In the Spotlight: Making It Work In A Small CT District

Submitted by Sarah-Ann Nicholas and Alice Henley, Technical Assistance Providers

Nestled in the Northeastern corner of the state, the Thompson Public Schools serve approximately 1,260 Connecticut students (CEDaR, 2011). The district’s central office, high school, middle school, and elementary school all inhabit one campus; in fact, the buildings are all connected. In a small district like Thompson, the importance of taking a district-wide approach to behavior management is paramount.

Through participation in the State Personnel Development Grant (SPDG), Thompson developed a leadership team representative of staff from each building who attend professional learning opportunities and engage in decision-making around how to deliver academic and behavioral supports for all students. Involvement of staff members from each school allows for the needs of each individual school to be addressed, while ensuring a consistent approach to be utilized throughout the district. A central office administrator participates as well as a representative building administrator.

All three schools began implementing PBIS in spring 2015 and agreed upon three district and school-wide behavioral expectations: Be Responsible, Be Respectful, and Be Safe. While each school’s behavioral matrix contextualizes each expectation as appropriate for its student population, the consistency of expectations across schools provides more structure and predictability for students as they move from grade to grade.

The effective use of resources and time during district leadership team meetings has allowed this small district to engage in comprehensive professional learning opportunities and increase consistency in the use of PBIS as well as adding to the sense of community across all of their schools.