We look forward to meeting with you this Friday, October 11 for our first Parent/Teacher Conference Day. If you would like to schedule a conference with your child’s Special teacher, please see the sign-up here.
Over the next few weeks, I will devote a portion of the principal’s letter to sharing information about a DCPS or Janney school policy. We are in the process of updating our school website with important policies and this weekly letter will provide an overview of each of the policies. This week, I am sharing information on the newly released DCPS policy on the Prevention of Student Sexual Abuse by Staff. This policy mandates staff training in addition to detailing an expected staff code of conduct. Please read on to understand how Janney is meeting and exceeding the policy requirements. Last week, our school counselor, Cydney Lewis introduced the concept of identifying the size of the problem as the first step in conflict resolution in the weekly student support services column. This week she discusses how we can teach children to use “I” statements when working towards a resolution.
The remainder of the newsletter includes a letter from the PTA presidents recognizing the merchandise committee chairs with a link to online purchasing, while also including a friendly reminder about contributing to the Student Support Fund. Remaining content includes: a Janney Merchandise article; announcement about Janney Girls and Boys Basketball Tryouts; information about the Janney Blood Drive on October 17th; and an
article about the Janney XC Team. There are also repeat announcements about the Janney 5K; the Kids Ride Free Smartcards; and a call for 5th grade baby photos.
Finally, please note that Nurse Roslyn Peaks is our full-time, five days per week nurse. We have received one day per week support from Nurse Pat Nartey for the past year, but Nurse Peaks is now at Janney five days per week.
Enjoy your week!
DCPS Prevention of Student Sexual Abuse by Staff Policy
You may have received Chancellor Ferebee’s email last week with information on the DCPS commitment to student safety. In his email, the Chancellor referenced the new Prevention of Student Sexual Abuse by Staff Policy; you can find the policy here and it will eventually be posted to our website.
The policy was developed to communicate the DCPS requirements on the prevention of student sexual abuse by staff. One requirement of the policy is staff training; all staff are expected to participate in a required training that includes instruction on recognizing signs of abuse; reporting abuse; and, prevention of staff misconduct and abuse. DCPS is in the process of developing this training and is currently training school-level staff to be content experts. The Janney ES staff and Janney+ staff participated in Stewards of Children’s “Darkness to Light” training during our August staff preservice week. We were fortunate enough to use PTA dollars to pay for this training and our staff found it to be incredibly valuable.
Additionally, the policy also briefly addresses expected staff conduct; after participating in the August training, our staff recognized that a code of conduct needed to include more specific information than what is included in the DCPS “Staff Conduct Requirements,” and our LSAT is in the process of finalizing the Janney ES Code of Conduct. When the Code of Conduct is finalized, it will be posted to our website. Our LSAT minutes can be viewed here.
Finally, DCPS has adopted the 3Rs Rights, Respect, Responsibility curriculum. We are in the process of learning more about the curriculum and will share information via teacher newsletters when it becomes available. After an initial Janney review of the curriculum, the content aligns closely with what Ms. Lewis and Ms. Oakley have previously covered in their guidance or community classes, including topics on respecting personal boundaries and giving consent.
Student Support Services Column
Welcome to Part Two of our conflict resolution series. Last week we introduced “size of the problem” where we learned how to distinguish big problems from little problems. We identify a situation as a big deal when it affects a lot of people and takes a long time to fix, such as a hurricane. A medium-sized problem might affect only a few people but it includes the possibility of injury and therefore requires the help of an adult. An example of a medium problem is falling or getting pushed.
What about small problems? These are the kinds of issues we face repeatedly throughout our day. In school this looks like cutting in line, “borrowing” a classmate’s supplies, an argument, not getting our way, etc. How do we handle these little deals?
Once we’ve identified the size of the problem and understand that we don’t need a big reaction to the situation, we can respond with an “I” message. An “I” message is simply a statement that starts with the word “I” and expresses our feelings about the incident. “I don’t like it when you take my scissors without asking. Please give them back.” Or, “I feel frustrated when you get in front of me at the water fountain. Please wait your turn.”
An “I” messages addresses the problem without racing to place blame. It leaves the other person open to being able to respond without being defensive, and offers a greater chance of a peaceful resolution. Now, this is elementary school, and we are all works-in-progress, so it’s common for students to need to try more than one strategy when faced with a small problem. Tune in next week to learn a few more problem-solving tools, and in the meantime, try out “I” messages in your own relationships!