Casting a Broader Net
"To help students match the size of the reaction to the size of the problem"
Since I arrived at Tomsett four years ago, we have been talking about our school motto "Tomsett is a school that CARES", and about our desire to have a school-wide, common program and language that we can all use with regard to behaviour. The CARES motto was adopted through the school's earlier work with the District's ACT Team and served its purpose for many years.
Our staff has been searching for something that is user-friendly, more up-to-date, more personal, and that can be extended to the wider community. As a team, we went away and started to explore programs that had been developed that would meet the needs of all members of our community, including the adults in and outside of the building. After examining programs like Second Step, Mind Up and Zones of Regulation, we decided to implement Zones of Regulation into our work.
While the work we are doing using the "matching the size of the reaction to the size of the problem" was proving to be successful with the students we had identified, our team did not feel like we were capturing enough students with the program AND that we were not helping students to understand what the underlying emotions were that were causing them to react in the first place.
By implementing Zones, it gave staff an opportunity to enter at a variety of points. It gave teachers a clear and easy way to start to label and talk about emotions. There is a wealth of information, graphics, etc. for teachers to use to be able to start this important work in their classrooms. Our team distributed primary and intermediate visuals to all of our classrooms, including picture symbols that our educational assistants and teachers use for students who may struggle with language, and we began to start talking and teaching the Zones in our classrooms (see Evidence Post - "Where The Rubber Hits The Road").
Our school counsellor and members of our team delivered professional development to the remaining members of our staff at our Pro-D Day in May 2022. Team members have also gone into classes to teach and work with groups of students to help our students understand the program. In September 2022, our teacher librarian will be working with all of our classes (K-7) during collaboration time in the library, to continue to build an understanding of the program and the use of this common language in the school, which is exactly what the staff has been looking for.
This post began with talk about the school motto. Given the movement towards more personalized education in the province, a focus on developing Core Competencies, on creating communities of acceptance and diversity, and achieving work / life balance, our new motto "Learning to be me", seems to capture all that we are trying to achieve.