Safe, Just and Caring Community

This Year’s Priorities

Part III. Safe, Just and Caring Community

Our school vision states:  Lawrence School is a safe, just and caring learning community of students, staff and families….Students learn to respect themselves and others and to value and honor the diversity of cultures, backgrounds, and learning differences.” To help make this vision a reality, we continue to 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 enhance our implementation of the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program (OBPP), which began two years ago.

On Friday, October 17, we will hold our annual “kick-off” event. As part of this event, Art Teacher Shelly Magno and Vice Principal Laura Horst have organized a Community Identity Display, which will feature work by all students and staff to create a visual using their name or a symbol.   Watch the display take shape this week!  On Friday, students will gather for Community Meeting in K-5 and meet in a large group in Grades 6-8 during Advisory. We will invite students and staff to share some examples from the Identity Display.   In addition, Laura Horst and I will address the students and remind them of our “Say Something, Do Something” theme inspired by the book Say Something by Janet Moss. This slogan refers to the need for bystanders to speak up or act. Every student and staff member will receive a Lawrence Loyalty pencil featuring our “Say Something, Do Something” slogan.

One key component of Olweus is class meeting.   Teachers continue to incorporate weekly activities from Olweus “Class Meetings That Matter” into their morning meeting (K-5) or advisory (Gr. 6-8).  Once a month (in lieu of K-5 Community Meeting or during Gr. 6-8 Advisory), all specialists and student services staff are assigned to a classroom and participate in this class meeting.  This monthly school-wide meeting time was new last year and enabled all staff to be an active part of the program and helped students see that ALL of the adults in the school are working together to provide a safe environment.

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 adapted for our school. The entire staff continues to work 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, administered each spring for the past three years.  This summer, Monica Crowley, Laura Horst, 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. Some of the survey results were presented by Laura Horst at the September 30 PTO meeting. A copy of this presentation, as well as other information for parents about the Olweus Bullying Prevention are available on our website http://lawrenceschoolbrookline.org/olweus-bullying-prevention-program/.

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 pro-active approach to developing a positive community and enhancing social skills in the classroom.

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

Rick Rogers

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