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November 2017 - vol. 32 no. 4

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CCBD Call for Nominations for the Executive Committee

Open now through December 1, 2017

CCBD is calling for nominations for four open Executive Committee positions and one elected committee position to begin July 01, 2018. Full descriptions of each office are available on the CCBD website ( and more information can be obtained by contacting Kathleen Lynne Lane (; additional contact info below).

Vice President – 1-year term (2018-2019)

The Vice President is an extremely important role as this person will serve one year before ascending to President Elect, President, and then Past President over 4 consecutive years.

Representative to the CEC Representative Assembly (Representative “A”) – 2-year term (2018-2020)

Representatives to the CEC Representative Assembly provide a crucial link between CCBD and the larger CEC organization, acting as a liaison between the CCBD Executive Committee, CCBD Regional and State Membership, and CEC.


Canadian Member-at-Large – 2-year term (2018-2020)

The Canadian Member-at-large (MAL) represents the interests on the CCBD Executive Committee of CCBD members across Canada, bringing to the discussions and deliberations the perspective and concerns of that group of CCBD members.

Ethnic and Multicultural Member-at-Large – 2-year term (2018-2020)

The Ethnic and Multicultural Member-at-Large (MAL) establishes and maintains a communication network to ensure that persons of diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds have an active voice in CCBD activities and decision-making.

Elections and Nominations Committee Member – 3-year term (2018-2021)

The Elections and Nominations committee members work with the Past President to conduct elections according to the CCBD Constitution and By-Laws.

Nomination and Submission Instructions

Nominators must send a signed letter to the CCBD Nominations and Elections Chair Kathleen Lynne Lane.  This letter must include the nominator's CCBD membership number to validate CCBD membership of the nominator.

Kathleen Lynne Lane, Ph.D., BCBA-D

University of Kansas,

Department of Special Education (SPED)

1122 West Campus Road

JRP Room 542

Lawrence, KS 66045

Individuals nominated by another party must affirm their agreement by a separate letter to the Nominations and Elections Committee Chairperson, and must include the following materials:

Statement from nominee, separate from the nominator’s letter, agreeing to be nominated.

CEC membership number of the nominee, to validate CCBD membership.

Three-part statement that presents, in 1,000 words or fewer, the following:

a. issue(s) relevant for the Council for Children with Behavioral Disorders (may involve students, professionals, or other issues);

b. proposed responses needed to deal with issue(s) identified, and

c. how the nominee, if elected, can work on the CCBD Executive Committee in re­sponding to these issue(s).

Condensed resume or vita (maximum of three pages).
A ballot statement describing nominee’s qualifications, perspectives, and/or goals. This will be included in the ballot verbatim, and length must not exceed 100 words.

A photograph (ideally professional headshot) to be used on the ballot and CCBD social media (website, Facebook, Twitter, Behavior Today newsletter, etc.) Submitting the photograph serves as permission to use the photo in CCBD media.

The deadline for nominations and all supporting material for offices is December 1, 2017 and the election period will begin no later than December 15, 2017 and end no later than January 15, 2018.

The Janus Project: Conversations with Leaders in the Field

 A Conversation with Joe Ryan

 The Janus Project has collected and disseminated the reflections of leaders in education of children with emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD) regarding the past, present, and future of the profession for over a decade. The Midwest Symposium for Leadership in Behavior Disorders (MSLBD) has provided ongoing support for this oral history project. Each of the participants is asked questions about the people and events that have influenced their career, the current state and future of the field, and their advice to those entering the field. Nearly 70 conversations have been collected in video form at the following URL:

Dr. Joe Ryan is the Sue Stanzione Distinguished Professor of special education at Clemson University. He is the founder and Executive Director of Clemson LIFE (Learning is for Everyone), a nationally recognized post-secondary education program for young adults with intellectual disabilities. He has taught students with emotional and behavioral disorders (E/BD) from grades K through 12 across a variety of educational settings. Dr. Ryan has over 70 publications, and currently serves as the editor of the journal Beyond Behavior. Dr. Ryan was interviewed by the Janus Project at the 2015 meeting of the Midwest Symposium for Leadership in Behavior Disorders (MSLBD) in Kansas City, MO.

 * * * * *

 JANUS:  What has had the greatest positive impact on the field at large?

Ryan:  I think the recognition of the mental health component of treating, you can't just provide good academic interventions for kids with an emotional disturbance and expect good outcomes.  You have to address holistically the entire child.  I start a Functional Life program for young adults with intellectual disabilities at our university and one of the first components I included was mental health counseling.  The fact is, if you have great instruction, great work job coaching, everything else, unless you were dealing with mental health issues, you weren't really seeing the progress.  You're always putting out fires.  That's very true with the field of EBD.  A collaborative approach of providing mental health with academic interventions are incredibly important, otherwise, we have huge gaps in services that we provide to our students.

JANUS:  How do you think that mental health component should be handled in a public school?

