First off, I apologize for the lack of updates this year. Some major life changes (did I mentioned I’m engaged?? he put a ring on it!) and also a career change (guidance counselor, woopwoop!) have taken a toll on my free time. My goal is one post every two weeks, so please check back often for updates!
Today is day one of decorating my guidance suite for the 2013-2014 school year and I couldn’t be more trilled! I work at a Charter School in Philadelphia (same one that I worked as a special education teacher) with grades kindergarten, 1st, 5th, 6th, 7th & 8th grade. There will be approximately 450 students across these six grades. School starts September 9th and I’m working on decorating (obviously…its the best part!) and putting my schedule together (HELP!). I will also be researching the topics for this coming school year. Does your school have a monthly character trait? If so, tell me more!
Positive Behavior Intervention & Support (PBIS) is in FULL SWING this coming school year! “School Culture” is very important to us, so we’ve changed the title of PBIS to The School Culture Team. We are working on our “big 8” systems and modeling/role playing with the staff during orientation. We spent a lot of time this summer with our School Culture Team and designed these school-wide and in-class systems such as arrival, dismissal, hallway transitions, getting supplies in the classroom, etc. Our staff will hear all about of these proposed systems during the next few weeks and work within grade teams to choose what works well for them. These systems are written as scripts and seem so silly to write but even sillier to act out (and super entertaining, I must say). When you act out your plan (literally pretend your staff is your students) you realize what works and what is too wordy. It can be as small as saying “collect materials” instead of “put your materials away”. Practicing through role play has also been effective in showing teachers exactly what we mean – when we say repeat, we mean it. When you do it the way it is written, it will be more effective (especially since we spent so much time tweaking it!). Have you had any experience writing “scripts”? if so, how did it go over with your staff?
One more small change we are making this year is that students are allowed to be in zone 2 (quiet) in the hallways and during transitions instead of zone 1 (silent). The reason for this is we are modeling REAL LIFE. Have you ever had to be silent in a mall hallway? how about an office building? We want to show our students how to act in the real world. I’m hoping teachers find this as a blessing and that this maximizes learning time. Do students have to be silent in your hallways during transitions? How does that work for you?
Best of luck with your school year! I have a feeling this will be the BEST ONE YET! enjoy!
Remember, your students & school are a reflection of YOU! (quoted by my amazing Principal) 🙂