University of Vermont

The Center on Disability and Community Inclusion (CDCI)

BEST: Building Effective Support For Teaching Students With Behavioral Challenges

BEST/MTSS Summer Institute 2015

Keynote Presentations


What is School Climate and How Do We Improve It?

Catherine Bradshaw

This session will provide an overview of school climate, including information on how it is measured and why it is important for students, educators, and parents. We will discuss strategies for improving school climate, such as through the use of positive behavior support and social-emotional learning programs. A framework for engaging culturally diverse learners will also be presented. This session will conclude by highlighting some lessons learned from scaling-up school climate promotion efforts in Maryland.

Powerpoint Presentation


Catherine P. Bradshaw, PhDCatherine P. Bradshaw, PhD, is a developmental psychologist and youth violence prevention researcher. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mental Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and has a joint appointment in the Johns Hopkins School of Education. She is the Deputy Director of the Johns Hopkins Center for the Prevention of Youth Violence and the Co-Director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Prevention and Early Intervention. She holds a doctorate in developmental psychology from Cornell University and a master’s in counseling and guidance from the University of Georgia. Her primary research interests focus on the development of aggressive behavior and school-based prevention. She collaborates on research projects examining bullying and school climate; the development of aggressive and problem behaviors; effects of exposure to violence, peer victimization, and environmental stress on children; and the design, evaluation, and implementation of evidence-based prevention programs in schools. She presently collaborates on federally supported randomized trials of school-based prevention programs, including Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) and social-emotional learning curricula. Dr. Bradshaw also works with the Maryland State Department of Education and several school districts to support the development and implementation of programs and policies to prevent bullying and school violence, and to foster safe and supportive learning environments. She received a career development award from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for her research on the use of evidence-based violence prevention programs in schools and collaborates on federally-funded research grants supported by the NIMH, NIDA, CDC, and the Institute of Education Sciences. She is anĀ Associate Editor for the Journal of Research on Adolescence.



The Glass Ain’t Half-Full, Heck it’s Overflowing!

Charlie Appelstein

Strength-based practice is an emerging approach to guiding children, youth, and families that is exceptionally positive and inspiring. Its focus is on strength-building rather than flaw-fixing. It begins with the belief that every young person has or can develop strengths and utilize past successes to mitigate problem behavior and enhance academic and social functioning. This keynote presentation will introduce some of the key principles and techniques of this transforming perspective and approach.

Powerpoint Presentation


Charlie AppelsteinCharlie Appelstein, M.S.W. is a nationally prominent youth care specialist and author whose primary focus is on teaching positive, strength-based theories and techniques to professionals who guide at-risk children and youth. President of Appelstein Training Resources, LLC, Charlie trains and consults throughout the United States as well as internationally, with treatment facilities, foster care associations, parent groups, schools, and juvenile justice programs. He has authored three youth care books that are widely used within the field, including No Such Thing as a Bad Kid: Understanding and Responding to the Challenging Behavior of Troubled Children and Youth. Charlie lives in southern new Hampshire with his wife and teenage daughter.



School Climate: Positive Behavior Support, MTSS, and Academic Achievement

George Sugai

School climate has become increasingly important in schools generally and in schoolwide
positive behavior support specifically. The purpose of this presentation is to discuss how school climate relates to SWPBS and academic achievement, and how positive school climate might be conceptualized and achieved.

MTSS School Climate (pptx)

School Climate: Positive Behavior Support, MTSS, and Academic Achievement (pdf)


Charlie AppelsteinGeorge Sugai is Professor and Carole J. Neag Endowed Chair in the Neag School of Education at the University of Connecticut. His professional interests include effective classroom and behavior management practices, school-wide discipline, social skills instruction, and positive behavior supports. He has been a classroom teacher, program director, and camp counselor. Currently, he is co-director of the OSEP Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports ( and director of the UConn Center on Behavioral Education and Research (










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