Creating and Sustaining Supportive and Engaging Schools
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Creating and Sustaining Supportive and Engaging Schools
Creating and Sustaining Supportive and Engaging SchoolsInformation for parents regarding Fairfield Public School Districts Response to Connecticut General Statute, Section 10-222d An Act Concerning the Strengthening of School Bullying LawsPresented by:Andrea Leonardi District School Climate CoordinatorTuesday, April 24, 2012The newly amended legislation, which took effect July 1, 2011, effectively shifts the focus of the bullying law from reacting to bullying and mean-spirited behavior to proactively building and maintaining a positive school climate. The Law CT General Statute 10-222dEssential Shift in ThinkingFromFixing the Problem A.K.A Isolated Bullying Prevention ProgramsAssemblies onlyPunishmentToIntentionally working to create and sustain a school climate where ALL students, parents, employees are and feel physically, socially, emotionally, and intellectually safe School climate refers to the quality and character of school life. School climate is based on patterns of students', parents' and school personnel's experience of school life and reflects norms, goals, values, interpersonal relationships, teaching and learning practices, and organizational structures.
What is School Climate?A sustainable, positive school climate fosters youth development and learning necessary for a productive, contributing and satisfying life in a democratic society. This climate includes: Norms, values and expectations that support people feeling socially, emotionally and physically and intellectually safe. People are engaged and respected. Students, families and educators work together to develop, live and contribute to a shared school vision.Educators model and nurture attitudes that emphasize the benefits and satisfaction gained from learning.Each person contributes to the operations of the school and the care of the physical environment.
(This definition of school climate and a positive, sustained school climate were consensually developed by the National School Climate Council that NSCC co-leads with the Education Commission of the States.)
Why focus on School Climate?School Climate Continuous Improvement ProcessThe National School Climate (www.schoolclimate.org) suggests a 5 Stage School Climate Improvement Process
The School Climate Improvement ProcessPreparation and Planning Forming a representative SC Committee and establishing ground rules collaboratively.Building support and fostering "Buy In" for the SC Improvement Process.Establishing a "no fault" framework and promoting a culture of trust.Ensuring your team has adequate resources to support the process.Celebrating successes and building on past effortsReflecting on Stage One work
Stage 1 We are here!Evaluation Systematically evaluating the school's strengths, needs and weaknesses with any number of school climate as well as other potential measurement toolsDeveloping plans to share evaluation findings with the school communityReflecting on our Stage Two work
Stage 2Understanding the findings, Engagement & developing an action plan Understanding the evaluation findingsDigging into the findings to understand areas of consensus and discrepancy in order to promote learning and engagement.Prioritizing GoalsResearching best practices and evidence-based instructional and systemic programs and effortsDeveloping an action planReflecting on Stage Three work
Stage 3Implementing the Action Plan Coordinating evidence-based pedagogic and systemic efforts designed to (a) promote students' social, emotional and civic as well as intellectual competencies; and (b) improve the school climate by working toward a safe, caring, participatory and responsive school community.The instructional and/or school-wide efforts are instituted with fidelity, monitored and there is an ongoing attempt to learn from successes and challenges.The adults who teach and learn with students work to further their own social, emotional and civic learning.Reflecting on Stage Four work.Stage 4Reevaluation and Development of the Next Phase Reevaluating the school's strengths and challengesDiscovering what has changed and how.Discovering what has most helped and hindered the SC Improvement ProcessRevising plans to improve the school climate.Reflecting on Stage Five work
Stage 5The District School Climate Coordinator shall: Facilitate the District School Climate Team; Ensure the implementation of the District School Climate Plan;Provide leadership to the School Climate Specialists;Plan and implement, along with administrators and School Climate Specialists, annual training for School Climate Team members;Create, along with School Climate Team members, annual training modules for school employees; Insure that all school employees receive annual training;Provide timely and accurate data to the Superintendent, district, and CSDE as requested and as required by state statute;Facilitate annual revisions to the District School Climate Plan based on feedback from School Climate Teams ;Review all reports of suspected bullying and investigation reports.
