Rules are important. They provide an unspoken structure, clarity, and guidance in all situations. When The Paragon School opened its doors 12 years ago, it stands to reason that one of the very first things teachers and students did was establish the School Rules.
These were not rules which were to be ‘imposed’ on the students. These were rules developed by the students and teachers for the whole school community. These Five School Rules were intended to help guide each Paragon student to success, both inside and outside of school.
- LISTEN – Focus on what is being communicated
- USE MANNERS – Always be polite and respectful
- BE SAFE – Practice safety at all times
- BE FLEXIBLE – Adjust favorably to change
- SELF-CHECK – Be accountable for your actions
It seems that the students did a pretty good job of things back on that first day, as their rules have stood the test of time and are still actively in place in the school today.
Join us over the next few weeks as we take an in-depth look at how each rule impacts the day to day life of the Paragon School community.
Rule #1 - LISTEN
This rule is arguably one of the most important rules, as it leads students into following the other rules. Why is it so important? All Paragon students are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or Asperger’s syndrome. ASD and Asperger’s can make social interactions difficult or uncomfortable for those affected by either condition, including something as seemingly simple as listening.
Listen relates to the need for the student to actively pay attention - be that a teacher, parent, therapist, another student, or any other individual who is speaking. This means demonstrating eye contact and other appropriate body posture for engaging in conversation (i.e. body still and face angled toward speaker).
As Elementary Teacher Maureen Mulvaney explains, “In order to learn, students must be able to listen. Listening is how we learn about the world, others, and helps us interact with others and our environment.”
She cites good examples of following Rule #1 to include following instructions and routines, learning new material, and showing improvement and growth by remembering past instructions given.
“Listening to others makes people happy and will strengthen relationships,” Ms. Mulvaney says. “Students will be able to participate in more activities and be able to experience life in a positive way. Students who listen will be given more opportunities.”
Ms. Mulvaney’s students also shared what they thought about Rule #1.
“You have to listen to teachers because it is important.” - Ariana
"If you are not listening, you cannot learn or solve problems." - Kavan
“I listen to the teachers by doing my work.” - Cade
“I listen at home and don't get in trouble. My parents feel good.” - Will