Submitted by Veronica Marion, Technical Assistance Provider

Welcoming Walkthroughs are designed to help schools become a more inviting place where everyone feels safe, students want to learn, staff want to work, and families and community members want to be involved. Welcoming Walkthrough committees include 12 stakeholders consisting of six parents (including parents of students with disabilities), two community members (such as a local business owner, firefighter, or member of the Board of Education or Town Council), and four school staff members (e.g., teachers, office staff, media specialists, and a custodian). High schools are encouraged to include 1-2 student representatives as well. SERC consultants and partners facilitate the walkthrough.

Jack Jackter Intermediate School
The Jumoke TED Leadership Team sporting the new slogan at the PBIS rollout

The committee members walk the school with a clipboard and pen to measure the “welcoming-ness” of the school and school grounds, such as the amount of signage, whether the central office is inviting, and information available in languages spoken by parents in the community. Computer stations are available for participants to also review the school website. The schools provide meeting space for walkthrough participants, facilitators, and 1-2 members of the school’s SPDG Leadership Team to discuss outcomes and action steps.

Jumoke TED has a new principal this year, Dr. Michael Finley, but the school SPDG Leadership Team has not skipped a beat! The team successfully tackled several recommendations from the Welcoming Walkthrough committee, such as increasing signage in the parking lot to make it easier to navigate the school and grounds, redesigning the website to be more resourceful for families, and creating opportunities to engage families more frequently.

“I feel re-energized working with the grant. [It] feels like a college course!” - Jumoke TED Leadership Team member

Teachers are committed to building relationships with families during pick-up and drop-off, seizing every opportunity to get to know them better. The school has also launched a “Can We Talk” school-wide informal potluck dinner with the entire staff, students, and families, allowing everyone to interact in an informal atmosphere.

The school’s implementation of school-wide positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS) has focused on promoting a positive environment. Its PBIS design is made up of paw prints surrounding the slogan, “Are you leaving a Pawsitive Print?”

Members of the Leadership Team were asked what they have learned since participating in the grant…

  • The benefits of engaging/sharing the purpose and outcomes of the grant with the entire staff
  • Looking at systems within our school
  • The importance of reflecting on my practice as a teacher

Published: October 29, 2014