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

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.

Restorative Justice in Practice, Part 2: How to Get Started
February 25 2014

Restorative Justice in Practice, Part 2: How to Get Started

As we wrote about in Part 1, Restorative Justice and Restorative Practices stand as both a philosophy of discipline and an approach whose time has come.

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.

Auditing Your School Climate: The First Step to Achieving Safer and High Performing Schools
December 5 2013

Auditing Your School Climate: The First Step to Achieving Safer and High Performing Schools

It’s no secret that the responsibilities of school administrators have increased significantly. Challenged every day to fulfill the core mandates of getting students to attend school, keeping them safe, improving academic performance, and achieving higher graduation rates, they also have to comply with ever-expanding laws and imperatives to address bullying, cyber-bullying, harassment and discrimination. What we know is that all the above expectations can be best achieved by focusing first and foremost on School Climate. Click here to read the rest of the article...

The Cost of School Suspensions: It’s Higher Than You Think! - Part 1
November 8 2013

The Cost of School Suspensions: It’s Higher Than You Think! - Part 1

In the wake of the Columbine High School shootings in Colorado in 1999, the primary reaction by district officials was to beef up security, establish higher control procedures, institute “zero tolerance” policies and increase student suspensions.

Yet anyone who’s been following the research knows that these control-oriented school discipline policies have taken a high toll on student graduation rates and increased costs for schools across the nation. And the amount of those costs are even higher than previously considered. 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...

How to Create Positive School Climate Part 2; Creating ‘Safer Schools’ by Improving School Climate
September 3 2013

How to Create Positive School Climate Part 2; Creating ‘Safer Schools’ by Improving School Climate

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

Click here to read the article.

How to Create Positive School Climate - Part 1
September 3 2013

How to Create Positive School Climate - Part 1

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.

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.

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