District School Climate Coordinator District Level School Climate TeamBeginning in January of 2012 the District School Climate Coordinator shall establish a District School Climate Team. Membership shall include:All School Climate Specialists (In the case of Co-School Climate Specialists, one representative from each school shall serve on the district team)Community membersParentsStudents
District Level School Climate TeamThis Team shall:Meet quarterly (at minimum);Review and amend, as necessary, the District School Climate Plan;Review all school climate improvement plans;Review all district data and measurements of school climate;Make recommendations to the Superintendent regarding necessary changes to Board of Education Policy;Perform any other duties as determined by the School Climate Coordinator that are related to improving school climate (including, but not limited to the prevention, intervention, and response to school bullying for the district); Gather and disseminate to school climate committees best practice information on the prevention, intervention, and response to bullying and youth suicide.
District School Climate Team - continuedSchool Climate SpecialistBeginning in the 2011-2012 school year each school principal will serve as, or designate, from existing staff, a School Climate Specialist (Co-School Climate Specialists are allowable). The School Climate Specialist, in collaboration with the school principal shall:Provide leadership to the school community in the prevention, intervention, and response to reports of bullying, discrimination, and otherwise mean-spirited behavior*** in the school;Ensure implementation of District School Climate Plan; Coordinate the provision of annual training to all staff on the prevention, intervention, and response to bullying, discrimination, and otherwise mean-spirited behavior in schools and on the prevention, intervention and response to youth suicide in collaboration with the School Climate Committee;
School Climate Specialist(s)Ensure that all students, parents, and school employees are notified annually of process by which they can make reports of bullying;Chair the School Climate Committee; Coordinate the schools efforts in gathering multiple measures of school climate data;Use the above mentioned data to lead the development of the School Climate Improvement Plan in alignment with the district plan;Serve as their schools representative on the District School Climate Committee;Investigate or supervise the investigation of reported acts of bullying in accordance with the District School Climate Plan and Board of Education Policy;Ensure the implementation of intervention/response plans for all verified acts of bullying Collect and maintain records of reports and investigations of bullying in the schoolSchool Climate Specialist(s) ContinuedFor each school year commencing July 1, 2012 each school principal shall establish a committee or designate at least one existing committee in the school to be responsible for developing and fostering a safe school climate. Team membership shall be designated by the school principal and shall include at least one parent or guardian of a child enrolled in the school. School Climate CommitteeReceive copies of completed reports following investigations of bullying (parents, students, or community members will not receive copies of reports as sharing these reports would violate student confidentiality rights under federal law - FERPA); Identify and address patterns of bullying among students in the school;Review and amend school policies/practices relating to bullying;Review and make recommendations to the District Safe School Climate Coordinator regarding the District Safe School Climate Plan based on issues and experiences specific to the school;Educate students, school employees and parents and guardians of students on issues relating to school climate and bullying;Collaborate with the School Climate Specialist in the collection of data regarding school climate and bullying in accordance with the District Safe School Climate Plan and state statute;Perform any other duties as determined by the school principal that are related to improving school climate and to the prevention, intervention, and response to school bullying, discrimination, or otherwise mean-spirited behavior for the school.School Climate CommitteeThe Federal Education Right to Privacy Act (FERPA) protects all students and their families from the disclosure of personally identifiable education records. Any individual NOT on the faculty of the school is prohibited from accessing this information without the written consent of the parent of the child in question. An Important Note on Confidentiality!46 state have bullying laws on the booksEach state has a different definitionCT has had bullying legislation for 10 years CT legislation has been amended 6 timesEach time legislation has been amended the definition has changedCTs Legislation is 10 years old. Can anyone guess what happened that created the anti-bullying movement?A History LessonSo What is Bullying? The new legislations defines bullying as:The repeated use by one or more students of a written, verbal or electronic communication, such as cyber bullying, or a physical act or gesture directed at another student attending school in that same school district that:Causes physical or emotional harm to such student or damage to such students property;Places such student in reasonable fear for harm to himself or herself or of damage to his or her property;Creates a hostile environment at school for such student;Infringes upon the rights of such student at school;Substantially disrupts the educational process or orderly operation of the school.
