Safe and Orderly Schools: Learning Resources

Safe and Orderly School Learning Plan


In schools everywhere, there is a spotlight on safety and on leading a school that is “safe and orderly.”  At first glance it seems like it’s all about a focus on security and preventing intruders from disrupting the safety and lives of our children and staffs.

When you look again, leading a safe and orderly school is a multi-faceted challenge.  What do you think of when you hear “safe and orderly”?  What does the school leader do to not only secure the school, but to make it safe- socially and emotionally as well as from outside forces.

At our Principal and AP Academies, this is our focus for September.  Please find the following link to a Google Drive folder full of links, resources, and other items for your study and learning about leading a school that is safe and orderly.  Take a look, and if you have additional resources that ought to be in that folder, please contact me with those links so we can share with them with the group at large.  Thanks!  ~ Mark

Safe and Orderly Schools: A Folder of Links and Resources


© 2018.  Dr. Mark D. Wilson.

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Impact School Culture With Positive Post-Its

caitlin-haackeWhen high school student Caitlin Prater-Haacke was bullied, she rose up, took it positive, and created a movement that you and your school can join today.

Caitlin was horrified to find that her school locker was broken into and someone used her iPad to make terrible posts to her Facebook page, including one that said she wished to die.

She took the words that had been so cruelly used to attack her and turned them around into something good.  She made post-it notes of encouragement and support and covered the lockers at her school. Caitlin started at her school, sharing encouragement (“You’re Awesome!”, “You’re a Great Friend!”, “Have a Beautiful Day!”) and then created a Facebook page to support the idea.  From the first “Positive Post-It Day” in 2014, the idea has spread, and, well, it seems to have stuck!

Schools across Caitlin’s home of Canada and around the US (and literally around the world) are creating their own days for students to post-it positive.  Some do it on an ongoing basis.  Others have annual events.  The opportunity is there for you as well!  Here’s an short instructional video for to guide the students at CSMS on their positive post-it wall day.

You can find out more about positive post-it activities at most any of the social media outlets (Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter) you can do a google search to see more, or you can “peel off” any of the links below to see more.


Leadership365  /26

Students Can’t Learn If They Don’t Feel Safe

Think about a time you were somewhere and didn’t feel safe.  What was on your mind?  Did your feelings of uneasiness go away easily?  Were you quick to let your guard down and be vulnerable?

All right now imagine that at that very moment someone tried to get you to complete a task, learn a new thing, or test your memory or skills.  How well do you think you would do in those endeavors?

Dr. Antonio R. Damasio is the chair of the University of Iowa’s Neurology department and in partnership with his wife Hanna have been studying the role that emotions play in our decision-making process and in our self-image. Damasio differentiates between emotions and feelings, clarifying that in neuroscience emotions are “the complex reactions has to certain stimuli” while feelings happen when our brain is aware of the physical changes come about by emotions.

When we attempt to teach school in an environment in which we presume all of our students have their emotions and feelings in a good place for learning, we are naive to their reaction to the stimuli they are facing, both immediately in the classroom and in other parts of their lives.  When we say we want to “focus on instruction,” we would be well-served to first focus on the environment for instruction.  

This environment is critical for the well-being as well as learning potential for students.  The physical reactions when we feel unsafe lead to a cognitive processing that can imprint and be longer lasting.

Safety in the classroom isn’t only about the absence of a perceived or immediate physical threat.  It’s also about the way that people inside the classroom relate to each other– the teacher with the students, students with each other, adults with each other.  If a student can be confident that they will be valued and respected unconditionally, then they can feel safe enough to learn.  Learning requires a bit of vulnerability; vulnerability requires confidence in the surroundings.  Getting to there requires an intentional effort on the teacher’s part, and at a school level on the principal’s part.


Read more about Dr. Damasio here:

#Leadership365                    17/365


The focus of work in our Principal and Assistant Principal Academies during January 2017 has been on standard five of the Professional Standards for Educational Leaders, listed below. Today’s Leadership365 is dedicated to the topic to support that learning. standard-5

You can see the Professional Standards for Educational Leaders in entirety here:  (


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