Safe Schools & Communities Resources
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Safe Schools & Communities Resources
This collection includes resources for improving school climate, health, safety, and connectedness.  For other education-related resources, please visit the Educator Resource tab on  For upcoming events and community resources specific to Santa Clara County, check out:
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Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning //

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

"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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A Radical Approach to Discipline That Starts With Listening to Students

A Radical Approach to Discipline That Starts With Listening to Students | Safe Schools & Communities Resources |

BY Meredith Kolodner, Hechinger Report
"NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Having racked up multiple up absences and missed assignments, a high school sophomore showed up in his English class last year, hopeful for another chance. “Where have you been?” his teacher asked. “You can’t pass this class if you don’t show up.” Without warning, the young man exploded.


“Shut the f— up,” the 16-year-old shouted. “You think you’re better than me? Who the f— do you think you are?” He stormed out of the room.

As the screaming and the swearing escalated in the hall, the Metropolitan Business Academy principal, Judith Puglisi, was called. She approached the student. “What do you need?” she asked in an almost-whisper. He kept yelling and pacing, and Puglisi walked with him, she recalled.

After she quietly repeated her question close to a dozen times, he turned to her and said, “I need to come to your office.” There, Puglisi and the assistant principal listened to him shout until he began to cry, telling them that his stepfather had beaten him since he was 7. “I am sick of people calling me a loser,” he said.

The student was not suspended, which would be normal protocol at some schools for cursing at a teacher. Instead, he saw a drama therapist trained in trauma at Metropolitan the next day. The day after that, he met with the teacher, apologized and said he knew he had overreacted. He returned to the class immediately after that meeting.


“If you run a school that’s based on punishment and compliance, eventually you’re going to push kids out.” — Judith Puglisi, principal of Metropolitan Business Academy

“Some would say that punishment will extinguish bad behavior, but I would say the opposite,” said Puglisi, who recounted the incident under the condition that the student’s name be withheld for his protection.


Metropolitan is among a small but growing number of schools nationally that are turning the traditional approach to discipline on its head. Instead of trying to get students to leave their personal troubles at the door, these schools help kids cope with what often is a history of trauma. The idea is to catch problems before they become disciplinary issues resulting in suspensions or expulsions.

Metropolitan and a dozen other schools in Connecticut work with Animated Learning by Integrating and Validating Experience (ALIVE), a trauma response program that provides drama therapists to work with teachers to identify trauma, prevent problems from escalating and respond effectively when students do act out. The therapists — who hold master’s degrees with training in psychology and theater — offer one-on-one therapy and use drama and role playing in a mandatory class for freshmen."...


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LISTEN Preview Screenings Response // Director & Producer Erahm Christopher

"This video is a compilation of audience response from the August 2015 preview screenings of "Listen", written and directed by Erahm Christopher. 




For the official trailer, please see: 

"Everyday someone is waiting for another person to notice they are broken or alone. How many times do we really pay attention? This film is about the moments in life that we miss when we do not listen.

Follow on Instagram and Twitter: @listenthemovie 
Subscribe on the website: 

Written, Directed and Produced by Erahm Christopher
Produced by Brooke Dooley

Inspired by real stories
Filmed in Manteca & Linden CA"



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Resources/Research for Strengthening Relationships and School Climate // Town Hall Meeting Presentation Slides

Resources/Research for Strengthening Relationships and School Climate // Town Hall Meeting Presentation Slides | Safe Schools & Communities Resources |

This presentation was created for a Town Hall Meeting at Oak Grove High School (March 26th, 2015).


Slides and links are available at: 



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Helping Students Who Have Experienced Trauma // Edutopia

Helping Students Who Have Experienced Trauma // Edutopia | Safe Schools & Communities Resources |

"When educators talk about "the whole child," we recognize our students as humans with complex lives that include interests, joys, passions, experiences, fears, needs, and hopes. Sometimes their lives may also include traumatic experiences, either in their past or ongoing even as we interact with them day to day.

As a teacher, you have a few ways of finding out that a student has experienced trauma. Some IEPs will incorporate this information. Sometimes a counselor or social worker may fill you in, or a parent or family member. The trauma may be a known part of your community's fabric -- for example, a natural disaster that destroyed a student's home, or a war in the country where your student used to live.

