The Department of Safe Schools- Climate and Safety Initiatives continues to provide the programs and activities intended to create safe, supportive, respectable, and nurturing environments for ALL staff and students. Our department’s prevention and intervention efforts, address our District’s broader mission to improve school and workplace climate for all employees and students. Resources are stored in the District’s SharePoint site under Safe Schools in the tile named Bullying Prevention and Intervention and is organized to provide materials specific to administrators under the tiles Anti-Bullying Compliance and Investigation Tools. Additional resources are posted in the same site under the School-wide, Classroom and Student Led Initiatives tiles and include:
- default_titleTemplates and scripts which promote ethical expectations;
- default_titleModels for procedures that are aligned with policy; and
Effective prevention/intervention strategies that are supported by evidence-based practices and programs for specific stakeholders; District and school-wide leadership, classroom teachers, support staff, individual students, parents, and the community.
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Ongoing since the 2009-2010 school year, the Department of Single School Culture© Initiatives provides direct support and consultation to schools, parents, guardians, and community agencies in response to reports of mistreatment and bullying.
The Department recognizes the need to set the norms for positive interactions between all students. When parents visit school offices and classrooms, they will likely encounter posters that contain the school’s Universal Guidelines (or ethical statements) that serve to set high standards for positive interpersonal conduct. While each school is free to customize their own Universal Guidelines through their system of School-wide Positive Behavior Supports, many of the themes involve respect, responsibility, and kindness. In addition, schools are provided with plans for teaching positive expectations. For example, this year all schools were provided talking points for the first four days of school that included the concepts of respect, consideration, and the use of conflict resolution techniques.
In the spring of 2014, an additional script was developed titled: Sample Plan for Discussing Interpersonal Expectations which included an additional lesson discussion related to noticing and embracing differences. This lesson provided the opportunity for teachers to create a climate of inclusivity. Teachers and School District personnel, who provide direct supervision to students, were encouraged to use this resource as a strategy to intentionally create a positive environment for all students.
To meet state and local requirements regarding cyber bullying and Internet Safety the
provide an age-appropriate instructional program, TechSafe, for all students is completed annually. It is available to all schools and complies with the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA), the Protecting Children in the 21st Century Act, and other protective federal and state mandates, including Florida Statute 1006.147 (also
known as the "Jeffrey Johnston Stand Up for All Students Act”).
The content includes instruction and reflection related to the:
- default_titleLegal, ethical, and safe use of technology (both in and out of school)
Use of District technology resources related to the curriculum, academic development, or school extracurricular activity
Acceptable use of District resources that sends clear messages related to pornography, cyber bullying, or stalking
- default_titleIssues of “sexting” in 4th-12th grade
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Additionally, the school-based curriculum Words Wound: Delete Cyberbullying and Make Kindness Go Viral was piloted in selected middle schools to involve students in using technology to combat cruelty and promote kindness.
The Department recognizes that parents are wonderful social coaches for their children, and designate learning tools for parents to use to help their children respond to difficult social situations. Local and national resources such as the Pacer National Center for Bullying Prevention and Intervention (http://www.pacer.org/bullying/index.aspare) and and Stopbullying.gov http://www.stopbullying.gov/what-you-can-do/parents/index.html available for parents on the Department's website.
In addition, school counselors provide instruction in social skills through classroom guidance and special programs such as Student Success Skills, Educational Enhancement Groups, and Bullying Awareness and Prevention for use in 3rd grade.
We have enlisted socially capable students as allies in 4th-12th grade via the Safe School Ambassadors program. This national program is available for all Palm Beach County schools. In it, student opinion leaders from all the formal and informal groups on the campus are trained to recognize mistreatment and intervene using diplomatic skills, not force.
We have established a relationship with the Student County Council (high school leadership) to expand their capacity to address school climate and safety issues on their respective campuses. All student groups enthusiastically agreed to work with the Department of safe schools to:
- default_titleAddress and identify the relationships and any issues between all groups of students
- default_titleCreate a partnership between students and adults
- default_titleReinforce the messages about discipline, safety and School-wide Positive Behavior Supports
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Lastly, we are proud that our District is seen as a state leader in meeting the requirements of the Jeffrey Johnston Stand Up for All Students Act of 2009. We have created an Administrative eLearningManagement Training course and Resource Center storing the Anti-Bullying Principal’s Compliance Checklist, Steps in the Investigative Process and a document titled Considerations in the Investigative Process to assist those assigned to provide student interventions. We have recently Certification from the State that we have met and exceeded all the FL DOE School Compliance requirements regarding mandates which include4:recently been reviewed saying that all the Florida Department of Education School Compliance requirements have been met and exceeded regarding mandates which include:
Posting of anonymous reporting lines and access to the Bullying and Harassment Report at every school site
- default_titleProcedures for reporting and investigation
- default_titleNotification to parents/guardians of both accused/offenders and targets/victims
Counseling services and outside resources for both the targets/victims and the accused/offenders, and their families
Implementation of the use of the Corrective Behavior Intervention Report: Verbal Counseling Verification (PBSD 2464) to document interventions for first complaints that are less serious
Implementation the Student Victim Safety Plan and Student Stay Away Agreement for serious incidents
Implementation of School District Forms designed to record the details of the report and provide documentation showing the actions taken, remediation, and consequences issued
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The Department has a team of people available to offer assistance to staff members and schools, and wants parents to know that all reports are taken very seriously.
Contact Kim Mazauskas (561) 982-0922 Kim.firstname.lastname@example.org or Rick Lewis (561) 982-0920 Rick.email@example.com of Single School Culture© Initiatives with any questions.