CTs Statutory DefinitionOn school grounds, at a school-sponsored or school-related activity, function or program whether on or off school grounds at a school bus stop, on a school bus or other vehicle owned, leased or used by the Board of Education, or through the use of an electronic device or an electronic mobile device owned, leased or used by the Board of Education ANDBullying is Prohibited! (Subject to escalating disciplinary consequences)Outside of the school setting IF the bullying:Creates a hostile environment at school for the victim (or anyone else),Infringes on the rights of the victim (or anyone else) at school, orSubstantially disrupts the educational process or the orderly operation of the schoolBullying is Prohibited! (Subject to escalating disciplinary consequences)Examples of bullying include, but are not limited to:exclusion from peer groups within the schoolverbal taunts, name-calling and disparaging language including ethnically-based or gender-based verbal disparaging languagetargeting of a student based on the students actual or perceived differentiating characteristics such as race; color; religion; ancestry; national origin; gender; sexual orientation; gender identity or expression; socioeconomic or academic status; physical appearance; or mental, physical, developmental, or sensory disability.physical violence and attackssexual harassment including unwanted sexual attention or insulting or degrading sexual remarks or conductthreats and intimidationextortion or stealing of money and/or possessionsthe misuse of electronic communications for the purpose of bullying, harassing, or sexually harassing other students within school or out of school (cyber bullying)
What does Bullying look like?Kids will be kids?TeasingAllows the teaser and the person teased to swap roles with ease.Isnt intended to hurt the other person.Maintains the basic dignity of everyone involved.Pokes fun in a lighthearted, clever, and benign way.Is meant to get both parties to laugh.Is only a small part of the activities shared by people who have something in common friends.Is innocent in motive.Is discontinued immediately when the person teased becomes upset or objects to the teasing.
TauntingIs based on an imbalance of power and is one-sided: the bully taunts, the bullied is taunted.Is intended to harm or at minimum to maintain the current imbalance of power.Involves humiliating, cruel, demeaning, or bigoted comments thinly disguised as jokes.Includes laughter directed at the target, not with the target.Is meant to diminish the sense of self-worth of the target.Induces fear of further taunting or can be a prelude to physical bullying.Is sinister in motive Is meant to further solidify the power structure (you are weak and I am strong).Continues especially when targeted person becomes distressed or objects to the taunt. Students may file:Oral Reports to school employeesWritten reports Anonymous reportsEach school shall inform students of the process for anonymous reporting annuallyDistrict is investigating electronic means for reportingNOTE: There are two kinds of anonymous reports those when the student wishes to remain anonymous and those that are truly anonymous. ***CT General Statute 10-222d - The safe school climate specialist must review anonymous reports, but no disciplinary action may be taken solely on the basis of any anonymous report.
Reporting Alleged Bullying/Harassment/Mean-Spirited BehaviorReporting If you SEE something - SAY somethingTattlingintentionally trying to get someone in trouble for behavior which, honestly, doesnt really bother you.Telling/ReportingGoing to an adult for help with any dangerous, hateful, mean-spirited, threatening behavior , that has really affected you (or someone else) on some level. We should encourage everyone to report/tell trusted adults about mean-spirited behavior because IF kids could make the problem go away on their own, this wouldnt be an issue. Sometimes they just cant. And so they have got to tell or report to an adult.
If you SEE something, SAY something!Reporting/TellingParents may file written reports (parental reports should/must be signed and include contact information in the even that follow-up is needed)
Reporting Alleged Bullying/Harassment/Mean-Spirited BehaviorSchool employees who witness acts of bullying, harassment, or mean-spirited behavior or receive reports of bullying MUST report it to the school administration or school climate specialist. School employees must:Orally notify the school climate specialist or school administrator (if the school climate specialist is unavailable) as soon as possible, but not later that one (1) school day after such school employee witnesses or receives a report of bullying (school climate specialist shall maintain a list of oral and written reports), and;File a written report as soon as possible, but not later than two (2) school days after making such an oral report.
