As we know, school and learning has gone through a lot of changes during the time of shelter in place. It is now more important than ever for schools to follow PBIS guidelines and have consistent expectations as well as positive behavior supports for students in their distance learning classrooms. Under the guidance of their Unconditional Education Coach Tiana Dudley, Montalvin Manor K-8 hasn’t skipped a beat in continuing to directly teach their students the expectations for being in class. Check out their amazing video by clicking below!
In addition, Tiana has been able to leverage the school’s online platform to deliver Social Emotional Learning lessons to all grades and classes. If you have a Seesaw account, you can check out a sample video by clicking on the video below. If you don’t have one yet, it’s free to sign up! Register at https://web.seesaw.me/.
Lastly, it’s important to remember the value of recognizing positive behaviors. In collaboration with the school’s Culture and Climate team, Tiana has been able to continue with a version of Montalvin’s positive referral system. Staff members proactively shout out students who are showing examples of Montalvin’s Core Values by filling out a google form which school leaders compile into highlights to share with the whole school community via their weekly newsletters and Seesaw notifications!
Hi All! Wow! We have all made it to the end of the school year! In reflection, I am both humbled by- and proud of the work we all have done, despite the challenges we faced – and to honor that I would like to highlight one of our newer partnerships.
I’m not sure if you know this, but we have expanded our Unconditional Education reach and have partnered with an amazing school in Marin City called Bayside MLK Jr. Academy. Bayside serves about 110 predominantly African American and Latinx students ranging in grades from TK – 8 and is the only public district school in the Sausalito Marin City School District. We are currently in our 2nd year of partnership and we are feeling so proud of what the school has been able to accomplish thus far 😊.
Bayside, a known landmark for Marin City, has faced many changes, systemic and educational oppressions, yet much like the community that surrounds it, they have shown great perseverance and strength in ensuring they always strive to meet the needs of their students and families.
*To read more about the history of Marin City, check out this article Marin City: The Rebirth of a Community.
As Bayside’s mission is to bring together and align essential resources to support students and their families in a safe, healthy and culturally relevant environment (by balancing and focusing on social emotional, creative, physical, and academic skills to ensure that our students have all the tools they need to be successful throughout their lives), it’s no wonder they sought out an Unconditional Education partnership with us.
Our partnership consists of supporting them through the role of our UE Coach, Kelsey Corrales, and it has been invigorating to support their work and witness the many positive changes that they have created. To highlight a few of those changes, I’d like to share that they have:
Each school year brings change and a sense of newness. In the coming 2020-21 school year, Learning Without Limits (LWL) will experience new leadership and a fresh structure. The school as a whole has been actively planning for this transition and our Learning Lab Team, also known as the Special Education Team, had the opportunity to collaborate about what we would like the structure of the Learning Lab Team to look like next year.
We utilized this image known as “Below the Green Line” to outline our structures and culture for the next Learning Lab Team. The author of “Below the Green Line,” Steve Zueiback, emphasizes how the components of System Infrastructure and the components of Human Infrastructure are both crucial when it comes to maintaining a healthy and sustainable organization. It is important to constantly build and improve upon the components above and below the green line. The areas below the green line are the heart of the operation. Zueiback notes that an efficient organization works on all six areas simultaneously.
LWL is a very caring community – the whole team brings into account the relationships, information, and identity aspects of the school when creating structures, patterns, and processes. During our previous Learning Lab Team meetings, we realized our main attention was focusing above the green line. However, a lot of the systems we identified were rooted in the values we hold below the green line. In other words, the Below values our Learning Lab Team holds also appear in the systems that exist Above. For example, while we have a hierarchy, there is a sense of humbleness from the leadership team which allows for a soft hierarchy and an emphasis on collaboration. Additionally, LWL, like Seneca, values feedback in all directions of the leadership hierarchy. LWL’s Learning Lab Team has created a place for everyone at the table. Each team member is heard and valued. Without collaboration, we would not be able to provide the best individualized services possible to our students and their families. Each member of a student’s team sees a different aspect of the student whether it be academic, speech, behavior, OT or therapy. Collaboration allows us to put all these pieces together and allows us to see the whole student. All the components of the System and Human Infrastructures come together to create a unique organization.
With the support of Zueiback’s article, the Learning Lab Team identified what we would like the incoming team to know about our team’s culture, values, beliefs and systems. A reoccurring theme was the amount of collaboration that takes place as well as the importance of communication, feedback, adaptability and humor. Together, we created a document that will be passed on to the next Learning Lab leader depicting how our culture and structures go hand in hand.
The end of the school year should be filled with celebrations and happy memories, but for many of our students this year, that was not the case. Due to the shelter in place, our students who worked hard and achieved their promotions to middle school & high school were not able to participate in their promotion ceremonies. We could not let these huge milestones go uncelebrated and decided to deliver promotion packages to our students at Bridges Academy, Community Day School, Lincoln Middle School, Prescott Elementary School, Sequoia Elementary School, and Think College Now.
