GRANDVIEW - McClure Elementary School Principal Jose Rivera explained to the Grandview School Board last night the new discipline program to be implemented at Grandview elementary schools in January.
He said the "Time to Teach" program designed by Goldendale School District Superintendent Mark Heid will help teachers maintain control in the classroom.
The program is designed to be a positive, proactive approach to discipline and focuses on developing positive relationships with students, according to Rivera.
"Using words like 'please' and 'thank you' when asking a student to stop doing something disruptive, will be enforced," Rivera told the school board members.
He added that teachers will need to address three questions regarding behavior thought to be disruptive. "The teacher will ask themselves, 'Can I continue to teach?' If the answer is 'yes,' the next question will be, 'Can the student continue to learn?' Again, if the answer is 'yes,' the teacher will ask themselves a third question as to whether or not the class can continue to learn," said Rivera.
If the answer to any of the three questions is a "no," the teacher can then direct the student to a "refocus." By doing so, the student will be sent to another classroom, where students will have a designated seat for the purpose of answering a "refocus sheet." On the sheet, the student is to write what occurred to mandate the refocus, why it occurred and what steps can be taken to change the situation. "It should take no more than five minutes, and the student can then return to the regular classroom," Rivera stated.
He also told the school board members that students are limited to three refocuses per week and parents will be notified regarding the situation. "The parent will be called to meet with the school and if the parent fails to show up, the student faces a suspension," Rivera noted.
He said the program will be tested prior to winter break in December. "The kids will need to learn how to exit and enter the rooms gracefully," he stated.
Also, the program is designed so that there will be no "surprises" for the expectations or consequences by students, staff or parents.
"The staff at each school devises a list of agreed upon expectations," said Rivera.
He said the staff members of the elementary schools will also explain the expectations to students and communication with the parents of the students is vital.
Students will also face "academy," which is similar to detention, as a part of the new program, after the student has had three refocuses, according to Rivera. Parents will be required to pick their students up from "academy."
Rivera said Heid has had success with the discipline program in four different school districts, and when a parent failed to pick up their child, the child was brought to the parent "...even to their place of business."
Rivera reported that Heid told him and the other Grandview elementary principals that students who were brought to the parent's place of business did not face the action of "academy" again because the parents helped reinforce the "Time to Teach" program after such action had been taken.
Grandview School Board President Tim Grow said, "We have to make sure there is a way for every parent to understand what is going on. There can't be any surprises with the parents...I think it (the program) can be really very successful."
Rivera responded with his agreement that parents will certainly need to be involved, even if the involvement requires parents be notified regarding the program via telephone.