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Principally Speaking
Working To Ensure Dent Students Academic Success

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the “Land of the Dragons!” Below is an abridged version of an article that was previously shared through the Escalon Unified School District Newsletter. The purpose of the article was to share the District’s focus on positive school climates, student socio-emotional and behavioral needs and how they affect academic success. We realize that before our students can effectively learn the information presented in their daily lessons, they must first be emotionally and behaviorally ready. In other words, in order to ensure academic success, we must also ensure our learning environments are safe, nurturing and welcoming for all students. The Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports (PBIS) framework gives us strategies to help create positive school climates.

This past month, representatives from Dent Elementary School and El Portal Middle School attended the first of four day-long PBIS Institute trainings at the San Joaquin County Office of Education. Attending the first day of training was eye opening and beneficial for several reasons. The first and maybe most reassuring eye opener, is that both campuses are currently implementing several strategies that can be built upon to assist in creating positive and welcoming campuses for all; students, staff and parents.

PBIS is being implemented all across the nation to create a common culture, and promote a positive school climate where all students feel safe, supported, and successful. At Dent Elementary, the PBIS team will take our already adopted mission statement of Dent C.A.R.E.S. and really drive home the message that Dent Creates Active Responsible Educated Students. In the coming months, this mission statement will be found in each of our classrooms and posters will be created and displayed in the cafeteria and main common school areas, reminding our students of behavioral expectations and promoting our mission Dent C.A.R.E.S.

Dent teachers and staff will provide lessons to our students that promote positive prosocial behaviors and help them identify what these behaviors “look like.” Pairing these ideas with student incentives, such as school spirit wear (e.g. wrist bands and staff T-shirts), and creating student driven videos are all ways to encourage a safe positive campus for our students and families. At Dent, students will be challenged and asked to answer the following questions:

How do Dent Dragons CARE in the classroom?

How do Dent Dragons CARE on assessments, homework, and school work?

How do Dent Dragons CARE in the cafeteria? Hallways?

How do Dent Dragons CARE on the yard? At the bus stop?

How do Dent Dragons CARE about themselves and others?

Each of these questions will be asked so that our students can self-reflect and understand that we care about them, and their futures not only here at Dent, but also as they transition to El Portal Middle School, and then to Escalon High School. The message of respecting one’s self, taking pride in one’s actions, and being accountable for one’s future is what drives the whole PBIS model. If we as educators continue to foster learning environments that are safe, nurturing and welcoming, we will be that much closer in achieving our District’s Mission statement, “To ensure all students learn at high levels.”


Principally Speaking is a monthly article, contributed by principals from Escalon Unified School District sites, throughout the school year. It is designed to update the community on school events and activities.