Solanco Expectations Initiative

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A Community Coming Together

Respect. Responsibility. Courage. Kindness.

In 2012, 250 parents, educators, business owners, students, and community leaders came together for three nights to develop the Solanco Expectations. These meetings were designed to affirmatively state the common qualities we value and to develop ways to ensure these qualities were upheld. Consequent of these meetings, the Solanco Expectations were developed through consensus. The four core expectations are, as follows: Respect, Responsibility, Courage, and Kindness. Each of these were defined and clarified so that all had a common understanding.

Of course, defining expectations was only one step—how would we, as a community, embrace and demonstrate these? How could we ensure students embraced these? For this, students leaders and faculty/staff met and developed a plan to implement these expectations throughout the district in multiple ways.

A key step was to include the Solanco Expectations in the elementary civics curriculum, K-5, which teaches how government is structured, civic responsibility, and how these expectations are essential.

Each year, these expectations have become further ingrained in the district. And many valuable programs have developed, as a result—the victories have been both great and small.

Not only are the Solanco Expectations displayed, they are also practiced. For example, when Students of the Month are nominated, they are nominated based on how they demonstrate the Solanco Expectations in their every day lives. The nominating teachers’ letters describe specifically how the student demonstrates these repeatedly. We annually give awards in both middle schools and Solanco High School to students who embody these traits.

The Solanco Expectations also have formed the basis for our antidiscrimination/harassment/bullying programs. Once these Solanco Expectations were developed, the district refined them and developed a district-wide initiative, the Solanco Stands Together initiative (established 2017), which consists of four components: Building (a Culture of Kindness), Reporting, Intervening, and Supporting (Each Other).

Each school, then, has developed numerous and robust programs to support these. For example, middles schools have adopted the PRIDE Program (and refined it to PRIDE 2.0). Solanco High School students embraced Rachel’s Challenge (motto is “Practice Pre-Acceptance, not PreJudgement), and it has resulted in more student-led programs, such as the Best Buddies Program and the Kindness Notes initiative. Elementary schools adopted the Mikayla’s Voice program, whose motto is “Inspiring kids of all abilities to share the message of inclusion . . . ”

Each summer, all district principals meet to review the impact of the Solanco Expectations and the Solanco Stands Together programs, analyzing data and refining for the next year. Each year we note progress, strengths, and areas for improvement. And each year we enhance and improve the program. This is certainly a continuous process, which the chief goal being progress each year.

The Solanco Expectations have also supported community efforts, notably the Solanco Family Life Network (SFLN). The Solanco Family Life Network is designed to connect community needs with community resources in a three-part structure known as “Love, Lift, and Launch.” The work of the Solanco Family Network has been tremendous and has addressed many needs in the community (and continues to do so).

The community effort to support the Solanco School District plus the efforts to improve community life overall represent a core strength of Solanco community, a strength demonstrated many times each year (and visibly demonstrated when the community gathered to develop the Solano Expectations).

Expanding the Core Expectations

The Solanco Expectations initiative, established in 2012, has evolved as the District has progressed in its efforts to ensure a safe and supportive learning environment.

In the summer of 2015, the all building administrators convened the first of what would be an annual summit to analyze our progress and needs regarding the school environment. This involved analysis of statistics, evaluation of programs and initiatives, and development of new programs and initiatives. Each building, then, was required to revise and enhance its antiharassment/discrimination/bullying plans for the upcoming school year.

This is an annual improvement process that continues to this day.

The 2017 summit notably involved the “50 New Ideas” enterprise, which established the goal of implementing 50 new and creative programs to combat discrimination at the elementary, middle, and high school level. While the Core Expectations of Respect, Responsibility, Courage, and Kindness inform our practices, the Solanco Stands Together Initiative was borne from these action meetings. The Core Expectations were translated into four actionable components to frame the district’s efforts:

  1. Committing to Kindness
  2. Reporting Bullying
  3. Intervening
  4. Supporting Each Other

Part 1: Committing to Kindness – Students who develop healthy peer relationships have good support mechanisms as they grow and mature. For some, this may be a struggle. Solanco has developed programs to encourage students to demonstrate kindness to each other, which includes the basics of how to make friends, how to include others, and how to effectively respond to conflict. There are a number of programs designed to reinforce this commitment to collective kindness toward others, including recess “Buddy Benches,” the Kindness Rocks Campaign, the Lifeguard League, PRIDE Ambassadors, Lunch Buddies, and Link Crew, among many others.

Part 2: Reporting Bullying – A crucial part of an anti-bullying program is to make sure bullying incidents are reported. It is essential that bullying be reported to an adult at the school district. Solanco schools provide a number of ways for students or parents to report bullying, and bullying reports can come from parents, students who witness the bullying behavior, or students who are being bullied. These reporting mechanisms include the following: Lend-a-Hand Lockers, the online reporting form, student surveys, Monday Morning Reflection Cards, or reporting directly to a teacher, counselor, or principal.

Part 3: Intervening – Solanco has developed and implements numerous interventions to address and extinct bullying. These interventions include disciplinary consequences, in addition to or in conjunction with the following: response plans, counselor mediation, Cease and Desist tool, restorative practices, restorative mentorships, parent conferences, administrative conferences, hall monitors, and escorts.

Part 4: Supporting Each Other – Schools implement “post-vention” programs to offer support after bullying has been addressed. These programs are designed to help ensure students continue to grow and thrive in the school environment. Among these programs are Anti-bullying pledges, anti-bullying assemblies, data collection/analysis, student mentoring, referrals to outside services, friendship groups, “Character Counts” lessons, Buddy café tables, “Just Checkin’ plans, and others.

Numerous initiatives developed from this, including Solanco High School’s “Solanco Stands Together,” the PRIDE 2.0 program at Solanco middle schools, and the “ABC” program at Solanco elementary schools.

The Solanco Stands Together Initiative has continued to progress and evolve, and has subsequently developed into the “Dignity Honored: Solanco Stands Together” which is further detailed on this website.

Additionally, a list of the programs/initiatives developed during this work is also detailed on this website.

How We’re Responding to the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

School during COVID was challenging, and we worked hard to ensure our schools were both safe and open. The link to the right accesses our Health and Safety Plan, which describes what measures we are taking regarding COVID.