I support the new Social Emotional Learning curriculum, expanding behavioral interventions programs to reach more schools, and restorative discipline policies, but I also recognize that policy is meaningless if the schools don’t have staff well-prepared to follow through. I believe that smaller class sizes at the higher grades and more resources (space and supplies) for the staff to use for restorative discipline practices are imperative to the success of any of these policies.
Behavioral Intervention (BI)
I believe the commitment and flexibility demonstrated by the staff during the last year and moving forward is a vital part of what is working well with Spokane Schools. I will advocate for ample staffing and ensuring that staff have the resources to be successful. The progress made on developing strong Behavior Intervention programs at some of the schools in the district is also commendable, but must continue to expand to meet the needs of all schools in the district.
- Our schools just experienced major changes in staffing and I think it’s important to touch base with each school to make sure that they have the resources and staffing to be successful, to address issues that are becoming apparent, and to plan for future staffing/resource needs based on feedback.
- Developed a clear policy for ensuring staffing, resources, training, and physical space to implement the Restorative Discipline policies effectively.
- Ensure recommendations from the Safe Haven report that can be implemented quickly are completed, prioritize and plan for implementing additional safety improvements based on: budgeting, considering the cost/effectiveness of each recommendation, and feedback from the community.
The district has been working hard to improve the discipline policy and the equity of how it is applied. They are likely to approve revisions to the discipline policy in upcoming meetings and I appreciate their focus on restorative discipline and behavioral interventions. Unfortunately, the challenge to effective discipline policies is ensuring each school has enough staffing, physical space, and tools to actually apply the policies well. I believe all schools and staff try to administer discipline fairly and appropriately, but are often lacking in the staffing and resources to meet the needs of students.
Behavioral Intervention (BI) classroom massively improved my daughters experience at school and helped me succeed as a working parent by ending the constant Suspensions from school. It took entirely too long to get those services because the aren’t available at every school and requires us to transfer. I’d like to see every school in the district have a Behavioral Intervention Classroom and services available so struggling students can get the help they need early when the need arises and reduce the impact on families who currently would have to transfer to receive those services.
The district is already implementing social-emotional learning curriculum. This is an effective way for teachers to connect with students and to reduce suspensions and expulsions. I also believe each school in the district should also have a Behavioral Intervention classroom and implement effective early interventions to support families and students when they are struggling, and before behavior issues escalate. This ensures schools have the capacity to succeed at reducing suspensions/expulsions without risking the safety of other students.
I believe the staff would benefit from regular training and practice in the management of aggressive behavior. Knowledge in how to identify aggressive behavior early and in safe ways to de-escalate will help staff prevent behavior from becoming a risk to the safety of others. Regularly practicing response policy with de-escalation scenarios and self-defense techniques appropriate for different kinds of aggressors would help staff feel more confident responding to students who are struggling and to other potential safety threats.