When it comes to the concept of Do No Harm, I believe students need to be taught expectations if you want them to meet the expectations. If students are taught rules and expectations across every setting in a school where these are aligned site-wide, students feel safe in a predictable environment where they know their role. When students struggle with this role, they can be supported further to avoid trauma and ensure school continues to be a safe, inclusive environment.
Future sphere of influence, as the school leader, how would my beliefs be reflected in discipline policies and practices? As a Special Education Teacher and active member of APBS, my beliefs would best be reflective in a PBIS model of school-wide multi tiered system of support. Systematically creating a matrix of expectations for every environment with staff and students creates a positive collaboration and investment in what Do No Harm looks like for our campus.
Future sphere of influence, as the school leader, how would my beliefs be reflected in program practices and initiatives? I begin each year with the three rules 1. Be Respectful, 2. Be Responsible, 3. Be Safe. and collaborate with my students in describing the expectations for those rules in places and situations we encounter each day. My students write them and draw them. With this practice I get “buy in.” For example, they all agree that they learn best when the classroom is not noisy so they wrote use a quiet voice as an expectation. They suggested that showing respect is “not talking while the teacher is talking” with no adult input. The collaboration is key to having students model and uphold the rules and expectations because they have ownership. You would see my initiative as leader involve the student’s collaboration in offering a reason and definition of expectations, take ownership and campaign for positive behavior through multimedia all year long.
Future sphere of influence, as the school leader, how would my beliefs be reflected in our professional development as a community of learners? Practice what you preach. I would first exercise positive behavior support among staff members. Congratulate teachers on their behaviors and efforts, and fidelity with teaching “Do No Harm.” As my 20% Project for my first course in this Master’s Program, I designed a Teacher Support Network for Positive Student Behavior and Engagement. The committee of this network would be select data-driven professional development opportunities based on the site’s needs for positive behavior support, as well as be available online and on campus for resources or assistance in supporting students with positive behavior and/or engagement. (Often times the quiet, compliant students get overlooked as needing behavioral support in the area of academic engagement and self-advocacy, and this needs to receive equal attention as disrupting behaviors.)
Is the concept of teaching students to “first do no harm” integrated into the culture of your school (or workplace)? My school has an unusually low rate of disciplinary issues because MOST teachers and administrators do teach students to “first do no harm.” At staff meetings we spend time to discuss and collaborate about how we are going to address any new concerns according to the grade level. As the only teacher trained in PBIS and with coursework towards Positive Behavior Support, I feel our teaching could be more organized and systematic. However, I have worked at a school where PBIS was not in practice and in the culture was toxic among staff and students. Even though my current school doesn’t have many behavioral issues, doesn’t mean that ALL teachers shouldn’t participate in restorative practice.
How does your answer to the previous prompt sit with you? Had I been asked last year, I would have used this opportunity to vent all my frustrations and identified areas where to start with change. However, at this new site, I am not totally pleased with the approach to “do no harm,” because it is not accessible to all.
Current sphere of influence: Commit to 5 things you are willing to do this semester that will make your school a more positive restorative place. 1. Attend the webinar through APBS “Organization-wide Strategies for Implementing Person-Centered Practices and Positive Behavior Support” on November 18th. 2. Extend my resources to others 3. Revisit the conversation with admin about implementing my “teacher support network” 4. Teach/overview restorative practice with admin or school psychologist 5. Teach and collaborate “Do No Harm” with my students