Safe Schools & Communities Resources and Research
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Safe Schools & Communities Resources and Research
This collection includes resources for strengthening school climate, and improving health, safety, connectedness, and student engagement.  Readers are encouraged to explore related links for further information.  For upcoming events and community resources specific to Santa Clara County, check out: For additional updates and educator resources, see [Links to External Site]
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Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning //

Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning // | Safe Schools & Communities Resources and Research |

"Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) is the nation’s leading organization advancing the development of academic, social and emotional competence for all students. Our mission is to help make evidence-based social and emotional learning an integral part of education from preschool through high school. Through research, practice and policy, CASEL collaborates to ensure all students become knowledgeable, responsible, caring and contributing members of society."


Monica S Mcfeeters's curator insight, December 5, 2014 11:36 AM

These are goals parents, communities and educators at all levels should strive to acheive. 

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NEPC Statement on Violence and Intimidation in Schools and Communities // National Education Policy Center 

NEPC Statement on Violence and Intimidation in Schools and Communities // National Education Policy Center  | Safe Schools & Communities Resources and Research |

"BOULDER, CO (November 11, 2016) - In the lead-up to this year’s election and in its aftermath there are widespread reports of violence and intimidation against people because of their race, religion, language, nationality, perceived immigration status, disability, gender, sexual orientation or political affiliation. We at the National Education Policy Center, housed at the University of Colorado Boulder, deplore these acts.


As researchers working to improve our public education system, we are alarmed by the impact of this violence and intimidation on our nation’s young people, on the schools they attend, and in the communities where they live. Bigotry, bullying, xenophobia, and violence have no place in our society—especially in our schools. Children have a basic human right to live in communities and attend schools where adults will protect them. We commit ourselves to confronting hatred when we see it and to working with the targeted communities to ensure the safety of all people.  


We ask all those who share our concerns to stand together to express strong support of a democratic society in which we all feel accepted, safe and protected. We urge students, parents, educators and members of our communities to reject the devaluing of civility, to embrace our diversity, and to listen to and learn from one another. Together we must strive to create a compassionate world for our children and ourselves.


For those who experience or witness acts of violence, please report to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Report Hate Website. #reporthate


Here are some additional resources for educators and parents:

Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance Project


Anti-Defamation League’s Curriculum Resource on Helping Students Make Sense of News Stories About Bias and Injustice


The National Education Policy Center (NEPC), housed at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education, produces and disseminates high-quality, peer-reviewed research to inform education policy discussions. Visit us at:"


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Community Tools to Change Mass Incarceration of Youth of Color // Burns Institute

Community Tools to Change Mass Incarceration of Youth of Color // Burns Institute | Safe Schools & Communities Resources and Research |

By Tyler Whittenberg 

"Last month the W. Haywood Burns Institute for Juvenile Justice, Fairness and Equity (BI) conducted a webinar for the Healing Violence Alliance, highlighting the causes and consequences of racial and ethnic disparities in the justice system and how these disparities relate to community-based efforts to address violence. If you missed it, you can download the webinar.

The BI offers a historical perspective on racism in the youth and adult justice systems, detailing how current policies exacerbate disparities created by the racist practices of our not-so-distant past.  Systemic barriers, such as the zero tolerance policies, the criminalization of age-appropriate behavior, and the disparate use of law enforcement resources make it more likely that people of color are disproportionately affected by the collateral consequences of incarceration.


These consequences include disruptions in education, reduced income, loss of employment opportunities, separated families, housing evictions and other barriers that affect individuals, harm families and negatively impact community well-being. The individual, social and cultural trauma caused by mass incarceration and its collateral consequences are significant issues that system and community leaders must consider to effectively address the complex origins of community violence.


BI staff also outline their community-driven, data-informed approach to reducing racial and ethnic disparities in the justice system. The BI believes that successfully reducing disparities requires collaboration between system and community stakeholders. This collaboration must include substantial community involvement throughout the decision-making processes, full utilization of available community resources, and the development of new community-based interventions. Additionally, by emphasizing the ongoing use of quantitative and qualitative data during the decision-making process, advocates can make targeted improvements to policies that perpetuate existing disparities while avoiding many of the pitfalls associated with racial equity reform.


In addition to the BI webinar cited above, here are links to informational resources on working collaboratively with communities of color to reduce racial and ethnic disparities:

Stemming the Rising Tide: Racial and ethnic disparities in youth incarceration and strategies for change — This report highlights troubling trends in the incarceration of youth of color and offers several strategies for addressing the causes of racial inequities that promote restorative justice and overall well-being for youth of color.


