Choices Procedures

It is our goal at Murray to help students develop their abilities to make successful choices and to learn to think through the possible consequences of their actions before they act. To this end, we use Dr. William Glasser’s Choice Theory to discuss problems when they arise and to work out mutually acceptable solutions. It is our belief that together we can create a successful classroom environment. During the first week of class, students and teachers work together to decide upon class non-negotiables, the behaviors and practices that all class members need to feel happy and comfortable working together.

What Students and Parents Can Expect When Problems Arise: So that Murray students can more successfully predict the likely outcomes of their behavior choices and make better decisions as a result, it is our goal to consistently and respectfully respond to problematic behavior choices. Murray students can expect that if they choose a behavior which is disruptive to the learning environment, the teacher will acknowledge the problem subtly, if possible, respecting the student’s privacy. The teacher might catch the student’s eye, which is a signal that the student should stop and ask him/herself, “What am I doing and is it disruptive?” The teacher might ask questions such as: “What’s going on?” or “What are you doing?” or “What’s your plan for today?” The object of such questions is to give students a chance to think through their behavior choices and to select behaviors which will allow them to stay in class.

If a Murray student continues to choose behaviors which are distracting to others in the learning environment, Murray teachers are likely to ask the following: “Can you participate in class now? Would it help you to take a five minute walk to refocus or get a drink of water?” If the problem is repeated or becomes more severe, the student will be asked to go to the Choices Room.

The Goal of Choices: It is our goal that Murray students will become so adept at making good choices that they will be aware of their behaviors and will express their needs before a teacher has to ask them to leave class. Murray students may ask to take a five-minute walk (see information below), or may ask to go to the Choices Room to talk with a Choices teacher and to make a plan to be successful in class.
Five-Minute Walks: A five-minute walk provides the opportunity for the student to reflect on his or her behavior and refocus on learning. Should Murray students need to take a five-minute walk, they should pick up a blue card from the teacher. A Five-Minute Walk is negotiated with the teacher and is used to calm down, reflect about behavior choices, and refocus on learning.

Questions to Consider on a Five Minute Walk:

    • Do I want to return to class enough change my behavior?


    • What are my current behaviors and are they gaining what I need and want?


    • Will these choices allow me to remain in class and earn credit?


    • What wants and needs are not being met in this class at this time?


    • Am I ready to return to class and behave appropriately, or do I need to go to the Choices Room?



    1. The Choices Teacher will ask what happened and what behaviors the student and teacher chose that led to the Choices Room.


    1. Students will be asked to fill out a form (either on paper or on the computer) that a) describes the incident or actions that led to the student being sent to or choosing Choices, and b) allows the student to reflect on how and why the situation occurred, and c) defines more appropriate choices of behavior.


    1. Once the form has been successfully completed, the Choices teacher will contact the classroom teacher and send the student back to class when appropriate. It is then the student’s job to approach the teacher and to work out a plan to solve the problem.


    1. Both the student and the teacher may request that a third party help them work out a solution to the problem. This is especially helpful when previous plans have not been successful.


Murray students and teachers usually find this process to be educational, supportive and helpful. Should problems arise with this process, teachers should contact a Choices teacher. The Choices teachers are Charlotte Wellen, Virginia Elgort, Vicki Miller, and in Dr. Miller’s absence, Toni Roby. Some of Ms. Kelly’s students go to her for Choices. She will let you know who they are. Any student who is sent to Choices should first report to the office to sign in.

Tolerance: Tolerance is utilized when Choices is no longer an option or for student offenses such as leaving school property without permission. Tolerance differs from out-of-school suspension in that the student and parent have control over when the student returns to school. A student is placed on Tolerance and may return with a parent when he/she is ready to work out the problem. An appointment with the principal or designee is required to return to school. The student is then reassigned to Choices to complete that process.

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