Social Emotional Learning
- Students are more successful when there is a strong and consistent partnership between home and school.
- When adults concentrate on the positive (demonstrating and reinforcing the desired behaviors) student behavior will improve.
- When students are responsible for their own learning and manage their behavior they will feel successful.
- Staff, teachers, and parents need to help children be accountable and responsible for their learning at home and school.
- Accepting natural consequences and making restitution are important parts of managing one’s behavior.
- We will utilize a Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support (PBIS) system.
At Marvista we understand that teachers and students deserve school environments that are safe, supportive, and conducive to teaching and learning. For this reason, we have put into place this research-based, school-wide approach for teaching and rewarding pro-social, appropriate behavior. We have a dedicated team of teachers, our counselor, a Para-educator and administrators who meet monthly and over the summer to refine and improve this system each year. PBIS is heavily supported by our district.
There are many aspects to establishing and sustaining PBIS for example:
- Staff members attend training provided by skilled PBIS trainers.
- We established three school-wide expectations: Be Respectful, Be Responsible, and Be Safe.
- These expectations are defined for each common area of the school.
- Staff members understand these expectations must be taught in the context in which they occur, and continually reviewed.
- We keep discipline data electronically and make decisions based upon this data.
- The system is based on noticing positive and appropriate behaviors four times as often as we offer corrections on inappropriate behaviors. Marvista has many systems in place to notice, acknowledge, and reward pro-social behavior.
- The emphasis of the program is on adults being proactive to address possible discipline issues.
In addition to the components above, our PBIS Program also includes several instructional programs that are utilized for different purposes. Our School Counselor will utilize the programs Kelso’s Choices and 2nd Step to teach students strategies for managing conflict.
Additionally we utilize a program called RULER developed by Yale University’s Center for Emotional Intelligence. The RULER Approach to Social and Emotional Learning is a school-wide approach designed for use in kindergarten through eighth grade to promote emotional literacy, which includes Recognizing, Understanding, Labeling, Expressing, and Regulating emotions (the “RULER” skills).
Using the RULER Program, students will be taught the Anchors of Emotional Intelligence. The Anchors are evidence-based tools designed to enhance the emotional intelligence of school leaders, teachers and staff, and students and their families. These Anchors are the Charter, Mood Meter, Meta-Moment, and Blueprint.
The Charter is a collaborative document that we will build to help each classroom and our entire school establish a supportive and productive learning environment. It will be created by members of the community outlining how we aspire to treat each other. Together, our community will describe how we want to feel at school, the behaviors that foster those feelings, and guidelines for preventing and managing unwanted feelings and conflict. By working together to build the Charter, everyone will establish common goals and will hold each other accountable for creating the positive climate we envision.
Look in the main lobby to see our school Charter, which is revised annually, and ask your student(s) teacher about their classroom charter.
The Family Charter establishes agreed upon norms and guidelines, rather than rules, to help create a more contented, emotionally safe environment at home. Everyone in the family has a voice and responsibility for developing the Charter and for upholding it. It is a commitment all family members make to themselves and to one another. The Charter poses three questions:
- How do we want to feel as a family in our home?
- What behaviors need to be exhibited in order to have these feelings?
- How will conflict be handled?
Upon completion, everyone in the family signs the Charter as their way to commit to keeping the Charter alive. When fully integrated into family life, the Charter can be a powerful tool to encourage personal and social responsibility at home, create more harmony, and to build trusting relationships.
Sample Ways to Keep the Family Charter Alive - During discussions at the dinner table, while driving in the car, during a family meeting, during bedtime snuggles you could discuss:
- Which feeling word they feel most frequently/infrequently and why
- Which commitments or strategies on the charter they find the easiest/hardest to honor and why
- How they believe the family is doing with honoring the charter in general
- Give family members specific kudos when they notice exhibiting charter behavior
- Discuss how you are doing on following your commitments to ways of handling conflict in your charter
- Family members could set goals specific to the charter for the next week/month
The Family Charter can also be used when preparing to have a difficult conversation with a family member by reviewing the charter together beforehand so everyone is reminded of the agreements you have made with one another.