What Happens When the Bargain of Civil Society is Breached? — In many communities across this nation, children are expected to exhibit all of the characteristics of childhood—good and bad—as part of their normal adolescent development. However, in far too many communities of color, we have eliminated the space for children to exhibit age appropriate behavior by criminalizing their conduct through fear-based policies and practices. In this piece, BI founder, James Bell, discusses why we must apply a child well-being framework to young men of color.


A Shared Sentence: The devastating toll of parental incarceration on kids, families and communities — “More than 5 million U.S. children have had a parent in jail or prison at some point in their lives. The incarceration of a parent can have as much impact on a child’s well-being as abuse or domestic violence. But while states spend heavily on corrections, few resources exist to support those left behind. A Shared Sentence offers commonsense proposals to address the increased poverty and stress that children of incarcerated parents experience.”


Racial Equity Tools — “Racial Equity Tools is designed to support individuals and groups working to achieve racial equity. This site offers tools, research, tips, curricula and ideas for people who want to increase their own understanding and to help those working toward justice at every level – in systems, organizations, communities and the culture at large.”


Racial Equity Toolkit — “Racial equity tools are designed to integrate explicit consideration of racial equity in decisions, including policies, practices, programs, and budgets. It is both a product and a process. Use of a racial equity tool can help to develop strategies and actions that reduce racial inequities and improve success for all groups.”


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Sextortion: Awareness and Prevention Webinar Slides // Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention  

To download slides, click on title above. 


Slides are from OJJDP webinar Nov. 9th, 2016: 


See also: 


And for Educator Resources, presenters recommended: National Center for Missing and Exploited Children 



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Post Election: Don’t Neglect Those Emotions // Teaching Tolerance - Diversity, Equity and Justice

Post Election: Don’t Neglect Those Emotions // Teaching Tolerance - Diversity, Equity and Justice | Safe Schools & Communities Resources and Research |

By Dena Simmons

The recent election results left our nation overcome with intense emotions: Some Americans are experiencing profound triumph, others are experiencing deep despair and still others are concerned about what an administration led by a non-politician will look like. President-elect Donald Trump’s victory has emboldened some people to commit acts of harassment and intimidation. Young people at primary and secondary schools and universities across the nation are experiencing racist graffiti, anti-immigration chants, Islamophobic slurs and other hateful behavior.

As educators, it is our job to ensure that all students are safe to learn in an environment where they can be their full, authentic selves, where they can learn and live the values of equality, civility, freedom and justice for all. While it may be difficult sometimes, that responsibility includes helping children who exhibit anger, negativity or bias to reflect on their emotions and behave in a way that does not harm others. (Teachers should use culturally responsive practices as they reflect on, identify and work to understand and support students’ emotions.) Doing this requires, in part, that we practice and model the skills of emotional intelligence, which can be defined as the ability to recognize, understand, label, express and regulate our emotions productively and effectively—particularly when adults in the public eye are not demonstrating these skills. Such skills of emotional intelligence can be channeled toward creating a more compassionate, equitable and just society.


So, what can we do right now?

  • Check in with yourself. Ask yourself: How am I feeling? What are the causes and consequences of my feelings? Whatever you are feeling, it is acceptable. Checking in with ourselves will help us to understand how we are feeling so that we can effectively manage our emotions and behave in ways that ensure the safety of all children. Adults at school dictate the emotional climate, which influences the school community’s well-being and students’ ability to learn. Our students need us to be present and empathetic as many of them struggle to make sense of our country’s new “normal.”

  • Create a safe space to discuss how everyone is feeling. A safe space is crucial for students’ sharing how they are feeling. And every day is an opportunity to discuss with students what a safe space looks, feels and sounds like. Once students have communicated what their safe space is, create opportunities—like journal writing, one-on-one check-ins and art projects—for them to share how they are feeling about the election and in general. Then design an action plan with students that helps everyone support the classroom’s safe space. Creating safe spaces in classrooms allows students to share their ideas without fear or ridicule—even when they have an unpopular idea—and, in turn, helps students learn to disagree civilly.

  • Engage in activities that build empathy. Teaching students a lesson on what empathy is explicitly is a great start, but providing students with opportunities to build empathy is even more important. For one, any time students have to make an argument, whether for a debate or paper, ask them to make a counterargument to it as well. Doing so allows students to perceive the world from a different point of view. Additionally, build service-learning opportunities into your instruction so that your students learn to experience the world outside of their realities and to feel empowered to serve others. Role plays are also an opportunity for students to build empathy. Just as important, we must model empathy by acknowledging our students’ perspectives before responding to them.

