Wilmington Ramping Up Efforts To Improve School Culture & Climate

WILMINGTON, MA – The Wilmington School Committee received a presentation from the school district’s Culture & Climate Committee at its most recent meeting.

“We have expectations on how we want the students and adults in our school communities to interact with each other,” began Chair Christine McMenimen, Principal of the North Intermediate School.  “We have worked as a committee to build empathy within our students.  We, as a group, are working to promote a strong culture within the Wilmington Public Schools.”

McMenimen discussed the 5-year history of the committee:

  • Established in July 2010 as a district-wide bullying prevention committee
  • Develops procedures & protocols for reporting, investigating & documenting bullying allegations and incidents within the district
  • Organizes a kindness week in January of each year
  • Completes the required biennial review of bullying prevention & intervention plan
  • Oversees educational programming for students on topics recognizing bullying behaviors, the power of bystanders, supporting targeted students, and fostering a culture of accepting our differences

“Bullying prevention education looks different at each school depending on the grade level and what’s developmentally appropriate for our students,” notes committee member Lisa King, Principal of the Shawsheen Elementary School.

The Culture & Climate Committee has a busy six months ahead of it.

  • In June, the committee will pilot an online quiz for parents to take with their children at home that will open up a dialog on bullying.
  • Also in June, the Committee will complete an evaluation of the district’s current Second Step curriculum for bullying prevention, which will include a survey of all students, staff and parents.
  • In the fall, the Committee will sponsor a presentation from the Middlesex Partnership For Youth on the proper use of social media and the harmful effects on cyberbullying for parents and students in Grades 6-12.
  • The Committee will also sponsor a family night in the fall with Brett “Ooch” Outchcunis, a life coach for kids, on anti-bullying.

The Committee plans on conducting a school climate survey at all its schools on a biennial basis, beginning next October.

“We really need to be doing a survey on an every-other-year basis and really matching the data from survey to survey to see if we’re making gains in improving our student climate,” said Principal McMenimen. We also want to ensure that students are feeling safe, comfortable and respected here in the schools.”

The School Committee was pleased with the presentation.

“We’re so glad you came.  We really appreciate the committee’s hard work,” responded School Committee Chair Peggy Kane.  “We support you very much.”

School Climate & Culture Committee members include Carolyn Athens (WHS Teacher), Kathlene Cella (North Parent); Doreen Crowe (Director of Nurses); Lisa King (Shawsheen Principal); Mary Houde (SPED Director); Christine McMenimen (Chair, North Principal); Jo Newhouse (SEPAC Parent);  Dennis Shaw (West Principal); Rosangela Roman (WMS Teacher),  & Laura Stinson (PE/Health Liaison).

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