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Enhancing SEL Learning at P169M

By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on January 21, 2014

Our series of blog posts focused on social-emotional learning (SEL) continues. In this post, we introduce you to P169M, a District 75 school using SEL as a common language to enrich individual and group instruction needs.

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Promoting Social-Emotional Awareness at Mickey Mantle School

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

Developing a positive school climate is a partnership effort between the entire school community of educators, administrators, mental health professionals, students, and parents. Schools and districts across the nation are speaking to this effort in a number of innovate ways. In this post, we introduce you to Mickey Mantle School, a District 75 school developing a common language supportive of academic, social and emotional needs. Read on for the first of a series of blogs highlighting schools promoting high levels of social-emotional awareness and understanding.

By: Barry Daub, Principal, P811M-The Mickey Mantle School, New York, NY

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Research Roundup, December 17

By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on December 17, 2013

Does Your School Climate Focus on Learning? Ed Week

As a school leader, I always believed that I was the biggest contributor to our school climate. It's not that I believe school leaders have the most important job in the school, because everyone plays an important part in the school community, but the climate of the school begins with the school leader.


Social Media: An Asset for Teachers and Leaders Ed Week

The use of social media as a communication tool for educators is inevitable. The paramount value of using social media is the creation and maintenance of relationships. It is a communication accelerant that moves information between people faster than we have ever experienced and, in fewer words than we are used to using.


11 Foreign Education Policies That Could Transform American Schools Huffington Post

We learned the results of the latest PISA (Program for International Student Assessment) last week, and American students performed the same on the well-regarded international exam as they have for the past ten years -- completely stagnant, smack dab in the middle of the spectrum...It could be time for our country to look at some of the specific protocols and methods that top-performing countries are using to educate their children. Here, we have highlighted 11 education policies from highly-ranked countries that seem to be working for them.


Ridgefield Park High School participates in innovative anti-bullying initiative NewJersey.com

Ridgefield Park Junior High School is participating in the ROOTS Program - a harassment, intimidation and bullying (HIB) prevention program in conjunction with Princeton University. The school's participation highlights its commitment to anti-bullying initiatives, and the program will yield tailor-made recommendations for further improving the social-emotional climate at RPJHS.


High quality PreK-8 education is critical News Herald

As we learn more about the brain and researchers gain a better understanding of how the body works, it appears that education does more than prepare kids for fulfilling careers.


This Research Roundup was compiled by Chanelle Spencer, Research Fellow at NSCC

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Research Roundup, December 10

By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on December 10, 2013

We Need 'A Little Bit of Mandela' in Every Leader Ed Week

The world is in mourning at the loss of Nelson Mandela. From presidents to poets to musicians, along with those who still seek the freedom for which he fought, everyone is expressing respect for the man who walked the path from prison to president…Most of us will never be so great but all of us can be 'a little bit Mandela.' Those of us who choose to lead in education know the calling to make a difference in the world.


The new order The Hindu

Is it only challenged kids who need inclusive education? Well actually, it has been proven worldwide that inclusive education benefits not just the ‘included’ challenged kids, but also the mainstream kids, as well as society at large.


Change school culture to embrace parents The Seattle Times

We know from decades of research that involving parents and families in the education of their children is strongly linked to positive academic outcomes — ranging from increased school readiness and higher reading and math scores to higher graduation rates. Even so, many schools struggle to actively involve high numbers of parents in their kids’ schooling, and barriers to involvement still exist.


U.S. Achievement Stalls as Other Nations Make Gains Education Week

U.S. performance in reading, math, and science has remained stagnant since 2009 as other nations have plowed ahead, according to new results from a prominent international assessment.


This Research Roundup was compiled by Chanelle Spencer, Research Fellow at NSCC

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Adult Support from a Youth Perspective

By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on October 07, 2013

By Yena Kwak

Yena Kwak is currently a 10th grader at Tenafly High School. Her story, From Middle School Student to Bully Prevention Advocate, appeared
in the June 2013 issue of School Climate Matters. The piece featured her perspective of the bullying climate of her then school, Tenafly Middle School, and her desire to engage and encourage students to become active upstanders. Here she describes her personal experience as a student and as a representative at NSCC’s Summer Institute. Read on for ways educators across the nation can support youth facing similar struggles.

 

Learning and Growing

School is where students take their first baby steps into society. This is where they begin to learn the essential social and emotional skills such as communication, cooperation, empathy and reflection. To learn these effectively, students need an environment where they feel accepted and safe. Problems such as bullying can interfere with this-students may be afraid, anxious and even terrified of their peers because they don’t know when and if they will be bullied. Bullying is both psychological and physical, where you feel nervous and also suspicious of the intentions of your peers. This
trauma distracts students from a successful learning experience. Adding to this, victims seclude themselves from others in the same school society, which sometimes leads to being ignored or facing rumors and name-calling. Gradually, victims become alienated in the school. To them, their school climate couldn’t be any worse.

 

Perfect Solutions Don’t Exist

Bullying, in my opinion, has no perfect solution. Many schools emphasize talking to adults when bullied, but I think this keeps the bully victim quiet. From around the age of ten and up, students become embarrassed and unwilling to talk to adults. They think they are mature enough to solve bullying problems by themselves and that time will solve everything. Also, and this is from my own experience, they’re afraid of exclusion. When I was bullied in my previous school, I did consider consulting the school counselor, but I decided against it because I was scared. I thought if I “tattled” on my so-called friends, I would become completely friendless and excluded. I never thought about making new friends because everyone seemed to be involved in
separate cliques. I definitely knew it would be difficult to squeeze into a new group of friends. So, I maintained my silence and tried to ignore the bullying. I had little success with this. When I was in the 6th grade, I was involved in a group called “peer leaders” where students helped other students overcome bullying. I found it easier to help others than to help myself. Even after becoming a satisfactory peer leader, I couldn’t solve my own issue. The problem was the peer leader program educated students to help others but it didn’t teach the peer leaders how to deal with bullying if it happened to them.

 

What Can You Do?

Adults in my school did the best they could to support students. Students sometimes just don’t know what they need or, if they do know, they don’t know how to communicate the feeling. i believe the best way the adults can help bullied students is to be mindful of things going on around the school, especially in the cafeteria. From my experiences, I would say the first step is breaking the mindset of having separate, private cliques. This is especially a problem among girls. A student involved in a clique may make friends with other students but once that student is surrounded by her clique, she becomes much more comfortable communicating their personal problems.

If adults help students break this mindset, new friendships can be formed in the more receptive school society. Another way to help the students is to eliminate the thought that school supervisors exist only to punish bad behavior without wanting to know more about what happened and why it happened. If staff members connect with students outside the classroom in a different situation such as playing a sports game or being available after school to talk, student perspective changes and students become more open to communicate their personal problems.

In addition to breaking student opinion, students need to know how hard their teachers are working to improve the school climates. This summer, I attended NSCC’s Summer Institute. From a student point of view, I was extremely touched by the determination of the school leaders to improve their school climates and address bullying problems in their communities. I was very grateful for the invitation and felt included as a student representative.
Sometimes students need to know that staff are as concerned (if not more) about the problems students are facing. This is something important I learned from the Summer Institute. If I could, I would share with students one thing: I would tell them that their school leaders are striving very hard to achieve the goal of creating the best school climates possible.

 

Read more about schools in action and upstander efforts by connecting to our School Climate Matters newsletter.

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