Don Shomette

People are the Prize


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Visit Your Feeder Schools…Now!

(Free PowerPoint with Instructional Video)

There’s a trend that I find when I do school vulnerability assessments. Namely, that there are two specific grades in a school district where the students consistently report that they feel the most isolated, have the least amount of friends, and can’t name a single teacher that they would go to if they had a personal problem. In short, these two grade levels are the most disconnected with the least amount of relationships. Any guesses as to which two grades?

6th graders and 9th graders.

Why these two groups of students?

The reason is simple. Six graders and ninth graders are the newest people in the building and they’ve had the least amount of time to develop relationships. It’s not that the teachers and staff members don’t care and are not capable of developing relationships. They do and they can. We know this for a fact because the students who are one grade higher (7th and 10th graders) consistently report that they do feel connected, have many friends, and can name at least one teacher that they would go to (or have already gone to) when they’ve needed help with a personal problem.
This information tells us three things:

  1. We’re good at developing relationships with students.
  2. There’s a natural order to it and it takes time.
  3. There’s two grades that need special attention.

So, what can we do to fix this and with the end of the school year so close should we even try?

Absolutely, since now is the best time precisely because it is the end of the school year and the best way to accomplish this is to visit your feeder schools and begin to develop that relationship now!

Visiting your feeder schools is really easy, pays a huge dividend, and I’ll give you everything you need including a PowerPoint presentation and instructional video and anything else you need to be successful.

Just go down to your elementary and middle schools and visit your 5th and 8th graders before the year ends. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate. Just 20-25 minutes with each class (or all together in the auditorium) with you delivering the same positive message—I’m looking forward to you joining us, I’m there to help you to be successful, and you’re not alone because you know me now and I’ll be there for you.

Go individually or create a team of SRO’s, principals, counselors, Deans of Students, or other school leaders. Some might say, “We do this at student orientation,” but it’s not the same thing. It is a requirement that everyone attend student orientation, including the adults. There is no obligation to visit the students moving up to your school and the students know it…and this is exactly why it’s so effective.

There’s also an added benefit of visiting your feeder schools at the end of the year and one I learned firsthand. Students who are connected to each other as well as to their school are far more likely to follow the established rules and to stay out of trouble.

Before I began to visit my feeder schools, our school was plagued with about 80 fights each year and nearly all of them involved sixth graders. While these fights were not terrible, they did chew up my time, wear on my patience, and stop me from being able to focus on positive and proactive initiatives. After I began visiting my feeder schools, my fights dropped down to approximately 4 a year and suddenly I had more time and most importantly to me, I enjoyed my ‘kids’, my school, and my job more. My life was better.

But like everything that is worth accomplishing, it comes with a tradeoff.

I had to trade some of my time at the end of each school year and give it to my rising 6th graders. I had to leave my building and visit every elementary school in my district. And when I was there, I had to be fully present and completely engaged and that takes time, commitment, and consistency…the same things needed to develop a relationship.

If you do this, if you trade some of your time now, I guarantee you that what you gain in return next year will far exceed your output…and I’ll help you make it easier!

To learn more about how it all works, watch this video.

For a demonstration of the PowerPoint, watch this video.

To get copy of the PowerPoint, please sign up on the PEOPLE ARE THE PRIZE

PowerPoint is only available for police and school personnel (please use your professional email when signing up).


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NOW IS THE TIME!

An Easy and Effective Way to Get Your Students to Play Their Part in School Safety

December is a perfect (and necessary) time to reach out to your students and to remind them of the part they must play to help make our schools safer (no place can be completely safe—only safer).

To help you achieve this goal, I’ve created everything you’ll need from what to say to the students to a letter to send to the parents. I guarantee that if you do this very simple thing, you’ll make an immediate difference in the safety of your school.

Here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to tell the students when and how to report a threat with one simple sentence.

“Tell the first adult you see if you’re afraid for your safety or the safety of others.”

Before we get into the easy ‘how’ here is the simple ‘why’.

We know that in approximately 75% of previous school attacks someone (most often a student) has known about the attack before it occurred. I think it’s 100%. We must reach out to our students this month and get them to do their part, especially now since December is an increased threat time for a school attack (second only to March-April). It is a tragedy that so many school attacks could have been prevented if a student would have just come forward and that we adults don’t encourage and equip the students to do so.

I’ve created a script that you can use to encourage students to come forward. It’s easy and takes only a few minutes. While there’s several different ways you can deliver the message (we’ll get to those next), the script will basically be the same for any delivery method you choose. Feel free to modify the script as needed.

