By Bliss Tobin, K-5 Division Head
When interviewing a candidate for our K-2 Information Literacy position this week, we asked, “Why TBS?” She replied that in listening to the promotional statements among several peer schools, our message stands out as authentic and she sees it demonstrated in the warmth of our community.
The strength of a school community cannot be taken for granted, where the fits and starts of growing up are inherent in the purpose of the institution. What do the well-worn words “respect” and “inclusion” look like in action among 200 children, ages 5 – 13, not to mention the teaching and parenting adults? They look and sound like consent and boundaries.
Over the past 3 years, we’ve developed a strong relationship with KidPower, a non-profit organization that teaches personal safety skills to all ages. (Some of you attended the KidPower Family Education events offered at both the ECC or UAC campuses in the past week.) KidPower works to prevent abuse and violence in its worst form, and, as they remind us, the basic tenets about consent and boundaries apply to our youngest children on the playground. Games, affection and the way a group sits at a lunch table all contain messages of consent and boundaries. Students require the tools to respect their own and others’ personal boundaries by asking for and giving consent.
If the kids aren’t clear on expectations for interpersonal behavior, it’s because the adults around them are not clear. KidPower’s approach has inspired coordinated professional development and family education as we clarify our expectations, deliver consistent messages, and ensure that our students have plenty of practice with the social-emotional tools they need.
We’ve taken several steps to move from learning to action, including:
- Hiring an educational consultant from Pathways to Learning to assess for areas of strength and growth regarding how we support positive student behavior.
- Creating a tiered structure of academic and social-emotional learning supports in order to meet a range of needs
- Re-aligning roles and responsibilities with the establishment of our K-8 Student Engagement Team (SET), consisting of our Social-Emotional and Academic Learning Specialists and Division Heads in K5 and MS
- Extending Middle School Second Step health curriculum into 3rd-5th grades
- Providing workshops for K-8 and ExDay faculty to ensure fidelity in upholding our expectations across all learning spaces
- Providing regular Family Education events regarding social-emotional wellness at each developmental stage
How can you support this work?
- Stay informed! Read your blogs and Newsnotes weekly!
- Attend Family Education events whenever possible
- Learn our School-Wide Agreements, and model them for all of our children.
- Be Inclusive
- Be Respectful of Ourselves, Others and Our Surroundings
- Be Safe and Responsible
- Try Our Best