Forum Update #2: How Southington plans to build a Caring School Climate!

Feature Photo: Kennedy Middle School teachers sit with two students and Assistant Principal Pamela Aldi while wearing their "Ugly Sweaters" to the STEPS Community Forum as representation of how they are building a Caring School Climate — being authentic and funny to make connections with youth.

Feature Photo: Kennedy Middle School teachers sit with two students and Assistant Principal Pamela Aldi while wearing their "Ugly Sweaters" to the STEPS Community Forum as representation of how they are building a Caring School Climate — being authentic and funny to make connections with youth.

At the STEPS Community Forum on March 7th, 2012, tables were asked to briefly discuss the focus asset that pertained most to their community sector: Positive Family Communication, Caring School Climate or Community Values Youth. These assets were chosen because they encompass the three places children learn most from: Family, School and the Community.

For example, the parent sector tables discussed how to improve and build the asset of Positive Family Communication – all by discussing a vision of what they wanted this asset to look like in its most ideal form, then coming up with strategies on how to build this asset, and finally an action plan that would help them to implement the strategies so that the vision can become a reality.

After compiling all of the replies, STEPS found some incredible responses to the table discussion and found it important to share the ideas of your very own community leaders and neighbors.

In this week’s “Forum Update” STEPS will present the VISION & STRATEGIES from teachers, principals, students, paraprofessionals, and administrators that attended the forum and discussed Caring School Climate.

 

Vision –

Schools will…

–       Make sure all students feel valued and supported by all school community members

–       Make partnerships with the community by providing students opportunities to get involved  
         outside of school as well as bring businesses and organizations into the school

–        Create an environment of respect, acceptance and compassion

–        Know each child’s name

–         Make certain that children have a voice, feel safe and comfortable, be risk takers in their
           learning, be motivated and supported, etc.

–         Provide an engaging, positive experience

–         House teachers who let their students know they care, and teachers who listen with their  
          eyes and ears

–         Be a place kids want to go & be free of bullying

–         Be filled with authentic teachers who mean what they say and can understand where kids
           are coming from

–          Teach students personal responsibility for their actions

Strategies –

Faculty and schools can…

–       Learn more names and make more connections to students

–       Maintain mentor and ABC programs & continue expansion of such

–       Create adult monitoring where a teacher takes on more than one student to mentor

–       Create more opportunities for interaction with teachers/students outside the classroom

–        Post a bulletin board of any child who makes the newspaper

–        Notice the little things when greeting students such as a hair-cut or new shoes  

–        Do more Career Day activities

–         Get kids involved in the ABC committees

–         Invest time to train all members of the school community to build assets (paras,
          custodians, parent volunteers, secretaries, etc.)

–         Be more proactive than reactive

–         Make connections to parents and call home about good behavior and accomplishments

–         Assign homework that kids and parents can do together

–         Teach problem resolving skills

–         Seek out a student’s interest and get them involved in a related extra-curricular activity

–         Classes collaborate such as an art class and a gym class

Now, at the Forum, over 10 tables of school faculty thought up an “action plan” for how they could go about implementing these strategies in their own school and classroom, so that their school climate was ideal, just like what they envisioned.

STEPS challenges you to think of more vision and strategy ideas — and also challenges you to try a strategy or two suggested by your very own community members, PTO parents, teachers and neighbors! And, what STEPS loved the most about everyone’s discussion was that everyone came up with very simple yet effective, sustainable and important ways to build this asset!

Keep an eye out for next week's “Forum Update” on Community Values Youth!