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Behavioral Excellence Coach providing social-emotional support

Looking to improve the social-emotional well-being of students and staff throughout the area, Amber Allenbrandt has hit the ground running as the first-ever Behavioral Excellence Coach for Cayuga-Onondaga BOCES.

After recognizing a substantial increase in the number of students showcasing challenging behaviors – specifically in grades kindergarten through third – districts throughout the region formed a think tank to discuss potential solutions. Collectively, the districts determined there was a regional need to create a behavioral specialist position to help support all local schools.

“The districts didn’t have a lot of support for disruptive and dysregulated students, and it became a lot for them,” said Allenbrandt, who was selected by CO BOCES to fill the position. “The main goal of this position is to reduce the disruptive behaviors that we see and keep these students in school.”

Allenbrandt said it is important to make all students feel safe and comfortable in the school setting but noted that local schools need help in providing unique ways for students to feel comfortable. To help aid in this effort, Allenbrandt said it is critical to embed social-emotional learning for both teachers and students.

“We’ve been looking at a ‘you first’ approach for teachers to identify their own social-emotional well-being, which will in turn help them better identify student needs,” Allenbrandt said.

Allenbrandt said that her duties can be broken down into three categories: coaching and consulting, professional development training, and behavioral data system support. The coaching and consulting assists principals and teachers in discussing, identifying, and helping specific students in reducing and/or replacing disruptive behaviors. Trainings for staff are provided throughout the region and cover topics such as TCIS, the Positivity Project, Social-Emotional Learning, Restorative Practices, and PBIS. Data system support is provide to help districts with creating and implementing plans and procedures used for gathering and analyzing individual student behavioral data.  

While Allenbrandt is still new to the position, she said she is thankful for the support she’s received from the component districts and looks forward to continuing the growth of Social-Emotional Learning throughout the region.

“With this being a new position, the ocean is wide open as to where we can go,” she said. “This is my dream job, and I really feel like I was meant to help others.”