How can you show your “paws”-itive behavior at school? Here is what PAWS stands for:
P – Practice Compassion
A – Act Responsibly
W – Work Hard
S – Stay Safe
At Westwood Charter School, we believe that the teaching of social and community ethics and values is an essential part of a progressive curriculum. We believe in a community that fosters independence of thought, intellectual integrity, and personal and social morality. A vital component of our curriculum is encouraging our students to think independently and resolve conflicts effectively.
Westwood Charter’s school-wide positive behavior support plan is known as PAWS. PAWS was purposefully selected to be child-friendly, easily comprehensible, and meant to connect to our school mascot, Westy the Dog. The acronym PAWS stands for Practice Compassion, Act Responsibly, Work Hard, and Stay Safe. These key expectations are used across the grade levels and throughout the school community to establish our commitment to the teaching and reinforcement of positive behavior. These words are used throughout the Westwood Charter community, both at school and at home, to maintain a common language that reflects our school values and expectations.
At school, PAWS concepts are defined, taught, acknowledged and reinforced throughout the day. The school-wide expectations are taught and modeled explicitly to children. Every classroom launches the year with grade level appropriate lessons and continues with activities that demonstrate each of the PAWS principles throughout the year. Students are also placed in the role of teaching PAWS principles.
The PAWS Committee has two branches: The PAWS Kids Committee and the Adult PAWS Committee. The PAWS Kids Committee is made up of student council members who meet weekly to review and improve school climate. The Adult PAWS Committee has developed classroom lessons to aid in the launch of PAWS concepts each fall. They also analyze data to identify school-wide behavioral patterns, which guides the PAWS program.
Students are recognized when they exhibit behaviors that exemplify PAWS. Monthly assemblies are held to highlight examples of behaviors that enhance our positive school culture. PAWS Kids Committee members also address a school-wide concern and its correlation to PAWS.
The entire Westwood Charter staff is trained in PAWS language and expectations. A special area on the yard has been designated as the Problem Solving Station, where students may request adult support in the case of a disagreement. Students can also request a PAWS-itive Solution Slip to brainstorm new ideas to make our school a better place.