Behavioral Intervention & Bullying Prevention in Schools
By Robyn Deshayes
We are off to an amazing start to the school year at Northern Lights Elementary School. As I look back over the first several months of school, I am excited about the work we have done. Our School Improvement focus this school year is on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) and bullying prevention.
PBIS has been a district-wide initiative for a number of years. Each year we revisit our philosophy, procedures, and supports. Here are the highlights so far for 2015-16:
- On August 28, all Northern Lights staff received professional development on PBIS.
- Professional staff had three professional development sessions during September to support new staff learning as well as to reinforce PBIS building-wide.
- Professional staff meet every other week for 60 minutes for PBIS learning and plan for incorporation of PBIS into the classroom and entire building and grounds.
- Northern Lights Principal and Assistant Principal attended the bullying summit, Victory over Bullying: A Northland Summit to Explore Impact, Causes and Response, sponsored by UWS on September 30, along with our Police Liaison Officers.
- October was Bullying Awareness Month. The staff had three professional development sessions specifically to address prevention, help identify bullying, and how to report and respond to bullying. Second Step is a research-based program to support this and is used at Northern Lights.
Northern Lights continues to use a research-based curriculum on bullying for all K-5 students. Each 30-minute class lesson during the month of October was specific to bullying. Students are trained to use their Bystander Power to recognize, report and refuse bullying when observed. These lessons are reviewed continually throughout the year. These lessons are also re-taught to students who struggle with bullying.
Additionally, our support staff has been restructured to better supervise students during recess and lunch. Recess and lunch schedules and class configurations were redone to improve the playground atmosphere, and to reduce the number of students on each playground at any given time.
Administration, counselors and insight teachers participate in daily supervision of recess and lunch on a rotation.
The lunchroom has also been restructured to create “quadrants” to build community among the children and to allow for better supervision and support. Window curtains stay closed during lunch to calm the room. Each month new centerpieces are placed on the tables to create a more comfortable atmosphere. We’ve also created a special Celebration Table that has an umbrella that is used as a reward to students who demonstrate work, respect, and belonging behaviors. Additionally, students enter and exit differently to encourage expected behaviors.
The Northern Lights Diversity Team continues to meet the 3rd Monday of each month from 6:00-7:30 at Northern Lights. All parents and community members are welcome.
All support staff were provided two hours of additional anti-bullying and PBIS training in November.
On April 5th, the Northern Lights Diversity Team will hold our 2nd-Annual Diversity Celebration from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The public is welcome and admission is free. Please join us!
Image by Edith Castro Roldán, Oscar Manuel Luna Nieto (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons