Blog posts tagged with "Rick Phillips"


Youth Empowerment: An Essential Driver for Creating Safer Schools

April 18 2017

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

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.


The High Value of Student Engagement in Creating Safer Schools: A Risk Management Perspective

January 23 2017

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.


5 Keys for Gaining Parent and Family Buy-In for Restorative Practices

January 9 2017

Since restorative practices is not a program or a curriculum, but rather a philosophy and a way of thinking and acting, introducing restorative practices to the students’ families in an inclusive, collaborative and culturally sensitive manner is critical for success.


Bullying on the School Bus and What We Can Do About It

November 9 2016

Far too often, students who begin or end their day with what should be a peaceful and fun time, instead find themselves the targets of teasing, taunting or isolation on their school bus. Here's what we can do about it.


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

September 12 2016

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.


Bullying in Japan: Expanding the Upstander Revolution

April 12 2016

In 2014 at an International Bullying Conference, I was introduced to a Japanese organization called Learning Disabilities of Kanagawa (LDAK). LDAK was intrigued by Community Matters’ Whole School Climate approach. They had reviewed our Safe School Ambassadors® (SSA) program and wondered whether the embedded principles of bystander education -- waking up the courage of kids to say and do the right thing -- would transfer to their culture, and to their schools.


Youth Empowerment: An Essential Driver for Reducing Discipline and Creating Safer Schools

March 1 2016

As educators and caring adults, we’re always looking for ways to reduce students’ risky behavior, increase their attendance and improve their achievement. What we have often failed to recognize is that student empowerment is the most effective strategy for reaching these desired outcomes. Empowering youth requires seeing students through a strength-based lens, not a deficit-based one; viewing young people as assets and not problems.


5 Ways to Create a Positive Climate For the New School Year

August 10 2015

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:


Restorative Practices: 5 Keys to Successful Implementation - Part 2

February 18 2015

In Part 2 of this series, in which we are outlining 5 key strategies for successful implementation of Restorative Practices (RP), we will cover:
- Staff Engagement / Overcoming Resistance
- Using Systems Thinking
- Strategic, Incremental Implementation


Restorative Practices: 5 Keys to Successful Implementation - Part 1

February 2 2015

In this 2-part series we outline 5 key strategies for successful implementation of restorative practices (RP). In this first part we will address the first two:

- Strong Leadership / Leading Restoratively

- Creating a Learning Organization


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

January 20 2015

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

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 2: Climate Assessment

November 17 2014

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

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.


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

October 6 2014

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.


How School Staff Can Improve Climate and Discipline

March 17 2014

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.


Now Is the Time for Restorative Justice

February 12 2014

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.


School Climate: the foundation for building safer and higher performing schools

January 23 2014

School climate is a key pillar to achieving a safer and higher performing school. This is not news to educators who know that a nurturing, positive and safe environment is a requirement for students to learn and thrive in. The question that needs to be answered now is: How do we get there?


Happy 13th Anniversary!: Safe School Ambassadors First Ever Program Launch

January 6 2014

I am writing this blog on the 13th anniversary of the first ever Safe School Ambassadors program ever launched. On December 13 and 14, 2000, three of our local high schools attended a two-day training conducted by Rick Phillips and Chris Pack for a brand new program they called Safe School Ambassadors (SSA).


Giving Thanks

November 19 2013

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

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...


School Climate: The Antidote To The Bullying Epidemic

September 17 2013

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...


10 Ways You Can Help To Stop Bullying

April 20 2012

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.