  • Use literature and other texts to build emotional intelligence. When analyzing a character or figure in texts, ask students how that individual might be feeling. Push students to elaborate on their thinking by asking why they believe a character is experiencing a certain emotion. Particularly, we might ask students what in the written description or imagery (a character’s facial expression, body language, physiology and vocal tone) confirms their understanding of what the individual is feeling. This approach allows for students to recognize emotions, understand the causes and consequences of emotions, and label emotions accurately.

  • Provide opportunities for students to create emotion-management strategies, and help them co-regulate when they need support. Help students identify strategies that shift them into an optimal emotional state for learning or for completing a given task. When students are derailed by a particular emotion, remind them of their individual strategies and empower them to manage their emotions. We can also help by co-regulating student emotions through our practice. For instance, if we want to calm our students down for a lesson, we could play music with a slow tempo, ask them to read silently or have the lights dimmed. We could also take them through a deep breathing exercise. Alternatively, if we want students to be excited about a lesson at hand, we could play fast-paced music and ask them to engage in movement exercises (in a carefully managed way).

  • Create opportunities for students to share their stories. When we create opportunities for students to share their narratives and to hear the narratives of others, we allow them to see and to experience the world in new ways. In our curricular choices, we canprivilege narratives that offer “windows” and “mirrors” for students, which encourage our students to see the humanity in others.

Not being able to manage our emotions, express emotions for the given context or accurately recognize or label how we are feeling (or how others are feeling) can divide us and lead to often-avoidable conflict. These misunderstandings and misinterpretations of emotions strip us—and students—of opportunities to connect meaningfully and civilly with others. It is an imperative, then, to infuse emotionality into our instruction in the hopes of creating a more compassionate and just society, in hopes of shifting our divided states to the United States. Our young people deserve that much.

Simmons is a lifelong activist, educator and student of life from the Bronx, New York. She currently serves as the Director of Education at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence.


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Audrie and Daisy (Film Screening and Discussion) Nov. 17th 6pm-8:30pm // Santa Clara County Office of Education & Behavioral Health Services Department 

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Understanding Types, Locations, & Perpetrators of Peer-to-Peer Sexual Harassment in U.S. Middle Schools: A Focus on Sex, Racial, and Grade Differences // Espelage, Hong, Rinehart, & Doshi, 2016, Ch...

Understanding Types, Locations, & Perpetrators of Peer-to-Peer Sexual Harassment in U.S. Middle Schools: A Focus on Sex, Racial, and Grade Differences // Espelage, Hong, Rinehart, & Doshi, 2016, Ch... | Safe Schools & Communities Resources and Research |

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This Is My Place: Middle Schoolers on Social and Emotional Learning // What Kids Can Do WKCD

What most helps young people thrive in a challenging academic environment? Answers from students bear out what research has found: social and emotional factors constitute a crucial underpinning for learning.

In recent WKCD interviews at School of the Future in New York City, middle schoolers gave their own examples of how everyday interactions between students, peers, and adults affected how they learned in the classroom.

Their descriptions reflected some key unspoken questions that adolescents bring with them into a school environment:

  • Will I able to do the work here? Will I be smart enough?
  • Will I be safe here? Will I be teased or made to feel bad somehow?
  • Will I get to help decide what happens to me here?


NOTE: For years WKCD has gathered, most of all, the voices and vision of high-school-age youth—although we did publish the popular Fires in the Middle School Bathroom: Advice for Teachers from Middle Schoolerby Kathleen Cushman and Laura Rogers (The New Press, 2008). In the months ahead, we aim to include more voices and perspectives from the middle grades.


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Keeping Our Kids In School // Restorative Schools Vision Project 

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Healing Together: Community-Level Trauma. Its Causes, Consequences, and Solutions // Johns Hopkins Urban Health Institute

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Creatrixi54's curator insight, August 21, 2015 6:46 PM

This is how #hiphopbasededu #hiphoptherapy will pave the way for new ways to engage and heal the people. 

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Restorative Justice in Schools: Highlights of Research and Practice in the U.S. (Webinar) 

Restorative Justice in Schools: Highlights of Research and Practice in the U.S. (Webinar)  | Safe Schools & Communities Resources and Research |

Restorative Justice in Schools: Highlights of Research and Practice in the U.S.

