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.

Whole School Climate

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.

How School Punishment is Being Replaced by Restorative Approaches
March 8 2017

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.

Cyberbullying – A New Face on an Old Problem
February 21 2017

Cyberbullying – A New Face on an Old Problem

With the widespread adoption of social media and smartphones by teens and even younger children, bullies have another playground in which to inflict meanness on their targets: cyberspace.

Successful School Climate Improvement: 5 Action Steps for Starting the Year Off Right
September 12 2016

Successful School Climate Improvement: 5 Action Steps for Starting the Year Off Right

It’s déjà vu all over again, as another start to the school year is upon us. This is a time to reconnect to our reasons for caring about students and doing all we can to ensure that they attend schools where they feel welcome, safe and connected to caring adults.

LGBTQ Students Need Support: How Safe School Ambassadors Can Help
May 25 2016

LGBTQ Students Need Support: How Safe School Ambassadors Can Help

When we take a sober look at harassment and bullying in school communities, we know that anti-gay bullying is rampant and often unchecked. As students realize their sexual identity and gender orientation younger, it is essential that this school community’s population have the emotional support to ensure their mental and physical health and well-being.

Whole School Climate: Changing the Narrative and Getting the Results We Want
May 9 2016

Whole School Climate: Changing the Narrative and Getting the Results We Want

There is increased recognition of the value, benefits and effectiveness of implementing school climate improvement reform. To address both the opportunities and the challenges, a clear and compelling climate roadmap for schools is needed...

Making Schools Safer – A Student’s Perspective
February 16 2016

Making Schools Safer – A Student’s Perspective

Administrators and teachers say that they keep bullying, violence and drug use out of their schools. But school staff can't see everything and they can't be everywhere for everyone. That's why it's so important to teach us students how to recognize situations that could easily escalate, and how and when to act. 

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. 

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.

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:

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.

Making Sense of School Climate - Part 5: Measuring, Collecting and Reporting Data
January 20 2015

Making Sense of School Climate - Part 5: Measuring, Collecting and Reporting Data

There’s no way around it… whether you’re conversant and comfortable with the “ins and outs” of data collection and measurement - or not -  at the end of the day, data drives decisions. That’s why it’s important to understand what the data is illustrating about climate and then to select measures that are easy to collect and simple to explain.

Making Sense of School Climate - Part 4: How to Organize, Implement and Coordinate Your Efforts
January 5 2015

Making Sense of School Climate - Part 4: How to Organize, Implement and Coordinate Your Efforts

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...

Making Sense of School Climate and What to Do About It  - Part 3: Gaining Stakeholder Buy-In
December 8 2014

Making Sense of School Climate and What to Do About It - Part 3: Gaining Stakeholder Buy-In

Like most changes in life, even policy changes that have the potential to positively affect school climate will likely be met with at least some level of resistance. It just seems to be human nature to fear and resist change, so effective leaders need to learn to work with the resistance.

Making Sense of School Climate and What to Do About It - Part 2: Climate Assessment
November 17 2014

Making Sense of School Climate and What to Do About It - Part 2: Climate Assessment

A school climate assessment is a step-by-step process that assists school leaders in determining what’s working, what’s not and what’s missing in their current climate efforts. Using a thorough analysis process provides the foundational information necessary for effective planning and implementation of the many climate mandates and initiatives that schools are expected to manage.

Making Sense of School Climate and What To Do About It: A 5 Part Series
October 20 2014

Making Sense of School Climate and What To Do About It: A 5 Part Series

The good news is that there is increased recognition of the value, benefits and effectiveness of implementing school climate improvement plans.

The not so good news is that many administrators and line staff are experiencing overwhelm, frustration and confusion when dealing with the many requirements, mandates and top-down directives that they’re expected to address, all of which can lead to resistance and a significant diminishment in their likelihood of success.

To address both the opportunities and the challenges, we are presenting a five-part series of blogs to provide a clear and compelling climate roadmap for schools to use.

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.

How School Staff Can Improve Climate and Discipline
March 17 2014

How School Staff Can Improve Climate and Discipline

We now have enough evidence to know that when schools make climate a priority and the staff see themselves as educators and role models who make hall-friendly behavior their practice, schools can be safer places where effective teaching and learning take place.

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