Creating a positive school climate to promote student success and well being

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By Jamie Grube, Groveport Madison Schools superintendent
Guest columnist

JAMIE GRUBE

A positive school climate – where students feel a sense of safety and belonging and positive relationships between students and staff prevail – is our daily focus in Groveport Madison Schools.

Our principals, teachers, counselors, social workers, and support staff work hard to develop strong, trusting relationships with our students. These relationships are the core of our efforts to improve safety and promote respect and inclusion among students and adults. It’s also from these relationships that we most often learn about potential safety-related concerns.

Measuring school climate
It’s one thing to believe your school or school district has a positive climate and culture, but hard data is necessary to know for sure. That’s why twice annually, our students and staff participate in surveys to gather each school’s culture, climate, and safety-related data. The surveys are created and conducted by a third-party expert in measuring school climate and other related metrics. We closely monitor this data and watch for trends.

Social-emotional support for students
Studies show that social-emotional skills – such as problem-solving, self-regulation, social awareness, and empathy – help improve academics, reduce negative social behaviors like bullying, and create positive classroom climates. Social-emotional skills also help kids successfully manage everyday life.

The District has invested heavily in curriculum, training, and other resources to help our students develop social-emotional skills, and provide them with the necessary strategies and tactics to address their behaviors, as well as how to respond to the conduct of others appropriately.

Determining appropriate interventions
Groveport Madison Schools uses a Multi-tiered System of Support – a framework for supporting students’ behavioral, academic, social, emotional, and mental health. Family engagement throughout the process is essential.

Addressing discipline guidelinesand police involvement
Students need to be held accountable for their actions and each infraction or incident is unique and must be addressed as such. The district utilizes a progressive discipline model where the goal is the prevention of a recurrence of the negative behavior by helping students learn from their mistakes.

We will not tolerate students who are uncooperative, disrespectful or present a safety threat to others. In these circumstances, Ohio law permits a school administrator to recommend a student (grades 4-12 only) be suspended for up to 10 days, as long as the behavior isn’t a result of a disability.

For more severe infractions, Ohio law allows the superintendent to expel students from school for up to 80 days and up to one year if the student has a gun or knife on school property, makes a bomb threat, or commits a crime that results in serious physical harm to another person or property.

In situations where an assault takes place, a student or adult brings a weapon onto school property, or other serious safety concerns, the district will ask the police to press charges against the individuals in question.

Our schools are a reflection and representation of the communities we serve. We look forward to working in partnership with our students, families, staff, and community to create a positive climate and culture where we all feel safe and welcomed.

Jamie Grube is superintendent of Groveport Madison Local Schools.

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