By Dr. Harry Tennant


by Harry Tennant
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Entries with keyword: success story
Posts 1 - 3 of 3

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Success Story: 7 Habits of Happy Kids

I called Dontae Wilson, Principal of Robert B. Pollock Elementary School. They've been working with Behavior Manager for several years and I noticed a significant change in their data over the past two years. Office referrals were reduced by 52% and out-of-placement consequences were reduced by 93%. I asked Mr. Wilson what they were doing right to see such improvements.

DW: A lot of the improvement is teachers looking at ways to engage kids differently. During that time we started with Stephen Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. He've had a lot of teachers working with kids on those social and emotional skills. That's really been helpful. We also hired an additional counselor this year.

So it's a combination of things. The 7 Habits of Happy Kids, let's call it...from 8:30 to 9:00 our teachers teach the prosocial skills you want the kids to have. That sets the tone for the day.

Obviously, sometimes referrals still have to occur. Teachers often fill out a referral for documentation. They may handle the situation but they're letting us know this is what they've done. That's helpful because in a lot of cases it doesn't require additional administrator action. That's good too because the teachers are taking ownership and responsibility. They develop a better relationship with the kids.

Edclick: So, the teaching of the 7 Habits...that's what started in 2015?

DW: Yes, that was our first year of it. As you might imagine, we got better at it. Overall, we've definitely seen a lot of progress since that first year. For us, the big message to the teachers is, if something happens, report it via a referral, letting us know what you've done to address it, because then we can pull up that history and let parents know that these are all the referrals that your child has had. In a conversation with the parents we can talk about what's happened and we know what the next steps are. It's been really helpful.

Edclick: One of the features that you folks requested that we put into Behavior Manager was a way to document function of behavior. How has that worked out?

DW: Oh, that's been tremendously helpful. As an administrator, that gives us a sense of what was happening before the incident and whatever escalation occurred. I think for teachers, it gives them a chance to step back and think, what was happening? Yes, the kid did X but usually the student did X in response to something, whatever that might have been. We see patterns from that information. For special ed teachers that's really helpful. When they have to make adjustments in the IEP, they have the data right there. Not only what happened but what lead up to it.

Edclick: The out-of-placement reductions: was that by decree or did it fall off because the behavior improved?

DW: It's a little bit of both. Our district is focused on reducing suspensions, particularly in the lower grades. So we've devised some alternatives to suspensions. And the practice of the teachers has improved to where those consequences aren't necessary.

Edclick: Are there some consequences that you're using now instead of out-of-placement?

DW: Definitely the Saturday detentions are helpful. Teachers can work with the students in a smaller setting and with the reflection sheets in the system, we'll have some conversations with the kids about what the decisionmaking was and how the student can make some adjustments.

Edclick: Thanks! Congratulations on your progress!

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Keywords: Behavior Manager, success story, 7 Habits of Happy Kids


Friday, March 2, 2018

Success Story: Darden Middle School

We noticed in the Behavior Manager statistics that Darden Middle School has seen significant improvement in office referrals over the past two years. I asked Assistant Principal Edwina Lucas about that.

Edclick: We saw your office referrals were down 33% from 2016 and 54% from 2015. Are doing something new to see such dramatic improvements?

Edwina Lucas: Yes, we’re doing a number of things. We’re doing PBIS, teaching expectations monthly, celebrating positive behavior. Also, some of the staff members we lost had high referrals. It’s a conglomeration of different things.

There is a typical signature in office referrals when a teacher needs to improve classroom management skills. The combination of disrespect, disruptive behavior and insubordination suggests disorder. When a new teacher experiences this in his classroom he may think that he's just not cut out to be a teacher. But it's simpler than that. There are a collection of classroom management skills that the best teachers master. To the uninitiated, it almost seems like a magical power. But it's not. It's a set of skills that can be learned and practiced. Darden Middle School addressed it with teaching coaches.

Edclick: It seems that the misbehaviors that were reduced the most were in the areas of disrespect, disruptive behavior, inappropriate language and insubordination. We ordinarily see improvements in those areas when there’s an improvement in classroom management skills. Are you doing anything specifically to improve classroom management skills?

Edwina Lucas: We have been doing classroom management sessions. We have two coaches. One works mostly with new teachers and the other works with teachers across the board. There’s a lot more support in that area this year that we didn’t have last year.

One of the foundational ideas of PBIS is to make evidence-based decisions. The data collection and reporting capabilities make it possible to see what's going on in the school and to see the effects of interventions. One of the things that differentiates the most successful schools from the rest is that they make the effort to learn what the data is telling them.

Edclick: Are there any other ways that Behavior Manager could be more useful for you?

Edwina Lucas: It’s doing everything we need it to do. We study the reports regularly to tell us where the hotspots are. We look at kids who don’t have referrals. Kids that have high referrals. We do extra work with the students who are high flyers. We have a lot of things going on that are positive.

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Keywords: success story, Behavior Manager, PBIS


Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Success Story: Fike High School

Our Behavior Manager statistics for Fike High School show a dramatic improvement in office referrals this year. I asked Assitant Principal Timothy Messer about that.

Edclick: We noticed your referrals were down 67% compared to last year. Have you done something different?

Timothy Messer: We sure have! We made a change in the culture. We increased accountability and consistency and set expectations.

Edclick: How did you do that?

Timothy Messer: Training on expectations at the beginning of the school year. And a new rules matrix. We required consistency among teachers, administrators and students. There’s no more “this teacher says this” and “that teacher says that.” With training it’s now consistent across the board.

Edclick: I see that most of your improvement was in disrespect, disruptive behavior, inappropriate language and insubordination. Improvement in these areas are typically the result of improved classroom management skills. Did you work on that?

Timothy Messer: We did a lot of training on what defines a misbehavior. We made it clear what should be handled in the classroom and what requires an office referral.

Edclick: Is there any way we can improve Behavior Manager to better support you?

Timothy Messer: I don’t think so. Behavior Manager is an excellent program. It’s easy to use. And it does just what we need.

Randy St. Clair, Principal of Fike High school, added: It's been the result of buy-in from both teachers and students. The staff and administration are working hard to be consistent in handling discipline but also rewarding positive behavior We're just getting started. I know it can be better than what it is. I am excited and thrilled to see that the things we've put in place are having a positive result in our building. Thanks for your support.

It isn't easy to make such a significant change in a school's culture in one year! But the folks at Fike have demonstrated that it is definitely possible. A complete culture change, the transition for proactive behavior methods to fully take root, typically takes several years. With so much progress in the first year, we're looking forward to the results over the next few years.

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Keywords: success story, Behavior Manager, PBIS

  Posts 1 - 3 of 3