Let’s take a look at the script:

 

Good morning.

I’m going to be talking with you about a subject that is very important and that subject is teamwork (or you can use safety, friendship, good citizenship, etc.). Teamwork enables a group of people committed to the same goal to be more successful by working together than if they went at it alone. As a school, we have lots of goals. We want to be successful in learning, music, arts, sports, and many other things. But to be successful in these goals we have to be a team, to look out for each other, and to work together. Making our school safer also requires us to be a team. We must work together and each person must do their part. Your part is to be a good friend and to look out for each other.

How do you do that? Simple.

Tell the first adult you see if you’re afraid for your safety or the safety of someone else.

Do not come and try to find me. I may be tied up with something. If you tell the first adult you see, they will know how to get a hold of me.

When you tell an adult that you’re afraid for your safety or the safety of someone else, they’ll tell me and I’ll talk to the person you’re trying to help and then I’ll try to help them as well. It’s that simple.

We don’t want anyone to hurt themselves or someone else and that’s our goal. To help everyone be safe, I’ll need your help. I need you to be a member of the team. If you’re willing to do that, please take out a piece of paper and sign the sheet with your name. Then, write a huge teamwork on it and pass it up. I want to keep these because it matters. You matter.

Thanks and be a good friend today.

teamwork-image

Here’s a couple of easy delivery methods you can choose from to prepare the students.

1. Visit the classrooms
2. Have the teachers do it
3. Hold an assembly
4. Read it over the PA system

Method 1: Visit the classrooms:
This is my personal favorite, but you’ll briefly interrupt the academic process. What I like about this method is that it’s quick (I’ve done it in as little as 5 minutes per class) and you get to talk to the kids. As a leader, it’s important that you’re in front of the most important element of your school as often as possible. Especially discussing something as important as everyone doing their part to make the school safer. It just means more to the students when it comes from the (a) leader in the school. Of course if you have a huge school, you may have to divide the classrooms between several different leaders.

Method 2: Have the teachers do it:
Every teacher could read the script in the first five minutes of class. This method is excellent for getting the word out instantly and across the entire school in one day. Just make sure the teachers are properly prepared and feel comfortable performing this helpful task.

Method 3: Hold an assembly:
You could hold an assembly, add it to an upcoming assembly, or read the script during the lunch periods. There’s good value in everyone hearing the same message at the same time.

Method 4: Read it over the PA system:
The principal could read the script over the PA first thing in the morning. It’s not as good as doing it in person and you can’t be certain that the class is listening, but the message is shared by the leader and is out instantly.

There’s lots of ways to do it, but what matters the most is that you do it. Violence is not prevented with good intentions. It takes action. This action is small but very beneficial.

Just a couple of last points.

Take it seriously.
This is not a chore to complete, but an opportunity to save a life. So treat it with the proper respect a topic of this importance deserves.

Send a note to the parents.
The same day you share this message with the students, share it also with their parents. Let the parents see that you take the safety of their child seriously. There’s a quick note included below that you can share with the parents. Again, modify it any way you like.

Follow through, follow through, follow through
When a student does come to you because he’s afraid for his safety or the safety of others, be ready. You’re only going to get one chance to get this right. Here’s a few things to remember.

AFFIRM:
Affirm their feelings. That doesn’t mean you have to agree or promise to do what they want, but do affirm their feelings. “Thank you for telling me. I can see that you’re worried. You’re a good friend. Let me check it out and I’ll get back to you.”

ACT:
Act on everything! Regardless of how minor it seems, take a few minutes and check it out. Not only will no one ever come to you again if you do nothing, but you may only have one small piece of the puzzle. By digging a little, you will confirm whether there’s any reason to go deeper.

ASSESS:
Think of the information you receive as a snapshot. With the current information you have, quickly assess the current threat level and how fast you have to act. Then, keep gathering information until you can accurately assess the true risk level—if there is any.

INTERVENE AND MANAGE:
We don’t respond to violence, we intervene and manage violence or the threat of violence. If the threat is real, take immediate and proper steps by intervening with actions that will lower the chance for violence to occur.