Reporting Alleged Bullying/Harassment/Mean-Spirited BehaviorSchool Employees defined:*** CT General Statute 10-222d defines School employee as: a teacher, substitute teacher, school administrator, school superintendent, guidance counselor, psychologist, social worker, nurse, physician, school paraprofessional or coach employed by a local or regional board of education or working in a public elementary, middle or high school; orAny other individual who, in the performance of his or her duties, has regular contact with students and who provides services to or on behalf of students
Reporting Alleged Bullying/Harassment/Mean-Spirited BehaviorAll incidents will be investigatedWhen the evidence gathered supports that the incident meets the statutory definition of bullying it will be considered a verified act of bullying and result in parent notification (both victim and perpetrator) that includes each meeting with school officials, ANDA School Safety and Intervention Plan being developed for BOTH the victim and the perpetratorInvestigations and Verified Acts of BullyingFor the victim this plan must:Include a school safety plan that describes what school staff will do to ensure safety in the school environment. Include an intervention strategy to teach the skills and dispositions necessary to decrease the likelihood of further victimizationIdentify a case managerBe provided to the parent and shared with the studentBe monitored by the School Climate Specialist or his/her designee (to be identified in the plan) to ensure implementation fidelity and adjusted as necessary to provide a safe environmentSchool Safety and Intervention Plan - VictimAt no time should the plan for the victim further isolate the victim. If changes to schedule, programs, and activities need to be made to provide safety, they should not negatively impact the victim in any way.
School Safety and Intervention Plan Victim A NOTEFor the perpetrator this plan must include:Any disciplinary action to be taken,Next steps should bullying occur again (repeated acts of bullying may lead to suspension and/or expulsion in accordance with Board of Education Policy #5119)Clearly state that retaliation against the victim, the reporter, or any individual participating in the investigation is prohibited;Identify a case managerBe provided to the parent and shared with the student Include an intervention strategy designed to teach the skills and dispositions necessary for participation in a safe school climateInclude actions to be taken to restore the student into the community (Restorative Discipline)
School Safety and Intervention Plan - PerpetratorThe Principal or his/her designee MUST notify the appropriate law enforcement agency when such principal or his/her designee believes that any act(s) of bullying may constitute criminal activity. When a principal or his/her designee makes such a report the principal or his/her designee shall inform the District School Climate Coordinator within one (1) school day of making such a report.
Notification of Law Enforcement How are students, staff and families notified of the Safe School Climate Plan?Student codes of conduct must include language concerning bullying. Students and parents or guardians of students must be notified annually ofThe process by which they may file complaints of bullying. No later than thirty days after Board of Education approves the District School Climate Plan the plan will be (a) published on the district website and of the website of each individual school, and (b) included in the school districts publication of the rules, procedures and standards of conduct for schools and in all student handbooks. At the beginning of each school year, each school must provide all school employees with a written or electronic copy of the school district's safe school climate plan.
Frequently Asked QuestionsHow will incidents be investigated?School officials will conduct reasonable investigations that may include, but is not limited to: interviews with complainant, alleged perpetrator, and witnesses, review security video tape (if available), review of previously reported incidents, disciplinary history, etc.The identity of the student (or parent) as the complainant is personally-identifiable information that can be disclosed only with the consent of the parent (or eligible student). Student statements may be appropriate, depending on the age of the students. All parties to the investigation will be admonished that the investigation is a confidential matter that they should not discuss with others. Anonymous reports must be reviewed, and they will be investigated, provided that no disciplinary action may be taken solely on the basis of an anonymous report.
