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Advisory

By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on October 16, 2014

Advisory should be a time when students and teachers have the opportunity to connect. How do we make this time meaningful so it really does contribute to schools being more positive and supportive? Whether you are fortunate to have an entire class period for advisory or feel you’re scrambling to set aside a decent amount of time to connect with students, we’ve gathered 3 topics that have been especially well-received in the field.

We hope these spark some interest and inspire you to try something new...

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Sara’s Story

By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on October 15, 2014

Sara’s Story

13 year-old pop-opera singer Sara Stevensknows all too well what it feels like to be bullied for being “different”. Instead of being defeated by the teasing and harsh words she found solace and a new-found confidence through singing.

While she is only 13, some of Sara’s accomplishments include performing in La Boheme with the Atlanta Opera; singing the National anthem at the New York Giants vs. New England Patriots game; and gracing the legendary stage at Carnegie Hall. She's now working on her album with famed producer Paul Schwartzof Phantom of the Opera on Broadway.

This is her story:

 

My name is Sara Stevens. I'm 13 years old and I'm a singer. Have you ever been picked on, called a mean name or just simply left out and ignored? This is something kids deal with every day.

I understand. I was bullied too.

I was told that I was too tall, that I like to draw too much, and that I like to sing too much. Some kids even said I was fat. That hurt, but it never stopped me from being myself.

I remember one night I couldn't sleep and cried because I was so worried about going to school in the morning.

My mom taught me to be strong and I believe that tough times can make you stronger. When something is difficult, you can develop a confidence in yourself that you never knew you had.

My grandparents have also been very supportive of me following my dream, and they have done a lot to make it possible for me to do just that. My grandmother has told me many times to never try to be like anyone else, but to just be myself. My granddad reminds me to keep going when things don't go exactly the way I want. He tells me to keep working at what I am trying to accomplish.

There are other people who have been there for me. My vocal coach Amy Zorn has taught me so much about singing, and to never be afraid to show my feelings to the audience. And my producer Paul Schwartz, who is the first to congratulate me when a performance or recording has gone well, is also the first to remind me to continue working hard.

I also met a man named John Roberts. He's a music producer in Atlanta. Together, he and I wrote a song called Dance In This Dreamwhich was inspired by what I had gone through.

All these encouraging words from the people in my life make me feel good and happy. The best advice I can give to anyone out there struggling is believe in yourself never back down. Always stand up and know that your dream is waiting for you.   

I hope with all my heart that this song will touch many lives. It has a powerful message about looking for the positive and overcoming the negative. 

The most important thing a person can do is to be him or herself. Don't let anything hold you back, take your chance, find your dream and everything is possible! 

 

Listen to “Dance In This Dream” here.

Research Roundup, October 15

By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on October 15, 2014

Two New Reports Argue for In-School Mental Health Screenings Time

New reports (which is “UK specific but also looks at U.S. programming”) published in The Lancet Psychiatry show that “75% of adults who access mental health treatment had a diagnosable disorder when they were under age 18, but in high-income countries, only 25% of kids with mental health problems get treated.” The reports suggest schools to add mental health care into their services as a method to identify and treat at-risk children, particularly if there are visible signs such as weight fluctuation or bullying.  While only some schools in the U.S. and internationally have mental health programs, it is not a standard for schools to implement.

With Black Students, Some Schools Are More Ready to Punish Than Help The New York Times

This is a New York Times blog post written by Piazadora Footman, mother of 9 year old Xavier, who feels that her son has been experiencing racial inequities in school after reading a report from the DOE Office of Civil Rights. When Xavier, who has an IEP, had behavioral issues, he was sent to the principal’s office and at times, even suspended. “It seemed as if they saw him as a bad child, not a child with needs the school could help to address,” said Footman. Finally, Footman moved her son to a new school that had resources and the right kind of support for students. Xavier is improving in his school work and no longer has outbursts. “Children need to be taught with love and understanding.”

Q&A with Daniel Goleman: How the Research Supports Social-Emotional Learning Edutopia

In a Q&A session with Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence: Why it Matters More Than IQ and The Triple Focus: A New Approach to Education, Edutopia explores the relationship between social-emotional learning and academic achievement, the controversy over “grit,” and how SEL in schools can help behavior in the classroom and the home. Goleman explains using data from a recent “meta-analysis of different studies analyzing schools that have SEL programs and those that don’t.” Check out this brief interview to read Goleman’s thoughts.

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8 No-Prep Methods to Reduce Classroom Bullying: By Beth Morrow

By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on October 13, 2014

With the continual crush of standards and tests in our classrooms, it’s tempting to bypass the more creative and less structured social activities that don’t end up on a bubble sheet.

The irony is that those feel-good moments are the only opportunity many students have to get to know each other in a socially positive environment as people, not competitors. Bullying is often the result of one person seeking power or attention--or both--from someone lacking confidence in their own social self-worth. The danger is that in eliminating deliberate social skill-building activities, students do not have exposure to or experience in building their own self-worth.  By cutting out these confidence-building moments, it’s as though we are expecting fewer bullying behaviors by eliminating the very tools that can help improve the situation.

We frequently claim we need more time to improve classroom climate but more time is not a prerequisite. Here are eight no/low-prep ways to infuse our classrooms with the behaviors we most want to see from our students.

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Research Roundup, October 8

By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on October 08, 2014

State Introduces Tools for School Change EdSource

The California Department of Education has released a new resource site called Quality Schooling Framework that will “guide administrators through the process of identifying priorities, gathering data, building support and implementing and assessing new programs,” with an emphasis on “school culture and climate.” This framework is set to help reach school improvement goals within the budgetary and state limits, while taking action on districts’ priorities. However, questions remain unanswered regarding how this framework will be executed within districts.

Invalidation During The Teenage Years Increases The Risk Of Self-Harm In Young People Science World Report

In a study conducted among 99 hospitalized teens, researchers found that there was a high perception of the lack of acceptance from either family or peers. These 99 teens were hospitalized “out of concern about suicide risk,” ranging from cases regarding bullying to family invalidation. Boys particularly had a “statistically significant predictor of a later suicide event,” and both boys and girls had “strong indicators” of self-harm.

Helping Students Find Purpose and Appreciation for School Edutopia

How can educators take mindful steps to recharge, appreciate, take ownership, and find purpose in their role as leaders in the school? This blog post by Maurice Elias explains that changes one step at a time can make a big difference in satisfaction and productivity, and how you can start integrating the needs of educators with the needs of students.

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