Since the Muskegon Area Independent School District (MAISD) in Michigan received a Project Prevent (Cohort 2) grant in 2020, the district has been committed to revising and revamping their Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) and Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) approaches. The district has engaged in many professional development opportunities, including exploring PBIS in the classroom (using CHAMPS training) and implementing Restorative Practices. The schools in the district have put in considerable effort to sharpen their Tier 1 and 2 systems, practices, and use of data to drive decisions.
One of the most significant strategies MAISD has implemented has been improving professional development and enhancing Tier 1 practices via a small group coaching model using Restorative Circles focused on classroom management. Once a month during the 2022-23 school year, all teaching staff participated in these circles facilitated by a Project Prevent (P2) consultant to discuss five elements of classroom management: Structure, Teaching expectations, Observation, Interact positively, Correcting fluently (STOIC). The P2 facilitators used a Circle Planning Guide to encourage community building and ensure all voices were heard. To view an example coaching session, click here: Example Coaching Session - Google Slides. Throughout the process, they remained aligned to their mission of implementing and improving PBIS systems district-wide while being flexible and meeting immediate teacher needs.
The small group coaching via restorative circles proved itself quite successful. Via the circles, teachers shared their strategies, practices, knowledge, and challenges with one another, as well as through self-assessment. Staff reported finding them fulfilling and useful as they built community and meaningful connections with other staff members; one teacher specifically cited classroom walk-throughs as an activity that allowed her to not only get to know other teachers better, but also learn ways to enhance her own classroom setup and management.