Saturday, 26 November 2022

Putting Students First: What’s cooler than being kind?

Kelseyville Unified Superintendent Dr. Dave McQueen. Courtesy photo.

KELSEYVILLE, Calif. — Kindness is something we’re focusing on all year at Kelseyville Unified School District.

When kids are kind to themselves and others, it creates a safe environment so students can learn and achieve at the highest levels. It also makes going to school more enjoyable.

Part of the reason I bring it up is that October is National Bullying Prevention Month. It’s a good time to talk about kindness and the perfect opportunity to shine a light on the work our administrators are doing to prevent bullying and other behavioral problems in the Kelseyville Unified School District.

For starters, we’re leaning into Positive Behavior Intervention Systems, or PBIS, this year. That sounds awfully complicated, but it’s just a fancy way of saying that we’re being proactive about teaching our students how to behave and, hopefully, be kind.

Our educators set clear expectations with students and then provide them with the support they need to meet those expectations. We’re trying to squash problems before they begin. If you ask me, that’s way better than waiting for trouble to show up then scrambling to do something about it. Not that we don’t have plans for issues when they do pop up.

PBIS was the topic of our first Family Night Out last month. If you don't join us for one of these at some point this year, you’re missing out! We host meetings on the second Wednesday of every month from 6 to 7 p.m. in the Student Center at Kelseyville High School. It’s a chance for families to come out and connect with school principals and district leaders around important issues that affect students.

A lot of our administrators attend, including all of our principals, Assistant Superintendent Dr. Nicki Thomas, a couple of board members, and myself.

Our September was such a big hit that I’m really looking forward to the next one. We had a great turnout and some good conversation about what we’re doing with PBIS in our schools. Parents left with some new skills for communicating with their students, so they can help them be successful. We want kids to behave and be kind at school and at home, so getting on the same page with parents is always a priority for us.

Our next Family Night Out is coming up on Wednesday, Oct. 12, at 6 p.m. As always, we’ll provide free dinner and child care to make it more convenient for everyone, but this time we also have a great keynote speaker lined up. Author and professional development trainer Ron L. James will join us to talk about kindness, being positive, anti-bullying, and last but not least, the beast that is social media.

While I’m sure social media was intended for good, unfortunately, it’s been used mostly to stir up trouble. It can be a really big problem in our schools. A lot of the time, when we have behavioral incidents like bullying or fights, the issues start on social media plus, these platforms put so much peer pressure on students.

Those of us who have been out of school for a while were lucky — we didn’t experience going to school in the age of smartphones and social media. These days, we’re stuck with Instagram, TikTok and all the problems they bring.

That’s why we’ve invited Ron L. James to talk about this stuff in a way we can all wrap our heads around. There’ll be plenty of useful information for everyone to take home and put into action. We’ll show you how to monitor your kids’ social media use and talk about some warning signs to watch for.

Afterward, we’ll vote on the topic for next month’s meeting. I hope you join us. In addition to good company and productive conversation, did I mention there’ll be plenty to eat? Do you really want to pass up a free dinner? I didn’t think so.

Seriously, though, it’s important for parents and educators to regularly meet and talk about the issues affecting students. Our Family Night Out events serve exactly that purpose. I really hope you’ll take advantage of these opportunities to meet and speak with Kelseyville Unified’s leadership — and to pick up some skills and strategies for encouraging kindness at home.

And if you can’t make it, don’t worry, there are other ways to stay connected. Please know that our principals and vice principals want to talk to you.

Speaking of kindness, they’re some of the kindest folks around. Reach out to them and keep an eye out for our weekly Principal’s Notes, which include school-specific updates for parents and students.

When we all openly communicate and work together, we can accomplish so much, and we have a real opportunity to make kindness our superpower.

Dr. Dave McQueen is superintendent for the Kelseyville Unified School District.

Upcoming Calendar

11.26.2022 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
11.26.2022 11:00 am - 1:00 pm
Weekly writing workshop
11.26.2022 11:00 am - 6:00 pm
Dickens' Festival
11.28.2022 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Scotts Valley Advisory Council
11.29.2022 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Rotary Club of Clear Lake
12.01.2022 7:30 am - 8:30 am
Rotary Club of Middletown
12.03.2022 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
12.03.2022 11:00 am - 1:00 pm
Weekly writing workshop
12.06.2022 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Rotary Club of Clear Lake
12.08.2022 7:30 am - 8:30 am
Rotary Club of Middletown

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