Expert Instruction Podcast
Action plan
Feb 21, 2023

Ep. 26: Vulnerable Decision Points

In this episode, we’re diving further in exploration of what makes a decision vulnerable and how we go about the business of talking about it as a team.

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In this month’s episode of Expert Instruction: The Teach by Design Podcast, we're diving further into the research and practices surrounding vulnerable decisions points (VDPs). Over in our Teach by Design article, we shared how you can find the VDPs contributing to the disproportionate outcomes you see in your data, but why do we even focus on VDPs in decision making in the first place? Joining us to help answer that question are Drs. María Reina Santiago-Rosario and Sean Austin.

In her research, María focuses on racial equity in school discipline, measuring teacher expectations of students, and supporting students who receive special education services as they transition from middle to high school. She understands what it takes to implement system-level changes and how to guide teams in classroom behavior management and strategic planning for equity in discipline.

In his work, Sean focuses on positive behavior support, implementation science, and professional development. Before completing his PhD, Sean worked for several years as a school psychologist supporting students with behavioral needs.

Speaking of Sean’s PhD, his dissertation revealed some interesting things about the common points in the school day that are most vulnerable to biased decisions. We talked to him about that! Then, we asked him and María what makes a VDP such a good starting point and how do we handle those challenging conversations to create the self-awareness necessary before launching into problem solving?

For more information about the resources shared in this episode, check out these links:

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Megan Cave


Megan Cave

Megan Cave is a member of the PBISApps Marketing and Communication team. She is the writer behind the user manuals, scripted video tutorials, and news articles for PBISApps. She also writes a monthly article for Teach by Design and contributes to its accompanying Expert Instruction podcast episode. Megan has completed four half marathons – three of which happened unintentionally – and in all likelihood, will run another in the future.

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