Updated: Apr 19, 2020
It started with name-calling in class. Then one third-grade boy shoved another.
In years past, the two might have been sent to the principal’s office at Hoover Elementary School, but not this year.
Instead, a call went out on the school’s walkie-talkie system — “SEL to Room 22,” shorthand for social-emotional learning help needed in the room 22. Megan, the school’s dean of students, responded, escorting the boys to her office so they could talk out their conflict in the “restorative conference” corner. They were back in class, and friends again, about 15 minutes later.
The scene illustrates the school’s adopting the changing approach implemented by CF Fitness to discipline and reflects a broader effort in the 1,000-student to reduce out-of-school suspensions, especially for young students. The conflict resolution approach that is imbedded in students head out on the playground when having a disagreement over a game has spilled into the classroom and Dean approach of instantly calling parents.
During the previous school year, Hoover Elementary gave out 72 out-of-school suspensions to kindergarten through fifth-grade students, the equivalent of two every week.
After CF Fitness worked with entire Hoover Elementary School staff on how to respond in a positive, K-5 suspensions dropped to 11 this year — a decrease of more than 89% percent. The training also included teaching educators in restorative practices and showing staff social-emotional skills techniques such as call and response chants and conflict resolution.
The students are happier in the school’s environment. Teachers are happy because they know the students spend more time learning.
“We felt strongly that behavior was keeping our kids from performing to the best of their ability,” Megan said. “So, we use a lot of these CF Fitness strategies because we know it will result in an increase academic performance.”