Friday, November 21, 2014

Class Meetings

Submitted by Olweus Team
Written by Rhonda West

Class meetings are one of the most important elements of the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program (OBPP). These weekly meetings serve a variety of functions:

• teach the rules and consequences of bullying
• help students understand their role in bullying situations as well as how they can help students who are being
• help students and teachers address issues about bullying or other difficult situations as they arise

Class meetings work because they build a sense of cohesion and community among the students and adults in the building. When you listen to other students and help them solve problems, and share your own concerns, you’ve started breaking down habits of exclusion. At Old Bonhomme, class meetings are already evolving from the structured rule discussions to sessions that give students tools for solving problems. Listen to what students from different grades are saying:

“Class meetings are good. They help me know stuff I didn’t know, like you can’t have clubs during recess because it makes people feel left out.”

“I like class meetings because you get to let the teacher know your feelings and it helps you talk about what is going on.”

“I like class meetings because we get to talk about solutions for problems we are having at recess.”

“I like to learn new stuff in class meetings. I enjoy learning about my mind and how to stop bullies.”

Not all class meetings are dedicated to solving relationship challenges. Several classes have used meetings to brainstorm about ways they can change the individual and class “mindset” -- the way we think and talk about the learning experience. Fourth grade students have helped the school work through the process of allowing students to choose seats at lunch.

When students are encouraged to problem solve and make some of their own decisions, they are more likely to buy into the solutions. And this leads to another important payoff: as students assume increased responsibilities in their classroom communities, they also can become more motivated to learn.

It will take a few years to fully realize the benefits of OBPP. Parent involvement is a key feature, and we have barely begun that work. Parents, let one of our committee members know if you are interested in joining the Olweus Committee. Members include Hayley Arnold, Becky Benick-Butts, Julie Bergin, Cheryl Kirchgessner, Matthew Prange, Margaret Shockley, Stephanie Towe, and Rhonda West.

If you would like any more information, the counselor’s office has information available for families about OBPP. You can also learn more about Olweus and the many faces of bullying at the official Olweus site:

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Putting Kids First - FREE Mental Health for Kids

In November 2008, St. Louis County voters passed a 1/4 cent sales tax measure, also known as Proposition 1 and Putting Kids First, which created a community children's service fund to provide mental health and substance abuse services for children and youth ages nineteen and under in St. Louis County. 

Services areas include resources for temporary shelters, transitional living, unwed and teenage parents, respite care, crisis intervention, school based prevention, home and community based interventions, individual, group, and family counseling, outpatient substance abuse treatment, and outpatient psychiatric care.

Old Bonhomme Elementary utilizes several of the school based prevention programs. 
  • ·      CHADS Coalition for Mental Health provides us with the training and materials we need to implement the Olweus Bully Prevention Program and provide mentors to our students with consent. 
  • ·      The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse (NCADA) has trained facilitators teaching our students about being a good friend and being responsible for themselves.  They have also trained our Ladue Explorer mentors for the last three years.
  • ·      Jewish Family and Children Services (JFCS) provide our building with a licensed professional counselor who delivers individual and group counseling services to our students with consent.

Many of our Old Bonhomme families have used individual services provided by the St. Louis Children’s Service Fund.  Whether it is psychological and academic testing at Community Psychological Services or family counseling through Epworth Children and Family Center there is something for everyone. You can learn more about the sixty-seven agencies and services they provide by visiting

Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help you connect with one of the agencies.  You can reach me at 314-983-5546 or