District School Climate Plan

Table of Contents

 

District School Climate Plan

On November 22,2011 the Fairfield Board of Education adopted Policy #5330 which
prohibits bullying in any form. The policy states, "The Board of Education promotes a
secure and happy school climate, conductive to learning that is free from threat,
harassment and any type of bullying behavior. Therefore, it shall be the policy of the
Board that bullying of a student by another student is prohibited. The Board further
states that, "the Board seeks an environment in which students and adults feel socially,
emotionally intellectually and physically safe; an environment free of harassment,
intimidation and bullying." The plan outlined below is meant to support the creation and
sustainabilily of such an environment, and will serve as the Administrative Regulations
to BOE Policy # 5330
.

District School Climate Coordinator

Beginning in the 2011-2012 School YearJhe Superintendent of Schools will designate,
from existing staff, a District School Climate Coordinator.

The District School Climate Coordinator shall:

  • Facilitate the District School Climate Team;
  • Ensure the implementation of the District School Climate Plan;
  • Provide leadership to the School Climate Specialists;
  • Plan and implement, along with administrators and School Climate Specialists,
    annual training for School Climate Team members;
  • Create, along with School Climate Team members, annual training modules for
    school employees;
  • Insure that all school employees receive annual training;
  • Provide timely and accurate data to the Superintendent, district, and CSDE as
    requested and as required by state statute;
  • Facilitate annual revisions to the District School Climate Plan based on feedback
    from School Climate Teams;
  • Review all reports of suspected bullying and investigation reports.

District School Climate Team

Beginning in January of 2012 the District School Climate Coordinator shall establish a
District School Climate Team.

Membership shall include:

  • All School Climate Specialists (In the case of Co-School Climate Specialists, one
    representative from each school shall serve on the district team)
  • Community members
  • Parents
  • Students

This Team shall:

  • Meet quarterly (at minimum);
  • Review and amend, as necessary, the District School Climate Plan;
  • Review all school climate improvement plans;
  • Review all district data and measurements of school climate;
  • Make recommendations to the Superintendent regarding necessary changes to
    Board of Education Policy;
  • Perform any other duties as determined by the School Climate Coordinator that
    are related to improving school climate (including, but not limited to the
    prevention, intervention, and response to school bullying for the district);
  • Gather and disseminate to school climate committees best practice information
    on the prevention, intervention, and response to bullying and youth suicide.

School Climate Specialist

Beginning in the 2011-2012 school year each school principal will serve as, or
designate, from existing staff, a School Climate Specialist (Co-School Climate
Specialists are allowable).

The School Climate Specialist, in collaboration with the school principal shall:

  • Provide leadership to the school community in the prevention, intervention, and
    response to reports of bullying, discrimination, and otherwise mean-spirited
    behavior*** in the school;
  • Ensure implementation of District School Climate Plan;
  • Coordinate the provision of annual training to all staff on the prevention,
    intervention, and response to bullying, discrimination, and otherwise meanspirited
    behavior in schools and on the prevention, intervention and response to
    youth suicide in collaboration with the School Climate Committee;
  • Ensure that all students, parents, and school employees are notified annually of
    process by which they can make reports of bullying;
  • Chair the School Climate Committee;
  • Coordinate the school's efforts in gathering multiple measures of school climate
    data;
  • Use the above mentioned data to lead the development of the School Climate
    Improvement Plan in alignment with the district plan;
  • Serve as their schools' representative on the District School Climate Committee;
  • Investigate or supervise the investigation of reported acts of bullying in
    accordance with the District School Climate Plan and Board of Education Policy;
  • Ensure the implementation of intervention/response plans for all verified acts of
    bullying
  • Collect and maintain records of reports and investigations of bullying in the
    school

*** There are two kinds of mean-spirited behavior

  1. Unintentional mean-spirited behavior - where the perpetrator does not intend to
    hurt the victim. This presents a "teachable moment" where informing the
    perpetrator that their behavior has caused hurt feelings and the perpetrator
    responds to change behavior.
  2. Intentional mean-spirited behavior - where the perpetrator intentionally behaves
    in a way that is meant to humiliate, isolate, or diminish the victim. If repeated this
    type of mean-spirited behavior may meet the statutory definition of bullying.
    Early and consistent intervention at this point on the part of all school community
    members (bystanders to allies) will significantly reduce incidents of bullying and
    improve school climate.

School Climate Committee

For each school year commencing July 1, 2012 each school principal shall establish a
committee or designate at least one existing committee in the school to be responsible
for developing and fostering a safe school climate. Team membership shall be
designated by the school principal and shall include at least one parent or guardian of a
child enrolled in the school. It is strongly encouraged that the school leadership
considers a diverse membership of staff, students, parents, and community members.

