Thursday, November 2, 2017

Love Changes it All - Be Like Christ!


Love Changes it All - Be Like Christ!  
National Tour

A Peaceable School Approach to Aggression

At All Saints Academy we aim to minimize social conflict and promote safety for each of our students. We believe that a positive behavior intervention approach and Christian character development is not only in the best interest of our school community, but for society as a whole. Based on ancient wisdoms, moral philosophies, research-based psychological principles for resolving conflict, and our faith, we have been working as a staff to build our positive behavior intervention and supports (PBIS) tool kit.

At ASA we believe we can all grow and we strive to be the best version of ourselves, but we know conflict still happens from time to time. Since the beginning of time conflicts between people have occured. Unfortunately friends and enemies exist in all areas of the globe. At ASA we also believe that all things are possible through Christ, so we continue to work for peace and hold each other accountable to “Being Like Christ.”

As a Catholic school we embrace conflict as a teaching opportunity, and we persist in community because ultimately we believe we are One Body in Christ. At All Saints Academy we focus on the spiritual, intellectual, moral, social, and physical development of our children. We cultivate faith-filled relationships among our community, strengthening our commitment to love and service. Because of these founding principles we have dedicated instructional time and resources to support social and emotional learning efforts. As with other subjects like math, science, and social studies, we know that some students will find these lessons and life’s social conflict to be especially challenging. At ASA we believe creativity and innovation promote success, so we work together to balance the time we invest into all of the great learning going on at our school! As a Catholic school we are blessed to be able to integrate faith, prayer and virtues into all aspects of our day. Please know we are dedicated to equipping all students with skills so they might be empowered to navigate social conflict over time. We aim to assist our students in mastering the ability to solve social problems on their own and reduce social conflicts.

Discerning Types of Aggression

The word bullying is a confusing term to discuss aggression. It is often misunderstood, misused, and the definition is ever-changing. While our school abides by anti-bullying laws, we are also committed to using clear language to describe specific behaviors so that we might better communicate with one another and find practical solutions to any problem that exists. We encourage you to use specific language (such as name-calling, rumors, jokes, etc.) to describe behaviors commonly referred to as “bullying” with your students and school staff. This helps us better identify and address these behaviors.

An Overview of Our Efforts

As a staff we have worked with Jeff Veley on resilience education. There are links to a number of great resources from him below.

jv 2.jpg

In addition to a lot of great background information and professional development work our staff practiced the “peace sign” approach with Jeff.

The Peace Sign: Ninja Skills for dealing with social conflict, aggression and bullying:  
  1. Don’t get upset
  2. Treat Them Like a Friend

We have also been working with the Program for Inclusive Education at the University of Notre Dame to define and develop a PBIS framework at ASA. At the elementary campus our PBIS phrase is: Be Fair, Be Kind, Be Safe.

At the middle school campus our phrase is: Be Like CHRIST
Honor with respect

Handling Social Aggression
Social aggression that causes subjective harm (behavior that is aimed at hurting someone’s feelings) is a violation of our positive school expectations. We ask our students to treat others in a friendly and loving manner to build a positive school culture: Be Fair, Be Kind, Be Safe, Be Like CHRIST!

Giving consequences for non-criminal acts of social aggression (like name calling) has been proven to raise hostility, increase victimization, and perpetuate negative behavior. Therefore, our staff will work with students to replace negative behaviors and cope with any negative emotions in a way that is healthy and productive while supporting those affected by negative behaviors.

We encourage all students, staff, and parents to ‘take action’ when they see social aggression in a way that encouraged peace, civility and friendliness.

Handling Physical Aggression

Acts and threats of physical aggression (behavior that causes objective harm to someone’s body or property) are a violation of our Aggressive Behavior Rubric. Behavior that does not cause pain (such as horseplay or pushing and shoving) will be addressed by staff and consequences will be given based on the severity of the incident(s).

Criminal behavior and threats thereof are a violation of our Aggressive Behavior Rubric and the law. Students that break the law may be subject to additional consequences outside of school.

Bringing it All Together

Our student behavior expectations are governed by the Golden Rule which states to “Treat others the way that you want to be treated.” In the spirit of the Golden Rule, we will do our best to work with parents to “Communicate in a way that we would like to be communicated with” and to “Discipline in a way that we would like to be disciplined.” In other words we aim to “Teach the way we would want to be taught” because our focus is on promoting healthy behaviors and learning from mistakes to help all at ASA grow and become the best versions of themselves.

We do our best to give consequences that match the severity of the behavior, offer opportunities for students to solve their own problems and fix mistakes, promote relationship skills, and encourage positive behavior while working to help students improve responsible decision-making. We strive to provide disciplinary action that is in the best interest of our students and the overall learning environment.

ASA parents, we are so happy and proud to be partnered with you, the primary educators of your children, as we work to Form Saints to Serve All!

A very special thanks to Jeff Veley and The Campus Peace-Building Initiative for working with us the past 3 years and helping us to articulate this believe and peace focused approach to social conflicts! It is an honor to build on their great work and add into the discussion our ASA beliefs as we work to strengthen our community!


Educators, parents, and mental health professionals will learn how to help students grow in their resilience and peacefully respond to social aggression. This video is easy to distribute to staff and parents through an email newsletter. Those that sign up will receive additional resources and follow up materials from Jeff throughout the year.

Peace Cards w/ Digital Resources (Sample Student Link)
Wallet-sized resource cards for students that include social skills to respond to mean behavior, coping skills for dealing with stress,  a 24/7 crisis hotline, and a downloadable video from Jeff sharing the key points of the program through one-on-one teaching. A perfect way to reinforce Jeff's message and offer a resource for students who find themselves in need of help or wants to pass it on to help a friend.
We have these at both our campuses and use them with students as needed.

Access Jeff's weekly radio features, online blog, and free video training for students and parents.  Subscribe to get a weekly tip from Jeff in your inbox as a discussion starter.

Additional articles, interviews, podcasts, and blog posts are provided on a weekly and monthly basis. Staff can simply access these at

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