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Jane Connell has taught at McKinley Elementary School for six years. She currently teaches an inclusion class of third graders and plans to loop with them to the fourth grade. McKinley Elementary is a rural elementary school in a small Midwestern town with 350 students attending grades Pre-school through Sixth grade. The free and reduced lunch rate at the school is 23% with most of the students coming from families that farm wheat, corn, and soy beans. Most of the teachers in the school are wives of farmers and their personal children attend the elementary school where they teach. Although the turnover rate is low, the morale at the school is low with absenteeism at 17% for the educators and 24% for the support staff. The school had 1,123 office discipline referrals two years ago and 1,246 office discipline referrals this past year.

A new administration began last year and began working with a core group of teachers to look at how they could improve the climate of the school. Jane was asked to be the director of the core team with the charge of finding a program or implementation that would: 1) increase teacher morale, 2) decrease office discipline referrals, 3) have a research base, 4) increase parent satisfaction with the school and 5) possibly increase test scores. After six months of research, the team decided that school-wide positive behavior support would meet the needs of their school.

Jane and the original core team decided that it was important to have representation from all areas so they revamped the team and asked some others to join them in the statewide training that was being provided over the summer. They now had at least one representative from each of the following areas:

  • Pre-school, Kindergarten
  • Primary grades 1-3
  • Upper grades 4-6
  • Special Education
  • Specials (music, PE, art)
  • Administration
  • Parent
  • Classified

Jane felt that this representation would help them procure the 80% “buy-in” recommended by the researchers to ensure a successful implementation of any program.

Reflections:

  1. Why is teacher morale important?
  2. Why was it important for the team to choose something that was research based?
  3. Why was it important that the new administrator chose a core team of teachers to research help improve the climate of the school?
  4. Why is it important for the school to know what their office discipline referrals were for previous years?
  5. Why is it important to have representation from each of the areas listed above?

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