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Climate & Culture

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The social and emotional development of our children is of utmost importance to the Heatherwood community.The Heatherwood staff takes pride in creating a warm, welcoming and safe learning environment where all children are accepted. The Heatherwood Culture Committee works to ensure there are programs in place to support this goal.

Heatherwood Constitution

Students who attend Heatherwood Elementary are expected to behave according to the student written Heatherwood Constitution. The Heatherwood student body developed the Heatherwood Constitution that fosters diversity and acceptance.  

We the students of Heatherwood School believe that all students, staff and parents should live by the following:

People should not be judged or made fun of for their color, religion, or other differences.

Everyone should have the right to speak their point of view and not be teased for expressing it.

People should not be judged by their physical appearance or their abilities or lack of abilities.

Treat all students and staff with kindness and care. 

A hearing for a discipline, with witnesses called, is the right of every student.

Treat others the way you want to be treated.

Buddies Don’t Bully and Bully Proofing

The cross-grade buddy program teams children from the upper grades (3-5) with children from the lower grades (K-2) in an effort to foster friendships throughout the school. Buddies meet frequently in each other’s classrooms to work on projects together and share learning.

Monthly social emotional lessons are taught by the school counselor. Buddy classes then meet to revisit the lessons learned, which promotes cooperation and stronger partnerships across grade levels. The lessons taught include concepts from Bully Proofing Your School, a system-wide prevention program designed to help students and adults work together to create a safe and caring school community. The program utilizes a team approach involving administrators, teachers, support staff, students and the community to change the climate in the school. Curriculum is available for early childhood programs, as well as elementary, middle and high schools.

Bully Proofing Your School is a comprehensive program with five key components:

  • Staff training

  • Student instruction

  • Intervention with the Bullies and the Victims

  • Parent involvement

  • Developing the Caring Community

BVSD bully-proofing programs further support an inclusive and positive school environment. 


PAWS for Applause is the positive behavior reward program at Heatherwood. Teaching positive, proactive social skills is a major part of the curriculum in a school using Positive Behavior Systems (PBS). At Heatherwood, PBS is used in our daily routines and in our individual work with students. 

Each year during the first five weeks of school, students learn about the Heatherwood PBS Matrix, which is a chart that explains the positive behavior expectations in key areas of the school. These behaviors are taught in the regular classroom, in specific areas of our school, and during our PBS field trip. When followed, these positive behaviors result in students receiving PAWS for Applause. 

"The 4 P's"-- Four Qualities of Good Behavior:

  • Pride & Respect
    (for example: treating others nicely, taking care of your surroundings, having walking feet & quiet voices in hallways)

  • Personal Responsibility
    (for example: completing assignments and helping others in need)

  • Perseverance
    (for example: trying new things that are difficult, not giving up, always finishing what you start)

  • Peacefulness
    (for example: good listening, good team play, communicating calmly)

Positive Behavior Intervention & Support

A major advance in school-wide discipline is the emphasis on school-wide systems of support that include proactive strategies for defining, teaching, and supporting appropriate student behaviors to create positive school environments. Instead of using a patchwork of individual behavioral management plans, a continuum of positive behavior support for all students within a school is implemented in areas including the classroom and non-classroom settings (such as hallways, restrooms).

Positive behavior support is an application of a behaviorally-based systems approach to enhance the capacity of schools, families, and communities to design effective environments that improve the link between research-validated practices and the environments in which teaching and learning occurs. Attention is focused on creating and sustaining primary (school-wide), secondary (classroom), and tertiary (individual) systems of support that improve lifestyle results (personal, health, social, family, work, recreation) for all children by making problem behavior less effective, efficient, and relevant, and desired behavior more functional.

20150819_110334.jpgThere is an area in every room at Heatherwood, including outside areas, where there is a Peace Place poster - a guide to help students manage conflict. By using “I’ statements, students can work through their conflict together and understand a common language.


For more information, please visit the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports Website.

Well Managed Schools

Well Managed Schools offers a structured approach to school-wide behavior management, giving teachers effective strategies for empowering students with social and self-management skills, while building positive relationships. Teachers at Heatherwood have been trained in this multi-tiered support system to address disruptive behavior and help improve the school’s social and learning climate. All classroom teachers teach social skills throughout the year that encourage positive behavior, help reduce or prevent inappropriate behaviors, and correct misbehavior. Through redirection and choice, students are given independence to make the “right” choice and, in turn, feel empowered.

It is the expectation that all Heatherwood students will:

  • Listen, speak and act respectfully to all adults and students

  • Respect the property of others

  • Behave in ways that will not harm themselves, others, or any property

  • Follow cafeteria, classroom and playground rules 

Heatherwood Elementary Communication Agreements:

  • Positive intent in search of a positive outcome

  • Active listening/clarification

  • Appropriate form and time

  • First person communication

  • Be empathetic and respectful