In this webinar, Anthony Petrosino and Sarah Guckenburg, Senior Research Associates at WestEd, describe their research on restorative justice in U.S. schools. They conducted interviews with over 40 experts in the field, surveyed over 150 practitioners nationwide, and conducted a comprehensive literature review. Their research goals were to learn about current practices, essential elements of implementation, and provide recommendations for future research on restorative justice in K-12 settings. 

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Cyberbullying, Social Networking, and Suicidal Behavior in Adolescents // SPRC, Suicide Prevention Resource Center

Cyberbullying, Social Networking, and Suicidal Behavior in Adolescents // SPRC, Suicide Prevention Resource Center | Safe Schools & Communities Resources and Research |

"A study found that 11- to 20-year-old Canadian youth who used social networking sites (such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) were at increased risk for cyberbullying victimization, which in turn placed them at increased risk for psychological distress, suicide attempts, and suicidal ideation.

Cyberbullying was shown to fully account for the association between social networking and psychological distress and suicide attempts, and partially account for the association between social networking and ideation. According to the authors, these findings indicate that addressing cyberbullying among adolescents who use social networking sites may help to reduce the risk of mental health problems.

The authors also identified two important topics for further research: (1) additional factors that may explain the risk of suicidal ideation among young people who use social networking sites, and (2) the mechanisms connecting cyberbullying to the risk of suicidal behaviors. They suggested that adolescents who use social networking sites to cope with loneliness and depression may be more vulnerable to victimization by cyberbullies."

Sampasa-Kanyinga, H., & Hamilton, H. A. (2015). Social networking sites and mental health problems in adolescents: The mediating role of cyberbullying victimization. European Psychiatry, 30 (8), 1021–1027. 


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20 Tips to Help De-escalate Interactions With Anxious or Defiant Students // KQED Mindshift

20 Tips to Help De-escalate Interactions With Anxious or Defiant Students // KQED Mindshift | Safe Schools & Communities Resources and Research |

By Katrina Schwartz

"Students’ behavior is a form of communication and when it’s negative it almost always stems from an underlying cause. There are many reasons kids might be acting out, which makes it difficult for a teacher in a crowded classroom to figure out the root cause. But even if there was time and space to do so, most teachers receive very little training in behavior during their credentialing programs. On average, teacher training programs mandate zero to one classes on behavior and zero to one courses on mental health. Teacher training programs mostly assume that kids in public schools will be “typical,” but that assumption can handicap teachers when they get into real classrooms.

A National Institute of Health study found that 25.1 percent of kids 13-18 in the US have been diagnosed with anxiety disorders. No one knows how many more haven’t been diagnosed. Additionally between eight and 15 percent of the school-aged population has learning disabilities (there is a range because there’s no standard definition of what constitutes a learning disability). Nine percent of 13-18 year-olds have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) (although the number one misdiagnoses of anxiety is ADHD), and 11.2 percent suffer from depression.

‘We are 50% of every interaction with a child, so we have a lot of control over that interaction.’

“So basically we have this gap in teacher education,” said Jessica Minahan, a certified behavior analyst, special educator, and co-author of The Behavior Code: A Practical Guide to Understanding and Teaching the Most Challenging Students. She spoke to educators gathered at a Learning and the Brain conference about strategies that work with oppositional students.

Minahan is usually called into schools to help with the most challenging behavior. She finds that often teachers are trying typical behavioral strategies for a group of kids for whom those strategies don’t work. However, she says after teachers learn more about why kids are behaving badly there are some simple strategies to approach defiant behavior like avoiding work, fighting, and causing problems during transitions with more empathy."...


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When Silence Is a Sword: How Patterns of Silence Impact Equity Interventions // ASCD

When Silence Is a Sword: How Patterns of Silence Impact Equity Interventions // ASCD | Safe Schools & Communities Resources and Research |

By Stacey A. Gibson
[Selected excerpt] Link to full post is below. 

"Tyrannies of silence tear through educational institutions with searing ferocity. In hallways and classroom corners and cloaked under the din of the cafeteria hum, many faculty, staff, and administrators of color exchange knowing glances, shaking heads, and cold stories—rushed and whispered—about the race-based treacheries they see, hear, deflect, and absorb in their schools. So often, these same people, especially those who identify as black, are expected to remain silent, internalize race-based trauma, deescalate and/or sanitize situations, and respond in "gentle ways" that do not offend or disrupt the oppressor. Some school leaders create and offer adults and students of color "safe spaces" to meet and "talk about issues." Although important and helpful to some, this retreat and regroup practice reinforces the unspoken but deeply held notion that people of color are to work quietly in these spaces to hold themselves together, repair wounds, and emerge ready to reenter the institution on the institution's terms.

