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Now is the Best Time to Reset School Culture

150 150 DC Special Education Cooperative

by Meghan Mulvenna

I often train educational teams to start a new behavior plan for a student on a Monday, or better yet, a Monday after an extended break. The reason for this is that the change in physical environments creates an opening for doing something different. How we all act is so interconnected with the environments where we act. Rules and norms change according to the environments we’re in. 

Years ago, I lived in the Caribbean. The rules were completely different. Red lights were for slowing down, not stopping. A norm for eating was to always offer food to whoever is near you before eating your own. Nothing was wasted; not a meal, a glass of water, nor a cigarette. Returning to New Jersey following life in the Caribbean, I found it so uncomfortable to eat in a diner, where copious amounts of food were often wasted. I had a different relationship with food and humanity after living in a culture where both of those were valued so differently. 

This time, following the extended break from in-person learning, is the richest time in history to reset school-wide norms. Students have been in different environments with different rules and norms for over a year. The new safety procedures demand teaching new behaviors, and that offers us a rich opportunity to think critically about what is most important, and how we will communicate that to staff, students, and families. Please don’t miss this incredible opportunity to rethink and reset how you would like the halls of your schools to feel and look like upon a return to in-person learning!

The Co-op has gathered guidance about resetting school-wide norms here, and we are available to support your planning conversations. We have available hours to support you, FREE of charge to LEAs. These hours may be used now, near the end of the school year, or over the summer. Complete this interest form, and I will be in touch.

 

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