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At Echo Mountain Primary, our goal is to help students learn to assess their own behavior and understand how their actions effect their own learning and safety, as well as those around them. For almost 20 years, Echo Mountain has used the Make Your Day Citizenship program to help attain this goal. Make Your Day is designed to help students understand that their actions impact those around them and that there are expectations to being a good citizen in all areas of life. The intent of Make Your Day is to provide a tool to help students improve their citizenship versus being punitive. Here are some basic things to know about Make Your Day.
At EMPS, we don't have a confusing list of rules for students to remember. We only have one rule...
We believe that every person in our school has the right to complete his/her work without interference from others. This means that all students should be able to expect a physically and emotionally safe school environment. In addition, if a classmate has interfered with a student's learning, safety, or well-being, a system is in place to politely address the issue with that classmate.
There are expectations for behavior in every area of life - whether it is work, home, or school. The goal of EMPS's Make Your Day is to make sure that students know what is expected of them at school and to help them self-assess if they did their best in following the expectations. Therefore, just like we only have one school rule, we only have one main school expectation:
To help students know what is expected of them, each class session starts with the teacher stating the expectations for that activity. So, for example, a teacher may state that the expectations during a teaching time would be that students' eyes are up front, their voices are off, and their hands are to themselves and not engaged in other activities. These stated expectation will change each time the activity changes and will look different in various classrooms. The goal is that students always know the task and behavior expectations they are to meet.
Make Your Day provides students with the opportunity to self-assess how well they followed the expectations by setting up a system of points. Each school day is divided into several point periods (generally 40 minutes each) that start at zero points. During these point sessions, students may earn Make Your Day (MYD) points by meeting the expectations and doing them to the best of their ability. At the end of each point session, the teacher asks students to stop and think about how well they followed the expectations for that point period.
The teacher will call roll, and each student will state the number of points they feel that they have earned. For most primary classes at EMPS, the points earned per session vary from 10 to 13. If a student has not met the expectations to the best of their ability, they are able to "adjust" their points by not earning the full amount possible and they are to state why they adjusted their points. So, for example a student might say "nine points, because I was disturbing my neighbor by talking during instruction."
The goal is to use points as a self-assessment tool and a reminder of how to follow the expectations. Adjusting of points is never intended to be viewed as a punishment.
A student will "Make their Day" if they have earned a sufficient amount of points by the end of the day. Of course, there will be times when students will not meet the expectations to the best of their ability. Students may not earn up to 7 points a day and still "Make their Day." If a student has "not earned" more than 7 points in a given school day, a Make Your Day slip will be sent home for parent signature detailing in what areas the student was not successful in meeting the expectations. This is great opportunity for parents to help their children understand the importance of meeting expectations in all areas of life. A Make Your Day slip being sent home is not to be viewed as a punishment, rather a communication with parents to help their child better achieve.
If a classmate has interfered with a student's learning, safety, or well being - and chose not to adjust their points - the student whose learning was impacted may offer a "concern" on that classmate. The purpose of concerns isn't to tattle on each other - rather it is an opportunity to provide feedback to each other if that student's behavior directly affected their right to learn or their right to have a safe environment. The teacher may have concerns that will address academic and behavioral expectations. Concerns are expected to be given in a thoughtful, caring manner.
After all students have evaluated how well they followed the expectation and have stated their points, the roll is called again. If a student has a concern on a classmate, this is the time to share that concern on that classmate in a respectful, polite tone. Alternate points can be offered by the student or teacher.
Behavior that interferes with the learning or safety of others is dealt with through Steps. The systematic allowing of Steps gives students the opportunity to review their behavior, think of positive, alternate behaviors, and make a decision on their next course of action. Students are only allowed Steps by the teacher or adult in charge. Steps give students a time to reflect on how their actions interfered with the learning environment and how they can adjust their own behavior to be successful.
If a student's behavior interferes with the learning or safety of others, s/he will be quietly allowed to take a seat that faces away from the learning environment. For a short period - 3-5 minutes - the student is given the opportunity to quietly think about his/her behavior and how they can adjust their behavior to meet the expectations set forth by the teacher.
After 3-5 minutes, the teacher will privately ask the student to state what behavior they chose that they were allowed to choose Step 1. When the student is able to verbalize his/her inappropriate behavior and indicates a willingness to meet the expectations, s/he returns to his/her seat.
If a student fails to take advantage of Step 1 by not following the expectations for Step 1, s/he chooses Step 2 - to stand facing away from the academic environment in order to make a decision about behaving appropriately and meeting the expectations. After a brief time, when the student is able to verbalize the inappropriate behavior that s/he was allowed Step 2 and indicates a willingness to behave appropriately, s/he returns to Step 1 and follows the process for returning to the learning environment.
If a student continues to behave inappropriately and not meet the expectations on Step 2, they are faced with a choice: they may choose Step 3 which is choosing to focus on the school rule (NO STUDENT HAS THE RIGHT TO INTERFERE WITH THE LEARNING, SAFETY, AND WELL-BEING OF OTHERS), which is placed in front of him/her. This helps the student focus to facilitate concentrating on the decision-making process. Or, they may choose Step 4 (see below). If the student chooses Step 3 and, after a brief time, is able to verbalize his/her inappropriate behavior and indicates a willingness to behave appropriately and meet the expectations, s/he returns to Step 2. Then, the process of returning to Step 1 and back to the learning environment will continue.
Note: Steps 1, 2, and 3 follow in succession. A student may not be allowed Step 3 without first having chosen Steps 1 and 2. At Step 3 the student makes the choice to behave appropriately and meet expectations or continue to Step 4.
If a student chooses to continue to Step 4, s/he will be given a Step 4 Conference Referral and sent to the office to contact a parent. The student is expected to explain why s/he has chosen to call a parent conference. Please do not request to speak to an administrator or staff member at this time. The appropriate time to discuss the matter is during the conference when you come to school. The student will remain on "Step 1" in an alternative classroom until the parent and the student are available to meet with the staff member in order to determine if the student is ready to return to class for the purpose of learning. The student is expected to follow "Step 1" expectations while waiting for their opportunity to conference with their parent(s).
If a parent cannot conference until the next school day, then the student will be dismissed from the alternative classroom at his/her regular dismissal time. The student would then go home as s/he normally would. They will start the next day in the alternative classroom unless they have completed the conference before school starts. If a conference cannot be scheduled within twenty-four hours, the student will be placed on an in-school suspension and then a parent conference is required for readmission at the start of the next school day. After a successful Step 4 conference at school with the parent, child, and referring staff member, the student then returns to class.
A student chooses to advance to Step 5 when s/he is out of control, exhibits behaviors that are totally inappropriate for school, exhibits inappropriate behavior when waiting for a Step 4 parent conference, or is demonstrating actions that are clearly a Step 5 offense. Behaviors constituting immediate advancement on Step 5 are listed in the EMPS Student Handbook. At this point, an administrator or designee will contact the parent so that the child will be immediately removed from school. A school suspension may be a consequence for Step 5 offenses. A parent conference is required for readmission at the end of the suspension.