Breaking the Status Quo: Building Positive School Culture through Impactful School Climate Initiatives
Erwin High School earned a grant from Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) for $15,000 for the school year 2016-17. This project will have two main components that will have an immediate and resonating impact on both the climate (the immediate and current conditions in the school), as well as the culture (the shared traditions and belief systems of the school/community). Part one is the implementation of the Link Crew High School Orientation and Transition Model. The aim of this model is to create a shared experience for freshmen, upperclassmen, and staff. The “Link Crew Leaders” serve as mentors, tour guides, friends, and student leaders who help the freshmen to discover what it takes to be successful at the high school level. The impact on the climate of the school will be immense, as freshman build immediate bonds with upperclassmen breaking the stereotypical schism between upperclassman and freshman. But the true strength lies in the impact this model can have on the culture of the school and community by breaking down barriers, creating networks, growing leadership skills, providing supports, and building cultural connections.
Part Two will be the overhaul of the In-School-Suspension program (ISS). The overhaul will transform ISS from a traditional punitive intervention with no evidence of efficacy to a non-punitive, strengths-based, educational setting. This will require student workspaces with computers to access staff webpages, transcript/grades, and Ripple Effect, a digital social/emotional skill building software to support and facilitate growth in lagging skills areas. This too will have an immediate and salient impact on the climate of Erwin High School as students will feel less marginalized and social/emotional skills building will be an integral part of the Reflect & Connect Program (R&C). Students will recognize this positive change and appreciate the opportunity to learn from mistakes and grow in a structured supportive environment.
This is part of a school-wide effort to build bridges between teachers, administrators, students and the community. If you would like to hear more about this exciting grant please ask Andrew McCabe, Brian Powchak, Melissa Frizsell, and/or Anna Austin.