Educating diverse students in today’s schools is an ever-increasing challenge. General education teachers in Cyprus face an increasingly diverse student body to teach. When students exhibit chronic reading and behavioural problems, the tendency is to react by initiating referrals for special education and applying stringent measures for disruptive behaviours. Soon enough, students enter a snowballing path of academic disengagement, low academic achievement, and thus they face school failure, and early school leaving. Recently, emphasis has shifted towards creating schools as positive learning communities by promoting a constellation of evidence-based interventions and processes for achieving an inclusive social culture for all children. This project aims at developing a systems-change paradigm to promote positive, safe and inclusive school environments and enhance collaborative partnerships with local communities. The proposed paradigm will consist of a three-tiered prevention school model, which will include primary instruction to avert the onset of behavioural problems, secondary prevention strategies that address small groups of students who need additional support to successfully acquire new reading and behavioural skills, and tertiary prevention that focuses on more intense explicit instruction for students who despite previous instruction efforts experience chronic behavioural and reading problems. The interventions will be strengths-based, culturally competent, family-focused, and easily maintained once project support will be removed. For this purpose, the fellow will receive rigorous comprehensive training in research-established sustainable three-tiered preventative school frameworks, develop a preventative paradigm for elementary schools of Cyprus and pilot test it there. Expected outcomes will be: the cultural adaptation of the three-tiered prevention school model with a plethora of dissemination products and outreach activities.
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