Chapter 4 deals with whole-school assemblies.
Boyd begins by acknowledging that administrators often “dread or avoid” whole-school assemblies because of the potential for disorderly and hurtful behavior. Nonetheless, she claims that the benefits of whole-school (or large-group) assemblies–school spirit, belonging, community–outweigh the drawbacks.
She decided that in order to be successful they would have to create and adhere to specific principles:
- all students must be silent and orderly as they enter
- students must always sit in the same assigned sections
- adults with students sit with students
- adults without a class monitor student behavior
- students who disrupt get a warning, and if the behavior persists, they are removed and must sit by the wall
Like the chapter on crisis drills, Boyd says that at the beginning of implementation, they had to pull out so many students that there were designated hold-over rooms to make room for all of them. But over time, a consistent approach resulted in a gradual diminishing. Now only one or two students are pulled out of any given assembly.
Boyd suggests consistent and continual reminders about how students should behave during assemblies and strict enforcement of consequences.
A theme is beginning to emerge in Boyd’s work: there is nothing magical about an effective schoolwide discipline system. It simply comes down to creating shared high expectations, making those expectations clear to students, and being willing to enforce consequences consistently. Almost sounds too simple, doesn’t it?