Dear Chinook Parents and Guardians,
We have had an excellent start to our school year and I have some exciting news to share! Our students are highly engaged in their learning! Discipline data is a strong indicator of school-wide levels of learner engagement, as well as an indicator of the general health of the school culture. I am really proud of the work that our staff has done this year to support student learning and make expectations for student behavior positive and clear. Our work is certainly paying off!
This year, our staff has placed a school-wide emphasis on reinforcing common behavior expectations. We call this set of behavior expectations “The Warrior Way.” We ask the students to follow the Warrior Way traits: Be Safe, Be Responsible, Be Respectful, and Be Engaged. Our staff has explicitly taught our students what those behaviors “look like” in the specific settings of our school. Also, we have embedded a culture of positive reinforcement into our “Pride System” to which we introduced to our students this year—when they exhibit desired behaviors, we intermittently reinforce that behavior with Pride Points. The result has been a very positive school environment. Our discipline rates have decreased tremendously from those experienced in past years at Chinook! It’s exciting to see.
There are a few “tips” that we’ve shared with our teachers to help guide them as they work to positively reinforce desired student behavior. As I’ve learned more about positive behavioral supports, I find myself implementing some of the ideas at home with my own children. Thus, the idea occurred to me to share them with you to consider and apply as you see fit at home:
· Establish positive expectations for student behaviors that are explicitly taught; teach behaviors like we teach academics.
· Establish routines and cues for reinforcing positive expectations.
· Develop a ratio of 4-5 positive to 1 negative adult to student interactions.
· Re-teach a behavior when we observe chronic errors (Lynass, U.W. Seattle, 2010).
I am excited about the discipline statistics that indicate that we have a healthy, safe learning environment here at Chinook. Despite this success so far this year, we intend to continue our hard work to ensure that all students are successful, academically and behaviorally. If you have any concerns about how your student is doing here at school, I invite you to contact our teachers, our counseling office, or my office so that we can work together to determine the best steps for ensuring your son or daughter’s success.
The success of our students as a whole this year is exciting to see—I want to thank you for sending us students who are so open to learning and willing to work with our staff to make this a wonderful middle school!