News and Notes from Asst Principal O'Connor Fisher

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Asst. Principal O'Connor Fisher

March 2017

Dear Seward Families,

In spring of 2016, the Seward Instructional Leadership Team (ILT) brainstormed areas of focus for the school community to work on. As a team, we decided to focus on building common language and expectations around student behavior, including relationship building. In June, the Seward Staff began receiving professional development from Dr. Clay Cook, Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Minnesota. Prior to working at the University, he was a professor at the University of Washington and Louisiana State University. Dr. Cook is a former educator and a licensed psychologist. He has published numerous articles and books promoting the social, emotional, and behavioral well-being of young people. In addition to his role at the University, he consults with school districts across the country on models that promote the “whole child” by focusing on how students are doing socially and emotionally in addition to their academics.

Dr. Cook refers to himself as an implementation scientist, which involves conducting research on how to enhance the adoption and delivery of effective practices that have been shown to optimize outcomes for children. Dr. Cook trained the staff in Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports (PBIS) that integrated Montessori beliefs. PBIS is a framework for assisting staff to adopt a common language around behavioral expectations to create more consistent, predictable and positive environments for students and supports that enhance academic and social behavioral outcomes for all students. You have seen some evidence of this around the school with our SHARK acronym posted on the walls, each letter representing a component of our common language and expectations:

Safe
Honest
Active Learner
Responsible
Kind

In addition to PBIS, he has led professional development around effective strategies for redirecting student behavior and restorative practices. Dr. Cook has worked most closely with the Shark Team, which is composed of nine teachers representing all grades. This team has helped lead and support the work around PBIS implementation.

Lastly, Dr. Cook is our neighbor and lives in Seward! He has enjoyed getting to know the Seward staff and community and is excited to continue to work with the school moving forward.

Ask your children what it means to be a Seward SHARK! They should be able to tell you what each letter stands for and the expectations.

Meghan O’Connor Fisher
Assistant Principal