Frequently Asked QuestionsHow complaints of cyber bullying investigated?The focus of an investigation of cyber bullying will always begin with the question, what is the impact of the behavior on the victim in school? The following questions might assist:Does the cyber bullying create a hostile environment for the student atSchool? Does the cyber bullying infringe on the rights of the victim at school? Does the cyber bullying substantially disrupt the educational process or the orderly operation of a school? To the extent available printouts of any IMs or postings or other related information should be requested as part of the investigation. Frequently Asked QuestionsWhat is the timeline for the completion of the investigation?The statute provides that the investigation must be completed promptly. While no specific timeline is outlined in this statute, other federal, state and local guidelines speak to schools taking prompt and effective action calculated to end the harassment (bullying), prevent its recurrence and, as appropriate, remedy its effects. In order to limit the harm to all parties dealing as immediately as possible once an allegation has been made is critical. Expediency, however, does not mean doing less than is required to complete a thorough investigation.
Frequently Asked QuestionsWhat constitutes a Verified Act of Bullying? The Principal/School Climate Specialist/Designated Investigator will focus on the statutory definition of bullying:Was the conduct repeated?Did the conduct cause physical or emotional harm to the student or damage to the students property?Did the conduct place the student in reasonable fear of harm to him or herself, or of damage to his/her property?Did the conduct create a hostile environment at school for such student? Did the conduct infringe on the rights of the student at school?Did the conduct substantially disrupt the educational process or orderly operation of the school?
NOTE: Cyber bullying will be verified only if one or more of the last three questions are answered YES.
Frequently Asked QuestionsWill there be a written report?The statute requires that the districts safe school climate plan must establish a procedure for each school to document and maintain records relating to incident reports and investigations of bullying in the school and to maintain a list of the number of verified acts of bullying in the school and make that list available for public inspection.Consistent with district obligations under state and federal law regarding student privacy, the list will not contain any personally identifiable student information, or any information that alone or in combination would allow a reasonable person in the school community to identify the students involved. The list will be limited to basic information such as the number of verified acts, name of school and relevant date.
Frequently Asked QuestionsCan written reports be shared with the parents of the victim and/or of the perpetrator?The statute requires that parents of perpetrators and victims be notified if bullying is verified. Any written report would likely include personally-identifiable student information. Disclosure of information such as might be contained in an investigation report would likely violate FERPA and is therefore not to be provided.
Frequently Asked QuestionsParents of the victim often demand to know the disciplinary actions taken against the perpetrator. It would be a violation of the students rights to confidentiality (and the schools obligation to protect those rights) under the Federal Education Rights to Privacy Act (FERPA) for staff to discuss such actions and is therefore prohibited. NoteWhat will be done to notify parents of the results of the investigation?Within forty-eight hours of the completion of the investigation, school officials must notify parents of any student who commits a verified act of bullying and the parents of any student against whom any such act of bullying was committed. Such parents must be invited to a meeting to communicate to such parents or guardians the measures being taken by the school to ensure the safety of the student against whom such act was directed and to prevent further acts of bullying. This meeting will result in the creation of a written School Safety and Intervention Plan for both the victim and the perpetrator. A copy of their childs plan will be provided to the parent and shared with the student. Note: Each of the meetings should be held separately. At no time would it be appropriate for the parents of the perpetrators to meet with the parents of the victims.Frequently Asked QuestionsBe role models of kindness, compassion, and tolerance (Your kids are watching!!)Show them that you value those traits by praising those attributes when you see them in others and in themWhen you see/hear mean spirited talk INTERVENETalk to your children about the difference between tattling and reportingWhat Can Parents Do to Improve School Climate?Accept and celebrate differences!!Listen to the chatter Report things you see/hear to school officials with sufficient detailMonitor online chatter
What Can Parents Do to Improve School Climate?Connecticut State Department of Education - www.sde.ct.govNational School Climate Center - www.schoolclimate.org Office of Civil Rights www.ed.govCharacter Counts - www.charactercounts.orgNational Association of School Psychologists www.naesp.org Stop Bullying Now! - www.stopbullying.govPeace Builders - www.peacebuilders.comStop Bullying Now! - www.stopbullyingnow.comKids Health - www.kidshealth.orgAnti-Bullying www.antibullying.netKids Against Bullying www.pacerkidsagainstbullying.orgOlweus Bullying Prevention www.olweus.orgJohn Halligan www.ryanpatrickhalligan.org National PTA www.pta.org National Education Association www .nea.org Resources for Parents/Students