§18-3-13. Behavior Interventionist Pilot Program.
(a) The Legislature finds that:
(1) Behavior problems of special education students can be better addressed by personnel who specialize in addressing student behavior issues;
(2) With the advent of the opioid crisis in recent years in West Virginia, behavior problems in the state’s elementary and secondary education system have increased significantly;
(3) Behavior problems impact not just the student who is misbehaving, but also other students at the school;
(4) The state should explore various ways to address this issue;
(5) One such method of successfully addressing behavioral problems could be through the use of behavior interventionists; and
(6) A behavior interventionist who is trained to address student behavior issues at a school could free classroom teachers from having to address behavior issues and allow them to focus exclusively on teaching students which could result in academic achievement increases for other students in the classroom.
(b) The state superintendent shall immediately establish a Behavior Interventionist Pilot Program to be implemented in not less than two nor more than 10 county school districts for the duration of three years. In selecting the county school districts, the state superintendent shall select districts meeting the following criteria:
(1) The districts shall have among the highest number in the state of students with an individual education program;
(2) The districts designated by the state superintendent for the pilot program shall have schools that have a significant number of students enrolled with behavior issues; and
(3) The districts shall have the resources to hire and train personnel who specialize in addressing students with behavior issues.
(c) The county school districts designated for the pilot programs pursuant to this section may immediately create a new employment position, entitled “behavior interventionist”, which is a school-based position that specializes in addressing behavior issues at a school. Once the counties are chosen, the county superintendent shall convene an advisory committee consisting of principals, teachers, classroom aides, and the education organizations to advise the county superintendent and county board on qualifications and hiring. Behavior interventionists shall be designated by the county board as either a professional person or a service person. If the behavior interventionist is designated as a service person, he or she shall be assigned a pay grade D, at a minimum, for the purpose of the salary schedule set forth in §18A-4-8a of this code. The county school districts designated for the pilot programs shall establish the qualifications for personnel employed in the behavior interventionist position and shall establish the initial and continuing training requirements for the personnel employed in the position.
(d) Annually, for the duration of the pilot programs and once after the conclusion of the pilot programs, the county superintendents of the county school districts designated for the pilot programs shall report to the Legislative Oversight Commission on Education Accountability on:
(1) Progress toward and methods of implementation of the pilot programs, including the required qualifications and training for personnel employed in the behavior interventionist position;
(2) Indicators of the success of the pilot programs, which may include reductions in disciplinary actions and increases in student achievement at the schools in which the behavior interventionists are assigned;
(3) Their recommendation on whether the pilot programs should continue beyond the current duration of the pilot programs; and
(4) Their recommendation on whether the pilot programs should be replicated in other school districts that have a high percentage of students with an individual education program, that have schools with significant student behavior problems, or both, and if so, how the pilot programs could best be replicated based on the experience and knowledge gained from the pilot programs established pursuant to this section.