Partnering with Educators to Iteratively Co-create Tools to Support Teachers’ Use of Equity-Focused Positive Behavioral Supports

Julie Sarno Owens, Deinera Exner-Cortens, Elise Cappella, Madeline DeShazer, Natalie May, John Seipp, Caroline Claussen, Nicholas Zieg, Maria Garcia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the Maximize Project, we are engaging in a research-practice partnership to co-create implementation strategies to facilitate elementary school teachers’ use of equity-focused positive behavior supports (EF-PBS). In this paper, we describe the processes used to build an interactive, technology-based platform to enhance teachers’ use of EF-PBS via self-reflection, self-assessment, goal setting, and goal review. We describe how we established a multi-disciplinary, multi-state community advisory board to collaborate on Version 1 of platform (Phase 1). We explain how we obtained quantitative and qualitative feedback about the platform from educators in three partnering schools, and how we used those data to produce Version 2 of the platform (Phase 2). Platform use data suggested high utilization in Quarter 1 (August–October) of the school year, when there was protected time to complete activities. However, platform use was moderate in Quarter 2 (October–December) and low in Quarters 3 and 4 (January–May). Educator feedback revealed moderate acceptability, feasibility, and appropriateness of the platform and highlighted ways to improve the user experience (e.g., streamlining steps in goal setting, making resources about strategy implementation easier to find). We discuss lessons learned to inform school mental health co-creation endeavors, including strategies for supporting diverse perspectives, for enhancing advisory board members’ voices and confidence, and for creating practical and feasible methods for teachers to benefit from co-created technology-based implementation strategies. Our processes offer guidance for others engaging in research-practice partnerships, developing education technologies and/or supporting teachers’ use of equity-focused practices to improve daily school experiences for all students.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalSchool Mental Health
StateAccepted/In press - 2024


  • Advisory board
  • Co-creation
  • Equity-focused positive behavioral supports
  • Intervention development
  • Research-practice partnership
  • Technology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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