This week I spent a few hours learning about one school’s journey to create a supportive system for the academic and social/emotional/behavioral development of their students. The purpose was to understand how their system worked and to problem solve around areas of need. Our work revolves around helping schools implement comprehensive and supportive systems that are tailored to the building’s specific needs.
To guide the conversation, we have a principal packet with key forms and information. The important document is our Multi-Tiered System of Support Planning Tool (fondly referred to as the “Plan-O-Rama“.
The first section is vital as it is an area where the specific data-based needs of the school are clarified. This, essentially, is the school’s own ‘story” around discipline and behavior. All of our work together is designed with this in mind; creating calm, predictable and engaging environments is the goal.
Here is what I learned about this school
- They are a large elementary nestled in a large district with a fairly “needy” population of students (compared to other schools in their district)
- They have a dozen newly hired teachers and more seasoned teachers as well. All are bright, innovative and dedicated
- They were able to hire two educators to develop a tier-two plan for supporting the teaching of social/emotional and behavioral skills to students in need. They work directly with just under 100 students. These educators also provide coaching and support to classroom teachers. They support the Success Room.
- Students who do not respond well to tier-two interventions are taken to the next level of support with a highly individualized plan just for them. They have a team that meets regularly to help classroom teachers design these support plans.
- The school has a well-detailed body of expectations that are taught to teachers, students and parents. The entire discipline system is embodied in their expectations. Many pro-active and supportive pieces exist within this framework, pulling from the philosophies of Conscious Discipline and other programs.
- They collect and use data around referrals, analyzing the types of problems the school experiences as well as where problems occur. Interventions are created based on need. The entire staff participates in these problem solving sessions.
- As with most schools, many difficulties happen in the classroom. It is possible that teachers are inconsistent in how they prevent and respond to mild disruptions. Routines may not be established. Teachers may benefit from discussion and learning around classroom organization, routines, expectations and teaching and practicing what they want to see.
This is a great school. Much thinking has gone into the culture they have created. There are so many strengths; areas of need appear to be located at the classroom level. While teachers are motivated and engaged, there may be some areas for them to grow.
- a needs assessment will be sent to individual teachers around the systems and organization of their individual classroom environment
- two days of professional learning will be tailored specifically to the self-identified needs of the school
- a plan for “roll-out” and follow-up coaching will be designed with the entire staff
- coaching will be designed with a way to evaluate effectiveness using original goals as the target