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.

Waking up Courage

Youth Empowerment: An Essential Driver for Creating Safer Schools
April 18 2017

Youth Empowerment: An Essential Driver for Creating Safer Schools

As educators and caring adults, we’re always looking for ways to reduce student’s risky behavior, increase their attendance and improve their achievement. What we have often failed to recognize, is that having students serve as the “change agents and peace makers” on school campuses goes a long way to optimizing the conditions for learning and positive behavior to occur.

An Intrapersonal Narrative of LGBTQ+
March 21 2017

An Intrapersonal Narrative of LGBTQ+

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?

The Most Effective Way to Change School Climate: Student Engagement
October 11 2016

The Most Effective Way to Change School Climate: Student Engagement

When school norms change from meanness and indifference to kindness and compassion, that’s when disciplinary incidents and suspensions begin to decrease and students can get back to focusing on learning.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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...

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.

Bully movie opens Friday, March 30th - Waking Up Courage is the Solution to Stopping Bullying
March 27 2012

Bully movie opens Friday, March 30th - Waking Up Courage is the Solution to Stopping Bullying

The new movie “Bully” opens March 30th in major cities nationwide. The film documents bullying between real kids and outlines the extent of the bullying epidemic. But solutions do exist – in the form of programs like Safe School Ambassadors that awaken the courage of bystanders to speak up when they see bullying occur.

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