ELLINWOOD — With new Ellinwood High School principal Shawn Henderson, the school is starting new programs to build a positive school atmosphere for learning.
"Most notably, we’ve begun Effective School Discipline," said Henderson. "It is a way to interact. This is everybody."
The school took the time train all the teachers from kindergarten to 12th grade.
"The tenants are that kids have to take accountability," he said. He explained that there are all sorts of safety nets in the classroom. "The student have choices," he said.
Discipline is dealt with at every level. "It’s a work in progress," he said. "We’re changing for the best possible culture for our kids, academically, and to end bullying behavior."
Bullying behavior has changed since past years. "The tools and weapons have changed," said Henderson. The new tools include Internet and social networking.
He defined bullying behavior. It is unsolicited, repetitive, causes emotional or physical harm, and involves an uneven balance of power.
Sixteen student leaders from EHS, chosen by their teachers, recently met with student leaders from Lyons and Sterling to participate in a conference on Class Leadership. The point of the conference was to teach them to use peer pressure positively, and to become upstanders. All bullies have an audience, Henderson said. They want an audience.
"Upstanders start by standing up and saying ""This is not okay," the principal said. "They will take care of other students."
They want the kids to say, "we don’t do that here," he explained.
The district has also started a "Putup Box" in the school office. The box is so that any student can write something positive about another student.
In addition, the new discipline model uses the idea of redemption. Students who have broken the rules have to own their behavior and ask teacher if they can come back to the classroom.
It all works together to make for a more positive school atmosphere, Henderson said. They want kids to want to come to school.
They have also added pictures of kids in activities in the hallway and as well as positive thinking messages.
Henderson said he has already seen an improvement.
"We have a really strong staff," said Henderson. "They are doing a great job. I get real excited to come to work."