When it comes to making decisions, you need data that accurately reflect what’s happening in your school. The applications you use need to incorporate current contexts, prompt you toward implementing better practices, and evolve with you through the ever-changing field of education.
We knew it was time for an update — kind of a big one — to one of the fundamental components of one of our largest applications: the SWIS referral form.
Don’t worry. You won’t log in and suddenly everything looks different. The fundamental components of the referral form will remain unchanged. We’re upgrading the labels within those categories along with a few other new features. Want a sneak peek?
There’s New Language Throughout SWIS
Let’s start at the top. Over time, the way we talk about behavior has changed. We’ve become more inclusive, more objective, and more specific. Here are the ways we’re incorporating those ideas throughout SWIS.
Problem Behavior Becomes Behavior
We can call behavior unwanted, unexpected, inappropriate, or problematic, but the question always remains: To whom? Rather than qualify a behavior, we will just call it “behavior”.
Major and Minor Become Administrator-managed and Staff-managed
In the past, we used the terms “major” and “minor” to describe the severity of a student’s behavior. In practice, we also know minor behaviors are managed by adults in the place where they happen, like classrooms, gyms, or playgrounds. Major behaviors get sent out of those places for an administrator to manage. We wanted the language in the application to reflect the referral process itself. So, major behaviors will be called administrator-managed and minor behaviors will be staff-managed. Don’t worry, we’ll still include “major” and “minor” for now, as we all get used to the change.
Office Discipline Referral (ODR) Becomes Referral
This one feels like a big one in our world. We’ve always called them ODRs, but times are changing and so is this term. Not every referral goes to the office, so we’re simplifying things and just calling them “referrals” from now on.
We’re Adding Some New Labels…
On the referral form itself, there are five categories (six if you’re an EC-SWIS user) where we’ve defined labels for you to choose from. These lists are supposed to be defined, mutually exclusive (no overlap), and exhaustive. We reviewed every list in every category and we’re giving you new definitions (coming soon!), renaming a few labels (more details to come), and adding five new labels to our lists. Here’s the new ones you’ll see:
- Threatening Behavior
- Academic Dishonesty
New Actions Taken
- Request for Additional Support
- Restorative Practice
…Plus A Few Other Changes
Oh yes, there’s more. This was supposed to be a sneak peek, so we can’t give too much away too soon, but language isn’t the only new thing coming to the referral form in this release!
We’re adding a subcategory each to Technology Violation and Restorative Practice. They’ll be optional and customizable. They’ll give you even more detail about the way students interact with technology while they’re in school, and you’ll be able to identify the specific restorative practices you use most often.
Other Goes Away from Perceived Motivation
We’re removing Other from the list of Perceived Motivations in SWIS and EC-SWIS.
Parent Contact Becomes Caregiver/Guardian Contact
In Action Taken, Parent Contact will become Caregiver/Guardian Contact.
Why Are We Making These Changes Now?
Great question. We wondered about the best timing for these changes, too. Here’s why we’re doing this now and not waiting until September.
First, you should know that none these changes will affect your current process. If you like the labels you’re using now, you can keep using them in SWIS and EC-SWIS after we release the update.
Second, some schools’ referral processes are fully paperless, and that’s great. 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.
Finally, you know when you get someone a gift and you can’t wait to give it to them because you know they’re going to love it? That’s us, right now! We’re excited about these changes. They’re the first of what we hope will be several updates designed to bring the SWIS referral form up to date so you can make even more efficient, effective, and equitable schoolwide decisions as a team. Stay tuned for even more details to come over the next few weeks!