Ryan:  I think wraparound is a good start there.  I don't think we've mastered the system yet, but I think we're addressing that and I think that’s the first place to start.

JANUS:  What do you see as the future for educating children with emotional behavior disorders?

Ryan:  I would stress the importance of training not just special educators, but general education teachers as well.  If your ultimate goal is inclusion, we really need to train the general education teachers as much as the special educators on effective interventions on how to deal with these challenging behaviors in the classroom.  Again, if they're not responding appropriately many times it can exacerbate the situation that they're seeing in the classrooms.  I think it's really important that we focus on that training as much as training ourselves in special education.

JANUS:  What advice would you offer to those entering the field? 

Ryan:  I think for teachers, the thing I would focus on is developing your skill set.  It's probably the most important thing because as a special educator, you are responsible for so much difficult subject matter content.   I came from the general education background, math and social studies.  What I learned the most when I got my certification was how little I knew in both of those areas.  I have three master's and a PhD and was amazed at how much I didn’t know and needed to know.  I don't think there is any teaching position out there, other than that of emotional disturbance, you need to know so much. If you're teaching self-contained, you're going to be the art teacher, you're going to be the math teacher, your going to be the social studies teacher, and you're going to teach social skills. So become a subject matter expert.

It is so important and critical to continue your development, whether it be through conferences such as MSLBD or CEC, or through practitioner journals, such as Teaching Exceptional Children or Beyond Behavior, increasing your expertise, or going back to school for developing your expertise as much as possible there.  I can't emphasize that enough.  It’s not only the practice of learning what evidence practices are, but going out there and getting the opportunity to practice it.

Have mentors within your school, seeing if you're doing it properly and getting feedback from their experience.  I was always very blessed to get that feedback immediately.  Otherwise, it's like golf.  You can go play golf but you could be a really bad golfer for 23 years.  You really need to take the lessons to learn how to do it properly and then you need to get feedback on where your strengths are and limitations are.  This is one of the reasons that I love this field you’ve got your hands into everything, from subject matters to different behaviors.  There's just so much content out there to learn, it just never stops.

The field changes within ten years, so there's always more to learn.  It's a very engaging, very rewarding profession.  We have the research expertise, I think what we're lacking is impacting policy-makers decisions.  I think what we do is preach to the choir. We have researchers talk to other researchers.  I think where there's a huge gap is in researchers talking to practitioners.  Since I've entered the field, I've heard about this gap between research and practice.  As editor of Behavior Disorders, I've always asked researchers, "What was the last practitioner journal article that you've written?"  In other words, if we're not talking to them, there's going to be that deficit. 

Just as importantly, we're not trained in talking to legislators.  A lot of people, researchers, complain about policy that gets passed and isn't based on evidence-based practices is because we're not communicating to our legislators.  I think that's an area of our deficit that we need to work on tremendously.

* * * * *

The Janus Project wishes to thank Dr. Ryan for his willingness to share and his insightful thoughts.  With his leadership perhaps the gap between research and practice will be lessened.  The complete conversation may be viewed at the following URL:

Future issues of Behavior Today will feature conversations with contemporary leaders in the field of emotional-behavioral disorders.

Dear Miss Kitty:

I teach in an instructional class for students with emotional/behavioral disorders.  Jess, a 5th grader, is in my class and I have found that he responds well to the structure and routine of my classroom.  However he has gotten suspended seven days already because of lunchroom behavior, and it is only November.  I think the lunchroom workers should do a better job of setting limits, but they don’t. There are no rules in the lunchroom and Jess is not the only one getting into trouble.

When I reported it to my building principal, he told me that my paraprofessional and I should have him eat lunch in my room while we eat.  I don’t’ want to do that and neither does my parapro because that’s the only time we have during the day for a break.  I don’t know what to do.


Fed Up in Westown

Dear Fed Up in Westown:

Thanks for writing.  I certainly understand that you and your paraprofessional need some time to yourself at lunch to regroup.  Consider these ideas:

For a short-term solution, can you establish rules for your class for the lunchroom that you expect Jess and the entire class to follow?  You stated that he needs structure and routine and certainly an environment that doesn’t provide that is tough for Jess.  However, there is nothing to keep you from establishing your own rules for how Jess should behave in the lunchroom.  You could then take your classroom to the lunchroom when no other students are there and explain the rules you have established for your class.  Teach the students what you expect of them within the lunchroom.  Explain to the lunchroom supervisors that you want to help.  Then talk to one of the lunchroom supervisors and ask him if he will put a positive comment on a card made for each student if they behave in the lunchroom.   You can then go down to the lunchroom at the end of the period and see how your students did and establish some type of reinforcing activity that each of them can participate in if they received a good report.

You may also want to consider whether you and/or your parapro could randomly go down to the lunchroom for a short period of time during the lunch period to see how your class is doing. Sometimes when students know you might be coming in but are not sure when, it helps them with their behavior.

