Title

An Integrated Approach to Transforming School Culture and Climate

First Presenter's Institution

Cedar Rapids Community School District

Second Presenter's Institution

Cedar Rapids Community School District

Third Presenter's Institution

Cedar Rapids Community School District

Fourth Presenter's Institution

n/a

Fifth Presenter's Institution

n/a

Location

Scarbrough 3

Strand #1

Social & Emotional Skills

Strand #2

Safety & Violence Prevention

Relevance

“HEART”: Social and Emotional Skills & “HANDS” Safety and Violence Prevention:

SEL standards, restorative practices, trauma-informed care, mindfulness, and intercultural development are all research-based models that support the “heart” and “hands” threads.

Brief Program Description

In an age of buzzwords and phrases encompassing school culture and climate, how do we practically embed these pieces into a cohesive, equitable approach to teaching and learning? This session will focus specifically on integrating restorative practices, trauma-informed care, mindfulness, and intercultural development within the middle school setting.

Summary

Educators are continually charged with the implementation of multiple initiatives at once. This often results in fragmented actualization of initiatives and educator “burn-out”. In an age of buzzwords and phrases encompassing school culture and climate, how do we practically embed these pieces into a cohesive, equitable approach to teaching and learning? This session will focus specifically on integrating restorative practices, trauma-informed care, mindfulness, and intercultural development within the middle school setting. It is critical to intentionally engage staff in meaningful learning opportunities to connect these practices.

Our approach to teaching and learning are rooted in growth mindset and transformational learning theory. (Dweck, 2006) (Mezirow, 1997) Specific reflective foci will include: 1) transforming barriers into opportunities for growth; 2) shifting staff mindset; 3) engaging staff in crucial conversations.

We plan to utilize a middle school’s current journey of culture and climate transformation as a vehicle to demonstrate both the opportunities and barriers to implementing a cohesive approach to support meaningful, sustainable growth and change. We will engage participants in a take-away activity that can be used in their own setting to visually connect practices to illustrate the interconnection of these practices to increase staff efficacy and “buy-in”. Further, participants will walk away with tangible, informational resources to apply these concepts within their own unique setting.

Evidence

We plan to utilize multiple qualitative and quantitative data points to explore this journey: school culture/climate data, office referral and suspension data, intercultural development inventory data, and readiness for restorative practices data.

Format

Individual Presentation

Biographical Sketch

Kat Carroll Bevins (District Secondary Culture & Climate Transformation Facilitator):

Kat Bevins grew up in Rockford, Illinois and moved to Iowa City, Iowa after high school to attend the University of Iowa in pursuit of a career in the arts. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art with a focus on painting with a K-12 Art Education Certificate (2002), a Master of Arts degree in Educational Policy and Leadership Studies with a Principal Licensure (2012), and is currently a doctoral candidate at Concordia University with a specialization in Professional Leadership, Inquiry, and Transformation (2018*).

Kat began her journey working with students “at-risk” during her secondary student teaching experience at Metro High School, an alternative high school in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. After college and a year as a full-time social studies teaching position at the alternative high school, Kat established and coordinated a small success center program for two years at a rural Iowa Jr/Sr High School. She then moved to Cedar Rapids, Iowa and returned to Metro High School where she was the Freshmen Facilitator for 11 years; she also developed and directly instructed women’s empowerment programming for 9 of those years.

For the last year, Kat has served secondary buildings throughout the district as a Climate & Culture Transformation Facilitator (formerly titled Learning Supports Facilitator), where she has created and facilitated professional development opportunities for administrators, teachers, and paraprofessionals in the areas of: adverse childhood experiences and trauma-informed care, cultural consciousness, restorative practices, student engagement, and chronic absenteeism.

Kat has previously presented at NYAR conferences on working with young women: Gender-Specific Programming for At-Risk Girls (2013), Building a Sisterhood of Trust (2010). She was also a NYAR Mean Girls panelist in 2010.

Justin Blietz (Associate Principal of McKinley Middle School):

Biographical sketch in progress

Dr. Carlos Grant (Executive Director for Personalized Learning, Middle Education & Partner Development):

Dr. Carlos C. Grant was born in Winston-Salem, NC and raised in Columbia, South Carolina. He received a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology Education from SC State University, Masters of Education (MEd) in Educational Leadership from Winthrop University, and Educational Doctorate (EdD) in Educational Leadership and Superintendency from the University of North Carolina-Charlotte. Dr. Grant over 15 years of experience in the educational field. This includes being a high school science teacher, Assistant Principal in Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools. Prior to living in Iowa, he was the Academic Director of York Preparatory Academy (K-12 public, charter school).

He came to Iowa to serve as the Principal of Metro High School. His vision for Metro was centered on transforming the function of alternative schools around three key areas: (1) 21st century technology, (2) boundary-free collaboration, and (3) “outside the box” flexibility. He believes this will directly influence the shortage of current and future skilled workers in the technical areas of Architecture, Construction and Engineering. He was instrumental in developing the Metro STEAM Academy that is focused on exposing students to 21st century technology will better prepare them for STEAM related careers, which will make them more marketable in the global economy.

In the summer of 2016, he was promoted to be the Executive Director for Personalized Learning, Middle Education & Partner Development. He is responsible for administrative supervision of all services related to middle school education in the Cedar Rapids Community Schools. His current focus is on re-visioning the role schools play in designing instruction that is student-centered, competency-based, and incorporates standards based assessments in all levels. He also served a dual role within the school district as the interim Principal at Washington High School for the 2016-2017 school year.

He currently resides in Marion, IA where he and Michelle two wonderful children, Cameron (12) and Cayden (10). Beyond being an avid golfer and reader, he spends a tremendous amount of time in community activism through his involvement with Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cedar Rapids, Four Oaks Board of Directors, Cedar Rapids Safe Equitable and Thriving (S.E.T.) Task Force, and Metro North Rotary Club.

Keyword Descriptors

climate, culture, restorative, mindset, trauma-informed, community, mindfulness, mtss, social-emotional, discipline, behavior

Presentation Year

2018

Start Date

3-7-2018 9:45 AM

End Date

3-7-2018 11:00 AM

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Mar 7th, 9:45 AM Mar 7th, 11:00 AM

An Integrated Approach to Transforming School Culture and Climate

Scarbrough 3

In an age of buzzwords and phrases encompassing school culture and climate, how do we practically embed these pieces into a cohesive, equitable approach to teaching and learning? This session will focus specifically on integrating restorative practices, trauma-informed care, mindfulness, and intercultural development within the middle school setting.