Friday, May 16, 2014

Working Together

Our schools are a reflection of the society in which we live.  When society experiences great strides forward, our public schools reflect these advancements.  Unfortunately, the reverse is true as well; when society struggles, the challenges will be found in our schools.  Our local community, state, and nation are continually searching for ways to battle bullying behaviors that seem to permeate too many facets of our lives.  The Beaver Dam Unified School District (BDUSD) is not immune to these problems and they can be serious obstacles to learning that we deal with on a continual basis.  Our staff has never been more committed to preventing and combatting bullying in our schools.  We partner with local law enforcement, county agencies, and private entities to stamp out these behaviors, including the implementation of more than 25 proactive programs. A small sampling of our efforts is bulleted below.
·         Ongoing training for all staff in non-violent crisis intervention strategies
·         Middle School Safe School Ambassador program
·         High School Link Crew mentor program
·         Character Counts initiatives
·         Restorative Justice program
·         Annual climate, safety, and security surveys
·         High profile guest speakers focused on mistreatment and bullying
·         Peaceful playground initiative at Jefferson School
·         Cyber-bullying parent and student presentations
·         Love and Logic parenting seminars open to all families
·         Updated comprehensive district bullying policies
·         Elementary level conflict resolution classroom lessons
·         Multiple student-led drama presentations focused on anti-bullying
·         Elementary, middle, and high school peer relationship mediation initiatives
·         Student created anti-bullying public service announcements aired on the Charter cable network
·         Implementation of Positive Behavior Intervention Supports (PBIS) programming (district wide, 2014-2015)

Anti-bullying efforts are an area of aggressive attention for our school district.  We will continue to do everything possible to deal with and eliminate these behaviors from our schools and community.  Starting in August of 2014, we will organize and lead an anti-bullying steering committee comprised of school district staff, parents, and community members that will meet quarterly to review district data, brainstorm effective strategies, and help us continue to move forward in reducing these behaviors in our schools.  If you want to be part of this effort, please contact me.  If you are struggling with these issues, work with your child’s teacher, contact the principal, or if you still think there is not enough being done, contact me.  It would be disingenuous to say that stamping these behaviors out of our society and schools will be easy or quick; however, you do have my most heartfelt promise that we will continue to work tirelessly on this issue, we will continue to make progress, and we will always work together to guide our students and empower their futures.