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Tip of the Week: Implementing the NABITA Standards for BITs (Part VIII)

NABITA membership has more than doubled over the last year. To help new members implement the NABITA Standards for Behavioral Intervention Teams (BITs), and to provide continuing members with a refresher, NABITA is launching a Tip of the Week series specifically focused on the BIT Standards. Twenty standards, twenty Tips of the Week (maybe more) aimed specifically at the practical application of the BIT Standards (Note: the twenty Tips may not be published consecutively so that NABITA can bring you timely updates regarding other topics).

Standard 9. Policy and Procedure Manual: Teams have a policy and procedure manual that is updated each year to reflect changes in policy and procedures the team puts into place.

A policy and procedure manual is the roadmap a BIT follows as it orients new members, responds to referrals, develops educational outreach materials, and makes decisions. The team’s policy and procedure manual should be “updated each year to reflect changes in team processes. This manual should be a set of guidelines that provide direction for teams in an organized, consistent, and thorough manner.”[1] Minimally, the policy and procedure manual should include the BIT’s mission statement, the scope of service, and a commitment to educating the institutional community of the potential risk factors of which they should be aware (e.g., academic, emotional, behavioral, and physical indicators). Ideally, the manual would also outline information regarding record keeping (e.g., philosophy, database information), marketing and advertising (active and passive), meeting details (e.g., frequency, in-person/virtual, general length), objective risk rubrics and available interventions, member roles and responsibilities, and more.

BITs may struggle with developing a policy and procedure manual because a team may have been operating from a place of tradition and routine practice rather than one of policy and outlined procedures, and the process to document actions that have become second nature can be time-intensive and complex. To assist BITs with this task, NABITA created templates for both Higher Education and K-12 teams. These templates are meant to serve as a jumping-off point for members and should not be adopted whole cloth without first being reviewed and adjusted to the institution’s unique needs. Because institutional structures and environments vary, some sections of the template may not be applicable.

Practical tip – Given that few individuals could have predicted the world would experience a global pandemic that would force institutions to operate virtually for an extended period of time, and because many institutions did not provide virtual BIT services (e.g., case management appointments, threat assessments) prior to the pandemic, evaluating and updating the BIT policy and procedures manual to reflect how and when virtual BIT services and operations will continue to be employed moving forward is a critical step to guiding the BIT’s evolution within the changing landscape of higher and K-12 education. Will the institution’s BIT continue to offer virtual BIT services? If only in some capacities (e.g., certain services, certain circumstances), why? How will these virtual services be offered and advertised? The policy and procedure manual should accurately reflect these determinations and provide clear guidance for BIT members to effectively execute their responsibilities in the virtual environment.

To access the Higher Education edition of the sample BIT Manual, click here. For the K – 12 edition, click here.

Tim Cason, M.Ed.

Consultant, TNG

[1] NaBITA. (2018). NaBITA Standards for Behavioral Intervention Teams [White paper]. Access here.