Salamanca schools making CHAMPS of students, staff

SALAMANCA — The success of students in the Salamanca City Central School District has been linked to the success of a teaching method staff members have been using in recent years, and its implementation is going districtwide.

Assistant Principal Lloyd Long recently presented to the Board of Education on CHAMPS, a classroom management system from Safe and Civil schools that “allows students to get the whole picture in a clear way.”

“I attended a four-day training this past summer,” Long said. “It was pretty intense. Lots of information.”

The program had been brought to the district about four years ago, Long said, and had two trainers, but after they left, there was a lack of consistency in keeping CHAMPS going as one of the programs the district believes in.

“As we were beginning to train substitute teachers, I stepped in and was asked to continue that,” he said. “I am pretty passionate it about and have seen its effects and what it can do in the classroom.”

Quoting Dr. Anita Archer, Long said, “for every instructional decision a teacher makes, there is a corresponding behavior management decision needed to be made.”

CHAMPS is an acronym for conversation, help, activity, movement, participation and success when doing a lesson in the classroom, but Long said it can be applied to any school situation.

“There should be nothing hidden from them,” he said of teaching students through CHAMPS. “They should know what’s expected, what they’re going to learn, how they should learn it and how they should behave during the process.”

Long said conversation deals with voice levels, going from silent up through an outdoors voice. Help concerns who, where, how a student gets help during a lesson. Activity is what the students will be doing and their instructions. Movement deals with movement, or lack of, in the classroom or lesson and for what purposes. Participation concerns how the students show they are involved in the lesson. Finally, success is the culmination of all of those put to use.

“When we utilize this program and acronym as an approach to teaching students behaviors in the classroom, we can be successful,” he said. “There’s a lot that of background that goes into the instructional piece for teachers so they know how to be explicit.”

For teachers to successfully use CHAMPS, Long discussed another acronym, STOIC, which helps teachers design their lessons. He said teachers should have a structured setting, lesson and plan; teach behavior expected and express what’s needed; observe students to make sure they’re doing what’s expected; interact positively with students; and correct the situation when there isn’t a positive interaction.

However, Long said these teaching programs are going outside the classroom, with other staff including bus drivers being trained on CHAMPS and STOIC.

“It’s district-wide. It’s going from pre-K through grade 12 and it’s on the buses,” he said. “They are the first staff to interact with students and set the tone for the day.”

Additionally, Long said the acronyms don’t have to stick to the original meanings. He said the bus drivers have utilized it with different words making up CHAMPS, showing flexibility in the program.

“Within a classroom you can use it, on the bus you can use it, in transitional ways in the hallway, you can have a CHAMPS plan for assemblies or concerts,” he said.

Although the acronym may seem immature or elementary for use in the high school, Long said teachers can still keep in mind what the program wants to impart, even if they don’t have a CHAMPS poster hanging up on the wall.

“We should be delivering the same message,” he said. “You can use the strategies from different trainings within this program.”