Thursday, January 16, 2014

It Works!

After my extra week of winter break, it is good to get back to my routine. That includes my blogging routine. (Unfortunately, this did not post as planned!) For this week's installment of "What Works" I want to share a program we started a couple of years ago. "Little Leaders" is a program that uses our fifth graders as role models for our younger students. It is based on the "Safety Patrol" concept, but is more of a mentoring program. Originally, only a handful of students were trained to act as eyes and ears on the playground, but has grown to include most of the fifth grade.

Two adults supervise more than one hundred fifty students on a playground during lunch recess. By adding our "Little Leaders" to the mix, they were able to pull struggling students into group play, teach rules to games (and even officiate), and neutralize negative behaviors. Our discipline referrals from recess dropped drastically.

When students were pushing and shoving coming off the bus, hall monitoring was  added to the responsibilities. Then there was  our recycling program, and our Preschool program needed breakfast help. Now most of our fifth graders are needed. Students sign a contract that states they will follow all rules, be a good example at all times, and complete all work as assigned. If students do not meet reading goals for the marking period, so they are suspended until they met next quarter's goal. If they are late with any assignment, they sit out a week. The number of late assignments has dropped to a handful for the week. Not bad considering we have over one hundred fifth graders. A detention is grounds for removal.

The daily schedule requires thirty-four students to fill positions. Some students have the same daily assignment, as they mentor a struggling or at-risk student. Most students have two or three assigned jobs per week. They wear tags for recognition, and get off the bus first in the morning, a real privilege. At the end of the year, they get a special field trip. Last year we took over fifty students. This year, it should be closer to one hundred. This program has become so sufficient, that it has continued with only minor hitches when our counselor that supervises the program, went on early maternity leave in November. 

This program works! Now if I can only remember to hit publish after scheduling a post! 

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