Thursday, July 27, 2017

Literature-Based Bullying Program


Our school has used a literature based bullying prevention and intervention program from K-grade 5 for the past ten years. For a bullying program to be effective it cannot be totally on the shoulders of the counselors. The program also must evolve according to changing needs and feedback from evaluations. Last year all the counselors in our County were required to do the skill based lessons based on the Committee for Children's Bullying Unit which is evidence-based. These lessons are engaging and do a very good job addressing electronic bullying in grades 3-5. Because the counselors had to deliver the evidence-based lessons they no longer had time to do the read alouds as they had done in prior years, Therefore we tried either the principal or assistant principle reading those books to K-3; it was so well received this year I selected books for them to read to the upper grades as well.

The administrators read these books at the end of October which is National Bullying Prevention Month. We are pushing the skill based lessons and books the librarian reads into November because this topic requires prior knowledge before it can be taught and we try to use the first six weeks of the school year teaching children what we want them to do. Our librarian is a former counselor so she happily reads and does an activity at each grade level as long as I assign her good books! The teachers had been reading the same books for several years so this list reflects what they will read this year.  There are new books published on this topic every year so we wanted to make sure we were sharing the best of what is now available. These are the books I selected to address the theme of bullying behavior.  We encourage the teachers to read these books in January as a means of revisiting this important topic as the school year progresses.

The entire school uses the Committee for Children definition of bullying and uses the Responsive Classroom Code of Conduct CARES: Cooperation, Assertiveness, Responsibility, Empathy, and Self-Control. All students are taught an assertive response is usually the best way to handle challenging behavior and to be positive, helpful bystanders or "upstanders" - not provide an audience or join in. All staff receives annual training on how to respond to disrespectful behavior and what to do if the reported behavior is bullying. Our state requires schools to use a research-based program to address bullying. We evaluate this program annually to make continual improvement. Data from the evaluation and incidents of bullying reports and coaching session are shared each year with teachers during pre-service week.

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