2012 Safe Schools/Healthy Schools Report on Student Behavioral, Social, and Emotional Supports in New Rochelle Schools

Written By: Talk of the Sound News

NEW ROCHELLE, NY — Talk of the Sound recently obtained several reports and other documents related to School Safety and Security in the New Rochelle school system from the period 2009 to 2012. Some are low quality photocopies. We will present several of them over the coming weeks.

In 2009, 2010 and 2011 there were comprehensive reports on 5 Elements: (1) Safe School Environments and Violence Prevention Activities; (2) Alcohol and Drug Prevention Activities; (3) Student Behavioral, Social, and Emotional Supports; (4) Mental Health Services; (5) Early Childhood Social and Emotional Learning Programs.

To the best of our knowledge these annual reports were never shared with the public. We are publishing 5 articles based on the 5 Elements contained in the the 2012 report that covers 2009, 2010 and 2011.

This is the third of the five:

Element 3: Student Behavioral, Social, and Emotional Supports

Goal 3: To create a stronger web of school, family, individual and community supports to foster the healthy development of children and youth in New Rochelle.

Objective 1: There will be a 10% increase in students reporting that they enjoy being in school from the baseline school year (2008-2009) to the end of the fourth year (2011-2012).

Objective 2: There will be a 20% decrease in the number of out-of-school suspensions from the baseline school year (2008-2009) to the end of the fourth year (2011-2012).

To assess Objectives 1, data were collected from the students through the Communities That Care (eTC) Youth Survey, which was administered to students in grades 6, 8, 10, 12 in May 2009, 2010, and 2011. In 2011, regarding this objective, 48.9% of students indicated that they enjoyed school often or almost always over the past year which is a slight increase from baseline year of 2009 (48.1%), but a slight decrease from 2010 (50.1 %). In 2011, students in 6th grade reported that they enjoyed school the most, with 60.2% reporting often or almost always, followed by 8th graders (50.3%), 10th graders (41.7%) and 10th graders (39.4%).

Regarding Objective 2, these data are provided by the New Rochelle School District from the VADIR (Violent and Disruptive Incident Report). In the school year 2010-11, there were 404 out-of-school suspensions, which is a decrease from the baseline school year of 2007-08 (533) as well as a decrease from both 2008-2009 (404) and 2009-10 (430) school years. In order to achieve Objective 2, the total number of out-of-school suspensions needs to decrease from the baseline school year of 533 to 426; therefore we have achieved this objective.

The activities that are being funded by the Safe Schools/Healthy Students (SS/HS) grant initiative under this element arc the PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports) program, RTI (Response to Intervention), the Best Buddies program, Project LEARN, Second Step, and Family University.

PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports)

The PBIS consultant met with six out of the seven elementary schools and the Isaac Young Middle School during this reporting period. While PBIS was introduced to all schools in the District in Year 2 of the SS/HS Initiative and some schools prior to the grant, all of the schools have not adopted this program and schools arc at different levels of implementation. On March 25, 2011, two schools used the PBlS consultant to provide presentations on Superintendent’s Conference Day. At Trinity Elementary School, a refresher workshop was provided to the staff focusing on providing Tier 1 strategies for classroom teachers to manage their classroom behavior. At Isaac Young Middle School, a presentation was provided 10 the staff at each grade level on the use of data to make decisions regarding behavior support and problem solving. In June plans were made for the PBIS consultant to make a presentation to the RtI Steering Committee to link PBIS resources to both the schools and the RtI process. As the development of RtI has progressed, schools have begun to recognize the need to have a structured method of examining behavioral issues and providing strategies for meeting the behavioral needs of struggling learners.

During the summer of 2011, a committee of school staff members at both Isaac Young Middle School and Trinity Elementary School worked on fall planning for both PBIS and Olweus Bullying Prevention Program. In the fall of 2011 both of these schools adopted the SWIS web-based software system for collecting and summarizing office discipline referrals. Staff has been trained in entering the data and has learned how to generate reports which are used for school based decisions to improve student behavior and discipline practices.

Across the schools the PBIS consultant is being used in a variety of ways including providing specific professional development to staff around classroom behaviors, providing PBIS team coaching, making classroom observations, and working with individual teachers to develop plans for specific students.

