41 Strategies for Bullying Prevention and Building Positive Behaviour at Belvedere Parkway School
(I actually wrote this more for our school on our Admin Team Blog (http://belparkadmin.weebly.com/) but thought it was good to share with all. My plan is to next ask our students to see what they would say as to how we support them in positive behaviours and the prevention of bullying.)
The Belvedere Parkway School I saw today was when one little grade 1 girl was losing her earring and it was hurting and pulling on her ear. There was no blood or visible injury, but every single child in her whole class was there trying to support her and make her feel better! This truly depicts what typical ROARS behaviour is all about at BelPark!
That made me feel great seeing that, as this morning I saw that a parent had written and posted this on Facebook:
“You know what disgusts me. My daughter is 5 and is in grade one and she bumped her lip and got a fat lip and all she was worried about was that people in her school were going to make fun of her for a fat lip. Like seriously she shouldn’t have to deal with that kinda stuff in grade 1, she should just worry about going to school and enjoying it and having fun not worry about kids making fun of her in grade 1. Just thought I would rant this because I don’t think this is right bullying is suppose to not be tolerated in schools but I don’t see anything being done about it. Rant over!”
I want to help all parents understand that at BelPark we have implemented a ton of supports for students, many in the past year, to build a culture of tolerance and acceptance and positive behaviour. One of the reasons I love working with students is that they love to learn, and all want to learn how to behave reasonably and to regulate themselves. Unfortunately, kids make mistakes, and we deal with them. We have many proactive strategies, as well as reactive, to deal with issues. Often, the reactive strategies are not visible as it is not helpful, beneficial, or fair to make consequences public for all to see.
The definition of Bullying is that “Bullying is the use of force, threat, or coercion to abuse, intimidate, or aggressively dominate others. The behavior is often repeated and habitual.”
If I had a big fat lip, I would probably be self-conscious about it as well, as this is an absolutely natural reaction. Bullying, though, involves power, intention, repetition and purpose to intimidate, not being worried about a fat lip.
Below is a list of 40 of the intentional and purposeful strategies used and implemented at our school to support positive behaviour.
- ROARS – Bullying Prevention and Positive Behaviour Program – recognizes good behaviour around Respect, Ownership, Attitude, Responsibility, Safety
- ROARS CERTIFICATES are given to students to recognize and celebrate specific positive behaviors, not as a general citizenship award
- ROARS ASSEMBLIES are used to teach students about appropriate behaviour at school and in life through the ROARS code
- Teachers and staff utilize the ROARS philosophy in the classroom to not only demonstrate positive behaviour, but to help students practice, learn and use positive behaviours
- Our BelPark STUDENT LEADERSHIP program has been developed to encourage and guide students in learning leadership skills as well enabling positive role in their school
- Teachers and students learn using LITERATURE CONNECTIONS and books such as “Have You Filled a Bucket Today?”, “Wilson Sat Alone,” “Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed,” “Weslandia,” and “Hooway for Wodney Wat” to learn about dealing with bullies and social issues
- The grade 5/6 classes are working on the concept of “People, Places, Perspectives” this year. They are looking specifically around ways to prevent and deal with bullying, looking at the PERSPECTIVES of both sides, finding videos on how to deal with bullying, and have just finished reading a book called “Confessions of a Former Bully.” They are also looking at video stories such as “The Power of Words” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNhYbJbqg-Y) to gain a greater understanding of citizenship and helping others
- All of this learning is actually part of the ALBERTA PROGRAM OF STUDIES in Health around the concepts of citizenship and getting along together
- The CBE RESULTS: Citizenship, Character, and Personal Development are specifically reported on in CBE report cards and are part of classroom instruction in every CBE classroom
- High school MENTORS from Bowness High School are part of our Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Calgary mentorship program, and work with a number of our students and building relationships and providing mentorship
- Our whole school learned about ROARS through a video about how small behaviors can make a huge positive difference for people https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PT-HBl2TVtI
- Working with students to teach them STRATEGIES for when they are not with adults and setting them up with independence, problem-solving and self-advocacy
- Our grade 1/2 classes are helping students learn positive behaviors through the concept of “EXPECTED” behaviors and “UNEXPECTED” behaviors, so that they know and can identify what expected behaviors are in the classroom or on the playground
- We are participating in ANTI-BULLYING WEEK (going on right now from Nov. 15-24) to create a “A safe and caring school environment for every student, every day”
- Our Kindergarten students are doing action RESEARCH around learning to identify how others feel by the looks of their faces in photographs, then learning how we can support people with these feelings through intentional teaching and instruction
- Many classes hold regular CLASS MEETINGS to discuss issues in the class or on the playground, thus the classroom and the teacher can support all students in figuring out solutions or strategies
- Our students have BUDDY CLASSROOMS that they team up with so that older kids act as leaders and role models for young students, who get to learn from working with positive older students
- Many staff are utilizing PROGRAMS like “The Zones of Regulation” by Leah M. Kuyper and “Interoception: the Eighth Sensory System” by Kelly Mahler to support understanding in working with behavioural issues
- Mr. Rakowski has attended and PRESENTED at conferences on Social and Emotional Learning in Calgary, AB; Cleveland, USA; Toronto, ON, Harvard University in Cambridge, MA; Phoenix, AZ; Kananaskis, AB; Jasper, AB; and Seattle , WA.
