We are reaching out to let you know that with some of the political and social issues happening in our society, we are noticing an increase in behaviors and words that had previously not been much of an issue at Dolores Huerta before this year. While these concerns are still mostly confined to a very small group of students, we want you to know that we are doing everything we can to reinforce positive values, compassion, and respect.
Here are a list of activities and constructive ways for students to resolve problems.
We have communicated these ideas and methods for students to seek help through class presentations and visits, website, bulletin notices, announcements, posters, Report It Cards, and emails:
1) Counselors visit individual classrooms to discuss and present information on what bullying looks like,
how to report, and how to treat others with respect
2) All school assemblies are held twice a year talking about respect, tolerance, kindness and making good
3) Weekly and daily bulletins to students reminding them about expectations and rules
4) Cougar Vision features Public Service Announcements reinforcing our expectations and values
5) “Pawsitive” tickets given to students for kindness, respect and helpful behavior
6) Student of the Month and Silver for Super Students recognize positive values
7) Many teachers have integrated the themes of tolerance and respect in their classroom curriculum
8) Counselors have lunch groups about friendship, stress management, and resolving conflict in a
9) Administrators and staff are out before school, passing periods, nutrition, lunch and after school to be
available to students to help resolve conflicts at an early stage
10) Administrators visit classrooms to discuss expectations
11) We are also working on a presentation for classrooms regarding the “Power of Words”
Ways for students to report concerns:
1) Tell an administrator, counselor, or staff member so we can help
2) Email anyone on our staff to get assistance
3) All students were given a “Report It” business card with emails, contact information, and
directions for how to report concerns
4) There are blue “Cougar Boxes” located in the front office, attendance office, and counseling
office where students can drop us a note if they need assistance or want to report something.
5) The bullying hotline number is posted around campus
Ways Huerta Staff can promote a positive and safe school culture:
1) Immediately report any discriminatory language or behavior to administration
2) Keep conversations in class balanced and neutral
3) Create a safe haven at school for all students so they can focus on their education
4) While these times are a learning opportunity, it is important that personal opinions are not taught
as part of the curriculum in class. Instead, please focus on the how the political process works,
legal processes, etc.
In addition, we know that there are a few students who have been quite disruptive and disrespectful. I believe that if you check Aeries, you will see under intervention and Assertive Discipline that we try to exhaust all interventions and consequences before suspension. However, there are times when suspension is necessary. We do our best to analyze the context of a situation, think about what is the best learning tool for the student in question, provide interventions and gather information when making a decision. Here are a few tools we use:
1) Classroom observation
2) Behavior Interventionist shadows student and gathers data
3) Restricting freedom in unstructured time – passing period, lunch, nutrition, etc
4) Parent conferences, hot case meetings, staff consultation (school psychologist and speech and others)
5) Behavior contracts
6) Behavior goals
7) Social skills training
10) Saturday School
11) Community Service
12) At-Risk Counselor and Intervention Specialist check-ins and counseling
This is not a complete list but I just want to reassure the staff that the administrative team does everything it can to support you and create a positive school culture. We know that most of the work happens in the classroom, but we also want you to feel supported and know we have your back.
If you ever have a question about interventions and discipline or a particular student, please come and see us. We are open to discussions and we want to make sure that we are handling things together as a team.