• Positive Behavior Support


    Williamston Middle School Responsible Thinking Process (RTP)


    Students have the right to learn and teachers have the right to teach in safety.

    No one has the right to disrupt, to prevent other students from learning or to violate the rights of others.

    In order to reach our goal of reducing classroom and hallway disruptions and to assure a safe and orderly learning environment for all children, the Responsible Thinking Process (RTP) will be used throughout Williamston Middle School. RTP is a tool for our students and staff members employ in order to facilitate growth and learning in a consistent and safe environment. Through the use of the Responsible Thinking Process, students will learn and be asked to self-manage their behavior.

    The RTP is not based on rewards and punishment because that places responsibility for the actions on the person with authority instead of the student, where it belongs. Mutual respect is fostered through the questioning process. Children learn, with assistance, how to make a plan to help them deal with future situations. Confidence is built when students make their own choices to obey the rules and, by doing that, experience success.

    The RTP is based on the Perceptual Control Theory and the book, Discipline for Home and School by Edward E. Ford. Simply stated, the Perceptual Control Theory says: "Human beings act when they are trying to control their perceptions of the world to make it conform to internally set goals" (Ford 1997). In other words, we change our actions only when we see a difference between our present situation and what we want.

    What happens when children choose to break a rule?
    When children choose to break a rule they are asked a series of questions:

    • What are you doing?
    • What are the rules? (Is that Okay?)
    • What happens when you break the rules?
    • Is that what you want to happen?
    • What will happen if you disrupt again?

    In many cases, the questioning process alone well helps students get back on task. If children avoid answering a question, it is repeated. If they persist in not dealing with the situation, the teacher asks, "Do you want to work on this or not?" If they continue to avoid dealing with the situation, or if they disrupt a second time during that class period, the child has not chosen to follow the rules. At this time, the teacher says something like, "I see you have chosen to leave." Children must then report to the Responsible Thinking Classroom (RTC).

    What happens to children in the Responsible Thinking Classroom?
    The RTC is a place where children are taught how to think for themselves, deal with their problems through effective plan making, and develop self-discipline. The RTC Supervisor is there to help the student through the entire RTC process. At first, students may perceive this room as punitive, like a detention room. They quickly learn that is a place where they are treated with respect. They see it as a place where others care about them and want them to succeed. Students remain in the RTC as long as they need to or until they finish their plan. Children are responsible for their missed class work while they are in RTC.

    When students are committed to solving their problem, they write a plan. The children ultimately have to learn to resolve conflicts in their lives. Using questions, the plan guides students through a thinking process designed to enable them to take responsibility for their actions, understand the result of those actions, and achieve their goals without disturbing others. The RTC Supervisor assists the children in writing plans.

    When do students return to class from the RTC?
    Students stay in the RTC until they have completed their plan. Once the plan has been written, and reviewed by the RTC Supervisor, the student is allowed to return to class. If the plan is not completed before the end of the hour, the student is sent to their next hour.

    What are the stages of the Responsible Thinking Process?

    • After the 2nd disruption in the classroom (hallway, outside, lunch room, etc...) students will be sent to the RTC
    • 3rd time a student chooses RTC in a semester, parents WILL BE notified by mail/email
    • 5th time a student chooses RTC in a semester we may set up an intervention meeting with staff, parents and students
    • 7th time a student chooses RTC - one day in Saturday school
    • 8th visit - student chooses to start the LUNCH EARN BACK PROCESS
    • 9th visit and beyond - administrative referrals

    How are serious acts of misconduct handled?
    Serious acts of misconduct are referred directly to an administrator. Please see the Code of Conduct for more information.

    What is the parent's role in the Responsible Thinking Program?
    It is important that parents understand the theory behind the program, the mechanics of the program, and that it is a process. Many students are accustomed to being told what to do and, at first, will find the thinking process difficult and uncomfortable. In addition, many adults are used to "telling" rather than using questions to simulate problem solving in children. Therefore, proficiency in the Responsible Thinking Process requires a learning process for teachers, parents and students. Parents can learn more about the Responsible Thinking Process by reading the book, Discipline for Home and School by Edward E. Ford. Parental support and understanding is vital to its success and ultimately to the success of our students.

    Can parents use the Responsible Thinking Process at home with their children?
    The Responsible Thinking Program is an effective tool for the home. The questioning process fosters respect between parents and children, since parents are no longer "telling" their children what to do and how to do it. Instead, children learn to think about their actions and the effects of those actions. This helps to keep the important lines of communication open. Confidence is built as children experience success from making their own responsible decisions. A goal of every parent is to raise children who make good decisions, when no one is watching, and are self-disciplined.