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Creating a Positive Environment on the Bus Kelly Caci, MA Britton Schnurr, PsyD NY Association of School Psychologists.

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Presentation on theme: "Creating a Positive Environment on the Bus Kelly Caci, MA Britton Schnurr, PsyD NY Association of School Psychologists."— Presentation transcript:

1 Creating a Positive Environment on the Bus Kelly Caci, MA Britton Schnurr, PsyD NY Association of School Psychologists

2 School Safety The idea of school safety encompasses all facets of school –Transportation to and from school –Rules & expectations –School Climate –Discipline –How we address/react to issues of bullying, crisis, etc.

3 We Need a Comprehensive Approach Rules, expectations, school-wide programs need to encompass ALL aspects of a students day Staff need to be trained and work together within the system to support the functioning of the school community

4 Factors that Affect School Safety on the Bus Bullying/teasing/name calling Physical altercations Acting out behaviors Disregard of safety rules Theft / destruction of property ????

5 What Can Be Done to Address Safety Issues on the Bus? The good news is – school-wide programs exist and are being used in many schools With the passage of DASA, school districts MUST address issues of bullying Even if your school district has not implemented particular programs, positive reinforcement can be used to encourage appropriate behavior on the bus.

6 Some Options –Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports –Social-Emotional Learning CASEL 2013 Guide to Preschool and Elementary School Programs – –Peaceful School Bus School-wide program for improving behavior on the Bus –

7 PBIS is a system of supports that include proactive strategies for defining, teaching, and supporting appropriate student behaviors to create positive school environments. Instead of using a patchwork of individual behavioral management plans, a continuum of positive behavior support for all students within a school is implemented in areas including the classroom and nonclassroom settings (such as hallways, restrooms, cafeteria, bus, etc.).

8 Attention is focused on creating and sustaining primary (school-wide), secondary (classroom), and tertiary (individual) systems of support that improve students academic and social functioning

9 Why is it so important to focus on teaching positive social behaviors? Introducing, modeling, and reinforcing positive social behavior is an important part of a students educational experience Teaching behavioral expectations and rewarding students for following them is a much more positive approach than waiting for misbehavior to occur before responding Research has shown that the implementation of punishment, especially when it is used inconsistently and in the absence of other positive strategies, is ineffective The purpose of school-wide PBIS is to establish a climate in which appropriate behavior is the norm

10 The Expectations Be Responsible Be Respectful Be Ready Be Safe

11 Develop a behavioral Matrix to operationally and behaviorally define the expectations across environments in the school

12 School Bus Expectation Matrix Be Responsible Take care of your stuff & don't leave things on the bus Follow all bus rules Tell the driver if some one falls asleep Be Respectful Keep your hands & feet to yourself Respect other people's stuff & personal space Keep your hands & feet out of the aisle Use appropriate language Be Ready Have your bus pass ready Get to your stop on time Be ready to get off the bus at your stop Be Safe Remain properly seated Listen to the driver at all times Know & follow the driver's hand signals No fighting/play fighting/fooling around

13 The Incentives School-wide reward system –The Gold card Classroom-based reward system –Tickets used for classroom/general privileges in class/school Gotcha Pockets

14 Classroom-based reward system Senior Lounge Special Lunch First in line for lunch Visiting other classrooms Homework passes Grade level privileges Clubs such as chess, knitting Time in computer or other special area Free food items (popcorn machine) Games/social hour Early dismissal from class Being a team leader Helping out in other classrooms Exemption from assignments Classroom parties Reward Tickets will be used for classroom/general privileges in class/school, such as but not limited to:

15 Overview of the Peaceful School Bus (created by Jim Dillon) a whole-school program designed to decrease inappropriate behavior on school buses while creating a climate of respect and cooperation neither a discipline program, nor is it training for school bus drivers.

16 Peaceful School Bus Goal is to change the social dynamics on the school bus by: –building strong, positive relationships among students (and the bus driver) –teaching responsibility for their "bus route group"

17 Peaceful School Bus teaches students about bullying and their role in preventing it Program is unique in that it happens inside the school, but among the children who ride the bus together involves stakeholders in leading cooperative/ interactive lessons with bus route groups on a regular basis each year.

