It was wonderful seeing such strong family presence at our Back to School Night recently. Student work was already prominently displayed in the classrooms and hallways. If you haven’t already, I encourage you to take a “gallery walk” and check out what each class has presented. Many of the bulletins highlight our schoolwide safe, mindful, and responsible expectations. Mr. Neat’s students really gave this some thought, breaking down how children from infant to high school take on additional responsibilities as they get older.
Last Friday we had a very special visit from Bryan Stow who shared his experiences and powerful messages to end bullying. If you were not in the room to to hear him, I highly recommend watching this KQED segment. (http://bryanstowfoundation.org/156/)
StopBullying.gov defines bullying as, “unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Both kids who are bullied and who bully others may have serious, lasting problems.”
Fortunately, behavior that is truly bullying is very rare at Kaiser, but lesser behaviors, that could lead to bullying do surface here and in every school. For that reason, it is very important that we have a multi-pronged approach to keeping Kaiser safe, mindful, and responsible. We encourage students to:
- Be positive with one another and to be inclusive in all activities.
- Say “no” or walk away if someone is bothering them.
- If this doesn’t work, go to the nearest adult for help.
As adults, there is a lot we do to support our kid’s safety and to teach them cooperative skills:
- Socio Emotional Learning (SEL), including “ToolBox” lessons and Restorative Justice practices, are a part of learning in all classes.
- Two-way family/teacher communication is essential.
- Conflict Resolution is available to students in all grades.
- Behavior incidents are tracked and closely monitored. Additional administrative support, behavioral plans, and/or counseling is available as needed.
We know that with a proactive and positive approach, and by nipping issues in the bud when they first surface, we can keep bullying at bay. I want to thank families for partnering with our staff and for modeling constructive approaches to conflicts and challenges when they arise.
Looking ahead, there are a lot of exciting things happening at Kaiser in the coming weeks. Our 4th and 5th grade music classes begin this week. This Friday, September 7th is our picture day! On Monday, September 10th, 1st and 2nd graders will have a pedestrian safety “rodeo”, while 3rd, 4th and 5th graders will have a bike safety “rodeo”. And please be sure to save the date for our Walka-Thon on Saturday, October 13th! I also expect to see many Kaiser Elementary families at this Sunday’s Oakland Pride Parade (www.OaklandPride.org)!
Dennis Guikema, Principal