Training and Consultation
Building belonging and safety for all students
Stan Davis and Chuck Saufler have both been active in research-based bullying prevention since the early 1990s. They are both school counselors and founding board members of the International Bullying Prevention Association. Stan and Chuck have trained and supported schools throughout the United States and in Canada. Stan recently keynoted and conducted training workshops for staff of international schools throughout Africa, and is the author of two books published by Research Press: Schools Where Everyone Belongs and Empowering Bystanders in Bullying Prevention. Chuck is currently the lead trainer for bullying prevention education at the Maine Law and Civics Education Program, University of Maine School of Law. He has extensive training and experience in implementing brain-based learning and Restorative Justice interventions. Starting in fall, 2010 Stan and Chuck will be working together to help schools build safety and belonging for all students. Decades of research establish that students who feel safe and connected to school are more likely to learn and to succeed in life. A wide range of research-based interventions have been shown to increase safety and connectedness.
Any successful school initiative begins with identifying goals and the techniques that will work to reach those goals. Achieving buy-in and participation by staff, sustaining changes over time, and measuring the effectiveness of that change are also crucial. As educators ourselves, we have both seen too many initiatives which lose the support of staff because they fail to recognize the good work that is already being done in a school. To be successful we should begin by determining a school’s strengths and then involve staff and students in building on those strengths. For this reason, the Safe Schools for All/Stop Bullying Now intervention begins with a detailed assessment of each school’s strengths and needs, and works with you to create an individualized plan suited to your school. Staff, students, and (ideally) parents and guardians complete an online questionnaire focused on measuring the school’s functioning in key areas of performance, including:
- The school’s ability to build connections between staff and all students
- Perceived fairness and effectiveness of the current discipline system
- Equity of connectedness and safety across racial, gender, income, and disability groups
- The school’s perceived responsiveness to student and parent concerns about behavior
- Student input about the frequency of different negative peer actions
- Student, staff, and parent input about what should be done about different negative peer actions
- Student attitudes about different negative peer actions
- Detailed input from students, staff, and parents/guardians about which existing programs and practices are working to build safety and belonging.
- And detailed input from students, staff, and parents/guardians about which new or changed practices would make the school a safer and more inclusive place.
A climate-building or school safety committee, including administrators and representatives of stakeholders, will then be trained in depth and work with one of us collaboratively to create a detailed plan based on the survey data and our review of other relevant information, including:
- Strategies for maintaining the strengths of the existing program
- Identification of which current programs and staff actions are making a positive difference
- Needs for intervention and specific recommendations for supporting those interventions.
Once a school’s strengths and needs are determined, one of us will work with you to support implementation through providing customized in-service training, ongoing consultation, continuing measurement of progress through repeat surveys, and other strategies. We will recommend other trainers, materials, and resources as needed or desired.
As veteran educators, we know that it is difficult to achieve sustainable change, and we have both experienced one-time trainings that may have no lasting effect. A superintendent Stan has worked with calls these training efforts “one and done.” Based on our experience of what works, we have found that the following combination of interventions is most likely to result in positive, lasting systemic change.
We offer and recommend a customized and comprehensive assessment, training, and follow-up intervention which includes
- Survey-based assessment, data presentation, and recommendations.
- a two-day customized training for a team including administrator and staff which will initiate and lead the intervention over time
- a customized one day staff training by consultant, after some program elements are begun. Ongoing training with consultant support, done by the team.
- ongoing phone and email consultation for one year including a repeat survey a year after the initial survey.
The trainings will focus on some or all of the following elements of building safety and belonging, based on school strengths and needs:
- Building positive staff-student connections for all
- Setting clear and consistent behavior standards and using effective and fair interventions schoolwide when those standards are broken
- Encouraging positive actions and helping youth change negative behaviors and attitudes; helping verbally and physically aggressive youth develop empathy, self-control, and other essential social skills as needed
- Supporting and connecting youth who are isolated and/or mistreated
- Building social and emotional skills and skills for positive bystander behavior schoolwide
- Peer norms interventions to encourage positive behaviors by student bystanders
One-time trainings are available at $1200/day in Maine (except for parts of the state requiring overnight travel); $1500/day in other states in New England and in other nearby locations plus the cost of motel (and flight if needed); and $1800/day plus the cost of flight, motel, and ground transportation on site for locations involving 6 or more hours of travel each way.
For our comprehensive assessment, training, and consultation package, including all required program materials as pdfs and in computer video format, the fee is $4000 in Maine (except for parts of the state requiring overnight travel); $5000 in other states in New England and other nearby locations plus cost of motel (and flight and ground ransportation after a flight if necessary,) and $6000 for more distant schools and communities, plus the cost of motel (and flight and ground transportation after a flight if necessary.) NOTE: Based on the survey results as compiled and interpreted, the school and/or consultant may decide not to continue with the whole intervention as planned. In this case the fee to the school for the survey and recommendations phase will be $1000.
What about school systems containing multiple schools?
We will develop a fee proposal including multiple surveys, training a group of teams together, shared staff training, and a set of separate consultation times for each school. We look forward to hearing from your school’s principal at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
A whole school comprehensive approach
is the primary focus of training.
Reducing verbal, physical and relational aggression, which includes bullying and harassment is best reduced by a comprehensive, coordinated and sustained whole school restorative approach. Effective programs change peer norms and school culture. Before any program can be fully effective there are two foundation principles that must be in place:
1. Adults teach and model pro-social relational behaviors and skills.
- Building connectedness with and among students, staff and parents
2. Adults protect students by consistently responding to verbal, physical and relational aggression.
- All aggression needs a response – we should intervene with actions likely to cause harm whether we think they have mean intent or not.
