Improving School Culture and Student Behavior
Leader in Me
Peter J. Palombi Middle School strives for a caring school community, in which the students are leaders of their own education and path to success. The Leader in Me is a whole school improvement model that teaches social and emotional skills through a leadership lens. The leadership lens comes from the work of Stephen Covey and the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. For the 2019-2020 school year, students will begin with an 8-day boot camp to become familiar with the 7 Habits and provide time to promote a bond between the group of students and teacher. Each week students will develop additional leadership skills through a variety of activities with the end goal to have student-led groups using the 7 Habits.
PBIS stands for Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports. It is a structure to provide positive feedback, teach expectations, provide support to students who need it, and bring consistency amongst staff with behavior management and instructional skills. PBIS and Leader in Me will work together to ensure a positive climate.
The Leader in Me Components
Boot Camp is a 30-45 minute lesson each day for 8 consecutive days. Students begin the year on a positive note, work on 7 Habits (Be Proactive, Begin With the End in Mind, Put First Things First, Seek to Understand, Then to be Understood, Synergize, and Sharpen the Saw), and develop relationships with staff/students.
Students use Leadership Notebooks to gain a growing awareness of particular strengths, how to use strengths, acknowledge areas of weakness, and learn ways to remediate or compensate for weaknesses. Students learn to critically select work samples for Student-Led Conferences.
Student Led Conferences/Goals
Palombi utilizes the student-led conference format. This allows students to stay accountable for their goals, empowers students for their own success and improvement, and promotes a highly important skill of presenting information to their parents. Teachers are available to meet with parents on an as-needed basis.
Students will take initiative in the climate of the school and in particular interests they have. As staff gathers student feedback as to what leadership opportunities they'd like to take part in, Palombi will develop leadership groups to match the interest. Examples of groups may be Student Council, Environmental Group, Pep Club, Gardening, etc.
At the beginning of the year, teachers develop expectations with the students and post them in the room. Each area of the school has expectation guidelines posted, but here is the entire matrix for your viewing:
Positive Feedback/REP Tickets
According to John Hattie (2007), consistent effective feedback provides students with steps to improve academically and behaviorally. Palombi teachers provide positive feedback to students when they meet expectations or demonstrate the use of a 7 Habit principle. While providing this feedback, teachers may hand out a REP ticket to the student to be later handed in for a classroom incentive or a chance at a weekly drawing.
Palombi has a video announcement team that pulls 8 random REP tickets each week. Students who are called down have a choice of items such as cinch bags, high school lanyards, books, pop-sockets, and other items. If you wish to donate to our awards, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Teachers will try a host of strategies (proximity, changing desks, discussion, parent contact, providing positive feedback, etc.) with students who may have difficulty meeting expectations. If the behavior is disruptive to the class, teachers are asked to intervene. In order to document the intervention, teachers will write a referral and provide an explanation of what happened. Students may be asked to have a discussion, problem solve with the teacher for next time, be sent to the office, eat in a different location during lunch, stay after school to get caught up on work, provide some type of service to the school, etc. Documentation helps the school develop solutions for students and their parents.
As an extension of our REP Program, where we teach all students the principles of Respect, Effort, and Pride and reward them for demonstrating outstanding REP behavior, the COR (Checking our REP) Program is designed to provide additional support to students who may have trouble finishing their work, staying on task, or following our school-wide expectations. Students who participate in the program do so for a minimum of six weeks. They will have the opportunity to earn incentives and rewards for appropriate behavior. A report, called the "Checking our REP" card, will be filled out daily by your child's teacher(s) and checked at the end of the day by a teacher mentor.