Out with the old, in with the new, Laguna Creek High school is bringing a new program to their campus called Cardinal Support.
CSC focuses on getting the core on why and how students receive punishments, and throughout this process students will receive support and advice from counselors, teachers, reliable peers, and the CSC staff themselves.
Nancy Olson, one of the coordinators of this program, has a specific background on how to deal with obstacles she will face with teachers and students, alongside with her colleague Steve Bryant.
Having worked with Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports (PBIS) in other places in the district, Olson offers advice in order to create a way of changing behavior rather than focusing only on punishment. It also helps students and teachers figure out how to repair damaged relationships.
The goal is also to get teachers to become mentors for students who need more connection to the school, Olson said.
Replacing “OCS”, also known as On-Campus Suspension, was necessary, according to Olson, because focusing on punishment has its limitations.
Also, OCS suffered from inconsistency because it was largely run by substitutes who would be replaced every 30 days, which led to a lack of structure, consistency, and an overall understanding of why students were receiving punishments.
For the program to be effective, It is essential, Olson says, to thoroughly understand what the student may be going through, no matter how little or severe it may be.
Another part of her job is to help teachers be more proactive in dealing with students by helping them use part of the program in their own classrooms.
One example of how she can help teachers is to hold meetings between teachers and students who are having a conflict in order to show them a path toward resolving the program.
Another strategy for resolving conflict involves something called “constructive circle”.
Students are brought together to discuss a specific conflict with outside staff, such as counselors or administrators, guiding the conversation to help students get to the root of each problem.
But what if a situation deals with a student’s individual behavioral conflict. An example of this is a student decides they do not want to dress for PE.
Most likely, the student will be immediately sent to CSC, where Olson can consult the student on why they are not dressing. Sometimes the student may have behavioral issues or financially can’t dress at all. All of this can be discussed back to the teacher in order to prevent them from committing further unnecessary punishments toward that student.
Although teachers and the CSC staff are the ones guiding students at the school, it is important for practices and methods to be reciprocated at home, through the help of parents and legal guardians.
Olson has structured it to where counselors can involve parents/guardians in improving their teen’s overall well-being, whether they struggle with depression, anxiety, family issues, attendance, parental support, etc.
Olson says, “Parents are contacted when students have their second visit here, with parents we make them a partner in the discipline process and ask them to inform us about how to support them and what are their barriers or financial issues.”
Olson and Steve Bryant, another CSC coordinator, strive to maintain proactive counseling throughout the year and continue to change the way of how students receive support in our school.