Positive Behavior and Relationships: Reinforced Daily at SJA
In these days when bullying and depression seem to make the papers with alarming frequency, St. Joan of Arc School continues to exercise daily prudence in encouraging students to employ good behaviors and cultivate methodologies to achieve positive relationships among their peers as well as the adults in the school.
Continuing a program which SJA implemented at the school five years ago, students in Grades K through 8 attended individual grade level sessions led by Dr. Marcia McEvoy, Ph.D., about the prevention of bullying, mean teasing, intimidation and harassment. Dr. McEvoy is a Licensed Psychologist who has worked in a variety of settings including public schools, community mental health centers, child diagnostic clinics, and two universities. “The content and intensity varies by age.” said Dr. McEvoy, “because each grade is at a different developmental level.”
At the base level, the program defines unacceptable behavior in clear, objective terms. The consequences for unacceptable behavior are also clearly defined. In her program, Dr. McEvoy provides students with specific strategies to help them navigate through social situations should mean behavior, bullying or harassment occur. She also teaches the students about positive strategies to employ when they see others being targeted or harassed.
In addition to the student sessions, parents received supplemental materials. Faculty and staff attended refresher courses on the program as well. The impact of consistently applying a detailed definition of unacceptable behavior is unmistakable. The dividends of establishing a positive school culture, instituting proactive prevention systems, and teaching students the tools to handle themselves in difficult situations are unquestionably beneficial.