The classified staff of Campbell Hill Elementary, in Renton, WA, works hard every day to be sure that students know they are safe, belong, and matter in the unstructured spaces like the school playground and cafeteria.
This team of educators meet monthly to align their practice, continue their learning about social emotional learning and trauma-responsive strategies, and to support building equitable classrooms and communities. One of their best tools is using patterns in discipline data – which helps them to identify system improvements and opportunities to build lagging skills for the adults and/or the kids.
Supporting Transitions from Classroom to Recess and Back
When school started in the fall this year, the team noticed that first grade students were having a hard time following expectations on the playground during recess. Transitions were challenging, and the team thought that because kindergarten students were coming out as the first graders were lining up to come back in, it was hard for everyone to stay regulated.
They decided to implement a solution consisting of additional support with routines and regulation. One para now joins the first graders as they are lining up and leads self-regulation strategies with them while they wait for their teachers to meet them to go back to class. Another para joins the kinder students who are coming out onto the playground. They make sure the kinders go all the way out to play and are not in the way of the first graders who are calming down to return to class.
Over time the classified staff team noticed that the consistent routine and regulation support was helping the transitions to go much more smoothly. Expectations are being followed more consistently by first grade students, and the regulation activities they do during the transition from playground to classroom are helping them come off the playground more effectively. First grade students are now returning to class regulated and ready to learn.
Students with Multiple Behavior Referrals and Hallway Conferences
The team next chose to address the issue of individual students that are struggling the most to access learning and community, as evidenced by them having the most behavior referrals and hallway conferences. They decided that these young people would benefit from additional relationships and support to know they belong, matter, and have a voice at Campbell Hill.
Each classified staff member identified one or two of these students to work with on intentional relationship building through a strengths-based lens. Between November and February they have been doing regular check ins, writing quick notes, playing games, and supporting with problem solving. The increased connection between students and staff and decreased need for interventions is noticeable. This team is continuing to support these students and use this strategy with additional students as well.
A Soccer “Coach” on the Playground
While these interventions were being implemented the classified staff team noticed that 3rd and 4th grade students were struggling with soccer on the playground. Rather than taking away the opportunity to play soccer, they decided to increase learning opportunities and have a para who is the “Coach” during recess who helps the students build skills and learn to play in a safe, cooperative way.
The Campbell Hill classified team has built trust and increased their agency to build student social emotional skills. Their ongoing work is making a difference for students all throughout their school day. We look forward to seeing continued progress this spring.