Blog posts tagged with "Safe Schools"


How to Kill a Kid's Future

May 10 2018

A common mistake many parents and school officials make is to think that gang activity is limited to a particular group of youth who live in a particular community and lack resources that other youth may have. While these do play a factor, in my experience one does not need to be a validated gang member to have the gang mentality.


An Evolving Practice of Mindfulness In The Classroom

March 22 2018

A calmer campus. More focused students. Every school administrator is working toward those goals. Could a mindfulness program help your school achieve them?


How Safe School Ambassadors Can Reduce Sexual Harassment On Campus

March 8 2018

We are living in a time where sexting, revenge porn, date rape, hazing and other forms of sexual abuse and harassment are happening too frequently in our schools. Safe School Ambassadors help address the problem by modeling relationships built on compassion, not dominance.


Restorative Practices - "Connect to Correct"

February 21 2018

When misbehavior occurs, how we choose to intervene can either strengthen our relationships and connections with students or damage them. "Connect to Correct" is a process to address mistreatment that preserves relationships, leaves students' dignity intact and supports behavior change.


Engaging Students and Parents in Building a Restorative School Culture

February 5 2018

Today more and more schools are implementing a restorative practices approach in their school climate improvement efforts. However, too many schools fail to recognize the importance of fully engaging two critical “stakeholder” groups: students and parents/families.


Counteracting Bullying and Mistreatment of LGBTQI Identified Youth

January 22 2018

LGBTQ-identified youth are more likely to experience bullying, teasing, harassment, physical assault, and rejection than their non-LGBTQ-identified peers. What can we do, as a strong parent advocate, to create a climate of safety and joy in schools? To create a true home away from home for ALL students?


The Power of Youth to Reduce Alcohol and Drug Abuse in Schools

December 7 2017

When alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs (ATODs) are such a pervasive and prevalent issue facing teens, how do we help them connect with one another and provide space for them to share their stories in a safe, meaningful way?


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.


Bullying and Suicide – A Strategy For Intervention

September 25 2017

If we know that bullying can lead to suicide, how do we intervene and interrupt in order to promote an alternative response, both by the target as well as by the bystanders, the roughly 85% of a student body that holds tremendous power to change the course of someone else’s life?


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.


From Safe School Ambassador to Middle School Teacher and SSA Program Leader

May 2 2017

Back when I was in high school in Red Bluff, California, I was a Safe School Ambassador. Recently I was reflecting on how this program had made a difference in my life, because in fact, if it hadn’t been for the SSA program, I would never have become a teacher, and I never would have met Nate.


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.


Cyberbullying – A New Face on an Old Problem

February 21 2017

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.


What to Do About Hate Crimes in Our Schools

February 8 2017

It’s clear that our children have not gone unscathed in the current political climate. Bullying and cyber-bullying, already a major problem in America’s schools, have now been exacerbated by an elevated awareness in student’s minds of homophobia, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, racism, misogyny and xenophobia. Just like the rest of us, young people are trying to make sense of what they’ve heard and seen in the “adult world”, and they’re acting out from a place of confusion, frustration, fear and heightened stress.


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.


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.


Advice for Keeping Your Kids Safe Online

September 26 2016

Just like in the real world, it’s important to recognize that as wonderful as the internet can be when it comes to sharing information, learning, and even connecting with the people we care about - it also has a darker side. Unfortunately, it’s all too easy for children to stray into the seedier parts of the online world without even realizing what they’re doing.


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...


Alcohol and Drugs with Teens Today – Beyond “Just Say No”

March 28 2016

Community Matters' Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs (ATOD) Peer to Peer Prevention training was introduced after school district officials in San Jose, California approached Community Matters to see if the same strategies used in the evidence-based Safe School Ambassadors® (SSA) training could be applied to decisions young people make surrounding substance abuse. 


Using Restorative Practices to Reduce the Need for Discipline

March 14 2016

Many people come to Restorative Practices believing that it is a discipline program. However, it is more effective to view Restorative Practices as a way of thinking and a set of proactive strategies and processes that reduce misbehavior, thereby reducing the need for discipline.


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.


The Growing Problem of Hazing and What Schools Can Do About It

December 14 2015

Hazing is a serious problem among today’s young athletes - especially among kids who believe it’s the only way they’ll get to fit in.


School-Based Approaches to Decreasing Student Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Use (ATOD)

November 24 2015

Based on California Healthy Kids Survey data, Sonoma County youth continue to report alcohol use rates, binge drinking and marijuana use that ranks in the highest 10% in our state. For educators, one of the most alarming and significant consequences of this behavior is the impact of substance and alcohol use on the developing adolescent brain, as well as the increased risk of addiction.


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. 



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