Fix School Discipline Toolkit for Educators - Page 53

that had been successful at other schools and she didn’t get the desired effects. She felt like she was ill prepared to teach these students and felt sorrow at how academically and socially behind the students already were. BA: What I learned is that what our students need the most is not negative consequences and zero tolerance policies. What our students need is absolutely consistent and urgent support around maintaining appropriate behavior. They need to feel valued and confident in school. The traditional model says, “Throw kids out for refusing to listen to you.” After a couple of weeks of experiencing more of what we had experienced the first day, we held school-wide staff meeting and asked, “What can we do differently?” How then did you decide to implement PBIS and SEL? BA: We initially received an inclusive practices training. The only part of that training that was particularly good was PBIS, as a subset of inclusive practices. We are a full inclusion model school. This means that all of our special education students are mainstreamed and receive instruction in the same classroom as our regular education students. . We further sought out training from the employees of Ravenswood because the demographics of their schools are similar to ours and they had been implementing PBIS as part of a court settlement and seeing dramatic and good results for children. We also attended a PBIS training by Placer County Office of Education. We had heard about the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning’s (CASEL’s) Collaborating Districts Initiative (CDI) because Sacramento is one of the districts collaborating with CASEL. Through CDI, the District received a planning grant of $125,000 and was eligible to apply for an implementation grant. This grant paid for whatever the district and CASEL decided would be best. In our case, the grant paid for Second Step, a multimedia SEL curriculum that assists teachers with teaching SEL skills in the classroom, and which costs about $3,000. Cory and I heard that there would be a CASEL meeting at the District. We assertively invited ourselves to the meeting. Getting resources to help your school improve sometimes takes aggressive advocacy. How can other school and district leaders bring PBIS and SEL into their schools? BA: I would recommend that other Principals and educators contact the PBIS main office for their region or county, if one exists. At Placer County Office of Education, as a part of their special education team, they had PBIS experts and were using federal Individuals with Disability Education Act funding to help schools like ours implement PBIS. I also really recommend contacting CASEL directly; they are very helpful people who will provide guidance about implementing SEL in your school. What changes did you make to your curriculum or school structure to implement PBIS and SEL? BA: At the time, we had two curriculum instruction training specialists. We designated one of those training specialists to be a full time SEL and PBIS person. While instruction is very important, Academic Percentage Index (API) points are not immediately important to the families we serve. We eliminated the Dungeon because it was stupid. When you are dealing with kids who are disengaged with school it doesn’t make any sense to F