I’m not sure about you, but I can’t read or write today’s date without pausing and remembering. I wonder if in 50 years people will think of September 11th in a similar way. I relate it to December 7th in my head, even though it has been over 70 years since the Pearl Harbor attack during WWII.
This is a long letter. I want to share mostly about our work around fostering a positive school environment. This work is HUGE so I’ll be as brief as I can. Also, I want to share about our Food Service program, remind you about Pickup Patrol and leave room for some health news.
Positive School Climate
In the back of my mind last week I wondered when I would become “The Principal.” Do you remember this as a child, “I’m sending you to The Principal”? Well, it happened this week. I met with a few children to help them understand behavioral expectations at BES. It then occurred to me that you may want to know how Mrs. Morrill-Winter and I do that portion of our job.
When I think about helping to build a respectful school, I first think about building community and understanding individual children. The staff here at BES are doing a remarkable job orienting the children to the procedures of school. We are all learning how to learn and play together at BES. It is all about setting positive expectations. We also are observing and engaging children in conversation so we can learn about them as individuals. It is important to know the child anyway, but when the conversation moves towards discipline or behavior, we doubly need to know the children. Without knowledge of the child the behavior conversation is extra challenging.
Most feedback from us is like, “Please use walking feet”, “Take care of your friends”, “Let’s use kind words” or “Keep your hands to yourself, please.” Other times we feel a conversation is needed.
When a student meets with us around an event, we first try to learn about the child’s perspective. We listen and ask questions. We ask what happened. We ask what they were hoping would happen, or what they wanted/needed. We ask if they received what they wanted. We ask if anyone was or could have been hurt. We work together to build understanding around the situation.
We then problem solve alternative approaches to the situation so the child may still get what they want but in a way that works at school. If someone was hurt emotionally or physically, we talk about making it right. The analogy here is if one spills milk, making it right would be to wipe it up. It can be difficult to “wipe up” a social situation so we need to be creative. Sometimes a child receives a consequence. This is used when there is a pattern or the behavior is significant, but is often done in relation to the child’s needs.
We involve parents early. If we have a conversation in private with a child we generally call home later that day. We’d rather talk about something small and manageable than something large and challenging. Please know that our call does not mean trouble with a capital T.
In yesterday’s Community Update from Dr. Cascadden you may have noticed that he wrote about the SAU’s mission/vision statement. In particular the first part that reads “Care for each individual every day.” We feel this part of the statement speaks to BES’s work around building community and learning about individuals. We endeavor to care for each individual every day as this is the number one way to help children be ready to learn!
When children act in a caring way to other children the community is stronger. When they don’t, we need to help individual. Most of what we address in elementary school appears low level in terms of drama, but we know that behavioral patterns are grown at this level. A shove from a second grader may grow into a fight in sixth grade, so we address the shove to avoid the fight. When behaviors are particularly troubling to others we sometimes call that bullying and we take bullying seriously.
BES’s anti-bullying campaign is wrapped up in all we do around caring about children and teaching positive expectations. But, when a behavior is serious enough to be called bullying, we call it bullying. Everyone knows that bullying behavior is hurtful and potentially harmful. Our daily focus on nurturing a caring school community helps to teach children more positive, appropriate ways to interact and to get their needs met. We also highlight and educate children about how they can help prevent and stop bullying behavior. One way we advertise this stand is to participate in bullying prevention efforts. Nationally, October is Bullying Prevention Awareness month and October 5th has been designated as Blue Shirt Day. We at BES will all wear blue to say “no” to bullying on October 5th and continue the conversation all year.
Here are some resources that Dr. C shared around bullying awareness and anti-bullying and anti-harassment policies:
Bullying Awareness from Stomp Out Bullying
We have a new district food service director, Tyfany Carbone. She is experienced and a bundle of positive energy! She is working with all three Bow schools around the food offerings so expect that the BES program will grow this year.
There is a section in the handbook on the program (on the website under Parents). Also under Parents, you will see the lunch menu link. Follow that link to all things food service has to offer including nutritional information.
When you poke around you will find information about adding money to your child’s account. At BES you may pay for food by sending in money with your child every day, or start an account and add money from home or send in money to be added to the account. The account can be used for snack milk, lunch and snacks. We encourage the accounts as it helps prevent lost money and make the lunch line go faster.
Our food service director would love hearing from you. Contact her via email or phone: firstname.lastname@example.org or 224-3095 ext. 316. She is very busy around noon so best to call her earlier in the day.
We are continuing our work to launch the on-line note system to let us know how your child will go home. Check it out at pickuppatrol.net. We will give you more information soon as we hope to try this starting in October.
Principal's Message >