Case Study: Wauwatosa School District

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Case Study [PDF]


The Wauwatosa School District aimed to decrease disciplinary issues in its schools, increase behavioral and academic achievement, and create a more positive school climate.


Emilie O’Connor, PBIS coach for the district, integrated CPI’s Nonviolent Crisis Intervention® training into the district’s PBIS plan. By the end of the 2012 school year, she had staff at all 13 schools trained in both PBIS and CPI.


Since integrating CPI training with PBIS, the district has seen a significant decrease in major office referrals.

Key results include:
  • A 25% decrease (approximate) in office-managed referrals for one high school in the district.
  • Up to a 2% decrease in students needing higher level intense supports at secondary schools.
  • 85–90% of students in every school needing only Tier 1 supports (as opposed to problem-solving or individual supports).
  • Hundreds of staff hours regained.

Additionally, staff meetings focus more on problem-solving issues, with more effective agendas and greater efficiency.

And the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction singled out four of the district’s schools as “Schools of Distinction” and two as “Schools of Merit.”

With CPI training and PBIS firmly in place, “Our culture has gotten even stronger as we’ve reframed how we address issues,” O’Connor says.

Learn more in Building a Better Behavioral Framework by Emilie O'Connor and Becky Benishek.
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About the Author

“Every individual on this earth deserves to be treated with compassion, understanding, and the right to keep their dignity intact. This can be difficult to honor at times when someone loses control of their behavior, but that’s where Rational Detachment and not taking it personally really kicks in. What has helped me be able to do this well goes back to the first day I was introduced to Nonviolent Crisis Intervention® training. I was a participant before becoming a Certified Instructor (and before working for CPI), and over the years I have had so many opportunities to use what I learned way back then. Today, I live the skills automatically. It’s an honor to have been given those skills to live the philosophy of treating others the way I want to be treated.”