See How Sound Discipline Lives in our Schools
Campbell Hill Elementary, Renton, WA
Kristin Shimizu’s third grade scholars designed their own service-learning project at Campbell Hill Elementary school. The students started by researching a problem: kindergartners at their school were having a hard time being successful at recess. They learned this from looking at behavior data, talking with teachers and their own observations. From their research, the third graders identified areas to support their kindergarten friends: how to join in a game, being helpful not hurtful to each other with words and actions, following the rules on the big toy and lining up at the end of recess. The third graders’ solution was to create 3 jobs: traffic director, line leader, and recess assistant.
Each day the third graders attend morning recess with the kindergartners. They wear special lanyards which identify them as helpers. They model how to play safely, support problem solving, remind about rules, and support lining up at the end of recess.
Data and feedback from teachers show they’ve made a positive difference on the playground. Kindergartners are having more fun, being safe on the big toy, lining up well and successfully transitioning back to learning after recess. When the third grade leaders asked how they felt about their project, they described a sense of confidence and pride in making a difference in their school. They’re also proud of their kindergarten friends and the skills they have developed. One third grader said, “I learned that kids really can make a difference.”
Dick Scobee Elementary School, Auburn, WA
Amanda Brooks, a 2nd Grade Teacher, and the team from Dick Scobee Elementary created a plan for Substitute Teachers. Amanda has been a substitute teacher, and knows firsthand how challenging it can be. Students have big feelings when their teacher is gone, and the changes are dysregulating. Amanda understands the importance of forming relationship with students, as well as being clear about expectations, so she volunteered to write a Guest Teacher Lesson Plan for the staff at Dick Scobee to use. Before the Guest Teacher teaches, the class generates a poster of how they could have an Almost Perfect School Day with the Guest Teacher. In the picture, you can see what Amanda’s class came up with. Then, Guest Teachers follow Amanda’s lesson plan, which involves:
- Reviewing the student-generated agreements on the poster, and
- Facilitating a fun, “get to know you” activity to build relationships with students.
So far, this has been very well received by the Guest Teachers and a helpful support to the students. Thanks Amanda—and the entire Dick Scobee team—for being thoughtful and intentional about building your students’ resilience when facing the challenge of having a new teacher for the day.
Dry Creek Elementary School, Port Angeles, WA
The photos above are from Dry Creek Elementary's Calming Center for students. Dry Creek Elementary Staff left to right: Dana Christensen, School Counselor Intern and Calming Center Trauma Informed Practitioner; Debi Pavlich-Boaz, Dean of Students; Laura Lilly, School Counselor; Brittane Hendricks, Principal.
The team at Dry Creek Elementary School committed to transforming a classroom into “The Calming Center”, a place where students learn intentional mindfulness and self-regulation strategies. The space is not intended as a de-escalation room (they do that elsewhere in the school) but a place for students to practice mindfulness and build their self-regulation muscles. Students are walked through a series of lessons on how to use the different stations and specific techniques. After going through 6 short intro lessons, students may sign up for independent 15-minute sessions. Staff hope this intentional practice will help students develop long-lasting skills for calming down and coping with life’s challenges. This effort inspires us to think about how we can support the development of intentional spaces for students to develop and practice the critical lifelong skill of self-regulation. Thank you, Dry Creek staff, for your commitment to improving outcomes for the students in your community.
Honey Dew Elementary School, Renton, WA
In 2018, Honey Dew Elementary School Principal Misty Mbadugha piloted a “school-wide class meeting” that brought together several student representatives from each grade level for a Positive Discipline class meeting. The group now meets twice per month to focus on solutions to school-wide challenges. The group of students changes throughout the year so that more young people can participate in this community-building opportunity.
The structure of the meetings replicates the format that students use in the classrooms: Compliments, reviewing previous solutions, problem solving, and leave ’em laughing. The group of student reps has brought problems to the meeting such as: hallway behavior, bathroom expectations, and recess. The group worked on a set of hallway expectations and voted to post those expectations throughout the school as a reminder. The staff noticed that students all have more “buy-in” because they came up with the expectations, rather than the adults making the rules and expecting compliance.
Students also worked on recess problems out on the field. The proposed solutions include: using cones as boundaries, increasing the area they can play in, and asking others to join in your games. The focus on “helpful not hurtful” has empowered the students to come up with solutions that will help the school be a better place as a whole. It also increases agency in the students and the sense that they have ownership in the school and can actually make a difference in what happens there. Principal Mbadugha runs these meetings so that students continue to see Honey Dew as “their school” and that students can not only solve problems in their classrooms, but in the halls, the cafeteria, and everywhere! Thank you Honey Dew Elementary for celebrating student voice and creating an opportunity for students to improve their school.
Highlands Elementary School, Renton, WA
Alfred DiBlasio and the team from Highlands Elementary School in Renton are our Sound Discipline Champions this month. We celebrate them for supporting families though the Renton Parent University. Alfred invited Sound Discipline to be the presenters for the Jan 25th Parent University session. We presented our “Parenting from the Heart: Introduction to Parenting with Positive Discipline” session for the community.
Principal Alfred DiBlasio says, “From my perspective, having common language and understanding around discipline is critical. The parent night allowed for our parent community to gain tools connected to Sound Discipline and better understand the philosophy we are moving towards as a school. I am leading a vision that allows discipline to teach children in a helpful/respectful way. It’s exactly how I would want my own children to experience discipline. Connecting families to this same vision is an important step toward consistency.”
Thanks Alfred and the Highlands team, for your support of your entire community by presenting parents with the opportunity to learn some of the same tools that teachers are using in their children’s classrooms.
Would you like to see our work in schools for yourself?
Hear what the educators, administrators, and schools we’ve worked with have to say about us:
I am impressed with how positively my students are responding to the changes I am making. They love the compliment circle, are very positive about helping each other solve problems in class meetings, and they are taking more ownership of their behavior throughout the day. They use the bugs and wishes protocol to discuss problems. I feel more effective as a teacher and am very excited to implement more Positive Discipline techniques.
After giving a moment of silence for the students to take in the broken, bruised apple on the ground I picked it up and began the very deep conversation about the broken apple. I put it back together. We talked about how it was impossible to make it whole again even though it was JUST words that they were using. When the conversation came to a natural pause, I quietly went around the room, knelt down in front of each student and showed them the bruised apple.
By the end, my students had concluded that it was their responsibility to take care of the hearts around them. They could either use their words to bruise and break or to make classmates feel like they matter and they belong in our classroom and at or school. This experience has helped my class develop empathy and be more caring toward each other.