A student may also personally disclose that he or she experienced current or past trauma. For more on responding in the moment, see this guideline from the Australian Institute of Family Studies (PDF), which is specific to abuse but applicable to many types of trauma that a student may disclose. Be sure that you know your state's mandated reporting laws and follow through on any in-school systems that may be in place.

After receiving this information -- in whichever way it comes to you -- now what?

Here are some considerations and steps when integrating it into your practice in a way that best supports your student.

1. Absorb the information.

Take the time you need to process your own response to learning about the trauma, in a place that is safe for you. We all respond in different ways to hearing about our students' experiences with trauma. My own reaction to information about my students' lives has covered a spectrum from sadness to anger, heartbreak to disbelief, and sometimes the information impacts me in ways I didn't anticipate. In order to best serve my students, I need to adequately process these emotions until I am grounded enough to be supportive to others. Whether it's private journaling, talking to a trusted friend or colleague, or accessing your own therapist or counselor, start by working through your emotions, whatever they may be.

2. Recognize emotional truth.

Remember that the factual truth is unimportant compared to the student's emotional truth. As a teacher, your role is not to investigate the details of a student's trauma, or even know all or any of them. Your role is not to challenge the student's or family's description of what happened or ask whether it really occurred. Humans respond in a huge variety of ways to stressors, and so your time is better spent understanding how your studentemotionally responds to the traumatic experience, and how that emotional response may impact the student in your school setting.

3. Be clear about your role.

A true community of support for a student requires a few different roles, depending on the situation: teachers, social workers, mental health professionals, and care providers/family, to name a few. Don't try to take on every role on that list -- it's not healthy for you or for the student! If you're not sure who else is involved in a student's constellation of care, make it your first priority to find out, and if you have the permission of the student and family, communicate with those people.


4. Seek to better understand "problem behaviors."

Once you develop an understanding of how the student is impacted by trauma, use this context to reframe what might be thought of as "problem behaviors." Example: Instead of seeing a student's rude outburst as a sign of willful disrespect, I might instead understand it as a marker of a missing emotional self-regulation skill. A student who can't sit still and paces around the classroom? With an understanding of trauma impacts, I might now recognize how that student has a heightened sense of vigilance around safety in her environment. Once I reframe these behaviors for myself, I can now respond to the core issue rather than the behavior itself.


5. Coordinate with others.

Students can develop a sense of safety when multiple adults in their lives respond in consistent ways. Using common language, offering the same set of strategies, or using similar cues can help a student internalize positive ways of addressing challenges. Even without coordinating specific strategies, a common mindset toward the child goes a long way -- see Unconditional Positive Regard or Kids Do Well If They Can as examples.

6. Learn from the experts.

While every student responds differently to trauma, there are tons of resources out there for better understanding impacts of trauma, ways to be supportive in and out of the classroom, and how to build positive social and emotional skills. One of the best experts, though? The student! Ask your student what he needs to feel supported, what strategies work or don't work when he's having a hard time, and how you can help him be successful in your class. Some students might surprise you with their insight, and some might never have been asked and will benefit from the opportunity to develop their answers.

7. Continue checking in with yourself.

Being in a supportive role to someone who is managing the impacts of trauma can be challenging, and may result in vicarious trauma or compassion fatigue. Check out NCTSN's Self Care for Educators resource(PDF) for more information and tips on these challenges. But the bottom line is taking care of yourself and getting your own support so that you may support others.


Our students benefit when we thoughtfully align our strategies and supports with our best understanding. Though it is difficult to find out that our students may be in pain, this knowledge is also the first step in helping them move forward. 

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"The Opposite of Addiction is Not Sobriety, The Opposite of Addiction is Connection" (Johann Hari) // By Amber Ferguson

"The Opposite of Addiction is Not Sobriety, The Opposite of Addiction is Connection" (Johann Hari) // By Amber Ferguson | Safe Schools & Communities Resources |

By Amber Ferguson
"The opposite of drug addiction is not sobriety, it’s connection, according to best-selling author Johann Hari.

The animated video above, adapted from Hari's Chasing The Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs, claims that the drug war has failed because it has focused on eliminating drugs and punishing users -- two tools that have proven woefully ineffective at stemming either supply or demand. Instead, Hari says, we can address the desire for drugs by understanding that our surroundings play a huge part in driving us to abuse mind-altering substances.

