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Olweus Bullying Prevention Programs

What is the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program (OBPP)?
The Olweus Bullying Prevention Program is a comprehensive framework for educating staff, students and parents about bullying behaviors and implementing concrete, measurable action plans for reducing bullying behaviors in schools and improving school climate.  Two key pieces of this framework are teacher-led, weekly classroom meetings with students about bullying behaviors and prosocial alternatives and bimonthly discussion groups among faculty and staff about their building's educational climate.

As a result of implementation across the elementary program, all Mt. Lebanon students (K - 5) participate in a weekly meeting with their classroom teacher and an additional support person (principal, counselor, instructional support teacher, special education teacher, special subject teacher, or instructional aide).  These two adults co-facilitate a classroom meeting with students that addresses student concerns around bullying behaviors at school.  Classroom meetings take place at the same time each week as decided upon by respective building staffs.  These meetings help students to build relationships in the classroom among themselves and with educational professionals. Typically, teacher and co-facilitator join students in circle discussions.  During the initial nine weeks, significant time is spent defining bullying behaviors with students.

  • Bullying is purposeful words or actions that are mean or hurtful
  • Bullying happens repeatedly
  • Bullying happens when there is an imbalance of power

    This definition is reflected within Mt. Lebanon School District's revised Bullying Policy .  Additionally, each elementary school has adopted OBPP rules most typically:

    1.  We will not bully
    2.  We will try to help students who are bullied
    3.  We will include students who are left out of games or activities
    4.  We will tell an adult about bullying behavior when we know a student is being bullied

After defining bullying behaviors and sharing rules, classroom meetings begin to focus on building empathetic relationships - friends taking care of friends.  Teachers often share books from the library, related quotes and other team building activities with students.  There are commonly discussions about being a good friend, including others, and intervening to help others who are being bullied.   Discussion topics are flexible and are adapted to proactively resolve emerging issues within a given building and meet students' individual needs as they share them.  The OBPP is only possible through a strong collaborative effort between students, parents, teachers, staff and administration.  It is a team approach to support children in our schools, to teach students skills necessary for future successes and to assist in providing the best education possible for each and every student by improving our learning environment. 

Where can I expect to see the program within Mt. Lebanon School District?
OBPPs were in place in all seven elementary buildings (Foster, Hoover, Howe, Jefferson, Lincoln, Markham and Washington) at the start of the 2009-10 school year.  OBPPs were also implemented at Jefferson Middle School and Mellon Middle School for the start of the 2010-11 school year.  
When and how was the program introduced to professional staff in our school buildings?
Core Teams from Markham Elementary and Washington Elementary were trained in the OBPP during Spring 2007.  These Core Teams then trained all staff members in their respective buildings for the start of the 2007-08 school year.  The OBPP was subsequently piloted/implemented in these buildings with students in September 2007 and was met with great success.  In February 2009, based on the measurable impact of the program in these two elementary buildings, the district trained Core Teams in the five remaining elementary buildings:  Foster, Hoover,  Howe, Jefferson and Lincoln Elementary Schools.  These Core Teams then trained their respective buildings at an elementary-wide in-service during May 2009.  The Olweus Bullying Prevention Program was shared with all students in these buildings at the start of the 2009-10 school year.  Since this time, teams have also been developed and trained at both middle schools, Jefferson and Mellon, with program implementation beginning at the start of the 2010-11 school year.

Who has been/will be trained?
Training was provided to a Core Team in each building consisting of multiple teachers, counselors, principal and school psychologist who then trained all elementary school staff in their respective buildings including:
Classroom teachers
Special subject teachers
Special education teachers
Building staff
Building aides
Volunteer PTSA parents
Additionally, the district was also able to provide OBPP training to Officer Mike Reimer and Officer Mike Welsh of the Mt. Lebanon Police Department as part of Core Team training.
Why did the district choose to implement the OBPP?
The Olweus framework is an internationally recognized, research-based, and data driven bullying prevention program. The district implemented OBPP because of its comprehensive approach and proven efficacy in reducing instances of bullying behaviors of all types within elementary and middle school settings.  Our ultimate goal is to utilize the OBPP to provide a safer and more inclusive learning environment for all Mt. Lebanon students.  We implemented OBPP because we are striving to create an environment that promotes the best education possible for each and every student.

How was the training and implementation of the OBPP paid for across such a wide cross-section of the school district in this timeframe?
Within the Mt. Lebanon School District, the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program is fully funded by a goods-and-services contract provided for by HALT/Highmark Healthy High 5.  We are incredibly grateful for this partnership.
Provisions include:
On-Site Training and In-Service Opportunities
Off-Site Training Opportunities
All Training Materials
Resource Materials
Annual Student Surveys
Data Compilation Services
Consultation with a HALT Trainer

How will the OBPP's efficacy be measured moving forward?
Baseline data was collected from students in each of the district's seven elementary buildings prior to program implementation.  This data was collected by surveying students in grades 3-5 about bullying behaviors in their elementary buildings.  Subsequent years' data sets have and will continue to be collected, compiled and compared with prior year results through the use of like-surveys each spring with our elementary students.  This data is normed by building, district, and nation in the form of a 70+page report provided to the Mt. Lebanon School District by Hazelden Publishing.  Outcomes of this report are then shared with each building's core team, reviewed with all staff, analyzed, and acted upon to make positive changes to the program for future years. We have found that data showing the prevalence of bullying in any school building is a powerful tool toward action.  Annual surveys and trend data will provide each of our buildings an excellent means of continually assessing and improving the educational climate of our school system.  
Additionally, qualitative feedback, both positive and negative, from our  students, parents, teachers, staff and principals about the OBPP has and will continue to be used to gauge the program's strengths/weaknesses.  Comments and suggestions can be forwarded directly to your respective building principal.

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