Five strategies you can implement this month to decrease classroom disruptions and staff burnout at your school. 

If you’re like sixty percent of educators surveyed on a recent poll on LinkedIn, you don’t know what it is about February, but you can agree it is one of the most brutal months of the school year. Student behaviors tend to rise while educators’ stamina wanes. Equity Associates’ “What is it about February?” series continues as we look at five research-based strategies educators can implement to decrease classroom disruptions and staff burnout during this challenging month. 


1. Use a Multi Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) School Self Assessment to target next steps for improving student behavior outcomes.

Teachers cite behavior disruptions as the number one cause of emotional exhaustion and burnout. Student behavior disruptions can be an undetected product of anxiety and depression. 

Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS), a framework that helps educators provide both tiered academic and behavioral support, can help ensure students get the targeted support they need. A robust Multi-Tiered System of Support should encompass a continuum of school-based mental health programming, including the following areas: universal mental health screening, tiered support, evidence-based practice implementation, mental health practitioner staffing and accessibility, community resource integration, funding support, and sustainability, and critical data monitoring systems.

Quality implementation of MTSS is associated with an increased likelihood of diminishing problematic behaviors. Thus, schools need to monitor not only student outcomes but also the successful implementation of their system. MTSS self-assessments can help teams target the next steps for improving student behavior and help identify support areas for students struggling with anxiety and depression. 

Are you finding the immediate response associated with increased classroom disruptions leaves your team overtaxed with competing demands and no time to assess your MTSS framework to determine your access points for improvement?

Schedule a no-risk, free consultation today, and learn how Equity Associates can conduct an MTSS diagnostic assessment with your team. Robust MTSS systems will yield decreased classroom disruptions, and partnering with us to complete this work will alleviate an already exacerbated workload for your staff this month.


2. Conduct universal mental health screeners to quickly flag students who are struggling with anxiety and depression.

Even as the prevalence of anxiety and depression rises among youth, schools may not even be aware that their students involved in frequent classroom disruptions are struggling with anxiety and depression. One in six children experiences a mental health disorder yearly, yet less than half receive any treatment. 

School-based universal mental health screeners provide essential information about students’ emotional and behavioral health and school-level functioning. They are an integral component of an MTSS framework. Universal mental health screeners quickly flag students struggling with anxiety and depression and allow your school to respond accordingly with evidence-based interventions. When proactive, universal strategies are in place, classroom disruptions decrease. 

Is your team so busy putting out fires associated with classroom disruptions, they have little time or energy to focus on proactive, universal, tier-one strategies such as universal mental health screeners? 

Equity Associates can consult with your school’s MTSS team to implement an equitable process for universal screening, mental health referrals, or other team-based procedures for identifying students experiencing mild distress or mental health impairment or increased risk. Schedule a no-risk, free consultation today, and let us help you get universal screeners started at your school this month! 


3. Ensure fidelity of your universal social-emotional programs to decrease behavioral disruptions. 

Acting out is something we might not always associate with anxiety and depression. Yet, these mental health disorders may cause a student to arrive late to class, argue with teachers, make inappropriate comments, act aggressively, or struggle to get along well with others. As the youth mental health crisis grows, so do classroom disruptions. High-fidelity, evidence-based social-emotional learning (SEL) programs can proactively support coping skills to combat anxiety and depression. 

SEL programs are increasingly common practice in schools. Schools must continue to strategize on systematizing such programs to support workload distribution and increase program implementation fidelity. High-fidelity SEL programs should involve the whole school and create the foundation for the school culture and all other behavioral goals for students. High-fidelity SEL implementation must be steered by a team of stakeholders who can establish systems for continuous improvement through program evaluation and assessment.

Are classroom disruptions causing your school staff to be pulled in so many different directions reactively supporting behavior, social-emotional learning gets pushed to the sideline?

Equity Associates can help your school systematize your approach to universal SEL and thus promote greater fidelity.  Schedule a no-risk, free consultation today and let Equity Associates help you design system checkpoints for your school’s universal SEL programs so you can ensure program fidelity and decrease classroom disruptions this month! 


4. Provide Targeted Tier-2 Cognitive-Behavior Therapy (CBT) Intervention to help students become more self-regulated learners.

Anxiety and depression can be tricky because they can cause students to act unpredictably. Unfortunately, school staff is often not trained to associate disruptive behavior with a possible mental health disorder or, even further, can lack knowledge of appropriate evidence-based tools for responding to such mental health challenges.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based intervention that can help manage problematic behavior by assisting students in learning to change the way they think and behave. CBT is scientifically proven to be effective in treating anxiety and depression. CBT allows students to learn how to think and have greater control over their behavior and emotions. Trained school personnel can conduct a six-to-eight-week small group intervention using CBT resources, such as COPE2Thrive.

Are competing responsibilities associated with classroom disruptions leaving your staff feeling exhausted and ineffective because such immediate responsibilities are pulling school personnel away from delivering small-group evidence based interventions that can be progress monitored and driven by data?

Equity Associates can provide your students with access to targeted, evidence-based small-group mental health interventions, such as COPE2Thrive, delivered by our network of highly qualified and specialized mental health providers. Our mental health groups are data-driven and progress monitored. Complete the group referral form for your students and within three business days, we can customize a COPE2Thrive or other evidence-based small-group intervention solution for your school to get your students on the road to decreased classroom disruptions this month!  

5. Connect students in need of more intensive support (Tier-3) with a specialized individual Cognitive-Behavior Therapy provider. 

Classroom disruptions can be a manifestation of anxiety and depression. Anxiety and depression are among the most commonly diagnosed mental health disorders seen in youth. However, undiagnosed, untreated, or inadequately treated mental health disorders can significantly interfere with a student’s ability to learn, grow and develop. 

Since children spend much of their productive time in educational settings, schools are an ideal place to provide mental health services to youth. Students are more likely to seek and participate in mental health support and intervention when offered within their school setting. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based treatment for anxiety and depression. Resource-stretched schools can partner with specialized community-based service providers offering CBT intervention. Such partnerships can target specific behavioral concerns as an integrated component of the student’s school day. 

With so many urgent concerns associated with classroom disruptions, are your staff bouncing from crisis to crisis thus diminishing their capacity to return to frequent and consistent individualized support for students struggling with anxiety and depression? 

Text “therapy” to (866) 633-4288, and Equity Associates will match your students with targeted mental health interventions, such as CBT, from our network of specialized and highly qualified providers. Equity Associates will connect your students with consistent and individualized support for improved behavior this month!


Student behavior improves, and classroom disruptions decrease when anxiety and depression lessen. Students can access the higher-order thinking parts of their brains and become more regulated and ready learners when they have school-based support for anxiety and depression. Students less impacted by anxiety and depression leads to improved student behavior, thus promoting happier and more successful teachers. Happier teachers continue in their roles and draw in and attract more teachers. 

As the February classroom disruptions loom this month, you can respond with:

  1. MTSS self-assessments 
  2. Universal mental health screeners
  3. Universal social-emotional program fidelity checks
  4. Targeted Tier-2 Cognitive-Behavior Therapy (CBT) Intervention
  5. Connect Tier-3 students with an individual cognitive behavioral therapy provider. 

Which of these five research-based strategies will you implement to decrease classroom disruptions and staff burnout during this challenging month? 

Equity Associates is committed to improving the behavior outcomes at your school without increasing demands on your staff. Let us take something off your plate! 

Schedule your free consultation today!

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