The Positive Behavior Management Model is a consequence driven approach that emphasizes accountability, responsible decision making, and prosocial behavior.  It parallels real world practices by teaching students that there is a consequence for every action.  Our faculty target positive student behaviors, identifying how such behavior helps them transition toward success.  Positive reinforcement is frequently used to support students practicing prosocial behaviors.  All DHA staff receive ongoing training in Positive Behavior Management techniques and approaches.  Our interventions are developmentally sensitive, recognizing effective approaches for each age group.
When students exhibit negative or inappropriate behavior, negative consequences are applied.  Our model does not punish nor shame students.  We encourage students to not make it personal when we set limits and apply consequences.  We explain to students that it is our job is to teach them responsible ways of handling various academic and relational situations and stressors.  We teach students that mistakes can offer valuable learning experiences.

Desert Dollars: 

Desert Dollars are an important part to our positive reinforcement model. When students demonstrate positive and appropriate behaviors, they are awarded Desert Dollars.  Some of the more common behaviors include: 
  • Self control (physical and verbal)
  • Using positive words
  • Respect towards peers and staff
  • On task behavior and work completion
  • Cooperative behavior in the class
  • Encouragement towards fellow classmates
  • Behaviors that reflect student is following school rules
Students can redeem their Desert Dollars in our school store.  The store has a diverse assortment of treats, toys, books and other ‘cool stuff’ that makes earning Desert Dollars a rewarding experience. Consistent with our focus on transitioning students toward success, DHA students operate the school store, learning how to inventory, manage the store budget, handle ‘money,’ and customer relations.

Consequence Driven Approach

Consequences are routinely used to provide feedback to students regarding their behavior.  Focus is placed upon positive consequences.  In addition to awarding Desert Dollars, staff also offer other positive consequences such as:
  • Class rewards for task completion
  • Recreational and education fieldtrips, e.g., movie theatre, zoo, museum
  • Trips to the park
  • Honor Roll breakfast
  • School Barbeques
  • Free computer time
  • Teaching assistantship
  • Mentorship
  • On site jobs (students are paid cash for their work)
  • Off site employment / vocational school
  • Parent / student luncheon
In addition to receiving positive consequences for positive behavior, students receive negative consequences for inappropriate behavior.  Some of the common negative consequences include:
  • Referral to the Behavior Intervention Program (BIP)
  • Loss of privileges (e.g., class rewards, field trips)
  • Paying restitution to others
  • Physical management in the case the student becomes unsafe

Behavior Improvement Program (BIP):

The Behavior Improvement Program, also known as BIP, offers a highly structured classroom setting for students who demonstrate inappropriate behavior in their regular class.  Referring the student to BIP serves two purposes:  1) It is a clear intervention that helps the student comprehend that their behavior was maladaptive / inappropriate; and 2) It provides an opportunity for the student to think about their mistake and identify ways they can practice healthier and more prosocial behaviors. The BIP is our most restrictive learning environment on our campus.  When referred, students receive fines that they need to work off while in the BIP room.  The more inappropriate and maladaptive the behavior, the greater the fine.  While in BIP, students are expected to sit quietly and complete their coping skills worksheets as well any school work.  Coping skills worksheets are provided to help students accept accountability for their behavior and identify positive alternatives for coping with the situation the led to their BIP referral.  Students remain in the BIP room until they work off their fines.  Clinicians are also available to meet with students in the BIP to facilitate coping skill development. The BIP serves as an intervention to help students learn about their decision making and behavior.  Referrals serve the purpose of helping students learn other behaviors to help them in the transition towards success.

Alternative to Suspension:

The BIP program offers school districts a constructive alternative to suspension.  Students spend the entire day in our BIP room.  Daily progress is reported to the referring school district to ensure that the student is using the BIP placement in a helpful manner.  The daily progress sheets are sent to the referring school district at the end of each school day.  Prior to the student returning to their home school, clinical staff work with the student to devise a reunification plan, outlining the necessary strategies and coping skills to better manage stressful events in their home school environment.  A copy of this reunification plan is sent over the referring school district.