Research shows that establishing healthy, safe, resilient, and inclusive classroom, school, and district cultures is the foundation in educating children to become productive, articulate, and fulfilled citizens. Building these characteristics in our students and school is our most sure way of preventing of a tragedy, it's our mission to fulfill the promise that every single one of our students felt supported, valued, and loved.
These research-based strategies can be utilized by school systems to build strong school culture regardless of the varied and diverse backgrounds of our students and families. It's critically important to understand that these strategies are not simply programs, but mindsets. A single trustee, administrator, teacher, or student cannot be the sole coordinator of these programs but requires the buy-in and commitment of every community member. It's also important to note that building this strong community culture does not happen overnight but takes purposeful planning, implementing, and adjusting course when necessary to shift mindsets and practice.
Developing the space and culture that is based on building relationships and trust with students to ensure every single student feels valued, supported, and loved is the key to creating schools that are safe and healthy for kids and the community as a whole.
SIGNS OF STUDENTS AT-RISK
- Developing district and school wide programming that educates school staff and students of the signs of a student at-risk.
- Signs include:
- Fascination with violence
- Aggressive behavior
- Lacking ability to regulate emotions
- Isolation and antisocial behavior
- Victims of bullying
- Behavioral shifts and mental distress
- Responding to Students in Crisis
- Understand the signs of a child in crisis
- Paranoid, suspicious of others
- Isolating themselves
- Extreme mood swings
- Making statements of feeling hopeless
- Making vague or direct statements of suicidal thoughts
- Ensure easy access to crisis counselors and open lines of communication so those concerned about a student can alert the appropriate parities.
- Train teachers and staff of the signs of a student in crisis
UTILIZING VERTICAL & HORIZONTAL PLANNING
- Building relationships with students is one of the most important parts of creating a welcoming and strong culture within classrooms and schools. Home visits are time consuming but a productive way to build relationships with families and more thoroughly understand students, perspectives, and upbringing.
- Vertical planning is a method of instructional and cultural planning that coordinates grade levels to ensure consistent and scaffolded curriculum. Communication between teachers of multiple grade levels can better assist in a more fulfilled personal and academic development of students through varied insights of multiple teachers with a number of perspectives of a student.
- Horizontal planning is a useful strategy to align much more than academic curriculum. Working to conference as a group of staff, teachers and administrators on each individual student at multiple times through the year give opportunity to compare notes and discuss points of struggle or triumph for students and what the school as a whole can do to support each individual student.