CEDoW has recently had the outstanding distinction of celebrating a 10-year milestone of the implementation of School-wide Positive Behaviours for Learning (SPB4L), in all twenty-nine Diocesan primary schools.
“The litmus test of all leadership is whether it mobilises people’s commitment to putting their energy into actions designed to improve things. It is individual commitment, but above all it is collective mobilisation” - Michael Fullan, Leading in a Culture of Change, 2001
SPB4L is an international, evidence-based framework that brings school communities together to create vibrant and positive learning environments in which all students are supported to reach their full potential.
The SPB4L framework uses a range of systemic and individualised strategies to assist schools to identify and successfully implement evidence based, whole-school practices that improve the well-being and social, emotional, behavioural and academic outcomes for all students.
Further, it links in with other CEDoW initiatives including: School Review and Improvement, MSPEC, the Diocesan Learning and Teaching Framework, the Pastoral Care Framework (Path to Life), Restorative Justice and Teacher Accreditation.
“I liken SPB4L to a trellis,” says St Joseph’s, Bulli Principal Jen Charadia, “Like a trellis that is well-built and well-installed, students thrive on well-built and well-installed supportive structures. SPB4L supports the growth of students, where most are able to grow and thrive on this structure. Some need a little guidance, while others need training to pass their growing shoots through the trellis.”
Mrs Charadia is now in her third school with SPB4L implemented. Her current school graduated on Wednesday 24 October together with the other schools: St Clare’s, Narellan Vale; St Paul’s, Camden and St Therese, West Wollongong.
Mrs Chardia said that SPB4L has provided a reliable approach to behaviour support and management, offering consistent language, expectations, rules, rewards and effective positive corrections including explicitly teaching behaviour expectations to support quality relationships and learning. This has become an integral part of sustaining a positive school culture for all staff, students and parents.
“Some of our students have been in our world for five years, and less than a year in our school world. They get it wrong at some point however SPB4L has given students a trellis for how to be within the school environment,” she said.
“It's about non-punitive discipline measures, enabling students to keep their dignity and ensure learning is maximised. Sometimes, staff need a little help with students. I've found that often all it takes is time to come back to the universals of SPB4L, the school-wide and classroom procedures, and they too are back on track.”
One of the main successes is that SPB4L has been led from the ground up by a strong team, currently School Improvement Services-Specialist Support (SI-SS). Leading from the beginning with unrelenting vision and commitment were Professional Officers, Kerrie Hayes-Williams and Monika Trauth.
In 2007, Ms Hayes-Williams and Ms Trauth presented a paper to the CEDoW Leadership Team titled 'Positive Behaviour for Learning (PBL): A Systemic Approaching to Creating Environments to Prevent Challenging Behaviours and Support Students At-Risk'. The paper was based on research of what works in behaviour support and student well-being internationally.
The recommendation to trial the implementation of the framework was agreed to and commenced in 2008 with four schools trusting in the new direction and ‘taking a leap of faith’: St Francis of Assisi, Warrawong; Mary Immaculate, Eagle Vale; St Michael’s, Thirroul and St Thomas More, Ruse.
Senior Professional Officer, Cynthia McCammon said that Warren Dawson, Statewide Coordinator for PBL with Queensland Education Department, conducted the initial training however then passed on his wealth of resources to Ms Hayes-Williams and Ms Trauth, who took over the delivery of school team training.
The work of Department of Education Western Sydney colleague, Jill Schofield, was also significantly relied upon and the research of the two ‘big names’ in PBL - Tim Lewis and George Sugai from the US.
“The generous sharing of resources is a strength of the PBL community. Representatives from other Dioceses have visited CEDoW, attended our workshops and benefited from Monika and Kerrie’s expertise,” Mrs McCammon said.
Ms Trauth shared that to achieve such effective and sustainable change with SPB4L, the key has been the following:
Clear direction and outcomes - improvement of student behaviour and well-being, as linked to improved academic outcomes and ultimately life success;
Evidence based strategies to get you there - fidelity to the framework;
Unwavering support from the top – attributed to Peter Turner and CEDoW Leadership Team, together with principals, all great advocates; and
Sustained action overtime - “sheer hard work” and “keeping at it”.
Mrs McCammon added, “SPB4L works and there is evidence to prove this, we have the data to demonstrate this. It’s not going away, and in CEDoW we have been, and continue to be, in it for the long haul. In Tim Lewis’ words, SPB4L is a marathon not a sprint - bring on the next 10 years!”
Additionally, in 2017 SI-SS took on another challenge and moved into secondary schools, with the implementation of a positive behaviours for learning approach, Behaviour Options for Well-being and Learning (BOWL).
BOWL acknowledges student voice, as well as the particular needs and interests of secondary schools. Ms Hayes-Williams is leading this initiative, along with CEDoW Secondary Coaches and school teams. The hope being, that by the end of 2019 every school in the Diocese will be implementing the Positive Behaviours for Learning Framework.
CEDoW thanks SI-SS for the great support provided to our schools. To staff along the journey: Paul McCann, Noel Henry, Cynthia McCammon, Kerrie Hayes-Williams and Monika Trauth. CEDoW Level Coaches: Jan Hutton, Rebecca Gibbs, Kerryn Barnett, Therese Campbell, Kim Larsen, Ann Rovere, Sandra Michielin, Celia Elphick, Toni Howard, Anne Hook, Karan Taylor, Gail Tarrant and together with administration staff: Jo Cable, Lindy Davis, Catherine Farnworth, Diana Novak, and Corporate Applications Architect: Tim Davey.