Dignity for All Students Act (DASA)

The Dignity for All Students Act (DASA) was signed into law on September 13, 2010 and takes effect on July 1, 2012.  The Act prohibits harassment and discrimination of students by peers and by school personnel.  In addition, amendments to the regulation (effective July 1, 2013) have added explicit references prohibiting bullying and cyber bullying.  The Act covers all public elementary and secondary aged students and applies to behaviors on school property, in school buildings, on a school bus, as well as school-sponsored events or activities.  Districts will be responsible for identifying at least one employee at every school to serve as the DASA coordinator.  This individual must be thoroughly trained to “handle human relations” in the protected areas.  All schools in the District have named two Coordinators.  The Coordinators for Dodge Elementary are:  Mrs. Melanie Myers and Mr. Charles Smilinich  They can be reached at 626-9820.  Please contact either one of them should you have any concerns or wish to report an incident at Dodge Elementary School.

Overview of DASA at Dodge

Even before the DASA, the staff at Dodge have held students and staff to a high standard of respect for all.  From the multicultural celebration called Dodge around the World to expectation of including others in your conversations on the bus and in the lunchroom, the school’s goal has been for all students to feel connected and included at our school.

Dodge around the World is held one evening each May. Dodge families from all over the world come to set up stations in the gym that students visit.  As students stop at each country, they interact with the family members, learn about customs, foods, games, geography, etc.  Before they leave that country, students get their “passport” stamped.  Additionally on stage, Dodge third graders share the songs, dances and other traditions they have studied in music class.  It is a wonderful event that reminds everyone to appreciate and celebrate the diversity Dodge Elementary is fortunate to have.

PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports) has been a strong school-wide initiative for two years already.  Staff have focused on a set of simple overarching rules- Be Safe. Be Kind. Work Hard.  Each of these rules is further defined for a variety of school settings. Students learn what being safe looks like in the cafeteria and what being kind sounds like on the bus, for example.  Students are acknowledged occasionally and randomly when they are caught following the school-wide expectations.  Celebrations include a class parade on Friday mornings for the class earning the most tickets in the week.  In this fourth year, we have begun to look beyond this universal level and reorganize how we support students who need more than the universal instructions and reinforcement system to achieve these positive behaviors.

Dodge is dedicated to building understanding, empathy and skills for eliminating and responding to bullying and harassment. We will address what bullying is, how to report bullying, how to prevent bullying and how to be an “up-stander” rather than a bystander.  Our Wellness committee has also collaborated with the PTA to host a monthly Unity Day. Everyone is invited to wear orange, eat a healthy orange snack while sharing and discussing literature with an anti-bullying message. Monthly Unity Day dates can be found on the WITS event calendar!

Finally, like all schools staff in the district, the Dodge staff has been trained on the DASA. It is clear that student wellness and character is as important to the staff at Dodge as the academic well-being of every student.