These counselors are making a huge difference! Another interview, this time with High School Counselor, Christina Miller from Twin Rivers Schools in Missouri.
After the Twin Rivers Schools participated in a student survey following the Stand for the Silent anti-bullying presentation, it was clear the students were asking for solutions. TIPS was a perfect fit for their school community, and the customization capabilities allowed Twin Rivers to make it their own and reach their students in a whole new way.
Christina is very forward thinking, and TIPS is allowing her team to immediately handle small situations when they start, whether that be comments made on Facebook or small disagreements between students, eliminating a lot of time and pain dealing with bigger issues that are allowed to escalate.
You will find an excerpt from the interview below. Click here to listen to the full conversation.
How did you learn about TIPS? Why did your school district see the need for an online tool like TIPS?
We learned about TIPS through Mr. Smalley from Stand for the Silent. He came to give a presentation at our school, and gave me a flier. We found that often a story would change from person to person, so we wanted a system that children could report a situation, and the staff could quickly listen to, and help make the children safe through all of our locations.
Twin Rivers took advantage of our student survey last spring, and will also be surveying your students again in a few weeks. What sort of things are you learning through the survey and how are you using this information to improve the school climate ongoing?
We were able to survey 25% of our students last year and it was really eye opening to learn what these students had to say when it came to bullying, relationships and so much more. So I wanted to do it again this year to see what our high schools had to say. I go into English classes and talk to each of them, and then let them fill out the forms anonymously. What I hope to use this for is what kind of classes we need to add, such as bullying classes, or drug and alcohol classes or suicide prevention classes. We want to offer the types of information the students need. Most students need more than a one time, 50 min conversation. Then there is a place for each students to add their own comments, which gives each student a chance to say what they need to say anonymously.
Before TIPS, how were students sharing information with you? How were you keeping track of instigation and follow up efforts?
A lot of different ways. Which made it hard to track all of them. Not many students or people took advantage of them. We tried to create a spreadsheet for students to track them, however it didn’t pull everything together. Things never ended up where they needed to be, or small things would go unrecognized. Now with TIPS we can pull up a student’s name and track everything that has happened the last few years. We had an incident recently that we found that the same two students had been bullying, and being able to look back through the incidents we were able to make a case.
How has TIPS helped you?
Several different situations come to mind. One that happened while signing up for classes, I recognized the students names and looked them up in TIPS and found the incidents that have happened and was able to separate them in classes. We use TIPS a lot for a documentation area to keep things right there in front of their minds.
Looking back at before you had TIPS what would you say are the most valuable benefits to your school community?
It has allowed us to open up communication and for the students to reach out to us. It has definitely improved communication with our students and staff.
Any other comments/lessons learned you would like to share regarding TIPS?
One thing we like about it, is uploading documents, which we have used a lot to share screen shots of text messages, or emails. It is nice to have everything right there in front of us, instead of just notes saying that it is inappropriate, we actually get to show the evidence. I also really like that we can create your team, and then when something is sent in or reported we can see who has read it and who needs to still login and read it. It keeps all of us on the same pages. As a team then we are all on the same page, and we don’t have to stop what we are doing and go notify someone that we believe needs to know.