Blog posts tagged with "Safer Schools"


Restorative Practices: Building Accountability, Repairing Relationships and Creating Safer Schools

October 24 2016

Restorative Practices teach social-emotional skills and help build a strong caring community that experiences fewer harmful acts of mistreatment. Restorative Justice moves schools away from punishing students for their harmful acts towards helping them correct their behavior, thus restoring a sense of community and well-being for all those who have been impacted, as well as for the school at large.


The Most Effective Way to Change School Climate: Student Engagement

October 11 2016

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.


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.


Youth Voices - Empowering Students As Peacemakers

October 27 2015

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.


A Former Bully Gives 5 Tips for Proactively Addressing Bullies

October 12 2015

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

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

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

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

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.


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


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...


Back to School - Setting the Stage for Positive School Climate

August 11 2014

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

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.


Partnering with Parents as a Strategy for Improving School Climate

March 31 2014

How can we engage more parents in school climate efforts? Research shows that students from schools with positive climates demonstrate increased academic achievement and participation. And some of the greatest influencers of the school climate may not be coming through the doors everyday, in particular the students’ families.


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.


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).


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

December 5 2013

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...


Waking Up Courage in Students – It Works!

September 25 2013

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 Safety: Why Focusing on Security is Not Enough

September 5 2013

Metal detectors can’t keep out prejudice and zero tolerance policies don’t control student behavior when adults aren’t around. Check any news outlet on any given day, and you’ll see the proof that peer-to-peer mistreatment continues to permeate our schools, sometimes driving our children to unimaginable consequences. Read the rest of this article...


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

March 27 2012

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.


Rick Phillips visits Capitol Hill

January 21 2011

CM Executive Director Rick Phillips will speak in front of Congressional Officials on Friday, January 21 in Washington, D.C. More than 50 participants from legislative offices, national education organizations and federal agencies will attend the briefing.