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

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Summer 2011

Getting Off to the Right Start

School is already starting for some of you and for others, the first day of school is not too far way. If you haven't already done so, now is the time to structure your procedures and policies so that when students arrive, you will be ready.

As an educator, you want the best for the students in your care. Whether you run the school or work in the classroom, there are things you can do to get the school year off to a proactive and positive start.

Principals and vice-principals will want to establish schoolwide environments that are conducive to productivity, responsibility, and civility. Teachers will want to do the same in their classrooms.

To help in your planning for the first few days of school, we've compiled checklists for building administrators and teachers. These checklists can help you determine if you have thought about the structures and strategies that contribute to the smooth start of a school year.

With the right plans in place, you can ensure a responsible, productive year for yourself and your students.


Click this image to link to the Safe & Civil Schools Back-to-School Checklist page.


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Results from the Field

Safe & Civil Schools would like to issue a hardy congratulations to Fort Bend ISD in Sugar Land, Texas! This year, they were named the 2011 Texas District of Character by the Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association (TEPSA) AND they were selected by the Character Education Partnership in Washington D.C. as a National School of Character — the ONLY district in the country to receive this honor!

Fort Bend Independent School District (FBISD) is completely committed to creating a safe and civil learning environment for their students. It is a priority written into their District Strategic Plan. Goal 7 states, "FBISD will foster character development of students and create a safe and healthy environment for all students."

In 2007, the district began working toward this goal in earnest. To set the stage for its character development process, FBISD looked at what it was currently doing. There were a few campuses using CHAMPS, the Safe & Civil Schools classroom management component, but there was no consistency across the district.

Leaders in the district could see the benefits of the CHAMPS PBIS approach. With its focus on positive and responsible behavior, CHAMPS is a natural partner for any character development initiative. It sets a positive tone, provides a common language for staff and students, and creates a caring, nurturing environment that can serve to ground any character development effort.

Over the past four years, FBISD has increased its CHAMPS implementation to encompass the entire district. As these graphs indicate, discipline referrals and suspensions have decreased significantly for elementary, middle, and high schools.


This graph indicates a decrease in office referrals over a three-year period for elementary, middle, and high schools in FBISD.


This graph indicates a decrease in out-of-school suspensions from school year 2009-10 to 2010-11.


This graph indicates a decrease in in-school suspensions from school year 2009-10 to 2010-11.


Surveys indicate improved student rapport and classroom behavior, increased student engagement in instruction, and better student attendance.

According to Ilene Harper, Assistant Director of Student Support Services for the district, the district's CHAMPS classroom management initiative contributed greatly to the NSOC designation.

And it wasn't easy!

The evaluation process is quite rigorous. FBISD first completed a 30-page application describing its goals and its implementation process in detail. The district also had to provide evidence that supported its statements. After submitting the application, a National Schools of Character evaluator visited the district. The evaluator spent two days on site. He toured six campuses, met with groups of students, parents, principals, district and community leaders, and interviewed the Superintendent. The application and evaluator's report went to TEPSA for review and scoring. In February, TEPSA selected FBISD as the 2011 Texas District of Character. In March, the Character Education Partnership (CEP) selected FBISD as a National Finalist. Iin May CEP announced the National Schools of Character awards, naming FBISD as the only district in the country to achieve this honor.

Safe & Civil Schools has appreciated the opportunity to work with FBISD. We congratulate the entire school community on their commitment, effort, and dedication!

If you would like to learn more about the FBISD achievements and programs, visit these websites:

Fort Bend Independent School District
Character Education Partnership
Safe & Civil Schools