Blog posts tagged with "Whole School Climate"


Lessons From The West Wing: Building Relational Capacity

November 15 2017

As school administrators we have a moral obligation to build in our staff the “capacity to meet the challenge” of educating today's students. However, in this instance, the capacity that we deal with is known as relational capacity, or the level of trust and safety between a teacher and a student.


Bullying Prevention Month – Youth Empowerment

October 31 2017

As National Bullying Prevention Month is recognized in communities across America, with schools and other organizations joined as partners, awareness of bullying and its consequences continues to be a vital part of our nation’s conversation.


Transforming Your School Climate from the Inside-Out: How to Start the School Year Off Right

September 11 2017

Starting the school year off right - what does that mean exactly? This time of year can be fraught with anxiety, not only for students but for parents as well. According to the Pew Research Center, “At least half of all parents, regardless of income, worry that their children might be bullied or struggle with anxiety or depression at some point.” What do we do to let students know that we care?


Endings and New Beginnings

May 17 2017

Serving as the Founder and Executive Director of Community Matters has been one of the greatest gifts in my life. Working on behalf of all children and youth has grown me as a person, helped me address and heal my own childhood history of bullying and trauma and strengthened my skills and expertise as a thought leader in our areas of service.


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, Cyberbullying and Teen Suicide: Risks and Prevention Strategies

December 5 2016

Research shows that suicide-related behaviors are caused by a myriad of factors, and are often not related to a single cause or incident. We also know that bullying/cyberbullying is one of the contributing factors in students turning to suicide as a “solution” to their problems.


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.


LGBTQ Students Need Support: How Safe School Ambassadors Can Help

May 25 2016

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

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...


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.


Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Inspired Us to be Courageous Upstanders

February 1 2016

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.


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.


National Bullying Prevention Month - Making a Difference

October 1 2015

Increasing student voice and utilizing a peer-to-peer role-modeling approach is the quickest, most cost efficient and effective way to change the social norms on campus and reduce bullying, cyber-bullying and harassment.


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.


6 Ways To Help Students Be Smarter Social Media Users

September 1 2015

Young people often don’t possess the discernment needed to make good decisions about what they should and shouldn’t post on social media. Here are six ways we can support students in being "cyber-safe".


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


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 3: Gaining Stakeholder Buy-In

December 8 2014

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

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.



Page 1 of 2 pages  1 2 >