Supporting Student Success with CPI Training at Braun Educational Center in Illinois

February 7, 2024

It can be challenging for education staff to know how to best support student success and well-being, especially for those who live with severe social and emotional disabilities. Staff at Braun Educational Center, a therapeutic day school in Illinois, were doing their best to support their students, but different training was needed.

Kristine Jones, principal at Braun Educational Center, shared, “The system we were using was very rigid. There was a specific procedure; there was a specific language. It did not allow for a lot of flexibility in situations.”

Oftentimes, situations and behaviours the staff experienced went beyond their current training.

Kristine knew that staff could benefit from additional training. And when the Illinois State Board of Education updated their guidelines, she began researching options.

Ultimately, Kristine sought out CPI for her organization to support what were considered “severe behaviours.”

With CPI training, staff and students experienced real, positive change:

  • 100% reduction in seclusion
  • 47% decrease in student incidents
  • 90% increase in staff retention

We will explore how CPI training helped staff at Braun achieve these results and look at how you can do the same at your school or district.

CPI Training Supported a Consistent and Predictable Approach

One of the major challenges the Braun staff experienced was that their existing training did not allow for much flexibility. However, CPI's adaptable training caught Kristine’s attention.

“I think flexibility is essential in working with students who have dysregulation and significant behaviours. I like that CPI is principle-based. It gives you a multitude of tools to use in various situations.”

Kristine chose to have all her staff trained in CPI’s proactive de-escalation skills. “We want to make sure that people are prepared for all situations that could possibly arise,” she shared.

As a result of providing all staff with the same level of training, students at Braun now know how they will be supported when they become dysregulated. This has had a positive impact on both the success and well-being of students at Braun.

“The de-escalation training affects the students because it’s predictable and routine,” Kristine explained.” All the staff are using the same language, doing the same things. Specifically for students who have significant trauma or can be distrusting of adults—to know the approach in which they are going to be directed is comforting and helpful.”

With this new approach, Kristine shared, “We have completely eliminated the use of seclusion.”

Providing consistent, predictable care to students has had another benefit: improved connections between staff and students.

CPI Training Improved Student-Teacher Relationships

Before CPI training was integrated, Braun staff had minimal guidance for how to support the needs of their students and proactively de-escalate challenging situations. But now, the number of student data records has drastically reduced.

“Decreasing that behaviour with more of those verbal de-escalation techniques has led to students being less harmful to staff,” Kristine explained.

These types of changes come from the staff’s dedication to learning and employing CPI techniques. Now, staff are equipped to proactively de-escalate situations and maintain positive relationships with their students.

“We focus a lot on Tension Reduction and in re-establishing the Therapeutic Rapport, because we really want to keep those relationships with students in order to continue to support them through their academic year.”

That’s not all. Staff at Braun regularly participate in refresher courses on CPI topics such as verbal de-escalation, rational detachment, and precipitating factors. “It’s an ongoing training for us,” expressed Kristine. “It’s not just a one and done.”

Providing CPI’s de-escalation toolkit to all staff has also improved teacher safety and morale. Having these skills allows them to feel more confident and comfortable in and out of the classroom.

“It has helped staff to feel a camaraderie that we all have the same training and the same skills to support each other as well as for our students in crisis. I feel that it has really brought the staff together to be extremely supportive of students and each other.”

The boost in staff morale and safety has led to another benefit for students at Braun: higher staff retention.

CPI Training Increased Staff Retention

Staff retention is another key to creating a positive cycle that supports student success and well-being. Kristine explained, “If [students] have a positive relationship with adults, they are going to have that connection. And then, when you need to verbally de-escalate, they’re more likely to respond to that person.”

With CPI training, Kristine and the staff at Braun have seen this goal take shape. “CPI has helped me drastically maintain the staff that I have. In a typical therapeutic day school, you have a high level of turnover. I’ve been able to keep and maintain my staff at a high percentage, like 90%. I’m very proud of the work we’ve been able to do.”

As more staff stay on board and work with students at Braun, these positive relationships flourish. “Relationships are really what people thrive on,” said Kristine. “We’ve seen that obviously post-pandemic. The relationships that people had were the most important thing. And that builds on the idea of staff retention.”

By incorporating the skills taught in CPI training, staff have created a sustainable culture of safety.

“When you’re in an environment where you feel safe and the students feel safe, everyone’s able to be more successful academically, socially, and emotionally.”

The success seen at Braun Educational Center is an inspiration to any school or district looking for a better way to support student success and well-being and improve staff retention.

Customer Success Story: Braun Educational Center—Illinois

Get a quick look at how CPI training supported real change for staff and student well-being at Braun Educational Center.

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Kristine Jones

Kristine Jones has been the Principal of Braun Educational Center for 11 years. Prior to being a principal, Kristine was a teacher at Braun for 9 years. Braun is the therapeutic day school part of the Southwest Cook County Cooperative Association for Special Education. Braun is located in the South Suburbs of Chicago in Cook County.

Kristine earned her undergraduate degree in Special Education from Illinois State University, has graduate degrees from Saint Xavier University in Teaching and Leadership and Educational Administration and Supervision, and her Director of Special Education Endorsement from Governors State University. Braun has been recognized by PBIS at the Gold and Platinum levels and is implementing interventions at all three tiers. behaviour management and positive behavioural strategies are embedded into the Braun program. Kristine has been a CPI trainer since 2020.

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