NORMATIVE LEARNING COMMUNITIES (NLC):
AN INITIATIVE FOR TURNAROUND SCHOOLS
The Normative Learning Communities (NLC) initiative was created by NAFI, a pioneer for over three and a half decades in improving the social, emotional and academic well-being of challenged students through building positive learning cultures. NLC is based upon the beliefs that:
1. Cultures shape behaviors
2. Mission-driven norms are most effective when developed through partnerships between teachers and students.
The Normative Learning Communities initiative meets the criteria of the DOE approved Mass Insight Education HPHP Preparedness Model for turnaround schools seeking to achieve sustainable cultures of learning that will impact behavior, create positive school climate, reduce attendance and raise academic performance in measurable ways. The NLC process:
· Prepares School Leaders to establish a culture of norms and structures that supports increased emotional and physical safety, improved attendance and reduced drop out. This mission-driven approach allows them to sustain an enthusiasm-centered environment with positive social, emotional and academic outcomes.
· Gives teachers the critical facilitation skills to minimize classroom disruptions, reduce office referrals and create a nurturing and safe environment that keeps students learning-focused. This allows them to spend more time on academic matters and less time on behavior management, as the students learn to trust the consistent positive norms that emerge.
· Enables students to gain competencies in pro-social communication, develop public speaking skills, and practice reflection, critical thinking and problem-solving. NLC allows them to celebrate their achievement and personal growth and feel part of the school’s success in measurable ways.
These sustainable outcomes are achieved through a unique approach that combines consultation, design, training, coaching, and ongoing support. NAFI experts begin by meeting with school leaders to understand the school’s strengths and challenges, examine their mission and evaluate discrepancies between rules and norms. A tailored design is created that includes three to five days of core trainings for staff, six to nine months of coaching by embedded mentors to establish a normative school culture, and ongoing support materials and consultation to sustain the benefits of the process. Outcomes are measured to ensure ROI.
NLC is not a packaged curriculum. It is an operating platform that transforms school culture, rooted in community ownership of challenges and solutions. NLC is compatible with all positive academic programs, behavioral incentive programs and positive community-based interventions for parent stakeholders.
Schools that utilize NLC experience the following broad-based benefits:
· School leaders model and support a process that replaces conflict driven rules with cooperation driven norms.
· Students become invested in the culture by participating in its evolution.
· Teachers gain valuable skills in facilitation and group process, learning how to manage behavior in ways that make their classrooms safe and nurturing learning environments.
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