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.
How to Stop Bullying
The truth is that LGBTQ+ folks still suffer a myriad of struggles on a daily basis. If we cannot change the world around us to be more accepting overnight, then how do we cope and/or strengthen our internal selves to take on the day-to-day struggles?
One of our forward thinking principals had already brought the Safe School Ambassadors Program (SSA) to our district, having learned of it from a friend in another district. As our JPA promoted SSA to more schools, we determined that beside the social and cultural benefits of reducing acts of bullying, it was also likely to reduce the number of insurance claims.
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.
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.
Twitter and Community Matters are teaming together via a combination of shared resources to help reduce cyberbullying, by both identifying and preventing online abuse.
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.
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.
One thing for sure is that there is no shortage of plans, lists of to do’s or action steps to be taken when it comes to improving our schools. However, too often those plans don’t ever reach their intended or desired end results. Somewhere between the plan and execution, things break down.
Why? In the 15 plus years we have been assisting schools in school safety and school climate change, we’ve identified some critical missteps...
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.
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.
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.
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
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...
Current Research and years of study have demonstrated the importance of a positive school climate as the foundational building block for achieving educational success - safe and high-performing schools. Yet today, few schools have a “comprehensive school climate improvement plan” designed to serve as the guiding document for strengthening the organizational culture and fulfilling their educational mandates.
There are four main components or “drivers” that are needed to achieve a positive school environment:
1) The Will - leadership and courage
2) The Framework – a comprehensive plan to improve the school climate
3) The Resources – people, programs and funding
4) The Support – the “buy-in” from all stakeholders
Since 1999, our nation’s schools have invested more than $10 billion in school safety measures. The goal of this vast expenditure was to improve school climate and thereby increase success for each school’s mandates - academic achievement, safer environments and strong attendance and graduation rates.
In spite of these vast efforts students in too many schools still experience unsafe environments and too high levels of bullying. Click here to read more.