With October being National Bullying Prevention month, I thought it appropriate to post the Des Moines Public School District's policy regarding bullying and harassment. While all grade levels learn about bullying during October and November, specific portions of the District bullying policy were discussed with 5th graders this unit- particularly emphasizing that bullying includes electronic communication (social media, email, text, etc.).
The District policy states:
For the policy in its entirety, or to view the DMPS Elementary Schools Handbook, please click here.
October is here, my favorite month of the year! October is a great month for so many reasons, including that it is officially National Bullying Prevention Month. As October gets underway, in classroom guidance we start our Relationships Unit. The focus of this unit is all about friendship, bullying prevention, and celebrating each others differences.
As we explore these topics, we spend a great deal of time clearly defining what bullying is and how to deal with it appropriately. For parents, knowing the definition and steps we teach and reinforcing them at home will enhance their student's understanding of the topic.
Year-round at Wright students and staff work to create a kind and caring climate, free of bullying. It is important to emphasize that the care and keeping of this environment starts with your student and their choices. Every student is expected to make respectful, responsible, and safe decisions.
Wright classrooms are safe spaces for students to be themselves, express who they are, and have their differences and uniqueness celebrated!
Our counseling unit for September is all about problem solving. Every problem that a student may face (for example: peer conflict, bullying, peer pressure, rumors/gossip, making mistakes, etc) comes with choices. In other words, the options we have for trying to solve the problem. During this unit I stress to students to think about the consequences (both good and bad) of each choice BEFORE deciding what to do. Students learn a problem-solving model called the STAR model to recall and apply this information. The STAR model looks like this:
S: STOP Take a deep breath, identify the problem.
T: THINK Consider your choices and the consequences.
A: ACT Make the best choice and do it.
R: REFLECT What was the outcome? Is the problem solved? Would you make the same choice next time?
In grades K-2 we discuss how often times when faced with a problem, we have the choice of trying to handle the problem ourselves, or involve a trusted adult. There are lots of strategies kids can use to solve problems on their own; however some problems need adult attention right away. During this unit and the relationships unit we review tattling vs. reporting:
Tattling: Trying to get someone in trouble; can handle by yourself; unimportant; harmless situations; behaviors are accidental and only happen once.
Reporting: Trying to keep people safe; have tried to solve it on your own and need help; important; harmful, dangerous, or threatening situations; behaviors are purposeful (mean) and happen repeatedly.
This information is reviewed in 3-5th.
It is always helpful to reinforce the concepts we learn at school at home. If you have any questions, please let me know!
This year we are pleased to bring back the Child Assault Prevention (CAP) Program at Wright Elementary, facilitated by Blank Children's Hospital. The program will be presented to our kindergarten, second, and fourth grade classes.
The CAP Program works to prevent assault and violation of rights for children. The program approach includes classroom workshops for children, adult education for parents, and school staff education. The student workshops are taught in a 90 minute class and cover empowerment skills such as self-assertiveness, peer support, and identifying trusted adults. Interactive role plays demonstrate problem-solving for unsafe situations such as bullying (peer to peer assault), abduction (assault by a stranger), and sexual abuse (assault by a known person). The program approaches prevention in a developmentally appropriate fashion, from a perspective of human dignity, mutual respect, and basic human rights. Everyone has the right to be safe, strong, and free!
Adult workshops cover the prevention and empowerment strategies given in the children's workshop and offer suggestions for effective ways to support those strategies at home, school, and in the community.
For more information about this empowering personal safety program, please visit https://www.unitypoint.org/blankchildrens/child-personal-safety.aspx
Student workshops will be the week of April 18-22nd, in Kindergarten, 2nd, and 4th grade classes.
*Note: Information about this program and an opt-out form was sent to parents the second week of April. If you have any questions or concerns please contact me.
In the elementary years, students are navigating their relationships with peers and how to behave in different social situations. A huge part of this is learning conflict management, and how to deal with hurt feelings resulting from social interactions.
An issue that comes up commonly in these developmental years is rumors and gossip. Talking about others behind their backs, or spreading stories - whether they may be true or untrue. This type of behavior can be very hurtful, and can even cross into bullying territory. It happens inside close-knit friend groups, as well as through classroom acquaintances. Access to technology and social media can perpetuate the problem. It is important for children to understand the power of their words and the damage rumors and gossip can do. I do a lesson with 4th and 5th graders on this subject in the fall, but find myself revisiting the subject throughout the year, whether with individual students or entire classrooms. It is helpful to have an ongoing discussion of important values with your children, and this may be a topic worth visiting.
The following links are helpful parent resources that address rumors and gossip among children:
How to Stop Your Child From Gossiping:
Surviving the Rumor Mill:
The current unit we are working on in guidance is all about bullying. It is necessary that students have a clear definition of what bullying is, and that they know exactly what steps to take to help resolve a bullying situation. For parents, knowing the definition and steps we teach and reinforcing them at home will enhance their student's understanding of the topic.
What you'll find:
Here you will find information related to the units we are working on in class, as well as ideas and resources for your student and family. Look around and come back often!