I remember my first assembly at Hollyburn. It was on a warm Tuesday in September and the school gym was packed with students and parents alike. Mrs. Grimwood gave a friendly welcome, made a few introductions, and asked the assembled students if, despite a long summer away from school, they had remembered the Hollyburn Code of Conduct. Well they had, and they could share all three points from memory too.
Be Safe. This is priority one. Students at Hollyburn know that staying safe at school is very important. This means not only avoiding unsafe behaviours, but also reporting to an adult if they see unsafe behaviour happening around them. In this way, students are looking out for each other.
Be Respectful. We respect each other by being considerate of feelings. We respect each other when we cooperate and work together to solve problems. In our classrooms, we talk about how giving respect to others, earns respect for ourselves. We also respect our environment when we kept our spaces clean and tidy, when we pack our lunches with reusable containers as packaging, when we sort the organics from recycling after lunch or recess snack, and when we take extra care of special places like the playground and school garden.
We respect ourselves when we are at our Personal Best.
“Personal Best” might be a hard quality to define, but it also may be the most important piece of the Hollyburn Code of Conduct. When we are each working to be our personal best, we are creating a community of caring, engaged learners. Still, students may wonder how we show our personal best. Luckily, the teachers have a variety of ways to help students recognize their personal best, and to see it in others as well.
Understanding your personal best likely begins by understanding yourself. Many teachers use the Zones of Regulation program to help students understand their feelings. This program teaches us that we are in control of our emotions by helping us to recognize how we are feeling, and to develop strategies for when we are feeling low, or elevated.
A lot of classrooms also discuss the importance of a Growth Mindset, which is the idea of having grit, and not giving up when things get tough.
Being our personal best also means learning about how we treat each other. Mr. Lund, our school counsellor, is working with some classes on building empathy and compassion for others using Second Step. This program teaches us about respecting individual differences, listening to others with attention, and understanding different perspectives.
To help resolve conflicts, some classrooms have just begun to use Power Talk. Power talk is a simple method for addressing conflicts independently. When we use power talk, we are using words to solve problems before things escalate. It’s goes like this. Say what you don’t like, “I don’t like when you call me that”. Say how it makes you feel, “It makes me feel like you aren’t my friend.” Tell them what you want to do, “I want you to call me by my name only.”
The Code of Conduct isn’t a list of things students can’t do, instead it’s three goals which we aspire to each day. A Hollyburn student keeps themselves and others safe, treats others with respect, and strives to be the best they can be, every day.