School Climate Plan

Gallup Hill School School Climate Specialist:  Principal

Respect for others and respect for self is a daily lesson for our students. Focused instruction on positive behavior traits is the cornerstone of building and maintaining a positive school climate. 

The Gallup Hill School community institutes Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS). PBIS is a systems approach to teaching and managing behavior in schools. The goal of PBIS is to enhance the capacity of schools, families, and communities to create and maintain positive school environments so that all students can achieve socially and academically.   

PBIS involves a continuum of evidence-based practices for all students, supported by all staff and sustained in both classroom and non-classroom settings (such as hallways, buses, and restrooms). The PBIS model uses a systematic approach so that otherwise isolated parts of the school operate in tandem. Taking a behavioral approach to school-wide discipline creates an environment where staff members are an important part of helping students achieve outcomes by choosing more effective, efficient, and desirable behaviors. 

The primary focus of PBIS is to provide proactive and effective behavior support for all students at the universal level. This is accomplished when the whole school community establishes and maintains universal procedures that contain clear and consistent behavioral expectations. A whole-school community is promoted through the establishment of common expectations for student conduct and instruction provided during our morning newscasts and our monthly whole-school meetings.

Opportunities for student success are enhanced by directly teaching universal expectations and establishing a school-wide system for reinforcing desired behavior. The necessary elements of PBIS include methods to examine needs through data, develop, teach, and encourage display of school-wide expectations, discourage problem behaviors, and monitor implementation and progress towards goals. SERC 2019.

The Gallup Hill School expectations for student conduct are based on the acronym B.A.R.K. which stands for:

Be: Accepting, Responsible, and Kind 

Students at Gallup Hill School (GHS) are taught and expected to follow B.A.R.K. expectations every day. Our GHS B.A.R.K. Mission Statement is: At Gallup Hill Elementary School we are good citizens who work together and through kindness, acceptance, and responsibility we build a positive school community. This school-wide mission provides our students with the tools for success in their social relationships with peers and adults and their academics. Students, teachers, and parents are asked to sign a pledge showing their commitment to B.A.R.K. at the beginning of each school year. Our morning newscasts and our monthly All-School Meetings emphasize aspects of B.A.R.K., along with other positive character traits and habits of mind. B.A.R.K. behavior expectation lessons are taught at the beginning of each school year.

The Gallup Hill School PBIS behavior expectation lessons are designed to first teach, and then revisit to reinforce positive behaviors. The lessons also help us to point out inappropriate behavior, and have reflective discussions with our students to ensure that we consistently emphasize appropriate behavior expectations. B.A.R.K. lessons are specifically designed for each area of our school environment to keep behavior expectations consistent throughout our school community. 

Discussions regarding inappropriate behavior follow a common framework: students identify the inappropriate behavior, attempt to determine its cause, and reflect on what they could do to avoid this reaction in the future. As a staff, we are always teaching and modeling B.A.R.K. behavior as the goal for all. PBIS and our B.A.R.K. mission align with and complement our social emotional learning (SEL) curriculum.

We believe it's important to celebrate student success towards behavior goals. Our GHS students are rewarded with B.A.R.K. Paws for exemplary positive behaviors. Our PBIS Team helps to plan monthly celebrations and activities to celebrate positive behaviors.

GHS teachers are supplied with the following curriculum materials and resources to provide direct instruction of the components of PBIS and our B.A.R.K. Mission:

  • The Connected and Respected curriculum is used (K-5) to implement social resilience lessons on a weekly basis. The program combines direct instruction of proactive strategies, role-play and corresponding mentor text to help inform students about negative character traits and teach them how to “stand up” to negative impulses by relying on their positive character traits.
  • Within each grade level, students are taught positive social behaviors through the use of various mentor text.  Examples are: Chester and the Big Bad Bully, Hooway for Wodney Wat, One, Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon, Chrysanthemum, How Full is Your Bucket?, Billy Bully and How to Handle a Bully, The Recess Queen, What are you so Grumpy About?, When Sophie Gets Angry-Really, Really Angry.
  • The following Special Education Resources are available for staff and parents:  How to Stop Bullying and Social Aggression, Cultivating Kindness in School, Lively Lessons for Classroom Sessions, All about Boundaries, I Didn’t Know I Was a Bully, Asperger’s Syndrome and Bullying, and No More Meltdowns.

Gallup Hill School adheres strictly to all laws and responsibilities related to stopping bullying at Connecticut schools. In accordance with and in addition to that law: 

  • Gallup Hill School maintains a PBIS/School Climate Team that works in unison with our Faculty Council. The committee members consist of: the principal, teachers, and a parent representative. During monthly meetings, the PBIS team reviews our school climate and related data that include discipline and bullying referrals. If patterns are evident, the PBIS Team, in collaboration with our Faculty Council, develops an action plan to address the identified area(s) of concern.


  • Classroom lessons are provided at the beginning of each school year defining the conditions which lead to bullying, how to recognize bullying, and how each student has a responsibility to eradicate and report bullying as an active bystander. 


  • All students and parents are informed of the school procedures and consequences associated with bullying.

  • All staff members are informed of the Anti-Bullying law and its implementation in accordance with Ledyard Board of Education policy.

WhWhen students struggle socially and emotionally, several programs are in place to provide support

  • Scientifically Research-based Intervention (SRBI) Team meetings are conducted Bi-monthly to monitor students with Behavior Intervention Plans (BIPs) and individualized support plans. During SRBI meetings, individualized behavior goals are crafted and progress towards goals are monitored to ensure timely response to identified interventions. Individualized team meetings, to include parents/guardians, are conducted as needed to further monitor positive behavior goals. 

  • The physical education (PE) teacher includes team building exercises and skills practice during weekly PE instruction. The PE teacher facilitates grades 1-6 recess 4 days a week to monitor application of strategies taught and provides additional social and emotional coaching to students who require support.

  • Ledyard Youth Services supports our students through Lunch Bunch Groups focusing on making friends and developing appropriate social interactions; they also provide individual support as needed. 

  • Therapy Dogs and their handlers work with individual students, visit classrooms, and can be used as a reward for students working toward specific goals.

  • A school Mentor Program consisting of certified staff members provides identified students an additional positive adult relationship within the school. Mentors meet with student mentees at a regularly scheduled time throughout the school year. Typically, this meeting takes place during lunchtime. Often mentors/mentees relationships remain consistent as students progress through grade levels. Parent permission is required for participation.

Gallup Hill School supports several events and activities designed to improve the overall climate of the school. These include an active Student Council comprised of elected 5th  grade students, parent volunteers, and a teacher facilitator. The Student Council helps to organize events that support our Weekend Backpack Program. Food donations are collected throughout the year during whole-school meetings, PTO family nights, and from community organizations. This food is used to fill weekend backpacks; these packs go home with students on Friday afternoon and are returned on Monday morning. The Student Council helps maintain our school gardens and uses the harvest from our vegetable garden to supplement our annual Summer Reading Picnic. PTO sponsored events such as the Winter Wonderland, Game Nights, and our annual Celebration of Art and Science Days promote positive student-parent-school community. Other events, such as our annual Field Day, practice and model teamwork and positive competition. Monthly All-School meetings, with established positive character trait themes, work to provide our school community with a universal positive messages towards school climate goals and offer us an opportunity to celebrate our positive behavior success!