No one cares how much you know, until they know how
much you care.
– Theodore Roosevelt
One of the primary reasons families are drawn to Kaiser Elementary is our legacy of being a loving, nurturing and safe community. This year our staff took a deep look at best practices for a positive and healthy school culture and climate. As I reflect back on 2016-17, I am really proud of the strides that we took to further our Socio Emotional Learning (SEL) and Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS).
A few data points from the California Healthy Kids Survey (CHKS) jump out to illustrate this. For example, last year 63% of staff agreed or strongly agreed that “Kaiser makes it clear how students are expected to act.” In 2017, 100% agreed or strongly agreed with this statement. Our kids noticed a shift in expectations and consistency as well. Only 31% of last year’s 5TH graders felt that Kaiser’s rules were fair: this year that number more than doubled to 68%. And when 5TH graders were asked if they were happy at Kaiser, there was a 20% jump in those answering “yes – most or all of the time” from 62% in 2016 to 82% in 2017.
Changes like these do not happen by accident, and they only happen when a community works together through a variety of approaches. In education jargon, we call this a “Multi-Tiered System of Supports” (MTSS).
Tier I are supports that ALL students experience school wide. At Kaiser these include clear expectations, framed around being “safe, mindful, and responsible”. Our “Panther Paw” positive incentive is another example. Kaiser is a part of a “Positive Behavior Intervention Support” (PBIS) cohort which brings resources for coaching and professional development.
Tier II supports are more intensive. An excellent example of this is the work of Issere Christopher. Issere is a noon supervisor whose rapport with students and capacity for this work proved so strong that we brought her on board for additional hours after lunch (paid by our PTA) to help with conflict resolution, restorative justice, and other interventions.
Tier III supports are generally longer term. They include the support of the Uzma and Barry, the counseling interns who we have been so fortunate to work with this year. Our School Site Council (SSC) has identified this program as a priority for next year, when we will welcome two new counseling interns.
In the coming school year, we will continue this trajectory of enriching our SEL and MTSS work at Kaiser. This could not be done without the partnership of families, specifically the commitment of our PTA and SSC.
– Dennis Guikema, Principal