Randy Sprick's Safe & Civil Schools – Practical Solutions, Positive Results!

Spring 2010

The Tough Kid Series in School

An Interview with Shelly Davis, Principal at Butterfield Canyon Elementary

SCS: Tell us about yourself. How long have you been working in education and how did you come into the profession?

Shelly: I am a career educator for 28 years. I was an elementary resource teacher and I also taught in self-contained classrooms working with students with behavior disorders at the elementary and middle school levels. I was a Behavior Specialist and a Program Specialist at the district level. I then completed my Administrative Endorsement and have been a school-based administrator for the last nine years at both the elementary and middle levels.

SCS: How did you hear about The Tough Kid materials? Why did you choose to use them?

Shelly: My direct supervisor for several years was Dr. Ginger Rhode. I provided Professional Development with Dr. Ken Reavis in and out of the state regarding Tough Kid strategies and interventions. [Drs. Rhode and Reavis are co-authors of The Tough Kid Book.]

SCS: Which products are you and your teachers using?

Shelly: The Tough Kid Book and The Tough Kid Toolbox. We also have The Tough Kid Parent Handbook in our parent library.

SCS: Would you describe how your staff put some of these strategies in place schoolwide or in classrooms?

Shelly: Our schoolwide management system is based on Positive Behavior Supports. We have expectations that are established, taught systematically to staff, parents, and students, and are reinforced through a variety of means. We have a hierarchy of reductive techniques for students who do not follow the schoolwide system. Some of the positive techniques that we have established include Social Skills training, peer-acted videos to show expectations, Mystery Motivators, Spinners, 200 Club activities, One-Minute Skillbuilders, ICU tickets, Paws-i-Tive Notes, Postcards, and R.O.P.E. cards for staff reinforcement.

Within the classrooms, each teacher has posted expectations, and What-If charts for positive and reductive techniques. Reinforcement systems are observable. Reductive techniques are established and maintained.

This is a skeletal outline of some of our established procedures. We are a part of the Utah Personnel Development Center and USOE Utah Behavior Initiative (UBI) program. Therefore, many of these procedures are established, data is collected, and UBI administrators evaluate our work. So far, we have been quite successful!

SCS: Do teachers in your school see results? Are these resources easy to use?

Yes! The UBI team regularly presents the data at faculty meetings.

The resources are easy to use and profitable as well!

SCS: How do the students and their parents feel about these strategies?

Shelly: Our students and their families are WELL versed in our programs. They are very supportive. The children feel safe in our school in large part because of the PBS strategies that we have put in place!

SCS: Do other staff members besides teachers work with The Tough Kid programs? What have you heard about their reactions?

Shelly: EVERYONE on the staff works with the programs. All reactions are very positive. A lunchroom worker, the recess aides, and a PTA representative all are on the committee which establishes the schoolwide management system.

SCS: Did you have any problems putting these practices into place—obstacles you had to overcome?

Shelly: We have not had any problems as our UBI team not only shows the reasons for the pieces to be put in place but also shows the data that support those pieces. In addition, the UBI team makes sure that the requests of the team are "user friendly" and ready-to-go (every item that is needed to run the next step is made and placed in their hands).

SCS: As principal, what is your role in the implementation of the The Tough Kid programs? Do you use Tough Kid strategies as well? In what way?

Support, support, support the UBI team. Get them what they want as they move to make our school rich in PBS!

Absolutely, I use them. I am as much a part of the program as any other staff member in the school. I utilize the same positive reinforcement system and the same hierarchy of reductive techniques. I have set expectations (schoolwide) that are taught systematically, along with those set by the UBI team.

In addition, I have a 200 Club that reinforces the students, Student of the Month luncheons, Brilliant Bobcat program, etc.

SCS: If you met another administrator or teacher (say at a conference somewhere) and they asked you about The Tough Kid resources and strategies, what would you tell them?

Shelly: I DO meet those folks, and I DO tell them! I also have administrators who bring teams of teachers to see the PBS in our school. I want to emphasize—this is NOT MY doing! This is a team effort that involves our entire staff and the UBI team! They have moved our school forward with their hard work and determination.

SCS: What do you like best about the strategies you use?

Shelly: They all make sense.

SCS: Do you have any complaints about them?

Shelly: Absolutely none.

SCS: Anything you want to add?

Shelly: EVERY SCHOOL should know and use the Tough Kid strategies. They are kid-proof, user-friendly, and impact learning positively!