5 Must-Do’s For Keeping Your Students and Staff Safe, Happy and Sane This Spring

Mar 25 4PM
5 Must-Do’s For Keeping Your Students and Staff Safe, Happy and Sane This Spring

We’ve compiled a list of proactive steps leaders can take to ensure their school maintains and even improves its positive school culture using Kickboard. Read on to find out how these five strategies can make a big difference this spring:

  1. Assess leader mindset
  2. Check teacher mindsets for signs of spring fever
  3. Take a back-to-school approach to expectations and behaviors
  4. Keep data top-of-mind
  5. Incentivize the “hot weeks”

1. Assess Leader Mindset

First, take a few minutes to reflect together on this question during your next leadership team:  

Are you counting on having to spend more time this spring responding to discipline referrals?  

If the consensus is yes, perhaps it’s time to remind the team that a little time investment in proactive planning can actually buy them time later on.  Question the mindset that spring always means more negative behaviors and guide them toward a growth mindset that this spring, your team is going to take action to ensure the school is consistently reinforcing and expecting more positive behavior than negative!

2. Check Teacher Temperature. Do They Show Symptoms of Spring Fever?

Once your leadership team is all on the same page, bring your teachers into the conversation regarding mindsets for success. Quite often, school staff think “kids should know this by now” when it comes to basic expectations and therefore don’t feel the need to reinforce behavior with such diligence. But would you ever say to a child “You should know how to read by now” and drop their reading instruction? Just like teaching content, adults need to stay consistent in reinforcing behavior, especially when there’s evidence (or historical evidence in years past) to indicate that spring can get tough.  

Another mindset you might try to get a pulse on is whether teachers themselves are inadvertently sending out signals that it’s okay to misbehave.  Of course teachers would never do this intentionally--they don’t want the consequences of having those misbehaviors!  But perhaps teachers are spending more and more time out at recess or ignoring minor behavior infractions they would have addressed earlier in the year. Maybe they are walking and talking with students down the hall when back at the beginning of the year they expected absolute silence and straight lines. Perhaps they will not be paying as close attention to conserving instructional time because the state assessment is over?  These mixed signals will only confuse students and send them the message that behavior isn’t as important now as it was during the beginning of the year.  So, take some time during your next staff meeting or PLC to collectively reflect on some of the following questions as a team:

  • How can adult actions influence student behavior and what do we need to improve or refocus on?
  • If I’m seeing different results in student behavior compared to earlier in the year, am I doing anything differently?
  • What steps can we take to ensure spring doesn’t mean increased negative behavior and stress?

 

3. Take a Back-to-School Approach to Behaviors and Expectations

Look at your monthly trends in Culture Analysis. Are any grade levels slowing down their efforts of reinforcing behaviors in Kickboard?  If tracking is trending downward, consider asking staff to revisit Back-To-School approaches to building classroom and school-wide culture.

Think back to how much time you and your staff spent on expectations at the beginning of the year and take the time to do it again. Here are a few expectations you can re-teach, practice together, and reinforce with points or dollars in Kickboard Daily Activity:

  • Entry/exit expectations for beginning and ending the school day
  • Transition expectations with students such as line-ups, switching subjects, changing classes and hallway behavior.
  • Attention signals such as SLANT, hands up for quiet, and signal words.
  • Lunchtime manners and procedures
  • Organizational procedures such as turning in work, how to keep a binder, or how to organize supplies.

In addition to taking a beginning of the year approach to procedures and expectations, revisit and clarify what certain positive behaviors specifically look like, sound like, and feel like such as:

  • Respectful words, tones and actions
  • Following directions
  • Kindness to others
  • Cooperation

Use Kickboard Culture Analysis data to guide you in what might need reteaching and reviewing. Often, you can see a pattern emerge for certain behaviors that are escalating. If so, just like academic assessment data informs what content objectives to reteach, use frequent negative behavior data to inform which procedures, expectations, and positive behaviors to re-address!

