The Discipline Philosophy
Ideally, as students progress from grade 7 through to grade 12, they begin to develop self-discipline at developmentally appropriate stages. The focus of this discipline model is to assist students in developing those skills and attributes over time. Occasionally, however, we must step in to discipline and teach students where they have not shown good self-discipline.
The best place for students in our school is with their class, participating in the learning activities planned for them by the teacher. As such, the intention of this model is to assist students to remain in the classroom when most appropriate for his/her learning and the learning of the other students.
The most effective management of student behaviour is done by the student; that management may also require teacher intervention to achieve that end. The procedures that follow are designed to empower teachers to deal with the day to day management of student behaviour and the teaching of self-discipline in a positive and proactive way, with an understanding that this will be done in a collaborative fashion with students whenever possible.
Collaborative Problem Solving Approach
At WCCHS, we will operate under the basic paradigm that students want to be good, but sometimes lack the skill to do that effectively. We also believe strongly that student discipline has the following five goals:
Five Goals of Good Discipline
Pursue your expectations
Reduce challenging behaviours
Solve chronic problems so they don’t keep recurring
Build skills and confidence and internal drive
Build or maintain a helping relationship
(Ablon & Pollastri, 2018)
In order to achieve these goals, we believe that the most effective way is Collaborative Problem Solving (Greene, 2005; Greene & Ablon 2005). CPS identifies three ways for addressing an unmet adult expectation: Plan A (Adult) -impose your will, Plan B (Both) -solve the problem collaboratively, or Plan C (Child) -drop it . . . for now. Really, Plan A and Plan C only satisfy one of the goals stated above, while Plan B can satisfy all five of these goals.
Plan B has three steps:
Empathize -clarify the student’s concern (this step can take time!!)
“I’ve noticed ...” or “It seems like ...”
Then “what’s up” or “help me understand”
Then clarify with questions or make educated guesses or listen reflectively or reassure that this is not punishment
Share your concern
“What matters to me here is ...” or “What would make me happy is ...”
“I wonder if there is a way where we can have [adult concern] and [child concern] both work together? Can you think of a way?”
Collaborate: brainstorm, assess and choose a solution
Generate possible solutions
Test solutions (build problem solving skills!!) based on each of Adult and Child’s concern
choose the ‘best’ solution
More often than not, the goals of school discipline can be achieved using Plan B. At times, though there is a need to employ Plan A -certain behaviours are simply not acceptable and will not be tolerated-- or Plan C -strategically this is not the ‘right time’ to address that particular concern.
Public School Works Documentation Report:
The Documentation Report reflects the above philosophy, in that a teacher (or support staff in consultation with the teacher) would use this report in the event of chronic misbehaviour, after attempts to deal with the issue him/herself. The expectation is that staff will have tried a number of approaches. This form is simply a communication tool used by staff to inform Admin of the current state of affairs, not a request for formal action. Admin may address behaviours in an informal way: more than likely a discussion with the student to follow up. This report becomes one piece of documentation regarding a student’s ongoing issues, with the teacher continuing to address the behaviour within his or her repertoire of management techniques and within the CPS framework.
Public School Works Referral Report:
The Referral Report becomes a request for Admin action from a teacher (or support staff member in consultation with the teacher). Student behaviour which has continued, despite strategies employed by staff or an informal Admin discussion, or which, although a ‘one-time’ event, is significantly more serious, should be communicated to Admin for formal action through this form. The description of the incident should be made in the staff member’s own words. The report also includes a section for a description of disciplinary action taken by Admin.
Around the school:
Depending on the severity and/or repetition of any given student behaviour any staff member may complete and submit a Public School Works Documentation or Referral Report. It is important to consider carefully, however, whether we have discharged our duty to remind/discuss/teach good self-discipline and have also employed the CPS approach before we move to invoking further discipline procedures.
The Final Word:
At times there may be a necessity to employ only Plan A with students; some behaviours will receive no tolerance from staff at WCCHS. Students, who do not show proper respect to self, others, and school property, will be dealt with through one or more of the following: counselling, loss of privileges, change in programming, behaviour contracts, suspensions, and in severe cases, the school may seek fines or criminal charges and/or expulsion from school through the LRSD Discipline Committee.
Ablon, J.S. (2018). Changeable: How Collaborative Problem Solving Changes Lives at Home, at School, and at Work. New York: Penguin Random House
Ablon, J.S. & Pollastri, A.R. (2018). The School Discipline Fix. New York: W.W. Norton & Company
Greene, R.W. (2005) The explosive child: a new approach for understanding and parenting easily frustrated, “chronically inflexible” children (3rd ed.) New York: HarperCollins Publishers
Green, R.W. & Ablon, J.S. (2005) Treating explosive Kids: The Collaborative Problem-Solving approach. Guilford Press