Friday (yesterday) at school we had a day long staff development (last day before our kids return Monday) to review the faculty handbook, the school discipline plan, and our summer reading project, What Great Teachers Do Differently. We had a great conversation aout this book, and we studied our behavior plan (PBIS–which stands for Positive Behavior Interventions & Support) as it related to this book. I was not familiar with PBIS, but from what I have learned through this staff development, it is really good and can be effective if implemented consistently. What I like is a grid or table that gives student expectations and it lists just about every “school place” a student may find themselves in (like hallways, playgrounds, classroms, lunchrooms, labs, gym, auditorium, locker room, I could go on….)
The teachers want “science labs” added for safety reasons and so that students will know what is expected there as well. The grid lists behaviors for each location as it relates to respecting self, respecting others, respecting the facility, and another category. (I don’t have my sheet in front of me.) But match the labels, like respect others/cafeteria, and you find a general statement like “use inside voices.”
I know it sounds complicated, but the school is in year 3 of using this program, and the faculty seems to believe in it. This tells me they are seeing results. The teacher buy-in is there. One of the elementary feeder schools began using it last year, and so it must be something popular.
The biggest dilemma that came up was how to keep students from counterfeiting a component of the award system, which includes giving out “paws bucks.” Apparently some pretty slick students begn generating their own via copier/scanners at home. So the satff had to come up with a way. There was talk of using “invisible ink” to authenticate the bucks, but I was called away to deal with a technical issue and didn’t hear the final say. I guess I’ll have to ask someone later.
I was excited to receive my teacher handbook (ha,ha, I bet not many can say that) so that I could learn a little more about the logisitics of how the school operates on a day to day basis. It will be riveting reading for me. The principal claims she rewrote the entire document so that teacher expectations are clearly stated. (I gather there were things in the last book that were left for interpretation, and so some had misunderstandings regarding parts of the teacher handbook.)
Just before I left Friday, my principal assured me that I wouldn’t need to worry about students in the library next week, as every class will be teaching PBIS in their classes. There is even a lesson plan for every teacher for parts of PBIS, and everyone is to teach their assigned part. This will show kids that everyone is doing the same thing. And all will get instruction on basic student expectations. It is a two week lesson plan. So I suppose I will work hard to get the library looking ship shape and continue with halping teachers with their technical issues.
Friday night I met my family in Columbia for the South Pointe-Irmo game, and hooray, SP won! I also got to sit with a teacher from my old school, so it was nice to catch up with her. Now I will enjoy a weekend with my family and next weekend, they will come to the beach to spend it with me. They will bring the dog, Sandy to!! Life is good! (Sandy is our yellow lab who went through mournng when we sold our house last November and she lost her swimming pool, big yard, and personal pond. She had to adjust to indoor apartment life and a leash back then. Lost most of her freedoms, as she understood life, including the doggy-door to come and go. Poor Sandy.
This concludes SYP, Day 6.