At Tukes Valley Middle School we want your kids to be happy, healthy, and successful. I know these are all outcomes that you want for your kids as well. Those three outcomes (happiness, health, and success) can all mean different things to different people. However, I do believe that they are all interconnected and have a direct impact on each other. Success in school is dependent on a number of factors, some of which are unique to each individual student. However, there are some other factors that are not unique, and are definitely not secret.
I am a firm believer in “focus on what you can control.” We as educators can really only control what we do for our students who are in class on a regular basis. In fact, student attendance in middle school is one of the early indicators of successfully graduating from high school on time. Students who miss just two days of school per month are less likely to graduate from high school. In short, we want your kids to be here every day. Of course, students will get sick and family events will come up, but regular attendance is important. If your student is struggling with regular attendance please let us know what we can do to support you and your student.
Another ingredient in promoting the success of all students is positive behavior choices. As parents, we want our kids to make mistakes (small ones) and learn from them. Middle school students are at the age where their brains don’t always allow them to make the best decisions. I am a firm believer in providing “supportive accountability” for students, which means that students need to be held accountable for their behavior in a way that is meaningful, effective, and is based on learning. There is a fine line between “punishment” and “discipline.” Punishment taken literally means to “inflict pain,” whereas “discipline” means “to teach.” At Tukes Valley we are working towards discipline practices that are based in the principles of restorative practices. The objective of these practices is to restore relationships that are damaged based on conflict and misbehavior. An example of this could be where a student’s behavior is continually disrupting a class. A traditional discipline model would be to have the student serve detention at lunch or after school, where they would be sitting at a table. As soon as their time was served they would be finished with no opportunity to repair the relationship. A restorative practices model may still require the student to spend time at lunch or after school, but would also include a meeting with the teacher (and/or other students who were involved) to discuss these four questions:
- What happened?
- What were you thinking then/since?
- Who could have been affected what you did and how?
- What could you have done differently?
What needs to happen now to make things right?
Research has shown that having these conversations greatly reduces recurrence of the same behavior. The great thing about these conversations is that it gives everyone an equal voice in discussing what happened and how to move forward. Again, true discipline is about learning, especially when we are dealing with students at this age.
If you would like to read more about student behavior management at Tukes Valley Middle School please click here. The linked document is an overview of how we address student misbehavior in general.
As always, please feel free to contact me through email or at 360-885-6250. Thank you for your ongoing support of Tukes Valley Middle School!