School teams gathered together, decorated their cars, made posters, and caravanned to each of our promoting students houses. Staff played music, honked their horns, and cheered loudly as we drove past each student’s house. When we stopped, students were presented with their celebratory package that included balloons, apple cider, a cake, and snacks. In total, the SOAPS Program was able to celebrate 13 students across our 6 campuses with promotion parades and 5 students with promotion cake deliveries. These parades not only showed our students how proud we are of them, but also allowed for community members to celebrate the students as well. At almost every house, neighbors came outside to cheer our students on, and cars drove past us honking and yelling “congratulations”. The support we received from community members as we drove through the streets of Oakland was truly inspiring and showed our students that they are valued and celebrated.
As with many of our partnerships and programs in Seneca, COVID-19 has thrown us all for a loop. It has been amazing to see how Seneca Staff have jumped at every opportunity to meet the needs of students, families, partnerships, and colleagues. This is especially true at our partnership with Emerson Elementary School where we have two Clinical Intervention Specialists and a Behavioral Intervention Specialist, working what seems like 24 hours a day. They don’t actually work 24 hours a day, don’t worry HR! They just work really, really hard. Throughout the year, and years prior, they have truly integrated themselves within the Emerson Community and have continued to be a constant support and presence throughout COVID-19. We all know that these are confusing times and can only imagine what it must feel like for our younger students. In an effort of prevention and education, Seneca Staff have developed a (Social Emotional Learning) SEL Curriculum to help students understand and explain the effects of the pandemic when students do return to school. This going to be a major aide in supporting the students as they transition back from an extended time outside of the four walls of our schools.
As one would imagine, and a number of us are experiencing at the moment, it is really difficult to connect with students and families during remote learning. Seneca Staff and Emerson have developed “Communication Captains” which assigns students to a specific staff member for weekly check-ins. This has enabled staff to help meet family needs (food, gift cards, etc.) and continue the facilitation/development of relationships. One of our weekly highlights is our food distribution to students and families during the pandemic. Not to worry, decked out in PPE and social distancing, staff joyously wave to students and families as they coordinate and deliver food packages throughout the Emerson Community. It is also important to acknowledge the affects that COVID-19 has had on our colleagues (including colleagues within our partnership). Seneca Staff at Emerson regularly meet with teachers and provide mental health supports for those who are experiencing their own struggles with COVID-19. Due to the relationships that the CISs and BIS have within the partnership, School Administration highly values these individuals and have trusted them in leading weekly professional development opportunities at the school which include in deep discussions at their book club (“Brain Wash”) and yoga sessions from Seneca’s very own yogi Jenna Laube. All this to say, well done Emerson Crew, we are proud of you all and the work that you do - I appreciate ya’ll!
In the spring of 2019, the Santa Clara County Behavioral Health Department invited interested representatives from Santa Clara County school districts to visit our Unconditional Education (UE) partnership at Verde Elementary in Richmond. Fremont Union High School District was among those districts who attended the tour and applied for a UE partnership. Beginning in the fall of 2019, All-In has been proud to be in partnership with Fremont High School in Sunnyvale.
Fremont High has an enrollment of approximately 2,100 students who reflect the diversity of Sunnyvale and Santa Clara County. 61% of their students speak a language other than English at home, with over 60 languages represented. While FHS has a team of talented mental health providers on campus, the school identified a clear need to provide more support for students in need, particularly students in the general education program. In September 2019, our Seneca team, composed of Clinical Intervention Specialist Kayla Antes and Bilingual Student Support Assistant Abraham Munoz Godino, began working to serve the school community. In supporting the students on their caseload, Kayla and Abraham work closely with families and teachers, to create as much consistency and cohesion as possible in the treatment teams.
One of our missions in providing mental and behavioral health to students on campus as opposed to an outside clinic is accessibility and flexibility. There is a great benefit to students having consistent scheduled weekly sessions at school to practice tools of communication, reflection, and self-regulation. In addition to the scheduled weekly sessions, our students at FHS know that the Seneca Center hub on campus is a place where they can go if they’re experiencing stress or challenge on a given day and could use some support. If neither of our staff are available at that moment of need, students can leave a note for our team and/or send a text message to our staff requesting support at the staff’s next opportunity. In this way, our team can be responsive to the needs of our student caseload and provide a Wellness Center-type space for them, which is something our team and the school would like to expand upon as we move into the 2020-21 school year.
“It is very nice having another adult in the room to support students both academically and social-emotionally. Students are feeling a lot more supported and have been better able to engage in learning in the classroom.”
All-In! Partnership Team