18 Peaceful School Bus builds a stronger connection between the school bus drivers and other school staff members sends a strong, positive, and tangible message to students that adults in the school care about what happens on the bus

19 Peaceful School Bus can be implemented as a stand- alone program or alongside a bullying prevention or violence prevention program such as the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program

20 In the Absence of a School-Wide Program… Positive reinforcements can still be utilized using things that are rewarding to the students: –Tangibles such as stickers, candy –Use of positive notes –Certificates –Privileges – special seating, serving as a monitor, sports/club participation –A point system used in conjunction with the classroom teacher Some of these can be done independently, others require collaboration with school staff

21 School Climate Includes the School Bus Students need to learn that the bus is an extension of the school They need to understand the rules and expectations on the bus Administration & transportation need to work together

22 How to make this happen… Assemblies, class meetings to review bus rules, expectations Interactions with bus drivers, monitors outside of the school bus –Breakfast in school, meet & greets, trainings that include bus drivers, monthly visits to classrooms Students will generally be more respectful of adults they know on a deeper level & who they feel are respectful of them

23 And now dealing with bullying issues…

24 Some Information on Bullying…. From the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program

25 Olweus Definition of Bullying: Bullying is when someone repeatedly and on purpose says or does mean or hurtful things to another person who has a hard time defending himself or herself.

26 Children at Higher Risk of Being Bullied: Children with disabilities, special needs, and health problems Children who are obese Children who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or who are questioning their identities 26

27 Concerns About Children Who Bully Children who bully are more likely to: –Get into frequent fights –Be injured in a fight –Steal, vandalize property –Drink alcohol, smoke –Be truant, drop out of school –Report poorer academic achievement –Perceive a negative climate at school –Carry a weapon 27

28 DASA Requirements With the passage of DASA, school districts are now required to address issues of bullying The good news is that many districts are adopting school-wide programs to address bullying and school climate

29 Comprehensive and systematic efforts needed to teach and reinforce skills –Schoolwide Bullying Prevention Programs Olweus Bullying Prevention Program Alberti Center Guide to School-Wide Bullying Prevention Programs – ials Als Pals: Kids Making Healthy Choices Bully Busters Bullying Prevention in Positive Behavioral Intervention and Support Bullying-Proofing Your School Creating a Safe School Get Real About Violence Second Step: A Violence Prevention Curriculum Steps to Respect: A Bullying Prevention Program


31 DEVELOPING & IMPLEMENTING AN EFFECTIVE WHOLE-SCHOOL ANTI-BULLYING POLICY Step One: Define Bullying Behaviors Step Two: Refer to Available Model Policies Step Three: Clearly Outline Reporting of Incidents Step Four: Clarify Investigation and Disciplinary Actions Step Five: Include Assistance for Victims of Bullying Step Six: Include Training and Prevention Procedures (Swearer, Espelage & Napolitano, 2009)

32 CLEARLY OUTLINE REPORTING OF INCIDENTS It is important that reporting be encouraged for suspected or alleged bullying, and not only for bullying that has been directly witnessed Provide systems for both in-person and anonymous reporting by students Reporting is an important component of bullying policies, but does nothing without investigation, consequences, and support for children who are bullied. (Swearer, Espelage & Napolitano, 2009)

33 TRAINING AND PREVENTION PROCEDURES ALL staff should be trained and know how to intervene Utilize research-based bullying prevention programs Actively include students, parents, and other community members Prevention/intervention must be implemented with consistency Training/refreshers should take place annually (Swearer, Espelage & Napolitano, 2009)

34 Interventions Need to be Consistent Develop a structured approach for adults to respond to bullying –Olweus On the Spot Intervention Utilize a consistent reporting system Work with school staff to ensure implementation of rewards & consequences

35 The Message Needs to be Consistent Bullying is not okay Bullying will not be tolerated Consequences will be implemented in response to bullying If bullying continues, consequences will become more severe

36 TEACH GOOD HABITS Have high expectations for behavior and a low tolerance for being mean Be specific about how words and behaviors can help or hurt others Teach better ways to respond (All feelings are OK – but not all behaviors are) Emphasize the importance of being a friend UB Alberti Center for Bullying Abuse Prevention is developing a toolkit for educators (elementary, middle, high school) of books, websites, and videos)

37 We Are All Teachers Children need to be taught appropriate behavior As adults we can help teach children the skills they need to keep themselves and others safe The most effective way to encourage good behavior is through positive reinforcement and in a comprehensive and collaborative way How children start and end their day often has a substantial impact on their overall functioning

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