POWER is Willow Creek’s acronym for the Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports program. POWER stands for Persistence, Optimism, we are Flexible, Empathy, and Resilience. In 2016, group of teachers from our PBIS (Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports) team and I worked to create an acronym that was reflective of a growth mindset, and that would be practical and valuable for lifelong learning and success beyond the classroom. After determining our purpose for a new acronym, we set some goals and expectations around how to implement and use POWER in an effective way Kindergarten through fifth grade.
The plan for implementation was to have a 10-15 minute designated time of day, called POWER TIME, to teach growth mindset and appropriate school behaviors and provide students opportunities to learn common language across the school. I believed that the best way to implement a new philosophy was to embed it deeply into the classroom culture. With the help of our school mascot, Willie the Wildcat, we created a new logo that depicts Willie as a superhero with a cape in which the POWER words are written. This logo is a familiar sight around the building as we have posters in classrooms, hallways and on bulletin boards. We also have a POWER CARD that staff can give to students who are applying examples of the words above and beyond expectations.
I envisioned a weekly video to be shown in every classroom to introduce, explain, and model common language around the POWER words. The goal was to create a growth mindset and practice appropriate school behaviors to ensure a safe, healthy environment where learning can take place. The PBIS team was onboard with the new ideas, and I was fortunate enough to have a technology technician who shared a similar vision. Our first videos taught the "why" of growth mindsets and gave concrete definitions and examples of the words. After a few weeks of the videos being produced and shared with classes, teachers and students began to plan, create, and produce some of the weekly videos themselves. The videos created by classrooms were ones in which students could actually act out skits and give examples of what POWER really looks like at Willow Creek. Fifth-grade classes created and produced POWER TIME videos with the help of their technology-savvy teachers on their experiences with outdoor education at Camp Cheley. They featured examples of how the POWER words were applicable to their time there, and to the activities they were part of. Interest in the videos grew all year with nearly every class being involved. With the help of an amazing technician, we met our goal of making a video for EVERY week of the school year!
Shortly after the start of the school year, we began sharing the videos with parents so that they, too, could join our vision of common language and goals around a growth mindset and appropriate school behaviors. Demand for more information about this program grew to the point that we offered parents a book club to study growth mindset!
We plan to continue to grow as a school community where a growth mindset is valued and can be continually applied to new learning and the building of relationships. I never imagined prior to the first meeting with my PBIS team two weeks into my role as the new Principal that we would create such a popular, effective, fun way to grow together as a school. POWER definitely plays an important role in our academic achievement as well as the overall growth and development of students, staff, and community!
Updated July 2017