CSKT Tribal Social Services awarded $100,000 grant to help children behavior
By Lailani Upham
PABLO — The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal Social
Services Department was recently awarded a $100,000 grant from the
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services to help in preventing
aggressive and disruptive behavior and steering guidance to appropriate
on-task behaviors in young children throughout the reservation-wide
The $11 million award from SAMHSA covers a total of 22 new
grants to school systems across the nation to be used over the next
five years. This effort is a part of SAMHSA's strategic initiative on
the prevention of substance abuse and mental illness designed to help
promote emotional health, as well as prevent and delay the onset of
mental illness and substance abuse, according to SAMHSA officials.
According to SAMHSA research, just over 2.8 million young
people aged 12-17 (11.8 percent of this population) received treatment
or counseling for problems with behavior or emotions in educational
settings. SAMHSA records indicate that early identification of
behavioral health problems can prevent the development of more
complicated and costly mental and substance use disorders.
According to Judy Gobert, Ph. D, CSKT Tribal Social Services
Program Manager, the training for the program is available to
elementary teachers, grades one through five within the reservation
boundary. The training is also for coaches, administrators, health
personnel, counselors, and curriculum specialists.
The grant program, "Implementing Evidence-Based Prevention
Programs in Schools," specifically calls on elementary schools to
implement the Good Behavior Game, a classroom behavioral management
strategy that has been shown to be successful in children in first and
second grade. "The Good Behavior Game" when implemented in the
classroom, divides students into teams and their teachers encourage
positive reinforcements to inspire good behavior.
"It's entirely up to the school and the district how much or
how little they want to participate. We are here to provide the
resources needed but not to impose anything on anyone," Dr. Gobert
Paula Shock, second grade teacher at St. Ignatius Elementary
said the competition gives the children a purpose to work on good
behavior and that the game is very effective. Shock said depending on
the task at hand the game might run from one minute up to 20 minutes at
"Preventing substance abuse and mental disorders requires
multiple and consistent interventions by all systems that touch
children and youth," said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde, J.D.
"The Good Behavior Game can help schools meet the social, emotional,
and behavioral health needs of students along with promoting their
According to SAMHSA, research shows that children with
behavioral problems, whose teachers used this strategy in the
classroom, were much more successful than their counterparts in several
areas including improved academic achievement, reduced illicit drug
use, and reduced antisocial behaviors.
Shock said she has seen a big difference in impulsive behavior
in some of her students within the month that she has been implementing
the "game" in the classroom.
The Good Behavior Game's approach rewards children for
displaying appropriate on-task behaviors during instructional times.
Shock says that the terminologies they use for the "game" are words
that are specific individually to each classroom. For example, in
Shock's classroom the positive reinforcement is called "pax,"
representing "peace, harmony and appropriate." The opposite behavior is
called a "spleen," something that takes away from learning, such as
disruptions of tapping a pencil, making noises, rolling on the floor
and so on.
In the "game" the class is divided in teams and a point is
given to a team for any appropriate behavior displayed by one of the
members. The team with the fewest number of points at the game's
conclusion each day wins a group reward. In Shock's classroom the
prizes are called "granny's wacky prize" can, where the students draw
out an item. "It can be easy, simple things such as little itty bitty
interruptions like rolling on the floor for 30 seconds or bouncing on a
chair or tapping a pencil," she explained. "Spleen" prizes are very
effective and strategic, according to SAMHSA research.
The actual process of the Good Behavior Game is relatively simple that includes five steps.
First, deciding when to schedule the game; second, define the
negative behaviors that will be scored during the game; third, decide
on suitable daily or weekly rewards for teams; fourth, introduce the
game to the class; lastly, put it into effect.
According to SAMHSA research, proven results of the "game" has
shown 50 to 90 percent reduction in disruptive or disorderly behaviors
in classrooms, hallways and other public spaces; and 30 to 60 percent
reduction of referrals, suspensions or expulsions. Results also include
20 to 50 percent increase in children being fully engaged in learning.
Arch General Psychiatry data from 2005, found that half of all
lifetime cases of mental and substance abuse disorders begin by age 14
and three-fourths by the age of 24.
"The game allows more time in the classroom and engages kids in
learning," Dr. Gobert said. The research-based behavior management
model not only increases academics and decreases disruptions in young
children, but it's simple, effective and best of all fun, Dr. Gobert
For more information on The Good Behavior Game program, please
call Tribal Social Service Program Manager, Judy Gobert at (406)
675-2700, ext. 1321; or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.