I have presented the Living Above the Line approach to student behavior several times. Each time, the questions end up being about our Eagles Success Program (ESP). As you probably guessed, our mascot is the Eagles. ESP was implemented to support teachers when we changed the Junior High to a no zero policy in the spring of 2007. ESP is simply a program to support our philosophy. However, without building a caring culture and a culture of all students will learn, this program will not have success. This program is not meant to be punitive.
Here is a list of how our school implements Lunch ESP:
1. Students are required to complete homework
2. Students who are unable to complete homework will be assigned a Lunch ESP.
3. We use a google document survey that teachers fill out to assign ESP's (see below). This document is simple and includes name of student, assignment, additional instructions, students current grade, and teacher assigning the ESP.
4. The student is told directly that they have an ESP. We have found if you simply say anyone who didn't complete the assignment needs to serve an ESP, students don't show up. Teachers must say "Billy, you have an ESP today" or have an area where they write it on the board and even then, reminders are still encouraged.
5. Students show up to the assigned classroom during lunch.
6. We have a para in charge of ESP. Her job is to check the google spreadsheet (see below), go to the lunch room and get sack lunches for the students, go to the room and supervise/assist students, and let the office know if anyone didn't show.
7. The office calls the lunch supervisor if a student doesn't show up at ESP. Now this is rare but in the beginning we regularly had to send kids down to the ESP room. We figured out teachers had to be specific with students as stated in #4.
8. Students have lunch time to complete homework and eat lunch. Students have enough time because our para has already gotten their lunch. They don't have to stand in line which gives extra time to complete the homework.
9. Students must stay in Lunch ESP the entire lunch for logistical reasons and because we don't want them to rush.
10. Students in afternoon classes can be assigned an ESP for the next day. However, if they complete it prior to the next day and turn it in to the teacher by an agreed upon time, then the student will not have an ESP. This is where the culture is important. Teachers who want to use this as punishment for late work will not like this. Remember, the goal is that the work gets completed, not to punish kids for not getting it in on time.
What the administrator and para in charge of ESP sees:
What teachers fill out:
Programs are simply programs. Without the caring culture and a culture of all students will learn, this will simply be seen as a detention served at lunch. That then builds a negative, punitive feeling. In order to succeed, a strong culture must first be built and programs like this can then become powerful.