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Recomendations for School Administrators

Creating Safe, Fair, Healthy and Responsive Schools - A Cross-Systems Approach to Improved Training and School Supports

Phase One: Engage Experts in the Field

In 2005, after the Governor’s Executive Order charging the Children’s Cabinet with the task of exploring contributing factors to teen suicide and self-harm, the Legislature and the Cabinet “Climate Workgroup” identified bullying and harassment as a contributing factor. An ad hoc group formed to research and implement a “Best Practice Guide in Bullying and Harassment Prevention” along with a sample school policy vetted and promoted through Maine School Management, and a website for free downloads.

After three years of bringing training experts in the field of bullying and harassment, civil rights, gender aggression, research, and evaluation together, culminating in a pilot project supported with one-time funds through the 21 st Century Community Learning Centers grant and Children’s Cabinet, eight (8) Core Elements were identified and proposed as the combined elements required for successful systems change at the local school level.

Critical Elements of a Recommended Approach to Create and Ensure Safe, Fair, Responsive Maine Schools

With each school in the K-12 system:

  1. Establish and support an internal school leadership team including the principal and high-level administrators as key advocates and participants.
  2. Provide opportunities for involvement of parents and community.
  3. Conduct an initial assessment of policy (checklist), procedures, and student and staff perceptions of school climate, culture, and behavior.
  4. Share and interpret assessment findings.
  5. Develop a comprehensive school plan and choose training and technical assistance approaches based on issues identified through the assessment. The plan must include meaningful youth involvement.
  6. Establish and implement procedures based on policies that assure safe, fair, responsive schools.
  7. Provide ongoing training for all staff and the necessary technical assistance to support and institutionalize a sustained school-wide effort.
  8. Conduct ongoing evaluation to assess progress, achievements, and to provide feedback for adjustments to the school plan.

Phase Two

Understanding that not only are there overlaps and duplication in the school staff training audiences required by various agency programs, but also that the eight Core Elements noted for bullying and harassment systems change hold true for many if not all of the prevention programs funded through out state and federally-funded programs. Most importantly, they SHARE THE SAME DESIRED OUTCOME:

“ALL MAINE STUDENTS ATTEND SCHOOLS AND CAN LEARN FEELING THAT SCHOOLS ARE SAFE, HEALTHY, FAIR, AND RESPONSIVE”

 

Below is the “Prevention Framework” for schools to consider when creating their coordinating teams to reach this shared outcome:

 

Bullying and Harrassment Prevention Framework

Working Together for Maine Children and Families