Nipping Negative Behavior in the Bud

Nipping Negative Behavior in the Bud


Referrals are a result of students not actively engaged in learning. Typically, this leads to negative behavior, which if not nipped in the bud, these referrals can result in suspension time. Studies have shown, suspension time is not valuable to the school or the student. Creating a culture of Service Excellence is a proactive approach to prevent referrals.

The first step in creating this culture is to set the vision. A Service Philosophy provides a common vision to everyone on the image they want their school to have within the community. It provides a higher purpose to every employee as to the meaning of their job and their connection to the bigger picture. It gives inspiration and a reminder of why each job position is so important to the retention of the students.

The second step is to define Service Standards. Identifying three to five service standards that are actionable, measurable, positively stated, and easy to remember. These Service Standards are for each employee in every department: the classroom, cafeteria, athletic fields, hallways, buses, and administrative offices. They should be communicated on a regular basis, along with the Service Philosophy, so they become ingrained in every aspect of the school’s operation. All staff should be taught these Service Standards through situational role modeling and continuous discussion in staff meetings.

Students should be taught three to five behavioral expectations aligned with the Service Standards for which they will be held accountable. Examples, anecdotes, and stories are the best ways to teach these behavioral expectations.

The third step is to reinforce the use of the Service Standards and behavioral expectations through rewards and recognition. Verbal praise, stickers, traveling trophies, thank you cards, letters of appreciation, free lunch or snack in cafeteria, etc. are all effective means of giving recognition to show appreciation for the exhibiting of the expected behaviors.

By developing a Service Philosophy, teaching the Service Standards and behavioral expectations, holding everyone accountable (staff, admin, faculty, students), and rewarding positive behaviors, an environment can be created to be proactive in preventing referrals.