The School Climate Committee shall:

  • Receive copies of completed reports following investigations of bullying (parents,
    students, or community members will not receive copies of reports as sharing
    these reports would violate student confidentiality rights under federal law -
    FERPA);
  • Identify and address patterns of bullying among students in the school;
  • Review and amend school policies/practices relating to bullying;
  • Review and make recommendations to the District Safe School Climate
    Coordinator regarding the District Safe School Climate Plan based on issues and
    experiences specific to the school;
  • Educate students, school employees and parents and guardians of students on
    issues relating to school climate and bullying;
  • Collaborate with the School Climate Specialist in the collection of data regarding
    school climate and bullying in accordance with the District Safe School Climate
    Plan and state statute;
  • Perform any other duties as determined by the school principal that are related to
    improving school climate and to the prevention, intervention, and response to
    school bullying, discrimination, or otherwise mean-spirited behavior for the
    school.

Note:

Any parent or guardian, student, or community member serving as a member of any
such committee shall NOT participate in the activities described above that may
compromise any students' and families' rights to privacy under the Federal Education
Right to Privacy Act (FERPA).

Training and Professional Development

All School Employees

The Fairfield Public Schools shall require that all school employees receive annual
training that will include information addressing the prevention of, identification of and
response to bullying, discrimination and otherwise mean-spirited behavior in schools
and the prevention of and response to youth suicide, This training will be determined by
the District School Climate Team and made available to all School Climate Teams, As
a part of the school climate improvement process and based data from assessment,
additional training and professional development may be necessary at a school level or
at a specific level (elementary, middle, or high school), These professional
development plans will be articulated annually as part of each school's school climate
improvement plan.

*** CT General Statute 10-222d defines "School employee" as:

  1. a teacher, substitute teacher, school administrator, school superintendent,
    guidance counselor, psychologist, social worker, nurse, physician, school
    paraprofessional or coach employed by a local or regional board of education or
    working in a public elementary, middle or high school; or
  2. Any other individual who, in the performance of his or her duties, has regular
    contact with students and who provides services to or on behalf of students

All School Climate Specialists

All School Climate Specialists shall receive annual professional development that will
assist in the continuous improvement of school climate, Training may include, but is not
limited to:

  • Conducting bullying investigations
  • Intervention and Response to bullying for both victim and perpetrator
  • Restorative disciplinary procedures
  • School-wide best practices in improving school climate
  • School Improvement Committee facilitation

All School Climate Committee members

All School Climate Committee members will receive annual training to assist with the
school climate improvement planning process, This training may include, but is not
limited to:

  • School Climate Improvement Planning
  • Intervention and Response to bullying
  • School-wide best practice initiatives

Assessment

Beginning in 2012-13 School Year and subject to available funding, the Fairfield Public
Schools will conduct an annual survey of students (minimally in grades 3-12), parents
(PreK-12), and school employees (as defined above), This survey will cover the 5
dimensions of school climate:

  • Norms,
  • Relationships (student to student, adult to student, adult to adult)
  • Teaching and Learning,
  • Student, family, and staff voice and engagement,
  • Physical environment

Any assessment survey instrument should meet the following criteria:

  • Be reliable and valid,
  • Recognize student, parent/guardian, and school personnel "voice",
  • Be aligned between students, parents, and school employees
  • Assess the major aspects of school climate
  • Result in a detailed report that provides a summary of findings, in-depth profiles
    that describe how people responded overall and in key subgroups
  • Provide data to School Climate Improvement Team and school community within
    2-3 weeks of completion,
  • Provide practical and concrete information to assist each school climate
    committee as to how it might use the data as a springboard for action planning

School Climate Improvement and Bullying Prevention

As part of the school climate improvement process, each school's School Climate Team
shall annually review current practices meant to address creating and sustaining a
positive school climate that is free from harassment, bullying, discrimination, and
otherwise mean-spirited behavior. Beginning November 1, 2012 each school will
submit as part of its School Improvement Plan, a School Climate Improvement Plan.
This Plan shall include annual prevention activities that are aligned with school data and
goals for climate improvement. This plan shall be submitted to the District School
Climate Team for review in order to allow for alignment and best practice sharing
between and among schools. This plan shall be published on the district website and
on each school website by December 1, 2012 and annually thereafter. Activities may
include, but are not limited to:

  • implementing an evidence-based program utilizing positive behavioral supports,
  • implementing evidence-based practices that not only intervene with the
    perpetrator and the victim, but also with bystanders,
  • review, revise, and/or create and implement grade appropriate bullying
    prevention curricula
  • ensure annually that all students know how to report any incident of meanspirited
    behavior that might be bullying - including anonymous reports
  • ensure that all new staff members receive annual training in their responsibility to
    report incidents and intervene with students

Bullying Reports

Students may file:

  • Oral Reports to school employees
  • Written reports - Fairfield Public Schools - Incident Report Form (See Appendix
    #1
    )
  • Anonymous reports
  • Each school shall inform students of the process for anonymous reporting
    annually
  • District will investigate electronic means for anonymous reporting

NOTE: There are two kinds of anonymous reports - those when the student wishes to
remain anonymous and those that are truly anonymous.