- Teachers are on SUPERVISION in the morning, at recess and at lunch so they are easily accessible
- Mr. Rakowski meets all of the BUSSES each and every morning to connect with students and deal with any issues that have arisen
- Mrs. Caso meets all of the BUSSES each and every afternoon to connect with students, deal with any issues that have arisen, and try to assist that all students get on their bus
- The number of SUPERVISORS for Lunch Supervision exceeds the minimum we need on duty so that they are visible and available
- The BOKS Program was implemented to offer physical activity for students before school from 7:30 am to 8:15 am, as research show that this helps student to work and learn in positive ways
- Our FOOD FOR THOUGHT Program was implemented this year to make sure all students have enough food. If kids are hungry, they often do not have the same abilities for tolerance and positive behaviour
- The SPARK program was implemented in order to support students with attentional or other issues as a short physical exercise program in the morning to help students brains wake up, as well as learn how to use positive behaviours during play
- A number of our classes are participating in the CLASSROOMCHAMPIONS.ORG program where they have 2 Olympic Luge athletes as mentors to learn about positive behaviour, resiliency, integrity, goal setting and hard work
- We have a bunch of students involved in the HOCKEY HEROES program, which promotes positive self-esteem, problem solving skills and positive teamwork through a hockey program after school
- Mr. Rakowski, teachers and staff work with STUDENTS to help them understand what to do when there are issues:
- Tell them to Stop
- Walk Away
- Get help from an adult
- Mr. Rakowski, teachers and staff are always AVAILABLE to work in dealing with behavioural issues and helping students to stand up to bullying behaviours
- We often work ONE ON ONE with students who need support with their own or dealing with the behaviour of others
- We often work with SMALL GROUPS in working out issues
- We often work in individual and small group GUIDANCE COUNSELLING sessions
- We engage in whole class teaching of social skills and SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL LEARNING
- Our LUNCH SUPERVISION TEAM support and work with specific students around learning positive behaviours
- Our EDUCATIONAL ASSISTANTS support and work with specific students around learning social-emotional learning skills and resilience skills
- We sometimes bring in CBE BEHAVIOUR SPECIALISTS to support our work in severe cases
- We work closely with AGENCIES such as Child and Family Services, BowWest, United Way, Bow Wellness, and other to support students in their basic needs and learning
- Our Student Leadership members want to create a VIDEO made specifically for BelPark students on how to deal with bullying behaviours, and it will be shared and posted online
- We also work with PARENTS ON STRATEGIES to support students at home and at school
- Mr. Rakowski, teachers and staff work with PARENTS to help them understand WHAT TO DO when there are issues:
- Help the student talk to an adult
- Talk to your child’s teacher
- Talk to the Admin Team if needed
Mr. Rakowski, Mrs. Caso and staff work hard with students and parent to also understand that bullying is not bumping into someone on the playground… It is a repeated and targeted behaviour toward certain student(s) over time.
If parents have concerns, the most effective and proper course of action would be to talk to the teacher or admin team directly and immediately. Prompt attention to the matter will be given dependent on the specific circumstances.