Building a Strong School Culture
At Englewood Schools, we are committed to fostering positive and healthy school culture.
What makes a strong school culture? School culture is about several things, most
importantly: connections, relationships, behavior, values, and norms. Our students play an
important role in building a strong school and classroom culture, and it's our job as adults to model the way for what positive behavior and practices look like.
At Englewood Schools, positive school culture and climate is fostered through three areas of focus: Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), Restorative Practices, and Trauma Informed Practices.
Each school community is unique. Culture can look different from school to school, and even classroom to classroom. This is because the classroom is a community within the community of a school. And our schools are communities within the larger community of the school district. It's important to honor individual school and classroom cultures by catering practices to fit the needs of students.
Building strong school culture helps students to belong and thrive and to grow into responsible, respectful, thoughtful, and resilient people. At Englewood Schools, we teach to the whole child, and we believe deeply in the potential for all of our students to learn from their mistakes, find their voices, and become positive role models and influencers as members of our communities.
Trauma Informed Practices
Trauma Informed Practices is the work educators and school leaders do to set up school environments to support all kids. Fostering an environment that meets students where they are, especially those who have experienced trauma in their lives, is a critical component to setting students up for success. We accomplish this by creating a calm and predictable learning environment where every student feels safe, engaged, and supported. This can include adjusting various physical factors such as lighting and sound levels. Additionally we strive to understand "the why" behind behaviors so we can find solutions rather than dwell on the problems. This allows our students to be nurtured while also holding them to high expectations.
Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS)
PBIS is the practice our schools use to help students know and understand what positive behavior looks like at school. For example, students know what hallway, playground and recess behavior looks like and sounds like. They know what it looks like and sounds like in the lunchroom because clear expectations have been set, and our staff are modeling the way for our students. The practice of PBIS can look different at each school. Bishop, Cherrelyn and Englewood Middle School, for example, award tickets to students who demonstrate positive behavior. Students earn these tickets to be exchanged for different age-appropriate incentives. The modeling and incentives for positive behavior will vary from school to school because educators cater to the needs and motivations of their students and to the culture of the school.
In Englewood Schools, Restorative Practices is a philosophy and thoughtful approach to building positive relationships and school communities. It's about teaching students to understand the power and influence they have within their community of peers and that each person has a voice that is respected. This helps to build a respectful school culture.
Through Restorative Practices, students build key life skills such as empathy, responsibility and the ability to solve problems. As is the case with PBIS, Restorative Practices can look different at each school. All schools are engaging in community building circles. Circle time is an effective way of building relationships by encouraging students to share with each other and to learn from and about each other. Some schools take the circle work to more advanced levels. For example, some of our schools are doing academic circles where students have an opportunity to share their knowledge with each other. Some are using them as resolution circles to help students solve concerns in the classroom. Another example is that students can voice their ideas about classroom norms and agreements and come together to agree on what those should be and why.