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Welcome to the Turnaround for Children Toolbox! Please tell us about your professional role so we can learn about our community and provide you with the most relevant tools and resources.

My role is:

WHOLE-CHILD DESIGN

Using the science of learning and development to design practices that support the whole child

SUPPORTIVE ENVIRONMENTS CORE PRACTICE 1:

Expectations, Norms and Routines

Building a strong sense of belonging and safety requires that school community members (students, staff, leaders, families, caregivers, etc.) are given the opportunity to co-design the culture – beginning with creating shared expectations, norms and routines. Commitments for how all community members agree to act and interact, along with aligned routines and procedures, create the foundation for an inclusive, predictable and consistent environment. Upholding these community agreements is the shared responsibility of all members – acknowledgments and celebrations are common, along with opportunities to resolve community conflict and repair trust. Because of the inclusive process, expectations, norms and routines are a reflection of the diverse perspectives and voices of the school community itself.

 

 

CONTINUUM OF PRACTICE

Co-Creating Norms and Expectations

School and classroom rules are set by leaders or teachers, without authentic input from students or other community members. Rules are largely based on values of compliance and adult control, or may reflect only White, patriarchal, or other dominant-group values (e.g., restrictive, gendered dress codes). There are few, if any, displays of shared values or pride in community, or explicit messages of inclusion.

Routines and Procedures

Routines and procedures are either minimal or implemented to an extreme. A lack of consistent, agreed-upon, practiced routines and procedures leads to chaotic, unpredictable, and even physically unsafe spaces or times of day. Alternatively, excessively structured routines and procedures overregulate students’ bodies and choices, leaving no room for the development of skills like self-regulation, problem-solving, or autonomy.

Norms for Celebrating Students and Staff

Acknowledging or celebrating students or adults is rare, inconsistent, or not done. When it happens, compliance with rules and performance is praised (e.g., perfect attendance or top test scores) over effort or contributions to the community.

Response to Community Conflict

When community culture and trust are damaged because rules are broken, there is not a clear or accessible process for adults and students to repair relationships. Instead, there are only disciplinary actions, or the issue is ignored.

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Co-Creating Norms and Expectations

School and classroom rules, norms, or expectations are largely determined by leaders or teachers, with some student voice to add on or put rules in their own words (e.g., creating a class contract based on three rules set by the school or teacher). There are some positive displays of pride or inclusion, but they are not necessarily reflective of the school community itself (e.g., adult-created rules posted, generic diversity posters).

Routines and Procedures

Some routines and procedures are established, making certain spaces or times of day predictable, consistent, and safe, while others are not – depending on the place or adult.

Norms for Celebrating Students and Staff

Some students and adults are celebrated and acknowledged for their effort or contributions to the community, along with praise for compliance with rules and performance.

Response to Community Conflict

When community culture and trust are damaged because norms are violated, there are some efforts by adults to repair relationships and address the root cause of the issue. This process may be inconsistent or only effective some of the time.

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Co-Creating Norms and Expectations

Norms and expectations (as opposed to “rules”) for how all community members agree to act and interact are co-created by leaders, teachers, students, and other school community members. Norms and expectations are developed based on shared values, which represent the diverse cultures and perspectives of the school community. There are frequent displays of these school values, pride, and inclusion visible in classrooms, hallways, etc.

Routines and Procedures

Routines and procedures are always established based on shared norms, and practiced so they become predictable. They make all classrooms and common spaces of the school consistent and safe by providing co-regulating support – modeling and matching the level of engagement and energy required for students to meet their goals. Routines and procedures still leave ample opportunities for student choice and autonomy.

Norms for Celebrating Students and Staff

All students and adults are regularly celebrated and acknowledged for their effort and growth, demonstration of shared values, unique strengths and assets, etc.

Response to Community Conflict

When community culture and trust are damaged because norms are violated, there are consistent processes for students and adults to hold each other accountable, address the root cause of the issue, problem-solve together, and repair relationships. All staff, students, and families have an avenue to raise a community issue and have it taken seriously and addressed.

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REFLECT AND REDESIGN

Explore the following resources to reflect on the expectations, norms and routines
at your school

Fostering Belonging with Classroom Norms

How does this educator share power with students through this process?

How does co-creating expectations, norms and routines set the stage for safety and belonging?

[Video credit: Edutopia]

Personal and Community Values

REFLECTION TOOL

The purpose of this tool is for educators to reflect on how their own values (shaped by their identity, culture, and experiences) show up in their classroom and school, in order to create more inclusive and equitable learning environments.

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Norms and Expectations Planner

REDESIGN TOOL

This tool provides guidance and sample strategies for developing school or classroom norms and expectations, with an emphasis on co-creation, shared power between students and adults, and acknowledging and affirming diverse cultural values and perspectives. This process lays the foundation for a sense safety and belonging.

Download

Co-Regulating Routines Planner

REDESIGN TOOL

This tool is meant to guide educators to create consistent and predictable routines that are co-regulating and create a sense of safety, while upholding norms and supporting student skill development and autonomy.

Download