The DREAM Defender Program
A Defender is a: Protector, Guard, Guardian, Preserver, Watchdog, Keeper, Overseer. As we teach these powerful scholars to self regulate and hone their skills they will be the defender's of our values!
"When first learning this wing was being created, I'll admit, I was very nervous. But now I'm excited and here's why. When the principal, Ms. Hines and I spoke about our vision for this program we both envision a space where our scholars feel safe and supported, where they're excited to come to school because they have a community not only where they belong and are welcome but where they thrive. We have so many different people and organizations helping and supporting these efforts. Not to mention, an amazing team. Because our team is already living these values - I have no doubt our scholars soon will too!" A message from Ms. Irby, Dean of Special Education
Why we are different:
The first two weeks of school we are focusing on team building in each classroom and as a wing. We will also be practicing school/classroom procedures - what it looks like to line up, walk down the hall, etc AND what it doesn’t look like.
We are going to be posting our expectation in all common areas - ex: at the door there will be a poster of what it looks like to meet each DREAM value while lining up. Same at the bathroom, same for how to walk down the hallway. We will spend these two weeks setting expectations and practicing what it looks like.
Behavior Management System
3 tiered behavior system
The wing has a behavior system - a few of the non-negotiable elements it will have are:
Universal Classroom passes:
Each room has laminated passes for each child on the wall, their names are on the back of the pass. Each child has 3 classroom passes a day.
If they want to use it they can go and get the pass and the 5min timer when the 5min is up they drop the pass into the collection box and return the timer.
At the end of the day the teacher/para notes who used what tabs.
Each room has a jar they are filling for a class reward. We are promoting community building and team building. We want to celebrate as a group when any of us do the right thing.
Teachers from any classroom can give catch you being good tickets to any scholar they see exemplifying the DREAM values.
Each room has their own color tickets. This way as the jars fill we can see when scholars from different homerooms are helping other classrooms.
Classroom Behavior Charts
We will be using a point and level system where we are tracking the scholar's skill levels. We are using the DREAM values as the foundation of our system. We need to know what skills the scholars are struggling with so we can do remediation with them.
The number of point a scholar has determines the freedom they have to move about the wing, and eventually the school. Their levels also determine what rewards they are eligible for. For example, if you are on the lowest level, you will still get a break but you may have to stay at your desk and do a quiet activity whereas some one on the highest level may be able to go to the game room and play a videogame (school & age appropriate) for 20min.
Emphasis on natural consequences and skill remediation
If consequences such as detention, ISS or OSS worked these children wouldn’t be in this program. Instead of punishing them for their lack of skills we will focus on pinpointing what skills they are missing and give remediation for them.
School wide DREAMers
The scholars in the DREAM Defender wing have their own system but we wanted to make sure they were also included in the schoolwide system. We have been working diligently to make sure the wing system can be easily translated to the schoolwide system. We want to make sure there is a clear cut way to determine who is eligible for what celebrations. It is very important in our wing that expectations are set from the beginning and followed through on.
The Calm Room
A safe space to express feeling and regulate emotions
To get the full benefit of this space we will be teaching the staff to recognize a scholar's triggers before there is an outburst.
Inside the calm room a scholar can use any of the coping skills we have taught them. There is always a trained adult with the scholar in the room. The adult in the room is only to help the scholar if the scholar asks for help. There is a whole training on how to descale and help the scholar regain control so they can reintegrate back into class.
While the scholar calms down in the quiet room the classroom teacher is getting the class back on task or holding a circle with their class if there was a big crisis. We don't want to ignore what's happening to one of our fellow community members. The class may need to take a moment to talk about what happened, was there anything as classmates they could have done to help the situation, as well as talk about what happens when their classmate returns.
Projects: Moving towards a more project based learning model.
Groups: Small groups and a schedule that supports and promotes it.
Mindfulness: This will be in the form of teaching breathing techniques, visioning activities, yoga classes, etc.
Structured games: This is a very important part of the day. These sessions are an opportunity to practice and reinforce SEL skills.
Mentoring: Mentorship is two hours a month. Each grade level receives mentoring and mentors or helps another grade level.
Mentoring Grade Match (Should try to maintain two grade levels apart)
6th - 8th grade: Big Brothers Big Sisters Mentoring Program
8th grade ---> 5th grade
7th grade ---> 4th grade
6th grade ---> 3rd grade
5th grade ---> 2nd grade
4th grade ---> 1st grade
3rd grade --->K
K - 2 classroom helps in a PSD class