For a long-term solution, ask your principal if she would be willing to have you conduct a brief training for the lunchroom supervisors about appropriate behavior management and about the importance of having rules. Show your support for the lunchroom supervisors and show your principal that you are willing to assist with the lunchroom behaviors.  Brainstorm with them what they expect from the students.  Talk with your principal about the content of the training you will be doing and ask the principal to sit in on the training.  This may convince the principal that rules are needed for the lunchroom.
I hope these short term and long-term solutions will help with Jess and will help with other students as well, and will provide some relief for the lunchroom supervisors and the building principal.  Remember you are an expert in behavior and they can benefit from your skills and knowledge of behavior management.

Miss Kitty

Spotlight in the Classroom: An Interview with Mr. V

by Calli Lewis Chiu and Mr. V

How long have you been teaching students with EBD?

Since July 2014. I had two years of substitute teaching experience prior to this--some in select special education/ED classrooms.

Why did you decide to work with students with EBD?

Honestly, because this was the only teaching job I could get when I first started applying. I did stay, however, because I love my colleagues and the level of support I am provided. The kids also grew on me a little, I suppose. But, to be serious, I love the challenge and sassiness some of these kids have, and love to see them succeed and know there is someone there that cares, as some students have sad living conditions/no family.

Tell me about the students you work with. How many, age range, etc. 

This year, I have grade levels fifth through seventh with seven students. Usually, I end up with eight to nine students by the end of the school year; some mainstream to less restrictive environments, and sometimes a student may switch classrooms. I have had a couple of students this year I had during the 2014-15 academic year—some for all the years consecutively, and others who had a break from me!

The rate of turnover for teachers of students with EBD is very high. How do you avoid burn out?

I love to hang out with the people I work with outside of work. What better way to avoid burnout than to complain about the annoyances of the job? It creates bonding and helps find unexpected solutions to problems while being socially fun. I love working with people I know well and consider close friends—it makes those miserable days less dreadful because we can give each other “the look” and then smile—somehow that makes it all better. I also try to create close relationships with families and have had some rewarding experiences with one family outside of the school (they have now moved out of state). This also lets me understand what the parents really want and prepares me. It also helps me create an incredible rapport with the student.

Your school serves only students with significant behavioral needs, yet your principal does not have a background in special education. How do you navigate processes and issues that arise that your principal might not necessarily be familiar with?

I have thought about that a few times and questioned some advice I was given. I always use advice and respect my superiors, while questioning respectfully this advice and asking follow up questions. Additionally, I seek help from other teachers, instructional aides, the program specialist, Google (of course), and classic trial-and-error. Most importantly, despite having an administrator with a different background, using common sense and professional judgment should suffice, especially with the more experience you get. After all, it isn’t rocket science to work with students and figure out what they enjoy so you can customize how you teach!

Paraprofessionals receive very little, if any, formal training before entering the classroom which can be quite taxing on the teacher. What is one piece of advice you can give regarding on-the-job training for paraprofessionals in classrooms for students with EBD?

This is one of the hardest parts of the job; kind of like “The Hunger Games” if you happen to be assigned a “challenging” aide, or a new one. I feel the most important thing is to be respectful, patient, and discuss your expectations right away. Also, communicate, communicate, COMMUNICATE when something happens that you did not like. Sit down, take three minutes, and discuss it. I feel that teachers avoid the awkward conversation, but avoidance simply leads down a path of misery.

Some very helpful things I use are (1) assign a weekly schedule with different tasks each aide should do (and, for the love of God, don’t treat them like children; give them meaningful tasks like restroom break person, bus person, lunch person). (2) Teach them! Show them what you want by modeling it or giving examples. (3) Appreciate them. Give them food, tell them thanks, and hang out with them.

I know you asked for one piece of advice…oops. Here is the one piece of advice: communicate with them when they do something you don’t approve of and have a friendly discussion on what should be done in the future.

What do you wish your credential program had taught you more about?

I think the IEP advice needs to be easy, simple, and not a waste of time. Teach about how goals should be made and make it easy. Also, planned ignoring, redirecting and other strategies to help behavior kids—kind of like crisis communication and why a student may be acting that way and what to do about it (Think ProACT). Also, and MOST IMPORTANTLY, how to create FUN, EASY, and ENGAGING lessons by forcing credential candidates to use fun and new ideas and not the same old boring stuff, especially for struggling readers.

How do you keep your students engaged in academic instruction?

Customize. I have learned over the past three years that if something is no good, the kids will let you know in the rudest way. It’s not worth a power struggle or uphill battle. I also like to make the lessons or work related to things they know. Also, there is no need for daily worksheets or boring bookwork. A short discussion about what the students want to talk about is usually a good place to start. Finally, rushing to get things done doesn’t work. If they only get one math problem done in a week, so be it. If it shows improvement behaviorally, I see it as a win. Most importantly: don’t be boring.  



Posted:  1 November, 2017

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