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

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

Belton Independent School District

In Belton ISD we believe every student counts. Foundations has given us the framework to organize our thinking so we can teach students exactly what we expect.

Getting down and smelling the carpet (data analysis and improvement cycle) gives us the opportunity to make improvements that are meaningful to our teachers and students. We are impacting our community positively every day in Belton ISD.—Sandra Velo,
Coordinator of Dyslexia and Section 504,
Belton ISD

The staff at Belton Independent School District in Belton, Texas, had a vision of where they wanted their schools to be, but reality didn't reflect that vision. Student behavior was changing, and not for the better.

Six years ago Belton ISD decided to work with Safe & Civil Schools to help make their vision a reality. Laura Hamilton, a Safe & Civil Schools trainer and consultant, has worked with the district ever since to help implement Foundations (our schoolwide positive behavior support) program to achieve a more proactive and positive approach to schoolwide and classroom behavior management.

Laura Hamilton, Safe & Civil Schools trainer, working with staff at Belton ISD.

At the beginning and for several years thereafter, Laura visited Belton many times a year to provide training and support for Foundations Teams from each participating school. Teams worked within their respective schools to share what they had learned and to spearhead the school's Safe & Civil Schools implementation.

Within each school, staff conducted surveys and gathered data, analyzed that data, developed strategies and policies to address the issues raised by the data, and then worked together to implement their new proactive and positive discipline policies. Periodically, staff repeats these steps in what we call the continuous improvement cycle. Teams review data about policies in place, prioritize directions, develop and revise plans, gather staff approval, implement new policies, and then repeat the process over and over again.

The process works. Belton staff members throughout the district report positive differences in student behavior. You can read more about what staff has to say in the article published by the Temple Daily Telegram on Belton ISD's Safe & Civil Schools implementation.

Demographics of Belton ISD, 2009-10 school year.

Today, every campus in Belton ISD has an active Foundations Team. Teams meet as needed on their respective campuses. Every August, teams come together in a districtwide meeting to review expectations regarding the Safe & Civil Schools Districtwide Initiative.

Campuses have developed common area expectations and procedures for arrival, dismissal, cafeteria, restroom, and recess.

Recently, the high school implemented Start on Time, and they are fanatical (in a good way) with their supervision, expectations, and hallway sweeps to ensure that students are where they need to be. Principal Kathy Cook reports, "The Start on Time component of Safe & Civil Schools has reduced tardies exponentially!" Velo says, "It is amazing to watch over 2,400 students arrive on time so instruction can begin! The program works because the staff at Belton High School work their plan. They analyze the data, review and evaluate areas of need, and make plans accordingly as they guide our students to success."

Success is not limited to the high school level. Principal Pam Neves at Pirtle Elementary tells about a parent she recently met who expressed his thanks for the academic and social progress his child had made over the last three years. He opened his conversation with "THANK YOU for not giving up on my child." He went on to say that staff at Pirtle helped his child see the importance of accountability and best effort because they hold high expectations for themselves and for their students.

According to Velo, the Safe & Civil Schools Initiative provides a framework and organizational system for this small yet diverse district. However, she says it still takes tremendous effort and day-to-day work to intentionally teach students the district expectations. "The motto of Belton ISD is Every Kid a Winner, and this system works because staff at Belton truly believe it. We are willing to do whatever it takes for our students to make this statement true."

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