As a newly appointed assistant principal you need to assess the school-wide classroom management program at your school.
Prompt: 1) Using your school as the backdrop explain how effective the program is operating.
2) Explain suggestions for improving the program.
At our school, we have three rules for students to follow; be safe, be respectful, and be responsible. Teachers have the autonomy to have individual classroom rules (including the school’s 3) as well as their own type of behavior management plan. Overall, I think our instructional staff does a great job at handling most behavior issues in the classroom because they are awesome relationship builders which I think is key to lowering behavior issues. However, our school improvement survey over the years has shown that teachers don’t feel supported by administrative staff when they do refer a child to the office for a discipline issue nor do they feel that administration is clear on their expectations about acceptable motivators and consequences.
This year, our new assistant principal was given the task of trying to help with this issue. She designed a new office referral plan/form and went over her expectations in detail at the beginning of the year faculty meeting. Most of the form is a checklist which is very helpful to a teacher because most of the time we don’t have the chance to write out everything that has happened. I like that her plan involves minor vs. major behaviors and that she gave us a the list of what administration deems minor vs. major. I also like that the form asks the teacher to check what they think the possible motivation for the negative behavior was. I think this is crucial because I do believe most behavior is a reaction to something else. This may help with moving forward and how to give the student strategies to use instead of the negative actions they chose. The form also has a place for the administrator to mark what their decision was and our new assistant principal always follows up with the referring teacher before the end of the day. I think that has made a huge impact on our school and has helped build trust and respect. We are definitely seeing behavior issues handled in a timely and appropriate way. She is following our code of conduct and is not scared to give out a consequence because of a parent’s possible reaction. I also love that she has a follow-up agreement that she fills out with the student when they are referred to her. This form asks the student to determine which school rule they broke, what was it they were trying to get (and she gives them a checklist of possible reasons), did they get what they wanted, and what will they do differently next time. These forms are on triplicate copy paper so that parents, teachers, and administration have a record of the incident and what was done about it. I think we have started to move in the right direction as far as this issue is concerned. I think teachers are beginning to feel much more supported. I think it is key that administration is as transparent as possible about behavior management and communicates with their staff regarding these decisions.
I think the area that we still need to work on is acceptable motivators and consequences. I think most teachers would prefer to take care of behavior issues in their room rather than refer to office but feel that their hands are tied as far as what they can use to motivate and/or take away. I think different students respond to different tactics and we need to have a “toolbox” of ideas we can pull from. Our only consequences are silent lunch table (which isn’t monitored) or a few walking laps at recess. It is also reported by teachers that when they do give a consequence and the parents disagree, the teacher is at fault and the parent/child gets their way. I think this is a huge frustration for classroom teachers. We also don’t have much to motivate with – we can’t give them extra recess, we can’t give out food or candy. A lot of teachers can’t afford to spend their own money to buy items for treasure boxes and those don’t necessarily motivate the upper elementary students. I think we need to come together to try and give teachers some new ideas on what they can do to help motivate or deter students. I do feel that part of our job is teaching students that there are consequences for their actions and the consequence should be appropriate to what rule was broken. I think teachers need to know from administration what those acceptable consequences are so when parents do call, the teachers will be backed up and supported because everyone is on the same page. I also think that some teachers who struggle with behavior management may need a little extra support and/or “coaching” from the administrative staff.
As the school leader it is important that we evaluate the effectiveness of the school’s classroom management program.
1) Explain the different criteria you would use to evaluate if the classroom management program is “working”?
2) Explain the type of qualitative data you would collect to evaluate the effectiveness of the program?
3) Explain the types of quantitative data you would collect to evaluate the effectiveness of the program?
- Staff surveys – given at various times during the year to determine how they are feeling about the behavior plan (qualitative data)
- Is it appropriate?
- Is it helping change or deter negative behavior?
- Is it helping to motivate students?
- Office referrals – are the numbers of referrals increasing or decreasing (quantitative data)
- Look for trends
- Report Cards – look at the marks given for social development and work habits – are students improving (qualitative data)
- Parent phone calls and/or notes about behavior issues – have these increased or decreased (quantitative data)
- Look for trends
- Student surveys (qualitative data)
- Do they know what is expected of them?
- Do they know what consequences they may have for their actions?
- Are they motivated to do well?
- What motivates them?