Mar 17, 2023

All or Nothing? No! How to Ease New SWIS Labels into Your Referral Process

Labels and language changes are small updates with a big impact. Here are some ideas for how to incorporate them into your school's existing process a little at a time or all at once.

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On March 23, we’re adding five new labels and updating some others on the SWIS referral form. The changes make the lists more complete and are a better reflection of the current behaviors happening in your schools as well as the actions you take to address them. Adding labels and editing words are minor changes with big impact. We know for some, incorporating them into your existing referral process will be challenging, especially mid-year. Whether you’re curious about where to start, or just need some tips for how to go about easing into these changes, we have some ideas.

Keep Your Current Process Exactly the Same…

With this release, we were careful not to remove labels from the list of behaviors and actions taken. In those two lists, we only added labels. That means, if you like the labels you’re using now, you can keep using them in SWIS and EC-SWIS after we release the update. Your printed referral forms are still compatible with the SWIS referral form. Your documented referral process can still work the same way.

…With One Small Change

We did remove one label with this release: "Other" from the list of Perceived Motivations. Every category in SWIS needs to be operationally defined (check out the updated list of definitions if you haven’t already), mutually exclusive (more on that below), and exhaustive. The list of Perceived Motivations is set and exhaustive. If you aren’t sure what the function of a student’s behavior is, that’s ok. Simply select "Unknown" for motivation instead of "Other."

Start Adding Academic Behaviors

Another way to ease into these changes is to enter academic-oriented behaviors under Academic Dishonesty. We used to group “Plagiarism” in with “Theft” and “Cheating” in with “Lying.” Remember how labels need to be mutually exclusive? This was an overlap. So, we did some rearranging and turned the two overlapping labels into three mutually exclusive ones.

  • Theft — We recommend putting any behavior related to stealing in this label.
  • Lying —We recommend putting any behavior related to not telling the truth (including “forgery”) in this label
  • Academic Dishonesty—We recommend putting any behavior related to unauthorized use of academic help (including "cheating" and "plagiarism") in this label.

For continuity’s sake, you can continue entering referrals for these academic behaviors under their previous labels. If you’re looking for an easy way to incorporate one change into your process, you can start by entering referrals for “Cheating” and “Plagiarism” under the new label: Academic Dishonesty. The new label correctly identifies these behaviors as academic instead of grouping them in with referrals for stealing and lying.

Transfer Custom Fields to Subtypes

You may currently track types of technology violations or restorative practices as custom fields. Both now come with their own subtypes you can enable in School Settings. You can continue to use your custom fields if you’re concerned about consistency in your data. When you’re ready, it’s simple to make the switch to using subtypes instead. Head to Tools and select School Settings from that menu.

  1. Click SWIS under Applications.
  2. Click Custom Fields.
  3. Double-click the custom field you want to modify.
  4. Uncheck the box labeled Display. This will retain all the data you’ve entered previously. It just removes the field from the referral data entry form.
  5. Click Save, then Save again.
  6. Scroll down to the subtype you want to add —Behavior Subtypes: Technology Violation or Action Taken Subtypes: Restorative Practice —and click anywhere in the row to expand it.
  7. To enable the setting, select Yes from the drop-down menu.
  8. Click Save to use the default options or edit the labels to match the subtypes you want to collect, and then click Save.

Dive into the Updates

If your school is ready to take advantage of these updates right away, go for it! The labels are more inclusive of what you already see and experience in your school. If not now, they are there for you whenever you’re ready.

We know some schools’ referral processes are fully paperless. We also know some schools rely on printed, paper referral forms. Changing those forms takes time and planning. Releasing these changes now gives everyone plenty of time to incorporate the new labels into their existing processes over the summer. When the fall comes, you can hit the ground running with updated labels and language. In the meantime, if there are some parts of this release you can start using without a problem, ease into them one at a time.

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