Horace Mann PBIS Family Newsletter

1st Issue - March 2020

Who are we?

You may remember a family letter coming home a few weeks ago from Dr. Goodwin mentioning a family PBIS group that we would be starting at the Horace Mann School. Well, we did it! Having just had our first meeting last Friday (2/28), we have decided that our first step is to bring all of you a newsletter each time, keeping you up to date with what we talk about, even if you cannot be at the meetings.

We are a well represented group that believes in establishing a solid home to school connection. Our group includes:

*Amanda Rowe - parent of 1st grader

*Jessica Hoffman - parent of kindergartner, 1st, and 4th grader

*Jill Tully - parent of 4th grader and two HM graduates, MPS instructional coach

*Marcy Solomon - 1st grade teacher

*Laurel Neubauer - 4th grade teacher

*Steve Goodwin - Principal

*Jessica Patti - PBIS coach for building and district, MPS social emotional learning coach

Our plan moving forward is to establish a group meeting time where we will discuss how PBIS is working at the Horace Mann school and how we can carry those structures out of the building. To make sure this happens, we spent some time talking about and sharing group norms that are important to us (see below) and we came up with 4:

* Be Curious

* Speak and Listen with Respect to Ensure All Voices are Heard

* Be Mindful of Our Time Together

* Be Open to New Ideas

We are very excited about this new collaboration and look forward to bringing you insight, answering your questions, and continuing to build a positive environment for our students!

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What is PBIS?

By now, you may be thinking, what is this PBIS stuff? We want to help with that and to be clear, it may take a little time to fully understand it.

PBIS stands for Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports and it is grounded with the intention of creating systems in our school that proactively teach expected behaviors to students using consistent language and routines. PBIS believes that when we also develop systems for identifying these expected behaviors that we purposefully encourage students to engage in the schools' norms.

Beginning in September, several teachers along with building administration entered into a three year long PBIS training academy through the University of Connecticut. You may remember past systems that we used and part of our initial work was to redefine what we want from our staff, students, and community. Our out of the building team trainings include Dr. Goodwin (principal), Laurel Neubauer (4th), Wendy Florino (K), JoAnn Dwyer (Sp.Ed.), Kelsey Evans (school psychologist), and Jessica Patti (SEL coach). Our monthly building meetings include all of the team training personnel AND Nicole Wells (K), Meredyth McGrath (4th), Jillian Duzz (3rd), Nicole Goodhue (2nd), and Anne Healy (2nd).

Since we first started in September, we have diligently met as a team each month, reflecting on our systems and proactively thinking about next steps. Our most recent product was a recess lesson plan that ALL students practiced!

Have you seen your child come home with a PAWsome coin? Have you heard about our Husky council meetings? Have you witnessed your child practicing their PAWS up stance? Have you noticed visuals (like the one below) purposefully placed around our school? All of these examples are elements of the PBIS system we are working to develop at the Horace Mann.

For the intent of our group, we do not just want you involved, but we want you to engage in our PBIS system that we use at the Horace Mann school. Using the language Positive Attitude, Accepting Others, Working Together, and Showing Respect in your home is an incredible first step!!

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Homework for You!!

At the Horace Mann, we use behavior matrices to outline expected behavior for our students. Here is an example of our whole school one that we have been using and giving feedback on to continuously improve. For the coming month, we would LOVE for you to try this out at home.

Using the matrix of your choice below, we would like you to take some time to fill it out with your child. Check out this link for an overview of what we would like you to do AND to help decide which one to use!

When you try it out, please give us feedback on using the behavior matrix in your home AND some of the other information we shared here, using this form. We are so excited to hear from you!!

* You can print the matrix at home using this link, you can pick up the matrix of your choice outside the main office at anytime, OR please reach out to your child's teacher for a copy.

Still wondering what PBIS looks like at the Horace Mann...

This is just a moment to share that our recent 5th graders vs. teachers basketball game is an example of what PBIS has done for our community. Finding opportunities to unite our teachers, our families, and our students is the core of what we are doing. Feel free to share ideas for how to bring more inclusive community events to our school!

“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” - Helen Keller