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Breaking the Disconnect between Policy and Practice

By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on June 13, 2013

By Jessica Savage, NSCC Legal and Policy Fellow

On paper, school policies that implement cooperative learning curriculums seem like an excellent opportunity for improving school climates. Cooperative learning is an approach to organizing classroom activities whereby students must listen and learn from each other in order to succeed in their lessons. There is a robust body of research to suggest that students who participate in this type of learning show significant gains in social and emotional competencies as well academic achievement. In particular, such curriculums have proven highly successful at decreasing the amount of violence and conflicts that occur between students and increasing empathy and unity within classrooms.

Given the evidence, it would seem that more schools would employ policies implementing cooperative learning curriculums, particularly those schools where bullying and violence is high, which is unfortunately a growing number. But they aren’t. The reason for this, at least in part, seems relatively simple: cooperative learning curriculums only work when you implement them correctly, and more often than not, this isn’t happening. Frequently, there is not enough time and training for the school community and practitioners implementing the curriculum to learn and/or implement it correctly. As a result, it doesn’t get practiced in a meaningful way and it doesn’t produce results. The disconnect between what implementing the curriculum means in theory and what actually happens in practice eventually results in schools failing to adopt the curriculums in the first place.

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Summer Learning Promotes Success for Social and Emotional Learning Leader

By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on May 23, 2013

By Judith Nuss, CASEL Consultant, Collaborating Districts Initiative in Cleveland Metropolitan School District and Austin Independent School District

I have participated in the National School Climate (NSCC) Summer Institute several times. Each time I come away rejuvenated, educated, and inspired with enhanced skills and knowledge to activate positive change in our schools for teachers, students and parents. Probably my most memorable institute experience was my first one in the summer of 2006. At the time, I had just completed my rookie year as Director of Social and Emotional Learning in a distressed urban public school district in a state capital city. I went to the Summer Institute as a true and eager learner – wanting to know all the research and the best practices for promoting social and emotional learning.

That was the summer I first met Dr. Jonathan Cohen, a most personable professor and researcher - down to earth, advanced in social and emotional competence, and always with an appreciative voice that could sooth a raging bull. To date, Jon remains a valued mentor and colleague. I always value effective leadership.

I also first met Mary Utne O’Brien, then Executive Director of CASEL (Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning.) After being mesmerized by Mary’s keynote message, I participated in a small break-out session she facilitated. In addition to meeting the learning needs of this session’s group, Mary warmly counseled me, responded enthusiastically and knowledgably to my questions, and greatly inspired me to strenuously climb the uphill challenge I was leading in my district – that of promoting district-wide and explicit social and emotional learning for all K-12 students.

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What I Learned during My Week at the Summer Institute and Why I’m Coming Back

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

By Shawn Healy, Civic Learning & Engagement Scholar, Robert R. McCormick Foundation

A positive school climate is essential to a school living its civic mission. I’m admittedly a novice when it comes to school climate, but when I arrived in New York last July to attend the National School Climate Institute’s 2012 Summer Institute, I knew this much, and believed it deeply in my heart.

My expertise lies in civic education and engagement. I taught high school social studies for six years, am a PhD candidate in the field of political socialization, and chair the Illinois Civic Mission Coalition, which advocates for school-based civic learning opportunities across the formal curriculum, in extracurricular activities, and through day-to-day school governance.

My combined experiences in the classroom, as an academic, and as an advocate, taught me that a challenging curriculum incorporating proven civic learning practices is alone insufficient in preparing young people for their roles in our representative democracy. Principals must be a driving force for a school’s civic mission, with specific attention to staff development, from hiring to evaluation to professional development. Schools must also build reciprocal relationships with the surrounding community, where both are resources for one another.

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Action Alert: Educators To Call Congress Today

By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on May 26, 2010

Educators and their supporters from across the country are calling members of Congress demanding they take immediate action to prevent the loss of some 300,000 educator jobs nationwide today. This effort, being organized by numerous education organizations including our friends at ASCD who seeks to rally educators at the state and district levels and encourage them to make their voices heard as Congress begins work on an emergency supplemental appropriations bill to be voted on in the coming weeks. You can do your part to protect our children from increased class sizes, reduced school hours and days, and eliminated programs and services by following these four simple steps.

Step 1: Call 1-866-608-6355 to contact your members of Congress.

Please continue reading to help support our nation's educators.

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Get Financially Empowered at NY-area Trainings

By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on May 21, 2010

Catherine and Count Basie Middle School 72  is offering a financial training series for all parents! Learn how to become your own financial planner, the different types of investments as well as improving your credit! Come join the following companies and experts while they give financial advice for the future.


New York Life Insurance

ING Direct and ING Sharebuilders



Registration is required.

Please Click Here to review the flyer and learn more about these empowering events sponsored by MS 72 in Queens, NY!


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