Strategies to Support Student Behaviour

Strategies to Support Student Behaviour and Promote Staff Safety
Posted on 06/27/2019
At the OCDSB, the safety of students and staff is always our first priority.  Like other Ontario school districts, the OCDSB has seen an increase in the number of behavioural issues reported in schools.  This is an issue we have been working to understand at the individual student level and at the system level.
The increase in incidents this school year may, in part, be a result of a new reporting system. In September 2018, the district shifted to an on-line system for reporting incidents.  This facilitates reporting and provides improved data.
Understanding the reasons for dysregulated or stress behaviour is a first step in supporting student behavior. Behavioural challenges arise when a child becomes stressed and overwhelmed and doesn’t have the skills to manage their emotions. The Board’s focus has been to build staff capacity in understanding stress behavior and promoting positive student behavior through relationship development and skill building (e.g. self-regulation, resilience, coping skills) for students of all ages. In addition, staff have opportunities for training in Behavior Management Systems (BMS) which includes knowing and understanding the student, identifying triggers, and de-escalating strategies.
This approach helps to create a safe and caring learning environment and is supported by strategies which may include:
  • considering the classroom environment such as: alternative seating, providing a quiet space, reducing sensory stimulation
  • providing a predictable, structured environment with clear and consistent expectations
  • supporting student transitions within the classroom and throughout the school teaching strategies which help children identify their feelings, understand the feelings of others and manage their emotions
In addition to developing strategies to address and support behaviour, the school district recognizes the importance of workplace safety strategies to safely manage incidents.  This can include the creation of safety plans.
A safety plan is developed for a student whose behaviour is known to pose an ongoing risk to others. It serves as a response plan that outlines the roles and responsibilities of staff in dealing with specific problem behaviours. 

The following are the recommended elements of a safety plan: 
a. Description of the observable behaviour concerns
b. Triggers or antecedents
c. Prevention and intervention strategies to support workers and student safety
d. Communication procedures for all staff
e. Emergency communication procedures for all staff

A safety plan may also include the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).  The decision to use PPE is made with careful consideration of the individual circumstances and the importance of ensuring the safety and well-being of all of our staff and students.

As we look forward to the next school year, we will continue to make this work a priority.

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