The Prevention Action Alliance School-Based Initiative

About the PAA School-Based Initiative

PAXIS Institute

PAXIS Institute identifies and connects the best science and wisdom to maximize the peace, productivity, health, and happiness of individuals, families, organizations, and communities everywhere.

PAXIS institute seeks to identify tools and strategies that have both rapid and long-term benefits for all our futures, not just the few or one group over another. PAXIS Institute searches for ways to improve all our futures, since our individual futures hinge on the actions of people near and far – many of whom we will never know.

PAXIS Institute encourages and supports people of every age and every walk of life to become an “everyday scientist” of their world – not just a passenger of life. By becoming an “everyday scientist”, we can each become a conscious creator of the futures we seek for ourselves and the people we love.

School-based Programming
  • PAX Good Behavior Game® Initial Training: The PAX Good Behavior Game® is an evidence-based universal preventive intervention applied by teachers in the classroom. This evidence-based practice consists of a set of research-based strategies with origins in behavioral science, neuroscience, and cultural wisdom that operate together to improve children’s self-regulation. Teachers implement these strategies as part of their daily routines in carrying out tasks such as getting students’ attention, selecting students for tasks, transitioning from one task to the next, working as part of a team, limiting problematic behavior, and reinforcing pro-social behavior. The PAX Good Behavior Game® helps to build children’s self-regulation, resulting in improved focus and attention, improved test scores and other academic outcomes, reduced alcohol and other drug use, reduced psychiatric disorders, and reduced suicide. PAX is unique in arranging for peer reinforcement for exhibiting prosocial behavior and peer reinforcement for inhibiting problematic behavior. PAX truly benefits everyone by making the children the heroes of change.

  • PAX Heroes: PAX Heroes Training provides experienced PAX Teachers with strategies for students in PAX classrooms who demonstrate behavioral difficulties. This training delivers explicit instruction in using the PAX Heroes Manual to identify areas of student difficulty and refine PAX Good Behavior Game implementation to support those needs. PAX Heroes Training also provides instruction in analyzing activities and areas of difficulty for students by selecting targeted Tier 2 and Tier 3 supports to improve their behavioral and academic performance.

  • Next Steps Trainings Training helps teachers who have already been trained in PAX Good Behavior Game further expand and integrate strategies. PAX Next Steps supports teachers in recalibrating classroom implementation to improve outcomes by meeting the unique needs of teacher and students using PAX strategies. This training will focus on how the nurturing environment created by PAX strategies also ensures a trauma-informed classroom and improves children’s social-emotional learning.

Community-based Programming
  • PAX Tools Community Educator Training: certifies individuals to provide PAX Tools Community Workshops. PAX Tools Community Workshops are 2.5 hours and include nine evidence-based, trauma-informed strategies that parents, and caregivers can use with the children in their lives, at home and in the community.

  • PAX Tools for Human Services Training: Pax Tools For Human Services Training is intended for adults who interact with young people professionally in community settings. Ideal for behavioral health, after-school, out of school time, early childhood, or other youth-serving professions. Training features a focus on a trauma-informed approach and eleven evidence-based strategies that reduce problematic behavior, increase on-task time, improve relationships, and increase staff satisfaction.

DBT in Schools

DBT in Schools began when Dr. Jim Mazza and Dr. Lizz Dexter-Mazza married. With Jim, a school psychologist and Lizz as a clinical psychologist, they witnessed the shortcomings of how we as a society approach and treat young people encountering emotion dysregulation. Jim, found difficulty addressing the needs of the many students in crisis, and grew frustrated in his inability to impact the growing numbers of students requiring support. Lizz, receives more inquiries for therapy than she or her local colleagues can handle. Together, they realized that something needed to be done to reach more kids before they are in crisis. From that mindset grew the idea for the proactive curriculum that is now DBT STEPS-A – a prevention oriented approach to supporting and enhancing every students’ mental wellbeing.

Types of Training
  1. DBT STEPS-A: Implementation and Training: The DBT STEPS-A Implementation Training provides instructors, teachers and school staff familiarity with the DBT STEPS-A curriculum. This training includes background information on how the DBT STEPS-A curriculum was developed, potential barriers and issues in implementation, solutions for student related challenges, and implementation strategies for teaching lessons. The training is designed to establish four basic elements necessary in implementing the DBT STEPS-A curriculum effectively:

    1. Background and Development of the DBT STEPS-A curriculum
    2. Structure and Implementation Considerations
    3. Overview and demonstration of DBT STEPS-A lessons
    4. Preparation and participant practice of teaching DBT STEPS-A lessons
  2. DBT Informed School Counseling Strategies: School mental health staff are provided tools to identify student goals and behavioral targets for counseling sessions as well as the rationale of using a chain analysis as a method of assessment and guide to determining effective solutions. Additionally, participants are provided step-by-step processes for providing skills coaching (based on DBT STEPS-A skills) to students “on the fly” when needed during the school day in order to increase the amount of time students spend in the classroom. The training offers an understanding of the impact of the invalidating environment on emotion dysregulation, and teaches validation skills and how they can best be used to impact school culture. Time is spent on demonstration and participant practice of “Coaching On The Fly”.

  3. Administrators & Stakeholders Introduction to DBT STEPS-A: This workshop is designed for school administrators and stakeholders at various levels to provide a structured format in discussing implementation strategies for providing a structured social emotional learning (SEL) class and the barriers to implementing in current school-based settings. This half-day will provide a brief overview of what DBT STEPS-A is and its intended audience. Discussion of the current school structure, environment, and staff for potential implementation will take place. Finally, identified barriers, strategies and use of upstream approaches will be discussed with a perspective of showing initial impact among students, teachers, staff, and the school environment. Implementing a social emotional curriculum requires the support and understanding of administrators in order to assist staff in teaching an SEL class and ultimately, shifting the culture of schools to one that educates the whole child, both academically and emotionally.

Prevention & Wellness Academy of Ohio
Prevention and Wellness Academy of Ohio

  • Assess team strengths, goals, and opportunities for growth, and determine capacity-building priorities.
  • Participate in interactive learning opportunities offered through virtual events.
  • Receive up to 40 hours of virtual customized coaching and support (in-district or virtual, depending on school preference).

The Prevention & Wellness Academy of Ohio is a project of the K-12 School-Based Initiative at Prevention Action Alliance (PAA), in partnership with Education Development Center, and Miami University’s Center for School-Based Mental Health Programs.

With generous funding from Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation, LLC.

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation

For any questions please reach out to Melissa Kaetzel at