Climate and Culture
Climate surveys provide valuable information to better understand climate and culture in our schools. Originally, the climate survey was administered as an accountability measure for our alternative school. After seeing how easy the survey was to administer and how easy it was to read results, district leadership extended the opportunity to 6-12 schools. Gathering student data can offer meaningful and valid information about relationships, school safety, school climate and culture. District and school fall results have been reviewed by schools and district committees. Overview of results shows students believe that schools have high standards (88%), the teachers expect them to do their best all of the time (92%), the teachers have high expectations for students (87%) and the teachers believe they can perform well (88%). Students also believe the lack of respect is an issue in their schools. Students believe they do not treat property with respect (49%), they don’t treat staff with respect (47%) and they don’t treat each other with respect (55%). For additional detailed information about the survey, please click here: District Climate Survey.
Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports
PBIS is a framework for maximizing the selection and use of evidence-based prevention and intervention practices. It utilizes a multi-tiered continuum that supports the academic, social, emotional, and behavioral competence of all students. RTI (Response to Intervention) or MTSS (Multi-Tiered System of Support) involves an education process that matches instructional and intervention strategies and supports to student needs in an informed, ongoing approach for planning, implementing, and evaluating the effectiveness of instruction, curricular supports, and interventions. This framework is multi-tiered and involves increasingly focused and intense instruction and/or interventions in both academics and behavior across the tiers. For more information about supports in place for students please click here.
Sweetwater #1 Crisis Team
Purpose: The District Crisis Team will establish protocols and expectations for crisis events within Sweetwater #1.
District Crisis Team
Members: Sondra De La O, Koral Hueller, Kimberly Fouts, Jessica Face, Christeen Audevart, Karl Wells, Jerry Macy, Amy Wiig, Rori Pedri, Beth Strom, & Nicole Bolton.
Meetings: The District Crisis Team will meet October 17 and November 7 at the CAB from 4-5 p.m. Additional meetings may be scheduled as necessary.
"Since the passage of a 2014 law (Jason Flatt Act W.S. 21-2-202 and W.S. 21-3-110 ), Wyoming school districts have provided regular training in suicide prevention to educate staff. The Jason Flatt Act, requires that teachers and school administrators receive eight hours of training every four years using materials approved by the state Suicide Prevention Review Team. The curriculum includes information on how to identify and assist students at risk, such as recognizing warning signs and initiating conversations. While the measure lays out the minimum level of training required, some school districts have exceeded its requirements." Suicide Prevention Resource Center www.sprc.org
Further efforts are being made on the district level each year. As stated in the Sweetwater #1 Strategic Plan, stakeholders made it very clear that we want to "proactively support physical, mental and emotional health of our students and staff." To do this, Superintendent McGovern is taking additional steps by forming a crisis team to support suicide prevention. Mrs. McGovern stated that "the purpose of our subcommittee meeting is to strategize ideas for training students and parents on suicide prevention." Currently, this team is exploring how to best reach parents and the community along with more support for students. The leadership/administration team is gathering thoughts from all staff and will be planning how to best roll this training out soon while being in partnership with community mental health professionals as well. The district is working to strengthen policy and protocols surrounding suicide prevention. There is also legal representation and the the policy committee reviewing and revising a stronger policy regarding prevention, intervention and post crisis intervention protocol surrounding the topic of suicide.
Sweetwater County School District #1 has implemented two hours of training per year prior to January of that school year. It is mandated that every staff member, regardless of their position, is trained. We recognize that months which have higher suicide rates in our state are early in the school year and that is why we try to complete training in September, October and November with January being a deadline. Every school has a training on site as well as alternative trainings that occur to meet the needs of departments such as custodial, maintenance, technology, finance, and administrative staff. The counseling department meet together in the summer prior to the next round of trainings to plan for a unified way of delivering the information. The schedules are put out for anyone who cannot attend their usual training to enable them to attend a different one within the district. At the end of the two hour training, there is a quiz that all staff members must take and pass with 70% or better. The training handouts are available here.
This year we have started the Signs Of Suicide (SOS) training along with piloting the training with all freshmen students attending Rock Springs High School. This has already proved to strengthen prevention and awareness within our student population.
Anthony Muhammad visited Sweetwater #1 in December 0f 2018 and presented to all staff on changing Climate and Culture. Dr. Muhammad's presentation"Creating Healthy School Cultures" addressed why it is so important when making technical (skill) changes, cultural changes must be addressed too. Cultural changes What is school culture? “School culture is the set of norms, values, and beliefs, rituals and ceremonies, symbols and stories that make up the ‘persona’ of the school.”—Peterson, “Is Your School Culture Toxic or Positive?” Education World (2002) Dr. Muhammad will be conducting a following up training in December 2019.
Relationships: Advocacy Groups
After an accreditation year starting in 2015/2016, Sweetwater School District #1 began exploring ways that students could feel more connected at school primarily with adults. Students should have different options as to how to problem solve and who they can go to for help in the school besides solely their homeroom teachers. Students should also be able to build relationships and connections with peers other than those in their same class or grade level. Each building worked to create an Advocacy program focused on these goals revolving around making and maintaining strong relationships. Currently all elementary schools and Rock Springs Junior High have successfully implemented a system or program for advocacy of students. Most schools hold an advocacy celebration one time per month. The way they work in each building is different, but staff report positive feedback and find a strong purpose in the work that is done during these times. To provide more insight to what happens and how this works, one elementary school has partnered two staff members together that normally would not collaborate closely with one another (therefore building staff morale) and then split all students up giving each of the staff members 6-8 students while making sure one student in every grade level was in their group. Along with the different age ranges being in a group, it was important that students did not end up in their own teacher’s group and further an effort was made to have students with someone who they did not have as a teacher prior to this. Activities done in these groups range from relationship building, to service learning to crafting. Lasting impacts from these groups have been behavioral supports from Advocacy leaders in a check in, check out system. Advocacy leaders have been instrumental in interventions for anxiety or social skill building. Also older students in the groups have been role models for younger students and help with “reteaches” after minor infractions. Students wave to one another in the hallway and feel connected vertically. Advocacy groups have been very impactful in many ways.