WCSD PBIS Newsletter

Volume Two: March 2017

Positive School Climate Boosts Test Scores

A new study by WestEd found that extraordinarily successful California schools had one thing in common: A positive school climate, defined as caring relationships between teachers and students, physical and emotional safety, and academic and emotional supports that help students succeed. The goal of a positive school climate is “a sense of belonging, competence and autonomy” for both students and staff, the report said. This issue of the PBIS Newsletter explores results of the School Climate Survey, feedback strategies to build a sense of competence and autonomy, and activities for boosting a sense of belonging on campus for both students and staff.

Get your "happy" on!

Happy people are more productive and happy students earn higher grades and test scores. Watch this fun TED Talk by positive psychology researcher Shawn Achor about "The Happy Secret to Better Work."
The happy secret to better work | Shawn Achor

April is stress awareness month. Here is an idea to fend off the stress of testing season & end-of-the-school-year fatigue: a Kindness campaign!

WCSD School Climate Survey Results 2016-17

Big picture
For the first time, all Whittier City 3rd through 8th graders took the School Climate Survey to measure the impact of our PBIS initiative through the eyes of students. The graph above depicts results for the elementary schools and mirror those for the middle schools (which had only 9 questions). Our students report feeling safe and respected, in an environment with clear rules for behavior and adults who are there when they need help. Although they "always" feel their school wants them to do well (question 3), they report lower rates of actually feeling that they are doing well (question 2). What does this mean? Perhaps this is a reminder to be intentional in how we provide feedback to students:

- Focus on reporting the student's progress
- Use growth mindset phrasing that acknowledges productive and strategic effort
- Point out the value of errors as evidence that students are challenging themselves and learning (this is true for behavior errors as much as for academic ones)

As a staff, set a goal to increase the use of powerful feedback strategies and see if we can close that gap between items 2 and 3 on next fall's School Climate Survey!

Resources for feedback strategies (from ResponsiveClassroom.org):
Reinforcing Language: Giving Middle Schoolers Supportive Feedback
Naming What Children Can Do
Reinforcing, Reminding, and Redirecting

WCSD PBIS: Positive School Climate for Student Success

2016 Fall Newsletter: Relationships!