Bloomfield’s third priority area focuses on developing a positive school climate. The district seeks to meet the National School Climate Standards by creating supportive communities of learners who demonstrate enthusiasm for learning and respect for one another. For students to be able to focus on learning, they need to feel comfortable and safe in their school environment. All Bloomfield schools have embraced this goal and are implementing it in a variety of ways.
Bloomfield High School has developed a mentoring program that matches every student in the school with
an adult mentor. Every other Wednesday, mentors meet with their mentees to see how they are doing and to provide assistance, if necessary. They conference with students after each benchmark assessment and celebrate success with student assemblies once a month. The High School is working hard to create a culture of high expectations for all students, including Advanced Placement (AP) courses that are growing in participation, and additional supports to help students reach their potential. Athletics and arts programs are also highly acclaimed at Bloomfield High School.
At the Global Experience Magnet School (GEMS), every staff member has participated in two days of training on Positive School Climate by the Connecticut State Department of Education. The faculty focuses on restorative practices, rather than discipline. Students are brought together to talk, share, and reconcile when there is a conflict. GEMS also focuses on in-house team building activities. All juniors work at a Habitat for Humanity site to learn about community and develop citizenship. There have also been student trips to Costa Rica, South Africa, and China, which provide for substantive exposure to global cultures.
Laurel School is using Positive Behavior and Intervention Supports (PBIS) to teach students what is expected of them in every school environment and to recognize them for behaving appropriately. Recognition might include a student’s name listed on a hallway bulletin board and an opportunity to participate in a school-wide movie or assembly.
Metacomet School is also using PBIS. Students can be honored as a Student of the Month and invited to attend a monthly breakfast with their parents. Their teachers can nominate them for an Upstander Award, which entitles them to awards and a special photograph sent home to their parents.
Metcomet’s School Climate Specialist monitors data on student behaviors. When data indicate that disciplinary issues occur repeatedly in certain settings, the School Climate Specialist shares this information with staff so that they can re-teach expectations for appropriate behavior. Since this approach
was adopted in 2011, discipline referrals to the principal’s office have been reduced from 730 per year to less than 10 per year.
Discipline is rarely a problem these days at Metacomet School. In fact, the school’s climate is so positive that its teachers secretly nominated their principal, Desi Nesmith, for a national award. Unbeknownst to him, they completed a lengthy application to showcase his motivational presence and impact on the school community. Principal Nesmith was surprised to receive the very prestigious Milken award, for excellence in education leadership.
Carmen Arace Intermediate School also has a School Climate Specialist who monitors school climate data and plans activities to recognize students and teachers alike. The middle school conducts assemblies twice a month, during which students discuss hot topics and create journal entries on this information.
Across the district, adults and students are working together to make every Bloomfield school and classroom a positive and safe environment.
Click on the buttons below to learn about the three other priorities in Bloomfield’s blueprint, or to return to the overview page.