***CT General Statute 10-222d - The safe school climate specialist must review
anonymous reports, but no disciplinary action may be taken solely on the basis of any
anonymous report.

Parents may file:

  • Written reports (parental reports must be signed)

School employees who witness acts of bullying, harassment, or mean-spirited
behavior or receive reports of bullying MUST report it to the school administration or
school climate specialist.

School employees must:

  • Orally notify the school climate specialist or school administrator (if the school
    climate specialist is unavailable) as soon as possible, but not later that one (1)
    school day after such school employee witnesses or receives a report of bullying
    (school climate specialist shall maintain a list of oral and written reports), and;
  • File a written report as soon as possible, but not later than two (2) school days
    after making such an oral report.

Bullying Investigations

ALL reports of suspected bullying or discrimination must be investigated. The school
climate specialist must investigate or supervise the investigation of all reports of bullying
including anonymous reports (no disciplinary action may be taken solely on the basis of
an anonymous report) and ensure that such investigations are completed thoroughly
and promptly after receipt of any written report. Upon completion of the investigation
the school climate specialist or the investigator shall complete the Bullying
Determination Form (see Appendix #2).

Verified Acts of Bullying

When an investigation concludes that there has been a verified act of bullying parents of
both the victim and the perpetrator will be notified not later than 48 hours after the
conclusion of the investigation. The notice must:

  • Describe the school's response and any consequences that may result from
    further acts of bullying;
  • Invite the parents or guardians of both the victim and the perpetrator to
    communicate to such parent or guardian the measures being taken by the school
    to ensure the safety of the student against whom such act was directed (See
    appendix #3 - School Safety and Intervention Plan - Victim) and to prevent acts of retaliation (against the individual who reports, any individual who assists in the investigation and the victim) or further acts of bullying (see Appendix #4 -School Safety and Intervention Plan - Perpetrator).

Note: Each meeting is to be separate. At no time are the parents of the victim and
perpetrator to meet together to discuss consequences.

***Parents of the victim often demand to know the disciplinary actions taken against the
perpetrator. It would be a violation of the student's rights to confidentiality under the
Federal Education Rights to Privacy Act (FERPA) for staff to discuss such actions. The
focus of the meeting should remain on both the actions taken by the school to protect
the student from further bullying AND an intervention plan designed to teach the skills
and dispositions that will decrease the likelihood of further victimization.

Notification of Law Enforcement

The Principal or his/her designee MUST notify the appropriate law enforcement agency
when such principal or his/her designee believes that any act(s) of bullying may
constitute criminal activity. When a principal or his/her designee makes such a report
the principal or his/her designee shall inform the District School Climate Coordinator
within one (1) school day of making such a report.

School Safety and Intervention Plans

For each verified act of bullying a written plan must be developed for both the victim and
the perpetrator.

For the victim this plan must:

  • Include a school safety plan that describes what school staff will do to ensure
    safety in the school environment.
  • Include an intervention strategy to teach the skills and dispositions necessary to
    decrease the likelihood of further victimization
  • Identify a case manager
  • Be provided to the parent and shared with the student
  • Be monitored by the School Climate Specialist or his/her designee (to be identified in the plan) to ensure implementation fidelity and adjusted as necessary to provide a safe environment

Note: At no time should the plan for the victim further isolate the victim. If changes to
schedule, programs, and activities need to be made to provide safety, they should not
negatively impact the victim in any way.

For the perpetrator this plan must:

  • Include any disciplinary action to be taken,
  • Next steps should bullying occur again (repeated acts of bullying may lead to
    suspension and/or expulsion in accordance with Board of Education Policy
    #5119
  • Clearly state that retaliation against the victim, the reporter, or any individual
    participating in the investigation is prohibited;
  • Identify a case manager
  • Be provided to the parent and shared with the student
  • Include an intervention strategy designed to teach the skills and dispositions
    necessary for participation in a safe school climate
  • Include actions to be taken to restore the student into the community (Restorative
    Discipline)

Publication of School Climate Plan

No later than thirty (30) calendar days after approval by the Board of Education the Safe
School Climate Plan shall be made available on:

  • The district website
  • Each individual school website

At the beginning of the 2012-2013 school year this plan will be published in:

  • All district publications of rules, procedures and standards of conduct for schools
  • The Family Guide to the Fairfield Public Schools

At the beginning of each school year this plan will be provided to all school employees
in either written or electronic form.