Systemic silences around issues of race, whiteness, and equity in schools sustain a status quo where whites maintain privilege while retraumatizing people of color and sapping any efforts at meaningful, transformative interventions. Instead of sanctifying silence, use this guide to stay vigilant and committed to exposing and disrupting the subtle forms of oppression at work in your school.


How to Spot and Disrupt Six Silences of Inertia

  1. "I don't know where to begin." Many white educators insist they have no idea where to locate resources about "this stuff," even though there are hundreds of books, thousands of essays and articles, and dozens of reputable sites housing scaffolded, sequenced, highly appropriate material on race, oppression, and equity. Some school administrators set aside funds to attend conferences and institutes to help reframe curricula and provide meaningful professional development, yet some educators are still allowed to practice strategic disengagement around racial equity using this pattern of silence. 

    Disrupt this silence by visiting sites like Teaching Tolerance, EDUCOLOR, and Radical Teacherfor relevant plans, points of reference, community support, and opportunities for meaningful collaboration.

  2. "The social studies teacher will deal with it." Some (usually but not always) white educators avoid issues of race and equity by insisting that "the humanities teachers will take care of 'that stuff'" and "this race stuff is not doable in math and science." These educators often assert that the content they teach is "neutral" and they would have to "give up something important" to make room for "that stuff."

    Disrupt this silence by participating in your local Rethinking Schools' Teachers for Social Justice groups and conferences. Examine and articulate the way privilege affords individuals and whole groups the chance to opt out of opportunities for growth on issues of race and equity.

  3. "But I've already acknowledged my privilege." Many educators mistake declarations of white privilege awareness for a moment of transformational change and meaningful intervention. Generally, once white folks recognize and articulate awareness of their privilege, there seems to be a significant drop off in the stamina needed to engage in constructive, long-term change. It's as if the privilege recognition party occurs, the party ends, and the guest of honor disappears from the party, from their own words, and from their own opportunity to grow.

    Disrupt this silence by studying Shakti Butler's film Mirrors of Privilege, either individually or with a professional learning community. Learn to practice race-based self-awareness and self-respect. Find those white people who ally with and support other white people who are willing to share their healing practices around their white identity. Then, confidently address the race-based repair work that is so obviously, deeply needed."...


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School Climate Grant Opportunity Announcement // CA State Department of Education 

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High School Students Need 'Webs' of Supportive Adults, Study Says // High School & Beyond // Education Week

High School Students Need 'Webs' of Supportive Adults, Study Says // High School & Beyond // Education Week | Safe Schools & Communities Resources and Research |

"We've long known that adolescents need supportive relationships to help them stay in school through tough times. A new study, published Wednesday, argues that having an "anchor" and a "web" of support—rather than one person to act as a "hero"—can boost adolescents' chances of staying in school.

Like other researchers who have probed the dynamics that prompt students to leave school, America's Promise Alliance has consistently seen that the presence of caring adults is pivotal. Following up its 2014 report, "Don't Call Them Dropouts," the organization decided to focus on finding out more about what students need from those relationships. The result is "Don't Quit on Me," released today.


The bottom line? Relationships matter. But the type, source, and intensity matter, too, if they're going to serve as effective buffers against leaving school.

"They told us they need respect, not judgment. They need resources—bus passes, a ride to school, a meal, a job, a chance. They need people to show care through actions, not advice. They need an anchor, not a hero. And they need a web of support, a healthy, supportive community of their own," America's Promise Alliance President and CEO John Gomperts writes in the introduction to the report."....

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19 Books To Help Children Find Hope and Strength in Stressful Times: A Librarian’s List

19 Books To Help Children Find Hope and Strength in Stressful Times: A Librarian’s List | Safe Schools & Communities Resources and Research |   

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Middle School Suicides Reach An All-Time High // NPR

Middle School Suicides Reach An All-Time High // NPR | Safe Schools & Communities Resources and Research |

By Elissa Nadworny (Eva Bee/Getty Images)


"Suicide rates for U.S. middle school students have been steadily rising — doubling from 2007-14, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


There's a perception that children don't kill themselves, but that's just not true. A new report shows that, for the first time, suicide rates for U.S. middle school students have surpassed the rate of death by car crashes.


The suicide rate among youngsters ages 10 to 14 has been steadily rising, and doubled in the U.S. from 2007 to 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2014, 425 young people 10 to 14 years of age died by suicide.

