DPS Educational approaches that focus on character development and bullying prevention throughout the developmental years:
Every elementary school builds a sense of community and accountability to respectful behavior by identifying CORE values which articulate character traits that are taught and reinforced throughout elementary years. Additionally:
Kindness, safety, inclusion and respect are ideals that are explicitly addressed throughout the year in a variety of ways. Whole school assemblies, speakers, in-class workshops, class mini-lessons, and individualized support are some of the ways staff target these skills and values for students. At developmentally appropriate levels at each grade level, students work toward:
Respecting and valuing differences are embedded in curricular learning, shared texts, and whole group conversations.
Students are taught and expected to speak up when they witness unkind behavior -
- Students are taught the skills to acknowledge and repair when they have been unkind
Students are taught how to identify trusted adults within the school community who they can connect with when there is an issue.
If an incident or issue is reported, it is thoroughly investigated, and the team works collaboratively to determine the best course of action.
At the middle school, we also believe it is important to be extremely clear not only about our expectations for student behavior but also about the anti-bullying law in Massachusetts.
- Each year, our Assistant Principal presents to all students on the definitions of key terms such as bullying and cyberbullying. In addition, he reviews the steps taken if someone reports bullying behavior. These include leading an investigation, speaking with all students involved, notifying families and assigning disciplinary consequences as needed.
- To promote a positive school culture and emphasize a focus on student connection, we have a longstanding partnership with Sources of Strength. Through multiple events throughout the year and a team of Sources students and advisors, we highlight the importance of multiple sources of support so that if times get difficult, they have many strengths to rely upon.
- In addition, in each grade our health curriculum includes topics such as friendship, bullying, and managing and resolving interpersonal conflicts as well as healthy relationships.
Building on the strong foundation of anti-bullying education at both the Elementary and Middle School level, the High School reinforces these ideals and expectations in many ways.
- Prior to transitioning to high school, incoming ninth-grade students are invited to join Freshman Orientation with Link Crew, where they learn teambuilding and relationship-building skills through the leadership of current upperclassmen.
- At the start of the school year, the principal and assistant principals hold class meetings within the first two weeks and remind students of positive behavioral expectations and review potential consequences of bullying and cyberbullying behavior. These class meetings are held at least once a quarter to continue to reinforce these messages.
- X-Block is also used throughout the year to promote relationship-building opportunities and to support inclusion of all students by providing them with what they need at that time.
- School counselors and administration work closely to identify potential student conflicts and proactively work with students and parents to resolve issues.
- When an incident of bullying is reported, it is investigated immediately, and all involved students and their guardians are notified immediately. Consequences are assigned in a progressive manner when it is deemed appropriate by the administration.
As always, parents are encouraged to reach out directly to school counselors, educators, and administrators if they are experiencing a challenging social situation with their child.