WCSD PBIS Newsletter

Volume One: September 2016

Positive School Climate for Student Success

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Collective Teacher Efficacy: A team's belief that their actions will lead to success for all students = Effect size of 1.57

Our Welcome Back Day keynote speaker, Laura Besser, shared some key learnings about effective teaching practices from meta-analyses of thousands of research studies around the world (Visible Learning, John Hattie, 2009). The average effect size was .4, representing a year's academic growth. Among the most powerful practices are the core elements of PBIS: Feedback that includes clarity of speech, explanation, examples and guided practice, and assessment of learning. Student-teacher relationships are far more effective at increasing academic achievement than is homework! (See the graphic below.) Where do you invest more time and energy?

This issue of our inaugural newsletter shares strategies and hot-off-the-presses information for building relationships and connects you to sources for further exploration. Enjoy!

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WCSD Schools win Bronze Awards from the California PBIS Coalition

Collective Teacher Efficacy in action: PBIS Excellence! Every single one of our schools received a Bronze Award from the California PBIS Coalition (CPC) and will be honored at First Annual CPC Conference in Sacramento on September 22, 2016. The awards recognize fidelity of implementation of the core features of Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports. Congratulations to all our schools and their hardworking PBIS teams! Watch this very short video to see each school's award and pictures of some of the teams. Teams that submitted their photos in time will be in a slide show display at the conference.
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Can an Increase in Empathy Lead to a Drop in Suspensions?

In this blog post, Evie Blad (April 27, 2016) reports on an important Stanford University study of a one-time intervention to help teachers and students empathize with each other, resulting in a 50% reduction in suspensions at five California middle schools.

Many schools have sought to reduce suspension rates in recent years, citing research about the negative effects of classroom removals on students' academic and life outcomes. Critics of those efforts have said they can result in misbehavior going unpunished, leading to chaotic classrooms. But, the Stanford researchers suggest, if teachers change their mindsets while disciplining students, it may lead to less of a need for such discipline in the future by changing the classroom's climate.

"We hypothesized that a punitive response to misbehavior can, ironically, alienate disaffected students and thus incite the destructive, oppositional behaviors it aims to prevent," the authors write. "A response that values students' perspectives and maintains high-quality relationships in disciplinary interactions may improve outcomes. Much research shows that feeling respect for and being respected by authority figures can motivate people to follow rules enforced by those figures, especially in conflicts. If teachers convey this respect while disciplining students, this may improve students' behavior."

"Importantly, the empathic-mindset intervention did not attempt to teach teachers new skills for interacting with students or introduce new policies for how to discipline students. Nor did it attempt to build students' self-control or social-emotional skills, another common approach to improving student behavior. Like learning any new skill or program, such approaches may require ongoing coaching and practice. Instead, we assumed that teachers were capable of building better relationships with students and that students could behave more positively with more supportive treatment. The intervention simply encouraged teachers to view discipline as an opportunity to facilitate mutual understanding and better relationships and empowered teachers to do so in a manner effective for them and their students."

See also:

Study: Suspensions harm 'well-behaved' kids

EdSource, Jan 8, 2015 | Jan Meredith Adams

One Key to Reducing School Suspension: A Little Respect, EdWeek July 13, 2016, Sarah D. Sparks.

WCSD PBIS: Positive School Climate for Student Success