The Weekly Bulldog

September 20, 2018

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K-1-2 Parent coffee last week in Carolyn's room

From Tim: Partnering with Parents

Dear Families,

Last week, I spent some time at the Parent Association meeting reviewing some important policy improvements included in our new Family and Parent Handbook. I greatly appreciate and admire the work of our PA, under leadership of new chair Rebecca Olgeirson, for the way the organization puts into practice the essential partnership with parents we value and rely upon. The slides that accompanied my presentation can be found here.


While some may understandably view a handbook as less than scintillating reading material, we’re proud of the way our policies, guidelines and procedures have been reworked to support the positive school culture of Stanley BPS. While of course the focus of all we do is on the children in our classrooms, much of what is in the handbook is about behavioral expectations for all in the community, students and adults alike, and it’s about the stuff that makes the “joyful, lifelong learning” we talk about possible. At the outset, I want to thank you for what you do on behalf of our school. The Parent Association truly embodies the partnership we talk about- you model the collaborative spirit that makes Stanley work.


As our board and staff working group began the process of reviewing and improving policies over the summer, we were mindful of Stanley’s core values, such as Positivity, Community Responsibility, Diversity, and Relationships. We understood that good policies protect our school’s values. We also considered our “7 Goals for Learner,” such as Collaboration, Respect and Curiosity, for guidance into how to shape new language and ideas. And finally, we reviewed the simple expectations for student (and adult) conduct that we describe in the Parent Handbook, captured in the acronym “RISK” (Respect, Inclusion, Safety, Kindness).


Taken together, you might think about our values, our goals for learners, and our expectations as forming three legs of a stool supporting what is essentially the culture at Stanley BPS. My guess is no one chooses to send their children to Stanley because of policies; it’s how these policies show up in the life of the school that matters. And that’s one of my core goals as head of school this year that I’ve developed with the Board: Ensuring these values are understood and embraced and reflected in how we conduct ourselves, students, parents and staff alike. It’s up to us to model the behavior we want to see in our children.


As far as specific changes to the handbook, one is captured in more thorough attention to matters related to campus safety and security. We have evolved, and continue to grow, our safety procedures in line with best practice and with what supports our community values. We’ve also been working on building strong relationships with organizations like the Colorado School Safety Resource Center for advisement and for help with staff trainings. We’re currently forming a new board-level Child Well-Being and Risk Management Committee, which will oversee the school’s ongoing efforts to manage risk and to promote student safety.


We made significant changes to the section of the student conduct sections of the handbook that deal with response to major violations of behavior expectations. What remains unchanged is that our conduct policy starts with the expectation of “RISK” and we frame conduct in terms of what we positively expect from members of the student community. Demonstrating Respect, Inclusion, Safety and Kindness is what it means to be a student here; that’s what we do here.

We’ve improved the sections that have to do with how we respond when core behavioral expectations are not met. There are of course a range of potential actions that run contrary to school values and expectations or that violate the RISK standard. Some of those, which are some of the more significant, rise to the level of discrimination or harassment (as a subset of discrimination). We’re careful to define what we mean, because when harassment occurs we need to name it.


Because these are serious matters, we have established new protocols for how the school will respond. Core to that response is a new structure, called the Review Team, that will be activated when any incident, K-8, rises to that level of harassment or discrimination. The purpose of the review team is to ensure a consistent and thorough response to these sorts of incidents, and also to provide a regular process for debriefing situations. We will look for any patterns and assess where we might need to continue to add additional resources, trainings or support. This year, the review team consists of the three division leaders (Joanna Hambidge, Stephanie Collins, Greg Chalfin), and Buffy Naake (Director of Operations), and I will also be involved in most matters.


To return to a point I made earlier about our guidelines truly being for all of us, we have new and improved language in our handbook around what we expect of all adults in the community. Again, how we model interacting with one another and how we conduct ourselves will be critical in what we can expect of our children. Since our founding, we’ve talked about the experience at Stanley BPS as being driven in large part by the partnership between parents and school, and primarily with the teacher. The question I ask is, what can we all do to build the spirit of inquiry with one another, to seek each other’s help on behalf of supporting our children? How we communicate with one another matters -- a lot. Inevitably there will be concerns, questions and occasional conflict. What’s essential is not whether those concerns or conflicts happen -- they will -- but how we manage them.


In the end, all of our policy work, and more importantly the extent to which those policies support the positive school culture of Stanley BPS, ensures that we’re able to live up to our vision of “a community of joyful, lifelong learners prepared to make a positive difference in the world.” Thank you for your partnership in realizing this vision at Stanley.


All the best,

Tim

Fundraising for Stanley is so easy, you'll smile all the way to the grocery store

Stanley Parent Association coordinates simple fundraisers that go a long way. All proceeds from your Safeway and King Soopers grocery purchases can go toward teacher grants to enrich our learning environments, Speakers Series and other one-of-a-kind Stanley experiences. Learn how easy it is to participate -- on Amazon Smile, too -- and pick up a card at the Stanley Store right away!

Founding Head Carolyn in First-Fridays Plein Air Show

As Stanley community members, we are invited to view the work of Carolyn and her peers in a Santa Fe Arts District First-Friday opening show. Stop in to the Wandering Art Gallery (853 Inca St., Ste. 6) on October 5 beginning at 6 p.m. for refreshments and to celebrate a collection of plein air paintings.