As an inner city school with a majority population of African-American and Hispanic children from mostly poverty areas, our school has an extremely large potential for violence - not automatically a good atomsphere for learning. Yet we have amandate to reach all these children. Under the leadership of a principal whose approach is to empower people to do their jobs, we designed a program to empower all people who deal with at risk/equity plus children to handle whatever comes up so as to make it possible to educate them. We called this "Empowerment Modeling". We created a role for the home school coordinator that is different from the traditional model of managing disciplinary problems. We involved and educated parents, trained school staff, teachers, other students to work with us in preventing violence and increasing student achievement. We created a clear set of expectations and a way of handling mistakes. We opened communication channels with everyone who deals with the child. We documented what we did in order to learn what worked and what make the most difference. Eventually we compared our results over three school years to the results of two other similar schools. Empowerment modeling was shown to be effective in reducing violent episodes and increasing students' achievement among elementary school children.
We can summarize these ideas briefly in a series of principles to reduce violence in our school and increase student achievement, these recommendations may be applied: build trust through empowerment, bring people together and teach communication skills, curtail violence through clear expectations and integrity in dealing with students, adults must model what is expected of students, focus on solutions, not problems and what works in school will spread to the community. Empower people to do their jobs. This icludes everyone.