Claim #4 Evidence
The FCE staff is 100% committed to Crew being the fabric of who we are.
“Our summer institute was the perfect platform for our staff to take the first step in EL education. It was exciting that our staff was in agreement to establish the Habits of Character that both staff and students would truly live by at Fox Creek. After the seven habits were decided, I was fortunate to lead a team of passionate teachers to define each one of them using student language so they would be understood by all. I believe these Habits of Character act as a solid foundation for everyone at Fox Creek, growing as learners and human beings.” Crystal Winter, Teacher
During Fox Creek’s three day summer institute during the summer before becoming an EL school, our staff discussed the power of creating a set of character traits or habits as a foundation for our school. Long lists of character traits and examples of habit lists implemented by other schools were shared. We encouraged each table to brainstorm their top choices of habits for Fox Creek and we wrote them all up on the board. Before we voted and during the voting, we encouraged everyone to share their passionate feelings about particular words. It was exciting to see several teachers have the courage to speak up about a particular trait and change many people’s minds about that trait. Then, we voted (with our eyes closed) and came up with a set of traits that all got the highest votes. Our final step at the institute was to begin making these traits come alive for us so everyone divided up to create posters which illustrated what each chosen trait might look like, sound like, and feel like. A small group of teachers passionate about these character traits continued the work by creating the definitions of each habit. Our art teacher, PJ, had students in the school brainstorm and illustrate what they thought each character trait meant. The team of teachers used this “kid language” to define each habit so each one of them would be understood by all the students at Fox Creek. Once the Habits of Character were defined, we made posters and each teacher began using these during our Crew time each morning to teach our students about them. They have become the heartbeat of our school.
First graders singing their Habits of Character song. Learning to make this part of their everyday vocabulary and mindset.
“Togetherness allows us to play together, learning about one another and learning to resolve disagreements in context. Looking at playground disagreements as formative assessment provides opportunities to learn from one another about perspective, conflict resolution, and strategic thinking. Not only does play allow us to connect in ways that improve collaboration in the classroom, but it also allows students to focus on the present moment.” Shari Griffin, Teacher
As a staff, we believe being together with our crew is time well spent. Togetherness Time was created in response to helping kids learn how to become better problem solvers on the playground. During 2015/2016 school year, 72% of office visits were related to recess conflict and needed disciplinary actions by administration. This data does not reflect teacher, educational assistant, and student involvement in Restorative Practices after recess. In the fall of 2016, our staff felt a need to provide a time for teachers and students to engage in organized play. At least three times a week, each grade level participates in a crew activity that is modeled, guided, and practiced to help develop strategic thinkers and problem solvers. Our PE teacher, Brian Gill, started the year with each grade learning how to play a variety of collaborative games as a resource for teachers and students. He encouraged different ways to use kind language when in problem solving situations. As a result, students can be seen collaborating in different games, using their integrity to play fairly, and using compassion when solving problems. After integrating Togetherness time during this last school year, from August 2016 to March 2017, administration has seen a dramatic decrease (72% to 6%) in recess conflict and disciplinary actions needed.
Crew on Professional Development Days
“Fox Creek staff participates in crew during our professional development days to support our growth and build personal relationships. This enables us to work together more effectively as we collaborate and work together to provide the best learning environment possible for children.” Laura Jones, Teacher
At Fox Creek, we believe that it is important for us as teachers to model what we expect of our students. Core Practice 35 speaks to the necessity of staff intentionally modeling effective instructional practices in staff meetings and professional development meetings. Just as we ask our students to participate in crew traditions such as greetings, readings, team building initiatives and reflection in order to build trust and collegiality, we as staff members need to create that same sense of community. Embedding Crew into all of our meetings allows us to join together to support each other, build common understanding and foster a culture of trust and support. We also believe that the crew who works together needs to have fun and be joyful together.
The Power of Play!