Community Matters Blog

Read our blog posts below by Rick Phillips, Executive Director, staff members and guest bloggers, as they discuss the issues of bullying, cyberbullying and school climate.

Bullying Prevention

Making Sense of School Climate and What To Do About It - Part 1: Moving From Theory to Practice
November 3 2014

Making Sense of School Climate and What To Do About It - Part 1: Moving From Theory to Practice

Once thought of as a second tier focus not on par with academics, school climate is now understood as a fundamental driver for effective learning to occur. Ensuring that a school is committed to having a positive climate starts with the leaders in charge valuing relationships and connectedness as the essential building blocks for developing a safe, positive and high performing school.

National Bullying Prevention Month: Five Key Actions for Making Schools Safer
October 6 2014

National Bullying Prevention Month: Five Key Actions for Making Schools Safer

As we recognize National Bullying Prevention Month, we can take heart in knowing that shifts are taking place and that many schools are committed to school climate transformation. While there is still much work to be done, more and more schools are taking positive actions to ensure that their students feel welcome, safe and connected.

Students Creating School Climate Improvement
September 18 2014

Students Creating School Climate Improvement

We know we can’t legislate civility nor can we punish children into being more tolerant. The only viable solution to the spread of the bullying virus on school campuses today is to change the social norms that allow it to occur.

7 Outside-the-Box Ideas to Help Fund Your School Safety & Climate Improvement Programs
September 8 2014

7 Outside-the-Box Ideas to Help Fund Your School Safety & Climate Improvement Programs

From the coming and going of the Title IV Safe & Drug-Free Schools funding to President Obama’s latest Now Is the Time initiative that’s partially directed towards school climate improvements, administrators have had to be creatively adept with their budgeting, cutting back in lean times, and cautiously expanding when external funding has become more available and fluid.

Back to School - Setting the Stage for Positive School Climate
August 11 2014

Back to School - Setting the Stage for Positive School Climate

Whether you’ve been waiting expectantly for the first day of school to begin - or you’re shaking your head thinking "Is it that time again?” - one of the first priorities that needs our attention as teachers and administrators is remembering how important it is for our students to feel that school is a kind, inclusive and safe place to learn and grow.

The Power of Community in Influencing School Climate
May 21 2014

The Power of Community in Influencing School Climate

Community as a determinant of school climate is one of the more indirect influences, but it is no less important. It is reflected in the emphasis that the community places on education, and on nurturing the educational and social-emotional well-being of its youth.

Now Is the Time for Restorative Justice
February 12 2014

Now Is the Time for Restorative Justice

Despite the best efforts of our nation’s schools, bullying, harassment, hazing, and cyber-bullying are persistent and pervasive issues that impact far too many students. These issues compromise both teaching and learning, negatively affect children’s social and emotional development, take excessive staff and administrative time, and cause many school districts to fall short of achieving the educational outcomes they are charged to reach.

5 Action Steps For Reducing Suspensions and Creating Safer Schools - Costs of Suspensions Part 2
November 26 2013

5 Action Steps For Reducing Suspensions and Creating Safer Schools - Costs of Suspensions Part 2

In Part 1 of our “The Costs of Suspensions” series, we looked at the rising use of out-of-school suspensions in districts all across the country. Establishing higher control procedures, instituting “zero tolerance” policies and increasing student suspensions has been a means to combatting relational aggression, violence and other disruptions in the school environment. But this “outside-in” approach is costing dearly. Click here to read the rest of the article...

Giving Thanks
November 19 2013

Giving Thanks

I’m a person who really appreciates the Thanksgiving holiday. Not only for the turkey and fixings, but because my greater focus is on gratitude and taking time to reflect on all that I have to be grateful for. It’s easy to lose sight of gratitude in the fast paced, 24-hour news cycle we live with every day.  Click here to read the rest of the article...

National Bullying Prevention Month - A Call to Action: 5 Things You Can Do to Improve School Climate
October 8 2013

National Bullying Prevention Month - A Call to Action: 5 Things You Can Do to Improve School Climate

Improving the school climate may seem like a daunting task, but the truth is each of us can and do impact climate, whether we intend to or not. We can all do that in a more intentional way by making a commitment to initiate positive interactions with each other. It is these small acts, when done consistently over time, and with a focus on relationships, that we begin the change process. Read the rest of this article...

Waking Up Courage in Students – It Works!
September 25 2013

Waking Up Courage in Students – It Works!

Adults make the rules, but the students set the norms on a school campus.  So how can we, as adults, empower students to positively impact the school climate?  For the past 12 years, Community Matters has begun this change process through our flagship program Safe School Ambassadors. Read the rest of this article...

School Climate: The Antidote To The Bullying Epidemic
September 17 2013

School Climate: The Antidote To The Bullying Epidemic

If what we want from our schools is to have them develop and “produce” students who are capable, connected and contributing citizens, then school climate must be the foundation from which we begin.

Improving school climate is all about putting people first and recognizing the power of relationships. When school climate is seen as valuable as academic performance, discipline issues decrease and test scores go up. Read the rest of this article...

School Safety: Why Focusing on Security is Not Enough
September 5 2013

School Safety: Why Focusing on Security is Not Enough

Metal detectors can’t keep out prejudice and zero tolerance policies don’t control student behavior when adults aren’t around. Check any news outlet on any given day, and you’ll see the proof that peer-to-peer mistreatment continues to permeate our schools, sometimes driving our children to unimaginable consequences. Read the rest of this article...

National Bullying Prevention Month
October 18 2012

National Bullying Prevention Month

October is National Bullying Prevention Month, a time when we are reminded of the importance of preventing and stopping bullying from happening in our schools and communities.

The Epidemic of Silence: How We Can End It
May 21 2012

The Epidemic of Silence: How We Can End It

In more than 85% of bullying situations there are witnesses, and more often than not, these bystanders do not say or do anything. The effect of their silence is “deafening”, because silence is a form of consent. It emboldens the bully who perceives the silence of others as permission and tacit approval of their actions.

10 Ways You Can Help To Stop Bullying
April 20 2012

10 Ways You Can Help To Stop Bullying

We have a choice. We can be overwhelmed by the size and scope of the issue and do nothing, or we can wake up our courage and do something that contributes to making things better.

Safe School Ambassadors school nationally recognized for its tolerance efforts
May 31 2011

Safe School Ambassadors school nationally recognized for its tolerance efforts

Mesa Linda Middle School in Victorville, CA was recognized as a “Mix It Up” Model School by the Teaching Tolerance Project.

Rick Phillips - Keynote Speaker at the National School Board Association Conference
April 11 2011

Rick Phillips - Keynote Speaker at the National School Board Association Conference

Rick Phillips presented a two-hour keynote at the National School Board Association’s 71st Annual Conference on Saturday, April 8, held at the San Francisco Moscone Convention Center.

Rick Phillips visits Capitol Hill
January 21 2011

Rick Phillips visits Capitol Hill

CM Executive Director Rick Phillips will speak in front of Congressional Officials on Friday, January 21 in Washington, D.C. More than 50 participants from legislative offices, national education organizations and federal agencies will attend the briefing.

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