Climate and Culture coach coming to St. Joseph elementary schools

Support is coming for area teachers who support students.

St. Joseph Public Schools on Monday announced the creation of four new positions throughout the district aimed to support student health, wellness, safety, and academic achievement. The main position will be a Classroom Climate and Culture Coach, with three supporting professionals to work in each of the district’s elementary schools.

At Monday’s school board meeting, District Assistant Superintendent Kristen Bawks said the new roles were made possible by a grant from the State of Michigan, and the new positions would support the development of students’ self-regulation skills through the training, modeling, and coaching of teachers and paraprofessionals.

The person in this role will design, implement coordinate and evaluate comprehensive behavior support plans throughout the buildings, alongside building principals,” Bawks said. “Among other things, they would also lead staff professional development sessions related to restorative practices, trauma informed instruction, classroom management, positive behavior support systems.”

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The Classroom Climate and Culture Coach and supporting professionals will work collaboratively with classroom teachers, parents, and administrators with the goal to help students become more focused, self-aware, and able to manage their emotions and behaviors in a way that supports their academic success.

“We are thrilled to add these new positions to ensure that we are creating both school and classroom cultures most conducive to student learning,” said Superintendent Dr. Jenny Fee. “We believe that investing in student health, safety, and wellness is key to academic success. By equipping our teachers with the knowledge, skills, and strategies of self-regulation, we are in turn supporting our students in learning how to self-regulate, and subsequently, we are setting them up for success both now and in the future.”

This district aims to hire for the new positions in the coming months in preparation to begin service at the start of the 2023-2024 school year.