Community Matters Blog

Read our blog posts below by Rick Phillips, Executive Director and other staff members, along with other content related to the issues of bullying, cyberbullying and school climate.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Inspired Us to be Courageous Upstanders
February 1 2016

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Inspired Us to be Courageous Upstanders

Dr. King said that “we must build dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fear.” Although he spoke those words a long time ago, the need for courage in the face of fear is no less prophetic today than it was in the midst of the American civil rights movement of the 60’s.

What is my child doing with that app?
January 19 2016

What is my child doing with that app?

The trend for downloading apps isn’t new, but our parental awareness is evolving to include these new threats. Two-thirds of all parents are expressing worries about potential negative effects of the programs our children are downloading.

The Growing Problem of Hazing and What Schools Can Do About It
December 14 2015

The Growing Problem of Hazing and What Schools Can Do About It

Hazing is a serious problem among today’s young athletes - especially among kids who believe it’s the only way they’ll get to fit in.

School-Based Approaches to Decreasing Student Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Use (ATOD)
November 24 2015

School-Based Approaches to Decreasing Student Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Use (ATOD)

Based on California Healthy Kids Survey data, Sonoma County youth continue to report alcohol use rates, binge drinking and marijuana use that ranks in the highest 10% in our state. For educators, one of the most alarming and significant consequences of this behavior is the impact of substance and alcohol use on the developing adolescent brain, as well as the increased risk of addiction.

How School Punishment is Being Replaced by Restorative Approaches
November 9 2015

How School Punishment is Being Replaced by Restorative Approaches

Over the last decade a variety of factors have coalesced and contributed to significant changes in how schools address discipline issues. As a result of pressure from the government, coupled with a recognition that suspensions are often meted out disproportionately and often don’t result in improved behavior, schools are moving away from “zero-tolerance” policies and toward alternative approaches that are more effective.

Youth Voices - Empowering Students As Peacemakers
October 27 2015

Youth Voices - Empowering Students As Peacemakers

As a Programs & Services Coordinator at Community Matters, I have the unique opportunity of working with hundreds of schools across the country to help them launch Safe School Ambassadors® (SSA)- our flagship bystander education and youth empowerment program. One of the best parts of my job is hearing student feedback on the two-day training.

A Former Bully Gives 5 Tips for Proactively Addressing Bullies
October 12 2015

A Former Bully Gives 5 Tips for Proactively Addressing Bullies

I know I wasn't the worst, but I sure didn't help.  When I was in high school and all of my friends were picking on C.L., I joined in without a thought. 

National Bullying Prevention Month - Making a Difference
October 1 2015

National Bullying Prevention Month - Making a Difference

Increasing student voice and utilizing a peer-to-peer role-modeling approach is the quickest, most cost efficient and effective way to change the social norms on campus and reduce bullying, cyber-bullying and harassment.

Make Your LCAP Successful and Sustainable by Focusing on School Climate
September 15 2015

Make Your LCAP Successful and Sustainable by Focusing on School Climate

The good news is that within the new Local Control Funding Formula requirements, school climate is one of eight areas of primary focus for improvement, signaling an increased recognition of the value, benefits and effectiveness of improving school climate for better academic and social outcomes.

6 Ways To Help Students Be Smarter Social Media Users
September 1 2015

6 Ways To Help Students Be Smarter Social Media Users

Young people often don’t possess the discernment needed to make good decisions about what they should and shouldn’t post on social media. Here are six ways we can support students in being "cyber-safe".

5 Ways to Create a Positive Climate For the New School Year
August 10 2015

5 Ways to Create a Positive Climate For the New School Year

Back-to-school is obviously an exciting time, yet for many children, starting the new year can seem like a minefield filled with risk, vulnerability and concern for their safety. Here are some concrete and effective actions you can take to help your students start the school year with the best chance for success:

Keeping Our Kids Safe from Cyberbullying
May 28 2015

Keeping Our Kids Safe from Cyberbullying

As parents, we often struggle balancing our children’s need for privacy while striving to keep them safe. This dilemma often leads parents to question if or when it is alright to invade a teen’s privacy.

So what is a parent supposed to do: safety or privacy first?

A Grateful Mother Speaks About the Impact of Being an Upstander
May 11 2015

A Grateful Mother Speaks About the Impact of Being an Upstander

This week's guest blog is written by the mother of a Safe School Ambassador in northern California.

Community Matters partners with Twitter to reduce and prevent cyberbullying
April 28 2015

Community Matters partners with Twitter to reduce and prevent cyberbullying

Twitter and Community Matters are teaming together via a combination of shared resources to help reduce cyberbullying, by both identifying and preventing online abuse.

5 Strategies for Preventing Hazing, Harassment and Bullying in School Athletics
April 14 2015

5 Strategies for Preventing Hazing, Harassment and Bullying in School Athletics

Although we can never be sure exactly where it starts, the culture of sports hazing has been around a long time. One way to describe this phenomena is that it’s behavior modelled by others in a superior positon which I adopt as my own once I have been elevated to that place of superiority or power.

The Pain of Being Bullied – One Student’s Story
March 30 2015

The Pain of Being Bullied – One Student’s Story

It’s likely that at some point in your life, either you or someone close to you has been subjected to the effects of cyberbullying, bullying, hazing or harassment. But nothing hits home more than when it happens to someone you care about.

Community Does Matter – The Longing for Belonging
March 17 2015

Community Does Matter – The Longing for Belonging

The evidence-based Safe School Ambassadors Program (SSA) empowers elementary, middle and high school students to recognize mistreatment when it’s happening, to have the courage and skills to intervene, and to transform it into self-awareness, kindness and compassion.

10 Ways You Can Help Stop Bullying – A Guide for Parents & Teachers
March 2 2015

10 Ways You Can Help Stop Bullying – A Guide for Parents & Teachers

As bullying, cyberbullying and intolerance affect more and more children, it’s increasingly crucial that adults, both parents and teachers, increase their awareness and understanding of how their children interact with each other, both in person and online. Here are some practical steps you can take to better protect the young people in your care.

Restorative Practices: 5 Keys to Successful Implementation - Part 2
February 18 2015

Restorative Practices: 5 Keys to Successful Implementation - Part 2

In Part 2 of this series, in which we are outlining 5 key strategies for successful implementation of Restorative Practices (RP), we will cover:
- Staff Engagement / Overcoming Resistance
- Using Systems Thinking
- Strategic, Incremental Implementation

Restorative Practices: 5 Keys to Successful Implementation - Part 1
February 2 2015

Restorative Practices: 5 Keys to Successful Implementation - Part 1

In this 2-part series we outline 5 key strategies for successful implementation of restorative practices (RP). In this first part we will address the first two:

- Strong Leadership / Leading Restoratively

- Creating a Learning Organization