We've been reporting about the role that schools and school staff play in addressing students' mental health.  "Kids spend a lot of time at school ... it's where they live their lives," says David Jobes, who heads the Suicide Prevention Lab at Catholic University in Washington, D.C. "Suicide prevention has been focused on schools for a long time because it's a place where kids are and where a lot of problems can manifest."

Many educators don't feel comfortable talking about suicide, or often don't know what to do or say when a student needs help, Jobes says. He recommends resources from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention that are specific to schools.

"It's really hard to prevent it, if we don't know it's there," he says. So educators shouldn't be afraid to talk about suicide — because saving lives begins with "asking a question."


Yesterday we chatted with Jobes on NPR Live about the six myths on suicide that every parent and educator should know:"...


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Comprehensive Research Review Confirms Positive School Climates Can Narrow Achievement Gaps // American Educational Research Association 

Comprehensive Research Review Confirms Positive School Climates Can Narrow Achievement Gaps // American Educational Research Association  | Safe Schools & Communities Resources and Research |

"WASHINGTON, D.C., November 1, 2016─Positive school climates contribute to academic achievement and can improve outcomes for students from low socioeconomic backgrounds, according to a new study published today in Review of Educational Research, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Educational Research Association.

In a comprehensive analysis of research published since 2000, U.S. and Israeli researchers found substantial evidence that schools with positive climates can narrow achievement gaps among students of different socioeconomic backgrounds and between students with stronger and weaker academic abilities.


Broadly speaking, positive school climates are marked by a supportive, caring approach from teachers; a sense of safety from violence and bullying; student connectedness in school; and parental involvement.


“Our analysis of more than 15 years’ worth of research shows that schools do matter and can do much to improve academic outcomes,” said study co-author Ron Avi Astor, a professor of social work and education at the University of Southern California. “Our findings suggest that by promoting a positive climate, schools can allow greater equality in educational opportunities, decrease socioeconomic inequalities, and enable more social mobility.”


The analysis also found no correlation between socioeconomic status and perceptions of school climate. This suggests that schools serving students of lower socioeconomic status do not necessarily have poor climates and that positive climates can be nurtured in these schools.


“Positive school climate has the potential to break the negative influences that stem from poor socioeconomic backgrounds and to mitigate risk factors that threaten academic achievement,” said co-author Ruth Berkowitz, an assistant professor of social work at the University of Haifa, Israel. “Evidence-based interventions that support and improve school climate are critically important to efforts around the world to increase educational opportunity for disadvantaged students and schools.”

For their study, Berkowitz, Astor, and study co-authors Hadass Moore of the University of Southern California and Rami Benbenishty of Bar-Ilan University analyzed 78 studies published between 2000 and 2015 that focused on the relationship between school or classroom climate, academic achievement, and socioeconomic status.

Need for Common Definition and Measurement

In their analysis, the authors also found great variation in the school climate definitions and measurements used by researchers, reflecting the absence of clear and uniform standards.

“This becomes very important with the new Every Student Succeeds Act, which focuses heavily on the climate and social and emotional tone of schools,” said Astor. “The U.S. Department of Education has a definition and instrument that is only somewhat aligned with the research and the scholars producing it.”


“There is a tangible, immediate need to construct a common definition and reliable climate measurements that can be translated into practice and policy guidelines,” Astor said. “In the absence of a clear and uniform definition and measurement of school climate, the ability of researchers and stakeholders to evaluate school climate growth over time is restricted.”

Call for More Rigorous Research

In addition, the study authors made several recommendations to improve future research that would provide more definitive results and allow researchers to offer clear recommendations for policymakers and education practitioners. They strongly recommended the use of more rigorous research designs such as longitudinal, experimental, and semi-experimental.

They also recommended investigating an entire school community’s perceptions of school climate—including those of teachers, administrators, and parents—not just of students or teachers. In addition to allowing for more accurate evaluations of school climate, a multi-perspective approach would allow school communities to design their own climate improvement programs, tailor-made to their requirements and social and organizational characteristics, rather than importing external models that have proved effective elsewhere.

The authors also suggested examining the contribution of school climate to the arts, physical education, social and emotional learning, civics, vocational subjects, and other areas outside the core subjects of mathematics, language arts, and science.

To read the full study, click HERE. To speak with study author Ron Avi Astor, please contact Tony Pals at or Victoria Oms at

About AERA
The American Educational Research Association (AERA) is the largest national interdisciplinary research association devoted to the scientific study of education and learning. Founded in 1916, AERA advances knowledge about education, encourages scholarly inquiry related to education, and promotes the use of research to improve education and serve the public good. Find AERA on Facebook and Twitter."