Using the Mood Meter, students and educator will become more mindful of how our emotions change throughout the day and how our emotions in turn affect our actions. We will develop the self-awareness we need to inform our daily choices. Students will learn to expand their emotional vocabulary, replacing basic feeling words with more sophisticated terms. They will graduate from using words like ‘ok’ or ‘fine’ to using words like ‘alienated’ and ‘hopeless,’ or ‘tranquil’ and ‘serene.’ By teaching subtle distinctions between similar feelings, the Mood Meter will empower students and educators to address all feelings more effectively.
In the second year of implementation, students will learn to engage in Meta-Moments. The Meta-Moment will help students and educators handle strong emotions so that we can make better decisions. The Meta-Moment is a brief step back from the situation when we pause and think before acting. We ask ourselves, how would my “best self” react in this situation? What strategy can I use so that my actions reflect my best self? Over time and with practice, students and educators replace ineffective responses with productive and empowering responses to challenging situations. They make better choices, build healthier relationships, and experience greater well-being.
The last phase of implementation will include learning how to utilize the Blueprint. The Blueprint helps students and educators manage and process conflict effectively. Using the Blueprint, children and adults consider a disagreement from the other person’s perspective, as well as their own. They develop empathy by considering each other’s feelings and working collaboratively to identify healthy solutions to conflicts. The Blueprint helps repair relationships and build stronger ones, creating safer and more productive schools where students can learn and thrive.
School-wide Strategy Instruction
In order to help students add to their strategy toolkit, we practice a self-regulation strategy collectively each week. On Mondays, our counselor uses the intercom to introduce the new strategy and during that week all teachers and students focus on practicing that strategy.
Annually, we hold a RULER Family Night were parents learn about the RULER Approach, the Anchor Tools and ways they can implement RULER at home. Additionally, the principal or counselor email parents regularly with RULER related supports they can use at home.
Calm Down Spaces
Thanks to a grant from King County, we were able to purchase $5000 worth of sensory supports and calm down space supplies for each classroom. This includes a bean bag chair, a box of fidgits, a ball chair and a wiggle stool for each classroom.
Lunch Buddy Program
A Lunch Buddy is someone who serves as a caring adult in a mentor role for a student. The Lunch Buddy provides social-emotional support to students who need a little extra one-on-one attention. The Lunch Buddy spends the lunch hour with their mentee in a pre-assigned area to eat, play games, make crafts, talk and do other agree-upon activities.
All teaching staff participated in a six hour training on Trauma Informed Practice. Through this training staff gained an understanding of the neuroscience behind trauma and attachment and learned tools and approaches for responding to individuals exposed to trauma.
Tier 2 Skills Support
This year we prioritized PBIS Support by allocating funding to provide a part-time Dean of Students. Her role is both proactive and reactive in that she provides Tier 2 Social Skills Groups, assists in the development of Functional Behavioral Assessments and behavior plans for students and works with students having conflict.
At Marvista we believe in a restorative approach to discipline that focuses on repairing harm through inclusive processes that engage all stakeholders. Implemented well, restorative justice shifts the focus of discipline from punishment to learning and from the individual to the community. Restorative practices require students who make a mistake to focus on the harm their misbehavior caused others and what they can do to repair that harm and restore and strengthen relationships that may have been affected in the process. Through the process, all students involved in a conflict or incident process what occurred in order to come to a collaborative solution on how to move forward and repair the harm done rather than for offenders to simply be punished. Restorative justice seeks to fix problems, impose fair punishment, foster understanding, adjust student behavior and reconcile parties in order for there to be a unified community.
Teachers are utilized a variety of resources to supplement our Social Emotional Learning (SEL) instruction. Tools we have found success with include: