Behavior Support Team

Stress and trauma often impact students’ social-emotional development.  Therefore, there is a need for discipline approaches to become more student-centered.  This translates into focusing on creating safe classrooms, assuring each child feels a sense of belonging, and assisting students in the development of problem-solving skills.  These initiatives will empower our students to make positive behavior changes.

Because ECE/Elementary staff and families are aware that younger children often need direct teaching of specific skills to change and improve behaviors, we will align our efforts with the “Conscious Discipline” approach this year. 

There are three main components of Conscious Discipline:

  1. Safety (through development of self-regulation and identification of emotions/feelings, such as via the Zones of Regulation strategies)
  2. Connection (through relationship-building approaches and development of conflict resolution skills, such as via the “Peace Walk” strategies)
  3. Problem-Solving (through development of Social Emotional Learning, SEL, skills and fostering resiliency, such as via the implementation of the 2ndStep curriculum).

Role of Behavior Coordinator/Behavior Staff:

ECE/Elementary has a Behavior Coordinator and behavior staff who provide services to our ECE-5th grade population. The Behavior Coordinator serves as a part of a collaborative team in helping students succeed academically, socially, and emotionally. The behavior staff work closely with educators, parents, and other professionals to create safe, healthy, and supportive learning environments that strengthen connections between home and school. They also work hard to identify best solutions for each student/situation by using different strategies that address individual student needs as well as improve school-wide support systems. In addition, the Behavior Coordinator provides the following services: consultation (collaborative effort in finding effective solutions to learning/behavior concerns), behavior assessment (Functional Behavior Assessment, FBA, that may lead to behavior support plans), intervention (applicable training for staff and behavior support plans), prevention (implementation of department-wide programs, such as Zones of Regulation, Peace Walk, and Conscious Discipline), and research & planning services (evaluations of academic/behavioral strategies, data collection).


Meet the Behavior Support Team:

Kristi Townshend:

After being a Midwestern (Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota) most of her life, Kristi transferred to Austin, TX.  This is her second full year at TSD.  She graduated with her specialist degree (Psy. S.) in school psychology from Gallaudet University.  Kristi enjoys working with our younger children to empower them to be their best selves.  She enjoys hiking nature trails, camping with her two children (daughter, high school freshman and son, 7th grader) and caring for her clan of animals (which currently includes a dog, cat, and bearded dragon!).

Christina Baldoni:

Christina was born and raised in Texas, and has been at TSD for 5 years. She is a graduate of RIT and Nazareth College in Rochester, where she earned her Masters in Art Therapy. Christina previously worked with various clinics, including the Deaf Wellness Center, before joining the support team at TSD. What she enjoys most about her current position is the challenge to think creatively day in and day out. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, art making, cooking, and playing with her dog Vito. 

Joey Calvano:

Joey grew up in Dallas and is a diehard fan of the Cowboys. He has been at TSD for 11 years as Day residential educator (9 years) and now as a Behavior support (his 2nd year). What he enjoys most about his current position is making kids laugh, because laughter is the best medicine. In his free time, he likes to spend time with his family, including their family dog Bella. 

Jennifer Fields:

Jennifer jointed the Special Needs Department in 2012 as a Para Educator, and she worked with grades K-12 throughout her 6 years there.  She found her true passion, behavior management, and she is excited to work with the ECE/Elementary Department in that capacity.  

In her free time, Jennifer enjoys photography and walking her two dogs with her partner.  She is a hardcore Saints fan.  Who Dat!