What Is School Climate?
School Climate Overview
School Climate encompasses CR-PBIS (Culturally-Responsive Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports), Restorative Practices with the lens of racial Equity and practices of CARE (Collaborative Action Research for Equity) explicitly called out and woven in.
CR-PBIS (Culturally-Responsive Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports) uses implementation science to help students to develop positive behaviors. At the most basic level, CR-PBIS can be described as a three-pronged approach:
- Explicitly teach what is expected
- Actively acknowledge kids when they are following the expectations
- Instructionally correct kids when they are not following the expectations
Research shows that when school staff acknowledge positive behaviors at least three times more often than correcting behavioral mistakes, misbehaviors decrease significantly.
CR-PBIS uses disaggregated data to make decisions and to develop the systems and practices of a school. The unique racial, cultural and linguistic makeup of the school is explicitly addressed at every decision point.
- Accesses all stakeholders to develop and promote school values
- Develops common area expectations for all parts of the building
- Designs lesson plans and schedules to teach common area expectations throughout the year.
- Creates and maintains systems to acknowledge students who are following the school values and expectations. This may be acknowledgement tickets, regular assemblies, or awards for individuals, classes, grade levels, etc.
- Develops school wide policies that are proactive, preventative and restorative.
- Utilizes staff input to build corrective discipline systems (i.e. a flowchart) and calibrate clear definitions of student behaviors.
How do we make certain that PBIS is culturally responsive?
- We systematically assess and review student and family voices and adjust our practices to reflect the needs of our community (See Tier I Evaluation)
Restorative Practices, also referred to as Restorative Justice, is a range of community building, peacemaking practices adapted to the school setting. The intention is to build trusting relationships and offer restorative alternatives to punitive discipline. Our goal is to continue building, maintaining, and repairing relationships to form a healthy, supportive & inclusive community. When we do things that impact others and create harm in the community, it is our individual and collective responsibility to make things right.
Restorative Inquiry is an essential restorative practice. A series of guiding questions are asked:
- What happened?
- Who was affected/impacted?
- What can be done to make and keep things right?
- How can others support you?
Circles are also an essential restorative practice in the school community. Circles help build positive relationships and social-emotional skills such as empathy and good communication skills, which affect both short-term (school success) and long-term (relationships and employment) factors. Circles give everyone a voice. Circles can be used as a classroom strategy and can be used to strengthen staff relationships.
Types of circles:
- Community building circle
- Curriculum circle
- Healing circle/circle of understanding
- Accountability circle
- Problem-solving/conflict circle
Staff Resource: Restorative Justice in Schools: 2016 Training Manual *add resource links from Staff Meetings
Equity/CARE (Collaborative Action Research for Equity)
Ensuring equally high outcomes for all participants in our educational system and specifically at Vernon School involves removing the predictability of success or failure that currently correlates with social and cultural factors. In our Equity work and mission, we will continue to work around interrupting inequitable practices, eliminating biases, and creating an inclusive multicultural school environment for adults and children; discovering and cultivating the unique gifts, talents, and interests that every child and human possesses.
This handbook is intended to inform Vernon School staff and community of the processes that support the reduction of exclusionary discipline to provide our students with equitable access to education. Portland Public Schools’ top priorities include eliminating racial disproportionality in exclusionary discipline.
Our CARE work is intentionally focused on increasing classroom engagement for every learning style and our capacity for being culturally competent in our instructional practices and inclusive of our diverse learning styles.
“Portland Public Schools is committed to academic excellence and personal success for all students. Central to this commitment is educational equity. We are committed to providing instruction with the rigor, cultural relevance, and relationships that ignite the potential of each and every student. In order to do so, we must shift our practices to see students as individuals—including their race, their language, their gender, their sexual orientation, and their various abilities.