Joyful, Rigorous and Personalized: Vision of a DPS Classroom

Stedman has been quick to embrace the new classroom vision that DPS rolled out this summer.
This vision aligns with our ideals for educating the whole child and ensuring that Stedman continues to evolve as a top choice neighborhood school where parents are confident that their child’s needs will be met. Superintendent Tom Boasberg shared this vision in Our DPS Weekly on September 11th. DPS classrooms:

  • Excite students to explore, think deeply, solve problems, create and have fun.
  • Engage students in active discussions, rich debates and deep learning about math, literature, science, social studies, the arts and other compelling areas of study.
  • Individualize content and instruction to meet the needs of each learner.
  • Celebrate the diversity of our students.
  • Ensure every student is known and appreciated for the gifts she/he brings.
  • Empower students to own their learning and challenge them to achieve goals they never dreamed possible.
  • Ignite a passion for learning.

Superintendent Boasberg described the new DPS classroom as ” lively, active, engaging, sometimes even loud.” This aligns with what we know about Stedman students: they thrive on opportunities to move, talk and explore in the learning process.

We are excited to have new Engage New York math curriculum grades K-5 and new Expeditionary Learning Literacy curriculum grades 4 and 5 to support this shift to give students more responsibility for their own learning. These new resources are Common Core aligned and rigorous.

Student-Centered Behavior Support at Stedman

Stedman Culture and Equity Statement
We, the staff, students and community at Stedman Elementary view all our students as capable, intelligent and resilient. We embrace our diversity and recognize that we are responsible for creating and maintaining a positive school environment that provides all students with empowering academic, social, emotional, and behavioral support necessary to achieve academic and personal growth.

At Stedman, we believe misbehavior and poor decision making are valuable learning opportunities and we use those opportunities to strengthen community bonds by working through the learning process together. Restorative practices are embedded in our school culture and all that we do to make Stedman an inclusive and successful learning environment. Stedman was asked to present at the DPS monthly discipline support meeting this month because our school has shown great success in decreasing the number of suspensions and, in turn, providing our students with positive behavior supports that meet their needs.

What caused Stedman to move from having one of the highest suspension rates to one of the lowest? A shift to a school leadership team that prioritizes restorative practices, social-emotional support for students combined with the hard work of all of our staff members. Stedman has met the DPS goal of 0-3% suspensions as a result of the following systems at work in our school:

  • No-Nonsense Nurturing: this practice prioritizes the relationships between students and teachers, ensures that teachers give clear instructions, reinforces positive behaviors, promotes the use of a neutral tone and neutral body language and responses to off-task behaviors in ways that are fair and consistent. All Stedman staff are trained in NNN and all teachers receive coaching from our Teacher Effectiveness Coach to ensure equity and positive culture in all classrooms.
  • Restorative Approaches: A Restorative philosophy that focuses on the behaviors that cause harm, who is responsible for that harm, and what needs to happen to make things right. It seeks to identify everyone involved and provide opportunities for those most affected by the behavior to be heard and play an active role in deciding how the situation will be made right. Students involved in Restorative Approaches partake in a process to help them identify their role in a situation/conflict and the extent to which they’re responsible for repairing or resolving the issue. This may take place in any number of forms, some of which are:
  1. Empathic Listening: A way of listening and responding to another person that encourages mutual respect and trust. It allows the listener to receive and accurately understand the speaker’s message and provide an appropriate response.
  2. Conferencing: Provides an opportunity to explore what happened, how the participants felt about it, what needs to happen to make things right and how the situation might be prevented in the future.
  3. Mediation: A confidential process whereby a neutral third party assists those in conflict to resolve their problem collaboratively and peacefully. The parties in conflict have complete decision making power, therefore, providing a more vested interest in the outcome and encouraging more commitment to the final agreement.
  4. Circles: An inclusive opportunity for those directly and indirectly involved in a conflict to express feelings, concerns and personal values in an environment that promotes open and diverse perspective sharing. Circles are an effective tool for conflict prevention and de-escalation.
  • MTSS (Multi-Tiered System of Supports): this team supports the teacher and student with the planning and monitoring of tier 1 and tier 2 academic or behavior supports. When there is a repeated behavior concern with a student, the teacher meets with this team and an intervention strategy is decided on. The teacher and student monitor this intervention for 6-12 weeks to determine if the child is able to make progress with this additional support in place.
  • Special Education: In some instances, students have behavior supports written in their individual education plans and receive services from Special Education staff or the school psychologist.
  • PBIS: by continuing to teach and honor our RAPPS values, Stedman ensures that we have a common language for teaching the character traits that we expect to see from all students. These are honored through our daily Shout Outs, weekly Knights of the Week, and monthly Knights of the Round Table.

We Respect ourselves and Others.
We Act with good Character.
We Know our Purpose.
We Maintain a Positive Attitude.
We Make Stedman Safe for Everyone.

We are pleased with our recent success and committed to ensuring that Stedman is a joyful place to learn!