RtI (Response to Intervention)

RtI is a multilevel prevention system that utilizes intervention efforts alongside an assessment process. In 2009-2010, the District formed an RtI steering committee which developed a list of planned outcomes and subsequently in 2010-2011 decided that a consultant to provide on-site coaching was determined to be more useful than a coordinator. The following consultants have been involved in RtI implementation to date: Jim Wright who has primarily provided the “big picture” of RtI; Lois Baldwin who has chaired the steering committee, provided on-site coaching, and the development of policies and procedures; and Arlene Crandall who was added in September 2011 to guide the New Rochelle High School. During this reporting period, Jim Wright provided thirteen consultation sessions over the following dates: March 8, May 25, May 26, October 12, October 13, Jan. i8, and January 19. Sessions were developed to meet the staff needs as the RtI process has developed within the district. Sessions focused on the use of classroom teachers as “first responders” to provide Tier I interventions; the formation and use of data teams; the RtI team roles and the organization and operation of effective RtI problem solving teams; the format and content ofRtI summaries for CSE referrals; analyzing Tier 2 data; and the observation and review of four school Problem Solving Team Meetings reviewing cases. Lois Baldwin has continued to work with the RtI steering committee and procedures subcommittee to further develop the District RtI policy and procedures; to meet with key district administrators to set intermediate goals and focus for Jim Wright’s presentations; and to provide on-site coaching. Lois’ work on the RtI process from August 2011 through January 2012 was funded through additional district grant funds. Arlene Crandall working with the Principal of New Rochelle High School has led the work of the Design and Governance Committee working to develop a three year RtI action plan to be implemented in stages. This committee is composed of33 school staff members, PTA representatives, and eleven high school students and has been divided into 4 subgroups: organizational planning, data collection, academic interventions, and PBIS/behavioral interventions.

Best Buddies

Best Buddies pairs individuals with intellectual disabilities in one-on-one friendships with middle and high school students. There is a Best Buddies Coordinator at the high school and one at each middle school who organize the Best Buddies Chapter activities between the regular education students and the special education students. ‘The Best Buddies Programs were established at each of the two middle schools and high school during the 2009-2010 school year. For the 2011-12 school year, there are 35 students (I 7 students with special needs and 18 regular education students) enrolled in the program at the high school and 32 students (17 students with special needs and 15 regular education students) enrolled at the middle schools. On March 29, 2011, a presentation by the PO to the Board of Education on Best Buddies and the SS/HS Initiative highlighted the positive effects of the Best Buddies Program including comments from students and the parent of one of the students. On May 2011, the New Rochelle High School Best Buddies group held a year end event inviting all Best Buddies students and their parents. Only a few middle school students attended however, the event was a big success for the high school students and their parents. They enjoyed a light lunch, participated in fun physical competitions, and completed craft activities. The middle school programs each held an in-school end of the year celebrations for the students and their parents. In July 2011, two New Rochelle High School students attended the Best Buddies International Leadership Conference held at Indiana University. The students returned from the conference motivated to make a difference in the lives of New Rochelle students with intellectual and developmental disabilities and armed with new ideas for recruitment and events. On January 10, 2012, the New Rochelle High School group enjoyed an after school bowling trip. The SS/HS Project Director continues to observe and participate in Best Buddies events and meets with the Coordinators at each school.

The Second Step Program

The Second Step Program was added to the New Rochelle SS/HS Initiative through the program change procedure. This program is being implemented at Trinity Elementary School. The bilingual school counselor designated to coordinate the program implementation was not hired until November 2011. The school counselor arrived ready to implement the program and integrate herself into the school. Plans were made to orient the staff to the program, to distribute the curriculum kits, to have each classroom teacher complete the on-line training, and to conduct parent orientation presentations before the holiday vacation. The majority of this work was completed. One parent presentation was provided at an after school PTA meeting, two presentations in the morning, and two additional presentations after school. Two presentations were made in Spanish. The Second Step Program was launched in the classroom in January 2012.

Project LEARN

Project LEARN, a Boys & Girls Club after school program targeting at risk middle school students, was added to the New Rochelle project through a program change approved in March 2011. A number of factors led to the delay in the implementation of this program including the timing of the submission and approval of the program change, difficulty in finding a well-qualified coordinator interested in part-time work, and changes in leadership at the targeted middle schooL A well-qualified coordinator was hired in October 2011 i:md planning the program became more focused. Project LEARN was launched at the Remington Club House in November for a small number of at risk middle school students. Plans continued through January 2012 for the launch of the program at Albert Leonard Middle School. The location of this program at the middle school was considered important as youth would be able to go directly from school to the program and valuable time ‘would not be lost. This middle school also has limited after school programming while the other middle school has an extensive 21st Century Learning Center funded program.

Family University

Family University was held on April 11,2011 from 6-9 pm at the New Rochelle High School. The format of the event was similar to the two prior events (2009 and 2010) with well known keynote speakers and 25 workshops organized for the parent, middle school, and high school audiences. The cost to attend Family University was $5.00 to pay for the dinner that was provided. Parents selected one workshop (either in English or Spanish) as well as the keynote address (Anthony Wolf, Ph.D.). Middle school and high school students were able to select two age appropriate workshops as well as hearing the keynote speaker (Bobby Petrocelli delivered the high school keynote and Ty Sells delivered the middle school keynote). There were 331 participants who pre-registered for the event and an additional 84 participants who registered on the day of the event for a total of 415 participants. At the end of each workshop and the keynote addresses, evaluation forms were completed by the participants with results indicating that the presentations were well-received and participants would recommend this event again. Planning is underway for the fourth annual Family University to be held on April 30, 2012.