has led to disciplinary or other punitive responses from school personnel, such as classroom removals, suspensions, or other outcomes. These responses reduce opportunities for the student to access, engage, and make progress in age- or grade-level general education instruction, environments, and activities, as well as being seen as a valued, contributing member of the school community.

This series uses the term “adults'' throughout to indicate that it is the responsibility of adults, not students, to individually and collectively develop the knowledge, skills, and systems to effectively address behaviors that interfere with a student’s learning. Collective responsibility involves all adults, including but not limited to general and special education teachers, related service providers, paraprofessionals, principals, other school staff, parents, and family members, as well as those supporting students in collaboration with the school system.

Although this series can assist with supporting the needs of students without IEPs, such as students with 504 plans or receiving other services through an equitable multi-level system of support, this content was developed to align with federal and state special education requirements. Some requirements include the use of positive behavioral interventions and supports when a student’s behavior impedes their own learning or the learning of others, considering the use of assistive technology to support social and emotional skill development, identifying unique and individual disability-related needs regardless of the disability category a student was identified, monitoring progress of IEP goals to ensure special education services are relevant and appropriate, and other special education requirements.

Connections to State and National Educational Frameworks

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction is committed to educational equity. Educational equity means that every student has access to the resources and educational rigor they need at the right moment in their education, across race, gender, ethnicity, language, ability, sexual orientation, family background, and/or family income. The strategies and practices described in this series focus on inclusive practices across all educational environments to provide equitable opportunities for students to engage and make progress in age or grade level curriculum, instruction, environments, and activities.

Connections to Special Education Frameworks and Requirements

The strategies and practices discussed in this series complement Wisconsin DPI and national special education frameworks and requirements including Wisconsin College and Career Ready (CCR) IEP Five Beliefs, Five Step Process, Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA), Research to Practice Inclusive Communities (RPIC) Project, Inclusive Learning Communities (ILC) Practice Profile, and Comprehensive Special Education Evaluation.


The content of the series also aligns with the High Leverage Practices in Special Education, developed by the Council for Exceptional Children and CEEDAR Center, and the Division for Early Childhood Recommended Practices. It aligns with United States Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs guidance on Ensuring Equity and Providing Behavioral Supports to Students with Disabilities as well as Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requirements to provide positive behavioral interventions and supports to students who receive special education services through an Individualized Education Program (IEP).


This department's guidance on Inclusive Strategies to Address Behavioral Needs for Students with IEPs was revised in August 2021 to align with the most current state and national special education requirements, guidance, and technical assistance resources. This series replaces, and portions of this resource were developed from “Scaffolding Behavior for Student Success, Alternatives to Seclusion and Restraint,” copyright 2010 by Wisconsin DPI.

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction does not discriminate on the basis of sex, race, color, religion, creed, age, national origin, ancestry, pregnancy, marital status or parental status, sexual orientation, or ability and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts of America and other designated youth groups.