A group of teachers are working this summer to determine how to create a culture of non-bullying for the upcoming school year.
About 25 staff members representing all buildings in the district are working this summer to create a work plan so that the district starts the 2011-2012 school year with a clear bully-prevention message and an effective district-wide approach.
“Their focus is to help us get into a position where a culture of bullying can not exist,” said Julie Worthen a spokeswoman for District 41. “They’re not creating a campaign. They will (show) us how we can state our philosophy in a simple and clear message.”
Preliminary work on the district’s anti-bullying message was defined last school year by a separate group made up of parents, teachers and community members. That group worked on defining what bullying is, how to educate internal parties, as well as how to engage the community.
The current group of educators will use the information of the previous group to carve out a “culture of care” philosophy that it hopes to pass on to schools when the academic year starts. The district has also enlisted the help of the YWCA (Young Women's Christian Association) to help train staff members, utilizing a $14,000 grant it secured from the Illinois Violence Prevention Authority.
“They Y’ has been a strong partner for us but the grant will allow us to expand and accelerate our training,” said Worthen.
District 41 staff members will likely receive their anti-bullying training during regular institute days, while parents will be invited to evening sessions at .
The summer task force met last month for the first time, and will meet four additional times throughout the summer at the District 41 Central Services Office, on Main Street.
“The goal is when school starts in the fall that the district will have a clear message in respect to bully prevention,” Worthen added.