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National Strategy for Suicide Prevention: Goals and Objectives for Action // U.S. Surgeon General and National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention 

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Digital Citizenship Week: Six Resources for Educators // Edutopia

Digital Citizenship Week: Six Resources for Educators // Edutopia | Safe Schools & Communities Resources and Research |

By Matt Davis [Photo credit: Massachusetts Secretary of Education via flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)]

"Considering how ubiquitous smartphones and tablets have become, especially in high school and middle school, questions about managing use and educating students about digital etiquette are on a lot of educators' minds.

This October, Common Sense Media is sponsoring Digital Citizenship Week from October 16 to October 22. And we wanted to pull together some of the best resources to help educators talk about digital responsibility and safety online. Here, you'll find resources that cover today's digital landscape, ideas for student activities, and strategies for engaging parents."...


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Virtual Violence Impacts Children on Multiple Levels // American Academy of Pediatrics

Virtual Violence Impacts Children on Multiple Levels // American Academy of Pediatrics | Safe Schools & Communities Resources and Research |

Virtual Violence Impacts Children on Multiple Levels


Policy and commentary published in Pediatrics detail the impacts of media violence on children, including aggressive behavior and victimization

Virtual violence – violence experienced via media or realistic technologies – is an inescapable component of children's lives, and research shows that without guidance or controls it has the power to make children more aggressive, violent and fearful.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) will publish a policy statement, "Virtual Violence," in the August 2016 issue of Pediatrics (released online July 18), which reviews the evidence of how virtual violence impacts children, and offers guidance to parents, media producers and pediatricians. A related commentary published in the same issue expands on the impacts of social media, smart phones and apps like Instagram and YouTube on virtual violence and teens.

"The American Academy of Pediatrics continues to be concerned about the impact that virtual violence has on children, and we know that parents are also concerned, because it's a question that pediatricians often receive during wellness exams," said Dimitri Christakis, MD, FAAP, lead author of the policy statement. "Pediatricians can let parents know that there are ways to mitigate the impact of media violence, by co-viewing games and movies with their kids, making a media plan for their family and protecting children under age 6 from all violent media."

Media violence is very common. In the year 2000, every G-rated movie contained violence, as did 60 percent of prime-time television shows, according to a study published in JAMA. A comprehensive assessment of screen violence in 1998 estimated that by middle school a typical child would have seen 8,000 murders and 100,000 other acts of violence, including rape and assault. Today, children experience screen violence though an even greater number of devices and platforms.

"With the advent of smart phones and aps like Snapchat and Instagram, children can capture, view and share violent acts in ways that are new to millennials and centennials," said Rhea Boyd, MD, FAAP, a member of the Executive Committee of the AAP Council on Communications and Media and lead author of the Pediatrics commentary, "The Evolution of Virtual Violence: How Mobile Screens Provide Windows to Real Violence."

"Nearly three out of four teenagers have access to a smart phone, and exposure to real-world violence via these devices, often without parental knowledge or control, can create feelings of distress, victimization and even fear," Dr. Boyd said.

In the Pediatrics commentary, Dr. Boyd and her co-author, Wendy Sue Swanson, MD, MBE, argue that portable smartphone cameras can expose young people to real-world violence, which is fundamentally different than the simulated violence depicted in traditional media sources, like television, movies, or video games. This access to real-world violence can result in complex emotions and behaviors in youth that may vary based on the family, community, or cultural group with whom youth identify and process acts of violence. For example, a teenager viewing a video of police violence may be distressed by the images but also moved to social action.

While hundreds of studies have found violent media can raise aggression in children, research has also shown that exposing children to prosocial media content can decrease aggression and improve overall behavior.

The AAP recommends:

  • Pediatricians should consider a child's "media diet" as a part of wellness exams, considering not just the quantity of media but also the quality.
  • Parents should be mindful of their child's media consumption, and should co-view media and co-play games with their children.
  • Protect children under age 6 from all virtual violence, because they cannot always distinguish fantasy from reality.
  • Policy-makers should consider legislation to prohibit easy access to violent content for minors and should create a robust and useful "parent-centric" media rating system.
  • Pediatricians should advocate for and help create child-positive media, collaborating with the entertainment industry on shows and games that don't include violence as a central theme.
  • The entertainment industry should create content that doesn't glamorize guns or violence, doesn't use violence as a punch line and eliminates gratuitous portrayals of violence and hateful, misogynistic or homophobic language unless also portraying the impacts of these words and actions.
  • In video games, humans or living targets should never be shot for points.
  • The news media should acknowledge the proven scientific connection between virtual violence and real world aggression and stop portraying the link as controversial.


