A Safe, Just and Caring Community

This Year’s Priorities

Part III. A Safe, Just and Caring Community

It is a given that students need to feel and be safe in order to learn and that schools must be continually attentive to providing a safe and caring environment.  Towards that end, we continue work on a school goal to “identify and implement common language and practices to support a safe, just, and caring community and to promote social-emotional learning.” 

Olweus Bullying Prevention Program

An important focus of our work on this goal is to continue and enhance our implementation of the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program (OBPP), which began last year.

One key component of Olweus is class meeting.   Teachers will continue to incorporate weekly activities from Olweus “Class Meetings that Matter” into their morning meeting (K-5) or advisory (Gr. 6-8). In order for specialists and student services staff to play a more active role in the program this year, they have been assigned to a classroom and will participate in at least one class meeting a month.  In grades 6-8, advisors and health teachers worked last June to identify areas of overlap among Developmental Designs, Olweus and the PSB Health curriculum in order to make connections for students and eliminate duplication of the lessons.

A second key component of the program is “on-the-spot interventions” – addressing behavior in the moment following a common protocol recommended by the Olweus Program and adapated for our school. The entire staff is working on more consistent on-the-spot interventions and documentation of incidents.  Our goal is to respond to “bullying-like” behaviors early before they rise to the level of bullying.

A third key component is an annual Olweus Bullying Questionnaire (OBQ) survey of students in grades 3-8.   We will administer the survey for a third time this spring.  Monica Crowley and I reviewed last year’s results and modified our school’s supervisory plan as a result. The Bullying Prevention Coordinating Committee will be doing further analysis of the results. We will report on these findings later in the fall.

On Friday, October 4, we held a low-key “kick-off” event to set the stage for the year.  Students gathered for Community Meeting in K-5 and met in a large group in Grades 6-8 during Advisory.  Monica Crowley and I each addressed the students and reminded them of the book “Say Something” by Janet Moss that we had read during last year’s kick-off and that led to our theme of “Say Something, Do Something,” a reference to the need for bystanders to speak up or act. Students in grades 2-5 and teachers in grades 6-8 shared examples they had seen of students saying or doing something kind.  Mrs. Crowley created a wonderful video that showed every class in the school interspersed with examples of work related to building community, respecting others, and being kind.   Every student and staff member received a wrist band with our slogan “Say Something, Do Something” and, of course, our LL Logo (Lawrence Loyalty!).

Social Emotional Learning:  Responsive Classroom and Developmental Designs

Work with Responsive Classroom (K-5) and Developmental Designs (Gr. 6-8) will continue in classrooms and advisory. Both of these programs focus on developing a positive community and enhancing social skills in the classroom.

During the year, we will provide an additional opportunity for parent education about bullying prevention and social emotional learning.  You may also refer to our website for more information:  http://lawrenceschoolbrookline.org/student-life/safe-just-caring-community/.

We are strongly committed to providing a safe, just and caring community at Lawrence.

Rick Rogers

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