4. Keep Data Top of Mind

Awareness breeds action!  One of the most powerful ways to prevent a negative spiral is to keep everyone aware of the data. Here are a few ways to be intentional about ensuring culture data is the driving force for change:

In faculty meetings:

  • Take 5 minutes at the beginning of every meeting to pull up the school dashboard and celebrate the positivity ratio.
  • Give shout-outs to the grade level with the highest proportion of positive-to-negative behaviors on the school dashboard.

In staff memos:

  • Take a screenshot of the week’s positivity ratio (or another important Kickboard page!) and put it into your staff newsletter each week.
  • Share one thing you noticed from your study of last week’s Culture Analysis and make it a standing “Notable Culture Trend of the Week” newsletter segment.
  • Make a behavior tally on the School Dashboard for a critical behavior your school has been trying to improve. Report the total week-to-week and encourage action.

In PLC’s:

  • Insist that for the first five minutes of every grade level or department meeting, teachers share one data point from Culture Analysis and one action they intend to take to improve culture in their classrooms in the coming week.
  • Decide on a focus behavior to take action on together. Look at the culture analysis data and compare its progress from one week to the next. Is your group intervention working?

 

5. Incentivize the Hot Weeks

Identify in your school’s calendar what your “hot weeks” are likely to be and incentivize the heck out of those!  If you have Kickboard data from last year, use it to identify the weeks when negative behaviors escalated.  Otherwise, use discipline referral data from past years. Often, it is the weeks in May after all the spring testing is complete.  Challenge your staff and students to reach lofty goals with tantalizing rewards if they do. Here are a few ideas for incentives along with the Kickboard feature that will best help you manage it:

Threshold Rewards:

  • Each grade level that has X number of incidents of Respect in the month of April gets an ice cream sundae party. Culture Analysis by school, filtered for Respect behavior only.
  • Any homeroom who has X number of positive incidents recorded gets to attend the school dance. Culture Analysis by group, filtered for positive behaviors only
  • Any individual with more than X dollars in Kickboard gets to go on a special leadership field trip.
  • Make the month of April “laser focus” month and put a behavior in Kickboard for teachers to track each time a child is focused on learning. Then, keep a marble jar outside the office for all to see. Put a large marble in for every 100 focus behaviors. If you fill the jar, the whole school gets a special party in May.  Behavior Tally on School Dashboard
  • Give any student who has X dollars in Kickboard at the end of each week a “Mystery Bag” containing a hidden treasure chest item.

Student Contests:

  • Honor the highest 3 students in each grade level from the previous day. Give them shout-outs during morning announcements and have them wear medals throughout the day. Culture Leaderboard.
  • If Kindness is your focus for the month, create a Kindness Board.  Anyone with 5 kindness behaviors at the end of the week shows up on your Kindness roster on Friday and gets their name on the bulletin board for the next week.  Consequence trigger.
  • In each classroom, allow the student with the most dollars or points earned for the day gets a Star Student sticker to wear home that day.

Teacher Incentives:

  • The teacher with the most behaviors tracked each day gets to have the principal’s chair for the day. Culture Analysis filtered by teacher.
  • Award the teacher with the most behaviors tracked the week before a ream of paper.  Culture Analysis filtered by teacher.
  • Award the grade level with the most positive behaviors for the month a GOOSE (Get Out Of School Early) or GOBL (Get Out of Bed Late) pass with the principal covering each class for 30 minutes at a prearranged time. Culture Analysis filtered by group and positive behaviors.

 

There are so many ways to incentivize positive choices for all ages both individually and collectively.  And if you don’t have the budget for anything extravagant, you can download this list of free or inexpensive incentives shared with Kickboard for you to use with students and staff.

The critical component is that you and your leadership team proactively plan for ensuring positive behavior during the spring.  If you don’t plan and get ahead of the behaviors that tend to arise, you’re sure to spend an unpleasant amount of time and energy reacting to negative behaviors instead.  As Greg Brandao, one of our fabulous Kickboard school leaders recently stated, “People don’t remember the beginning of the movie, they remember the end.  We want that for our students and staff too. We want to finish strong!”

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