The policy updates a previous statement published in 2009.

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School Climate, Substance Use, and Well-Being Among California Students 2013-2015 // WestEd

"Being bullied remains a persistent problem for students in middle school and high school, with a combined average of 36 percent of middle and high school students surveyed reporting having been bullied at least once in the last 12 months, according to a new report released by the California Department of Education. The report is based on 2013-15 data from the California Healthy Kids Survey conducted by the research group WestEd. Forty percent percent of 7th graders, 38 percent of 9th graders and 31 percent of 11th graders reported having been bullied.

Those rates were unchanged or slightly higher than bullying rates reported in the previous 2011-13 data collection, depending on grade level. The survey was administered to a randomly selected, representative state sample of 36,573 students in grades 7, 9 and 11. Parental consent was required.

The report found "disturbingly high levels" of symptoms indicating a risk of depression. About 1 in 3 students in 2013-15 reported feeling "so sad or hopeless almost every day for two weeks or more" in the past 12 months that they stopped doing some usual activities. The rate of chronic sadness was 26 percent in 7th grade, 32 percent in 9th grade and 34 percent in 11th grade and  were unchanged from the 2011-13 survey.

About 1 in 5 students in 9th grade and 11th grade reported seriously considering suicide.

On the positive side, 11th grade students reported decreased rates of binge drinking, alcohol use, marijuana use and drinking and driving.

First survey on sexual orientation

The survey also found significant numbers of students who did not identify themselves as heterosexual.

When asked "Which of the following best describes you?" 76 percent of 7th graders, 86 percent of 9th graders and 88 percent of 11th graders chose "heterosexual/straight." The 2013-15 survey was the first time researchers asked the question.

"Gay/lesbian/bisexual" was chosen by 3.5 percent of 7th graders, 6.4 percent of 9th graders and 7.2 percent of 11th graders. "Transgender" was chosen by between 1.1 and 1.6 percent of students across the grade levels. "Not sure" was selected by 11 percent of 7th graders and dropped to 4.2 percent for 11th graders. "Declined to respond" was chosen by 14.5 percent of 7th graders, 6.1 percent of 9th graders and 4.7 percent of 11th graders."...
Summary provided by EdSource's EdHealth updates. To download full report, click on title above. 
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On Punishment for Bullying — and Punishment AS Bullying // Alfie Kohn

On Punishment for Bullying — and Punishment AS Bullying // Alfie Kohn | Safe Schools & Communities Resources and Research |

Bullying at school has attracted an enormous amount of attention, spurring academic studies and popular books, regulations and training sessions for educators. By now its status as a serious problem is widely acknowledged, as it should be. We can never go back to the days when bullying was regarded as a boys-will-be-boys rite of passage, something that victims were left to deal with (and suffer from) alone.

But as with other ills, both within and beyond our schools, some responses are much less constructive than others. The least thoughtful (or useful) strategy is to announce a “zero tolerance” stance in regard to bullying. Either this phrase amounts to empty rhetoric — rather like responding to repeated instances of gun violence in our country by sending each cluster of victims our “thoughts and prayers” — or else it refers to a policy of harsh punishment for bullies.

The latter approach is worth our attention precisely because it comes so easily to us, complementing a punitive sensibility already well-established in our schools. Students who break the rules or otherwise displease us are subjected to suspension, expulsion, detention, enforced isolation (“time-out”), loss of opportunity to participate in enjoyable activities, and so on.


Making children suffer for what they’ve done is often defended on practical grounds, but I’ve been unable to find any evidence to support the claim that punishment makes schools safer or leads the children who have been punished to become more ethical or responsible. Indeed, punitive responses — even if they’re euphemistically called “consequences” — are often not merely ineffective but actively counterproductive. To cite only one in a long line of empirical investigations, an eight-year longitudinal study published in 2005 found that punitive discipline was subsequently associated with more antisocial behavior, less prosocial behavior, and increased levels of anxiety."...

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Don’t Walk That Line! Why Schools Need to Create, and Measure Positive Climates - The Hechinger Report

Don’t Walk That Line! Why Schools Need to Create, and Measure Positive Climates - The Hechinger Report | Safe Schools & Communities Resources and Research |


[Selected quote] "Astor has found many schools that serve low-income families that beat the odds. In them, the social emotional and climate plan was integrated with academics. Improving climate wasn’t done through a one-off program or through efforts independent of a school’s academic program."... 

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