Woodland Springs Elementary in Keller Tx, has been on a mission to put relationships with kids, parents, and staff members at the center of every interaction. Lott Educational Consulting is proud to call Woodland Springs a partner campus, and looks forward to more amazing things from this staff and students. We were both recently featured in an article outlining the amazing transformation this campus is already making. Read the blog entry below to learn more about this schools restorative practicing journey.
The Woodland Springs Elementary School staff is taking a new approach to addressing behavior issues from the moment students enter the doors of the campus – all part a restorative practices movement that has been in the works for more than a year.
WSES began focusing on a change in culture after some conversations about how to decrease the number of discipline referrals and increase student and staff morale on campus. In February 2018, Keller ISD invited Rufus Lott – a consultant specializing in the area of Restorative Practices in schools – to speak with assistant principals about building relationships and helping students feel connected. "Everything he said really rang true with us, so we decided to partner with him to provide professional development to our staff," WSES Assistant Principal Traci Kraeszig said. He has visited the WSES empoloyees and worked with them three times to provide teachers with tools and strategies they needed to begin classroom implementation right away. WSES Principal Dr. Cindy Daniel spent the spring and summer months communicating the changes coming to the campus through videos and other information on campus social media. Now, from the moment students walk through the doors at Woodland Springs, the adminstration team greets students and then as students enter their classrooms, they are greeted at the doors by their teachers. The school has now dedicated 15 minutes each morning campus-wide for Morning Meetings to help students get to know each other, get to know the teachers, and build positive relationships. Each classroom has also developed a Relationship Agreement, where they have agreed on how they will treat each other, teachers, and campus facilities. Teachers use those agreements as a reference point when conversations need to happen with students about behavior. When issues do arise, the staff is equipped to use specific questions to get to the heart of a discipline concern and get students regulated and back to learning. Teachers and students are also setting weekly relationship goals within their classrooms.
Each Friday afternoon, students hear a message from one of the campus administrators on the intercom letting them know how much they are loved and that the staff is excited to see them back at school on Monday. Daniel and Kraeszig are also committed to boosting staff morale and supporting teachers. Each month, they plan some sort of motivational moment for staff – from "Bucket Filler Fridays" where they send positive, encouraging notes to each other; to "Orange You Glad It's Friday" treats where everything that is set up for staff is yummy orange foods; to "Room Service" where administrators deliver treats to their classrooms. Teachers are also encouraged to nominate each other to become the "Hump Day Hero" of the Week on Wednesdays. The winner is named on morning announcements and gets to display "Humphrey the Camel" in their classroom until the next Wednesday. "It's a great chance for students to see that we appreciate each other as adults and celebrate the hard work of our staff," Kraeszig said.
While the restorative practices movement did not happen overnight and took months of planning, the positive impact on the campus has been noticed by others in just the first few months of school this year."Our discipline referrals and minor behavior reports are almost non-existent and we have heard from parents and District personnel that Woodland Springs just has a different feel," Kraeszig said. "It's really a great time to be a WSES Wildcat!"