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Research Roundup

By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on October 29, 2015

School communities that have families living at or below poverty levels have realized parent engagement is an issue.  Some parents work two or three jobs and when back to school night or teacher conferences come, most seats are left empty.  When family engagement is strong it creates better school environments and allows for not only student development, but teacher development as well.  A Sacramento school is implementing “The Parent/Teacher Home Visit Project” that aims at building relationships between teachers and families and “serve the whole child in a way that a meeting in a public school setting can’t”.  

Student data is continuously being collected by schools to track student performance. States are now structuring how data is collected and considering better ways to make use of it, including creating “progress reports” where students, staff, and parents can view student longitudinal data. As technology rapidly changes student privacy has become a concern.  Many are looking to congress for a new bill that will “redefine what constitutes a student’s educational record under federal law”. 

October is bullying Prevention Month and GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) hosted “Spirit Day” on Thursday, October 21st at an elementary school in Mar Vista.  This day is for LGBT students to show that they are supported by their schools and communities.  LGBT students are more likely than other students to be victims of bullying.  A report in 2013 published by the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network showed many LGBT students felt unsafe in school because of sexual orientation, gender expression, body size/weight, and several other factors. Students’ experiences are the cause of why they fell unsafe at school, for example, homophobic language, such as, “that’s so gay” being used in negative terms.  In order to better track these instances, LA Unified School District does not collect data on LGBT youth, but are showing support one way through “public statements…providing purple lanyard for coaches to wear to show that they welcome LGBT athletes”. 

Research Roundup

By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on January 08, 2015

When Your Kid Is the Bully: What to Do
This article explains two main reasons why children bully and how parents can get involved to acknowledge the behavior, focus on consequences, partner with schools, and build social and emotional skills.


The overuse of suspension in American public schools threatens the success of all students
New research looks at the consequences from the overuse of suspension as a response to negative behavior. Rather than improving the learning environment for students, suspensions are leading to decline in positive perception of school experiences. This article expands on how suspension should be used as a last resort and not as a primary source of punishment.

2014: Year in Review & What's Coming in 2015
School climate topics from increased mental health funding to bully prevention policies sparked your interest in 2014. In this e-blast we revisit just a few news items from around the nation as well as what's coming in 2015 for NSCC in this year-in-review recap. 


Can Technology Teach Social Skills to Youth?

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


Technology is changing rapidly. You have barely enough time to break in your latest Apple product before a new, improved one is being offered with capabilities you would not have even imagined a few years ago. Children growing up these days  are extremely comfortable with this ever-changing technology, because it is accessible to all demographics and ages. Apps are even targeted to toddlers.

Due to technology’s new capabilities and ease of use, students are interacting with each other in new ways. They post to and view statuses, pictures, and even short videos as readily to people they don’t know personally, as they do to those in their inner circle. On one hand, this means you have a thousand videos of your baby niece that you can’t wait to show her when she’s 13 and easily embarrassed. On the other hand, this means you are likely rightly worried about the digital imprint youth are creating for themselves – one that can buoy or haunt them long after the original post or tweet.

You may be leaning towards the latter and bemoaning this change, concerned for children’s safety and their social skills. Before addressing these concerns, let us think positively and consider how this technology can be capitalized on to benefit youth and the larger society.

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Teaching “Myself”

By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on May 05, 2013


In many of my teacher/staff-training workshops, I like to start with a protocol that I describe as “The Twilight Zone Supermarket Experience” (I’m realizing that very quickly I am dating myself with my cultural allusions and soon will have to accept the fact that many in my audience won’t have a clue to what I am referring!).  I ask the assembled participant’s to project themselves into the future fifteen to twenty years.  They are wheeling a grocery cart through the aisles when they hear their name called out from behind them.  An excited former student approaches and says “Wow, you taught me twenty years ago.  These are the things I remember about you and your class….”.  I then ask them to quickly jot down what they think their legacy is to their students; the things for which they will be remembered.  In the many years of guiding this activity, I have never gotten back that open statement with comments such as:.

“Wow, I really remember that you used to teach an amazing test-prep”.

“You were terrific at lining us up in size order and keeping us quiet”.

“You always, always, always had your objectives written on the board.”

“You taught a mean drill to make us remember the Pythagorean Theorem”.

“You always had a way of making sure that the subject matter you taught was way more important than anything that might have been going on in our lives”.

“When kids misbehaved in your class, you never hesitated to let them know who was in charge and quickly enforce the rules with zero-tolerance for excuses”.

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Let’s Mandate This School Uniform to Improve School Climate

By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on April 05, 2013

Technology and innovation in education has moved at warp speed for so long now, that we might be on the verge of entering upon a period where “everything old is new again”.  About the only constant in the whirlwind of educational reform is change (and many times, it seems, change simply for change’s sake).  As long as Race To The Top and NCLB markers (aka standardized test scores) are the primary drivers for determining a successful school from an unsuccessful one, we will continue to settle for a myopic and very narrow view of what’s important and what’s peripheral in our schools.  And that is a short-sighted shame! It would hopefully be apparent from studies conducted in the last 30 or 40 years just how vital school climate improvement efforts are for all markers of school “success” (grades, graduation rates, student voice, student engagement, teacher satisfaction, and equity/parity indicators).  Indeed, recent exciting and groundbreaking neuroscience investigations have also shown a fundamental relationship between good school climate and academic success. The National School Climate Center (NSCC) provides thorough, valid & reliable, data-driven resources that promote the much broader and much more expansive answer to the question: “what do we want our children’s education to provide?”

In its direct work with schools, NSCC consistently advocates for ways to promote the vital importance of educating our youth to be “Upstanders”.  Though bully prevention efforts serve as an entry point to engage youth as upstanders, almost everyone agrees that school-based bullying tends to be a “canary in a coal mine”; that is, student bullying behavior can usually point to more profound issues and challenges connected to school climate.  That is why, to date, we have engaged over 2400 schools nationwide in our Upstander Alliance Program.  In the desire to highlight the central importance of educating the “whole child”, in the quest to elevate the social/emotional/civic aspects of a students’ development, NSCC is committed to supporting and celebrating Upstanders. Recently, many schools provided video resources in our “For Good” video contest to inspire others in our journey to be Upstanders.

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