Positive School Climate and Culture Services within Indianapolis Public Schools encompasses issues such as the physical and emotional safety of students, health and well-being, the orderliness of classrooms and public spaces, and/or the degree to which a school embraces and celebrates racial, ethnic, linguistic or cultural diversity. We believe thinking and learning should be the focus; any and all roadblocks to that end should be intentionally removed through a healthy school climate and culture.
The Positive School Culture & Practices Coordinators collaborate with school, district, county, community organizations and stakeholders to advance supports and interventions for all students in IPS. Our staff provides training, assistance, monitoring and policy development by working collaboratively with districtwide staff and the community at large.
Our coordinators also facilitate the ongoing development and maintenance of restorative justice practices and social-emotional learning districtwide. We collaboratively build systems that address behaviors, strengthen relationships and focus on empathy, as well as building the social skills necessary for academic and life-long success. We also train, develop, implement and maintain positive behavioral interventions and supports at the student, classroom, schoolwide and district levels.
Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports
Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) is training and support on a systemic implementation of a decision-making framework for positive social culture in a school or district. PBIS is a decision-making framework that guides selection, integration and implementation of the best evidence-based behavioral practices for improving important behavior outcomes for all students. PBIS is not a curriculum, intervention or practice, but instead is a collaboration between district and school staff in designing behavioral support systems at each tier of a Multi-Tier System of Supports (MTSS).
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Restorative practices uses restorative justice principles to create alternative dispute resolutions as well as foster empathy, accountability and restoration of fairness to victims and community in IPS. Educators and school children are being trained to use these skills to work with other students and families to resolve conflicts and restore justice in an effort to end violence and bullying in our schools and the school-to-prison “Pipeline to Prison.”
Social Emotional Learning (SEL)
Social-emotional learning (SEL) is the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.
Often taught in the classroom, social-emotional learning gives tomorrow’s workforce the tools for success while educators find it contributes to a positive school climate and increased academic success. Beyond immediate outcomes in the classroom, SEL prepares employees to solve problems, manage emotions and communicate.
Playworks is a districtwide initiative that focuses on positive behavioral interactions between students and staff during recess time. Moreover, it believes in the power of play to bring out the best in every child. Playworks creates a place for every child on the playground. It doesn’t matter if children have never learned or played games before. They ensure our children have a place that is safe and welcoming — where they can play, thrive and contribute. The primary goal of Playworks is that every child takes this positive experience back to the classroom and back to their communities. We are working toward full implementation at each of our elementary school sites in the very near future.