Normative Culture is based on all of us being a part of a community, including the school setting where staff and students are part of daily community together. Normative Culture is not just for students, but for staff also. Within this "culture" are positive behaviors that are expected and these behaviors are called Norms.
The driving force that makes Normative Culture work is the power of Positive Peer Influence. We all know that kids will generally listen to friends and want to do what peers are doing rather than taking advice from adults on all issues. Sometimes peer influence is negative (i.e. - gang influenced). Normative Culture depends on Positive Peer Influence. Residential and school staff guide this positive behavior by offering daily groups to every child so that students' concerns can be heard and positive peer influence can occur. Students must take responsibility for their actions and help others by Positive Peering (giving good advice and support) to their classmates. These daily groups are called GGI, which stands for Guided Group Interaction. Negative behavior is confronted in a helping manner. For instance, rather than saying "You did something wrong," a peer will say, "I'll help you do it right."
We have certain behaviors that are expected during GGI which are called Non-Negotiables. The main Non-Negotiables are: Mandatory Attendance, the Norms, keeping confidentiality, no staff or program bashing, and Participation is required. There are other Non-Negotiables as needed, such as, Raise Your Hand Before You Speak, No Paybacks (revenge), Honesty, No Interrupting Another while they are speaking, etc. These are basic common sense "non-negotiable" expectations.
Behavior is rated Positive, Negative, or On the Line on a behavior Force Field every week. On the Line indicates that you have kept the Norms but have made no extra effort to be a positive influence with peers that week. Every week is a new chance to improve! A positive rating means that a student has kept the Norms and gone "above & beyond" to help peers. A negative rating means that a student has violated the norms.
If a student can maintain four consecutive weeks of mostly positive Force Field behavior ratings, the child can become a Timber Wolf. Timber wolves enjoy greatly increased privileges. There is a Timber Wolf lounge set aside, where "Wolves" can play games or watch a big screen TB during lunch or free time, they can sit on comfortable bean bags chairs, maybe order out special foods such as wings or pizza and wear special Timber Wolf clothing. Weekly activities occur every Friday, as well.
- Safety - The daily practice of behaviors that ensure you and others around you are physically and emotionally safe.
- Respect - Placing the utmost value on a positive regard for the basic dignity, worth, rights and uniqueness of self, others, and the environment.
- Responsibility - Fulfilling one's obligation to be accountable, trustworthy and rational, and promoting the same in others.
- Goal-Directed - Continually striving toward successful achievement of one's potential and long-term positive outcomes.
- The Classroom is Sacred - The classroom provides an atmosphere that is conducive to learning. Students will respect their teachers, classmates, and themselves.
Each school team (i.e. Elementary, Middle school, and High School) is operating their own push-in behavior intervention program. The teams develop Individual Safety and Support Plans for each student upon enter, and review the plans after any significant incidents. These plans may allow for a time-away, peer counseling, taking a walk or utilizing other resources within the building. Each team has a Behavior Support Classroom to pull students into if needed, however, students are encouraged to stay in the class as much as possible. Each team has 2 School Counselors, a Special Education teacher, and a Behavior Intervention aide working together in the classrooms to provide direct behavior support for students.
Intensive Behavior Classroom
This program is utilized for student who are experiencing an acute deterioration or regression in behavioral, social/emotional, and/or academic skills, which is interfering with their performance in the classroom and precluding their availability for instruction, as well as interfering with the instruction of other students. Use of this classroom may occur in place of a suspension from school or due to a suspension from school. Students are sent to this classroom by the Behavior Management Team, a Counselor or the Building Principal. While in this room, students receive a full day of instruction and intensive intervention services, targeting necessary social skill, anger management, impulse control and decision making skills. Individual goals will be targeted for each student, depending on his/her individual needs, through Counseling Services.