Jul 262013

By Julie Wiessner
Winslow Unified School District officials will be implementing some changes beginning the first day of school, Monday, July 29.
One new program, a prevention intervention program, builds trust, respect and caring relationships into a classroom at the very beginning of school. According to Bonnie Brennan Elementary School Principal Peggy Elrod, “Around 85 percent of faculty and staff of the Brennan and Winslow Junior High schools attended the Capturing Kids Hearts (CKH) training sessions.”
The CKH training sessions showed participants how to have students help set up appropriate behaviors in the classroom. Once students have decided on those behaviors and consequences for not following them, they sign off on it and are then held accountable to it.
Elrod said, “Students are not coerced into signing it,” but “because we live in a democracy and majority rules, these rules are going to apply to each student.”
Teachers must also agree and sign off on the list of acceptable behaviors. These rules are then posted in the classroom to help remind students what they helped create and agreed to.
According to research presented by the Flippen group, which conducted the training sessions, each child needs at least five positives a day. The firm’s website shows that truly remarkable outcomes are possible in a classroom where trust, respect and caring relationships flourish.
At WJHS, students change classes and in each class, said Elrod, “There is a different dynamic of students; one class is not the same as the next class.” Each class then will have to come up with their own list of appropriate behaviors; otherwise students will not buy into it.
Another change for Bonnie Brennan, Washington and Jefferson elementary schools is an expansion of the reading block from 90 to 120 minutes with a new program called Fast ForWord. Students will receive instruction at their instructional level, not grade level, in the traditional classrooms. All students in the Brennan Magnet School will continue as they have.
A third change is that a Links Crew program has been implemented this year at Winslow High School in order to help freshmen transition to a larger school and feel comfortable throughout the first year there.
WHS Principal Chris Gilmore explained, “Link Crew provides the structure for freshmen to receive support and guidance from juniors and seniors who have been through the challenges that high school poses.”
Also noted were some classes at the elementary level have been rearranged. This year, all of Winslow’s third graders are housed at Bonnie Brennan. The school also has three kindergarten classes and four traditional third grade classes, as well as the Magnet part of the school, which consists of two third and fifth grade classrooms, and three fourth and sixth grade classrooms.