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:
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!
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:
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:
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:
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!
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:
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:
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!”