We have been working to implement a continuum of interventions with fidelity across all of our community schools. Below are some of our evidence-based practices.
Second Step is a program rooted in social-emotional learning (SEL) that helps transform schools into supportive, successful learning environments uniquely equipped to encourage children to thrive. More than just a classroom curriculum, Second Step’s holistic approach helps create a more empathetic society by providing education professionals, families, and the larger community with tools to enable them to take an active role in the social-emotional growth and safety of today’s children.
We support the use of evidence-based practices to build skills for attachment and self-regulation. We do not support the use of “character education” as we believe it infringes on the obligations of parents and ventures into dangerous cultural waters. Second Step builds skills in a coordinated manner from early childhood through 8th grade; family engagement is made more attainable through provided materials. A crosswalk with common building expectations generated through PBIS is typically simple and straightforward. The four core units taught at all grade levels include Skills for Learning, Empathy, Problem-Solving, and ONE MORE. There are other workable programs that can be used. We remain confident in recommending Second Step.
Locally, Delphi Rise works with districts to deliver the curriculum to students in our community schools! School districts choose to partner with the Delphi Drug and Alcohol Council to provide students and faculty access to substance abuse and chemical dependency prevention services. Counselors are well-integrated into the school community. Experienced staff are trained in addiction counseling and provide school- and community-based substance abuse prevention counseling programs to the school district. School-Based Prevention Counseling Services are utilized by school districts in both Monroe and Wayne counties.
Botvin’s Life Skills
Promotion and prevention works. Universal instruction around the specific skills needed for avoiding risky behaviors like drug use will reduce the percentage of young people choosing to use drugs and delay the onset of drug use by young people. Vaping, opioids, and other “epidemics” will come and go- but root causes of drug use like the understanding the legitimate health risks of using illicit drugs, will make a difference. Our young people are not affected by scare tactics nor does hyperbole persuade them; this “ask siri” generation wants facts and they respond well when treated as informed persons able to decide what is best. Many of our young people when equipped with appropriate coping mechanisms and pertinent accurate information will choose wisely for themselves and help their peers make positive choices as well.
The highest level of accountability is found in community. Restorative Practices start with community-building circles. These circles are a way to create connections and attachments. When all of our schools are using these practices, even when young people change school districts, they will know how to sit in circle and belong. For Tier 2, Restorative Practices can resolve conflict or help groups work through developing issues before conflict spirals into disruptive behavior. At Tier 3, harm repair can be facilitated. All of these processes are rooted in the belief that we belong to a community and our obligation to one another is a compelling reason to comport ourselves in ways that honor the people we live and work with. Communities are responsible for setting high expectations. For schools, if the culture of the school has weak expectations, then Restorative Practices will not work. Restorative Practices are a pathway to meeting expectations together as community. The supposition that the punishment of individuals is the only way to maintain high expectations ignores the commonly held and well-known power of a group of people with common goals who support one another. Teams, units, bands, choirs, casts… across humanity, we build cooperative groups. Restorative Practices unleash the power of community in schools to help all students belong and achieve.
Check In/Check Out
Check-in/Check-Out is a Tier II intervention to help students work through their day. Immediately increasing the dosage of positive relationship (attachment) and encouraging focus on personal goals (self-regulation) can be enough to avoid a severe drift into long-term off-track behaviors. Check In/Check Out is described well in its name; a young person checks in every day with a caring adult. They check out with the same caring adult at the end of the day after receiving feedback throughout the day from adults. CI/CO can be modified to increase intensity through a variety of deliveries, but core features remain focused on attachment and the self-efficacy-building work of goal setting. CI/CO will not work in an environment without caring relationships as a norm. CI/CO is an increased dose of care and concern; in an environment absent of high expectations (concern) and strong interpersonal relationships (care), CI/CO will flounder as an intervention. Tier II assumes a Tier I beneath—or it is not a timely increase of help, only a first brush of support.