- Adults must model control without hostility.
Research on school climate and culture has taught that in addition there are four major determinants of school climate:
1. Social Skills Development - social understanding and specific social skills.
• Teach a consistent set of behavioral routines and skills.
• Common language and cognitive processes
- Self-calming strategies
- A school-wide problem solving method
2. Teacher Skills Development
• Modeling emotional regulation and positive regard for all
• Consistent Discipline - every act of aggression needs a response
• The 10 second intervention – responding to inappropriate language that is not directed at an individual
• Restorative enquiry and reminders - teaching students cognitive structures for self reflection and cause and effect thinking
• Emphasizing accountability
• Giving directions and feedback
3. Social norms interventions
• Using student and staff survey data to change
4. Building student community and sense of connectedness
• Regular use of student circles
Comprehensive Programs - Whole School Approach
The Key to Safe School Climate and Reducing Bullying and Peer Aggression : Protecting, Connecting , Empowering and Restoring Students
Today’s students are presenting new behavioral challenges that reduce their capacity for connection and relationships within school. This is driven to a great extent by brain development and impacted by societal and school cultural issues. This translates to poor student-student and student-teacher relationships, reduced connection to school and lowered academic achievement for these students.
Raising student achievement is the goal of every school. In order for that to happen school has to be a safe and orderly place where students feel a connection to school, attached to the people around them and bullying and harassing behaviors are infrequent. This training presents a synthesis of the brain development and connection to school research from the Wingspread Declaration that will guide participants in developing effective strategies and skills for creating safe and orderly classroom and school climate.
The strategies and skills taught in this workshop can be immediately utilized by staff members and will assist their students in:
• Developing procedural and organizational skills
• Improving impulse control
• Increasing problem solving capacity
• Building relationships with staff and other students
• Reducing peer aggression.
This whole school training integrates research from the fields of education, social science, brain development, behavior, discipline, school climate and connectedness and restorative processes creating a powerful force for positive change in school climate and culture.
Staff Development Workshops
that support a Whole School Approach
Improving Academics by Decreasing Peer Aggression and Improving Student Connectedness to School
This workshop presents a synthesis of the Wingspread Declaration connection to school research that will guide participants in developing effective strategies for creating safe and orderly classroom and school climate. Research proven foundation principles of a safe school climate and the skills necessary to maintain them will be taught. Parallels to bullying prevention and restorative practices work will be emphasized to help participants realize that integrating these concepts produces improvements in school climate and reductions in aggressive behaviors at school.
Organizing Schools for Order and Safety
Unstructured transitional moments at school increase opportunities for student aggression to take place. Many students entering school today are lacking in basic organizational skills like sequencing, following multiple step directions, good manners, impulse control and accepting and responding to redirection from adults. This workshop looks to the brain research for the reasons these difficulties develop and offers a research-based solution to correcting these problems K-8. Participants will trouble shoot their own class/school for lack of structure and clear procedures and create the needed procedures to bring back to their school for immediate implementation.
Peer Aggression and the Brain: It’s all in their heads
Today’s students are presenting new behavioral challenges. These challenges are driven to a great extent by brain development and are impacted by societal, family and school cultural issues. This workshop will examine those issues from the perspective of the research in brain development and it’s impact on behavior and relationships. Participants will leave this workshop with fresh perspective on student behavior and insight in how to apply current best practices in prevention peer aggression at school.
Media Today: Creating challenges for parents and schools
Research shows that there is a direct causal link between exposure to media violence and the development of aggressive behavior in children. By the end of this workshop participants will better understand the impact that media messages have on the developing attitudes and behavior of our children and possess strategies for mediating these effects. This workshop is appropriate for parents, teachers and students. Specific recommendations for parental management of media in the home are included in the presentation.
Preventing and Responding to Peer Aggression on the Bus:
Bus Driver Training
For many students the ride to school is not pleasant and may be frightening because of the level of peer aggression on the bus. Bus Drivers cannot and do not see every act of aggression. There are strategies that can reduce the amount of peer aggression on the bus. This training raises driver awareness of the seriousness of the problem and encourages them to work collaboratively with school personnel to solve behavior problems on the bus.
Improving School Climate Through the Teaching of Social Skills
One major determinant of school climate is the social skills proficiency of the students. Most teachers have no formal training in teaching social skills. This workshop will teach you the essentials of social skills teaching through participation in a cross section of no prop and minimal prop adventure activities including:
• cooperative warm-ups
• non-traditional group games
• trust building and problem solving activities
• relationship building activities for student meetings
Through the briefing - activity - debriefing sequence you will examine how these activities and a supportive group process will strengthen school climate and help students become responsible, cooperative learners.
Classroom Management, Behavior and School Climate:
It’s all in your head
Ask any teacher who has been teaching for more than 5 years and they will tell you that today’s students are different than they used to be. The reason for this noticeable difference is explained in the current brain research. This workshop gives teachers and administrators a new lens with which to view their students, and strategies to bring about positive cultural change in their classroom and school.
School Climate, Bullying , Depression, Suicide: Connecting the Dots
Although there is ample anecdotal evidence of some victims of bullying committing suicide, there is no definitive study that proves this direct causal link. There is however ample evidence of the links between victimization and depression and depression and suicidal ideation. This workshop is based on the work of the Maine Youth Suicide Prevention Program and focuses on helping people see that bullying prevention is suicide prevention.
For more information or to arrange for trainings contact:
Chuck Saufler at 207-751-4160