Friday, May 7, 2010

Beecher Road School uses Responsive Classroom and they are in good company!

I repeat...our neighbor, Beecher Road School, uses Responsive Classroom -- an approach Bethany Community School did not even consider in their haste to adopt PBIS.  But it's not too late...let's take a look at Responsive Classroom especially since Beecher students COMBINE with Bethany Community School students to attend Amity Middle School together.  Here is the parent info on Beecher's website regarding Responsive Classroom.  And, Responsive Classroom can be used with PBIS instead of the rewards/incentives/tokens.  The Responsive Classroom site has a 2-page fact sheet and an 9-page white paper on combining their approach with PBIS.

Beecher is in good company.  Quinnipiac University trains prospective teachers in Responsive Classroom in their educator preparation classes, and below is information on a handful of the many Connecticut schools using Responsive Classroom school-wide:

The following information is excerpted from the Responsive Classroom website by Donna Scanlon, Assistant Superintendent for the Hampden-Wilbraham Regional School District in Massachusetts:
Seven principles guide the Responsive Classroom approach:
1.The social curriculum is as important as the academic curriculum.
2.How children learn is as important as what they learn: Process and content go hand in hand.
3.The greatest cognitive growth occurs through social interaction.
4.To be successful academically and socially, children need a set of social skills: cooperation, assertion, responsibility, empathy, and self-control.
5.Knowing the children we teach-individually, culturally, and developmentally-is as important as knowing the content we teach.
6.Knowing the families of the children we teach and working with them as partners is essential to children's education.
7.How the adults at school work together is as important as their individual competence: Lasting change begins with the adult community.

At the heart of the Responsive Classroom approach are ten classroom practices:
1.Morning Meeting - gathering as a whole class each morning to greet one another, share news, and warm up for the day ahead
2.Rule Creation - helping students create classroom rules to ensure an environment that allows all class members to meet their learning goals
3.Interactive Modeling - teaching children to notice and internalize expected behaviors through a unique modeling technique
4.Positive Teacher Language - using words and tone as a tool to promote children's active learning, sense of community, and self-discipline
5.Logical Consequences - responding to misbehavior in a way that allows children to fix and learn from their mistakes while preserving their dignity
6.Guided Discovery - introducing classroom materials using a format that encourages independence, creativity, and responsibility
7.Academic Choice - increasing student learning by allowing students teacher-structured choices in their work
8.Classroom Organization - setting up the physical room in ways that encourage students' independence, cooperation, and productivity
9.Working with Families - creating avenues for hearing parents' insights and helping them understand the school's teaching approaches
10.Collaborative Problem Solving - using conferencing, role playing, and other strategies to resolve problems with students

Schools implementing the Responsive Classroom approach schoolwide typically adopt the following practices:
•Aligning policies and procedures with Responsive Classroom philosophy - making sure everything from the lunch routine to the discipline policy enhances the self-management skills that children are learning through the Responsive Classroom approach;
•Allocating resources to support Responsive Classroom implementation - using time, money, space, and personnel to support staff in learning and using the Responsive Classroom approach;
•Planning all-school activities to build a sense of community - giving all of the school's children and staff opportunities to learn about and from each other through activities such as all-school meetings, cross-age recess or lunch, buddy classrooms, and cross-age book clubs;
•Welcoming families and the community as partners - involving family and community members in the children's education by maintaining two-way communication, inviting parents and others to visit and volunteer, and offering family activities;
•Organizing the physical environment to set a tone of learning - making sure, for example, that schoolwide rules are posted prominently, displays emphasize student work, and all school spaces are welcoming, clean, and orderly.

COME to the Board of Education meeting on Wednesday, May 12th, at 6:30pm in the BCS library.  Let the BOE members hear your concerns with the full-blown rewards/incentives/tokens being proposed.  Ask the BOE to direct the school to further investigate alternatives such as Responsive Classroom.