FOLLOW UP:
After you’ve gathered more information, follow up with the person and tell them what you’ve found. Don’t do it in passing! Call them into your office and spend a few minutes with them. You don’t have to tell them everything. Just let them know what you can. We want the student to walk away from the experience thinking (and to tell their friends) that, “When I have a problem, he takes me seriously. I trust him. We can trust him”

 

If you have any questions or need any help in being successful, I’m just an email or phone call away. Also, if you do implement this technique, please let me know how it goes and any changes you made that made it better. I’d love to share with others as well as celebrate your success.

Don Shomette
540-577-7200
don@peoplearetheprize.com

 >>Note Parents<<

Dear Parents,

This week we’re going to be encouraging the students to be a member of the safety team. I will be visiting each classroom for a few minutes (announcement, staff members) to discuss how we can make our school safer. Since school safety must be a collaborative effort, I’ll be asking the students to do their part. Their part is very simple and yet extremely critical. We’re asking the students to let an adult know if they are afraid for their safety or the safety of someone else.

I encourage you to also talk with your children about the necessity of telling the first adult they see if they are afraid for their safety or the safety of someone else.

Below is the script that will be used. I welcome any suggestions or comments.

Good morning.

I’m going to be talking with you about a subject that is very important and that subject is teamwork (or you can use safety, friendship, good citizenship, etc.). Teamwork enables a group of people committed to the same goal to be more successful by working together than if they went at it alone. As a school, we have lots of goals. We want to be successful in learning, music, arts, sports, and many other things. But to be successful in these goals we have to be a team, to look out for each other, and to work together. Making our school safer also requires us to be a team. We must work together and each person must do their part. Your part is to be a good friend and to look out for each other.

How do you do that? Simple.

Tell the first adult you see if you’re afraid for your safety or the safety of someone else.

Do not come and try to find me. I may be tied up with something. If you tell the first adult you see, they will know how to get a hold of me.

When you tell an adult that you’re afraid for your safety or the safety of someone else, they’ll tell me and I’ll talk to the person you’re trying to help and then I’ll try to help them as well. It’s that simple.

We don’t want anyone to hurt themselves or someone else and that’s our goal. To help everyone be safe, I’ll need your help. I need you to be a member of the team. If you’re willing to do that, please take out a piece of paper and sign the sheet with your name. Then, write a huge teamwork on it and pass it up. I want to keep these because it matters. You matter.

Thanks and be a good friend today.


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Giveaway — Classroom Bundle: Underage Possession of Alcohol

Use this fun and interactive classroom bundle to educate middle and high school students about the effects of alcohol and the consequences of underage possession of alcohol.

Free fun and interactive PowerPoint for teaching teens about the consequences of underage possession of alcohol.

TO RECEIVE THIS BUNDLE…follow this blog & leave a comment on this post.

If you’re already following us, just leave a comment.

Free fun and interactive PowerPoint for teaching teens about the consequences of underage possession of alcohol.

Free fun and interactive PowerPoint for teaching teens about the consequences of underage possession of alcohol.Included in the bundle:
1. PowerPoint
2. Detailed Lesson Plans
3. Handout: Student Quiz Sheet
4. Handout: Buy Now Activity
5. Handout: The ABC’s of Alcohol
6. Class Activity: Return to Sender
7. Class Evaluation
8. Class Certificate

Additional Classroom Information Available at the SRO TOOLBOX:
— Short video explaining how to use the PowerPoint–there is a timed competion included in the slides
— Suggested attention getter to use and a short video of what it looks like being played with students
— Short video explaining how to make the most of the attention getter
— Continued support in helping you deliver a great class!

Please Share This With…
— SRO’s
— Principals
— Safety Centers
— Health Teachers
— Counselors & Others


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Free PowerPoint: Indicators of Danger

indicator1Helping our teachers prevent a school attack.  This short free PowerPoint will educate school personnel how to spot indicators of danger.Those who are preparing for a school attack give off warning signals or indicators of danger.

Use this PowerPoint to teach a quick class after school or email it to your teachers and staff so they can view it individually.

It reviews the 4 ways that teachers can see, hear, smell, and feel indicators of danger that warn of an impending attack.

It’s 24 slides and takes about 15 minutes to watch–real simple.

How Can I Get A Copy?
1. Follow this blog.
AND
2. Leave a comment on this post.

And as soon as we verify that you’re with a school or police department (please use your school/police email!) or someone who has attended one of our trainings, we’ll email you the presentation.  Sorry!  With the sensitive nature of the information shared in the PowerPoint, we have to be certain that it will only be used for good.

P.S.
Please help us to get this to those who could help prevent a school attack by forwarding this blog post to any principals, teachers, or police officers you know.