According to psychologist Bruce Alexander, changing a person's environment and social setting can dramatically affect his or her chance of addiction. In the late 1970s, he developed the “Rat Park” experiment, which debunked previous beliefs that certain drugs will make any user addicted. While previous experiments had shown rats that were given a choice between regular water and water laced with heroin would choose the latter -- and keep going back until they died -- Alexander's experiment showed that wasn't always the case.

Rats in Alexander's experiment were given food, play equipment, other rats to interact with and both regular and drug-laced water. The rats lived without becoming addicted to the drugs, and none of them overdosed.

Hari argues that these findings can be extended to humans. The best way to address addiction, he says, is not with jail time or isolating addicted people from others in society. Instead, we should give them support, a healthy environment to thrive in and activities that involve substantial social interaction -- all of which will help them on the road to recovery and eliminate the desire to return to dangerous drug use.

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services reports that 44 people in the United States die from prescription opioid overdose each day. The number of heroin-related fatalities increased by 39 percent between 2012 and 2013, when 8,260 people died of an overdose."...

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Chicago Passages Version Mapping the School to Prison Pipeline // Tia Martinez, Forward Change 

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How Empowering Influential Kids Can Change School Culture For the Better // MindShift KQED

How Empowering Influential Kids Can Change School Culture For the Better // MindShift KQED | Safe Schools & Communities Resources |

..."A recent study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reveals some important clues on how to change a school’s mores. The gist of the findings? To change school norms, the most well-connected students have to lead the way.

Scholars Elizabeth Paluck, Hana Shepherd and Peter Aronow, who conducted the yearlong project in 56 New Jersey middle schools during the 2012-13 academic year, sought to discover the impact of student-led anti-conflict programs on kids’ behavior. When it was over, they found that groups led by influential students were most successful in changing the way fellow students treated one another. Indeed, in those schools where an average number of  well-connected kids took part in the campaign, reports of student conflict dropped by 30 percent.

The more the solution comes from the kids themselves, rather than eager adult overseers, the more likely other students will hear and respond to the message.

These results offer a promising new approach for schools in the midst of a cultural crisis, whether from bullying, cheating or some other undesirable student behavior. To aid educators, the scholars have made their detailed curriculum available online.

The study team designed the investigation with care. To ensure the accuracy of their results, researchers put half of the 56 schools into a control group — which received no specialized anti-conflict programming — and offered the remaining randomly selected 28 schools a carefully designed intervention that sought to reduce friction among the students.

To test the idea that the most socially connected kids have the greatest influence among their peers, the researchers first had to figure out who those kids were. Here, they took a novel approach: All students were given a survey that included every student’s name at that particular middle school. Each child then was tasked with identifying the 10 individuals they’d spent the most time with during the last few weeks, either in person or online. The survey also asked about student perceptions of conflict in school.

This “social network mapping” strategy, which aims to identify the most influential people in a group, differed from typical research methods in two important ways. First, it was driven by students rather than adults; grownups had no role in selecting the influential kids. “When adults pick out students to intervene with, they often pick the popular kids or the traditional leaders,” Paluck said, leaving out some less visible but more influential students, including those who aren’t models of good behavior. Second, by asking kids who they spent time with, rather than who they called friends, the survey revealed which children had the most actual influence."...

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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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Why Boston Students Created A ‘Know Your Rights’ App

Why Boston Students Created A ‘Know Your Rights’ App | Safe Schools & Communities Resources |
A group of Boston students have released what's believed to be the first app in the nation for students to hold staff accountable to honoring their rights.


[Picture Caption from linked page: Boston Student Advisory Council president Glorya Wornum, left, and BSAC member Ayomide Olumuyiwa show off the Boston Student Rights app in the hallway of Madison Park Technical Vocational High School. (Peter Balonon-Rosen/WBUR)]


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Why Are So Many Preschoolers Getting Suspended? // The Atlantic

Why Are So Many Preschoolers Getting Suspended? // The Atlantic | Safe Schools & Communities Resources |

By Melinda Anderson

"Tunette Powell travels across the country counseling families and mentoring youth. An award-winning motivational speaker and author, her professional work in the education field ranges from training nonprofit leaders to consulting for colleges and universities. But none of Powell’s career-related skills could prepare her for the frustration and helplessness of seeing her two sons suspended from preschool, which she pegged to overly harsh and racially biased discipline. In a July 2014 Washington Post opinion piece that gained national attention, Powell relates how her boys—ages 3 and 4—were suspended from their Omaha preschool program eight times total in one year. Once published, the essay resonated with readers nationwide. “So many parents reached out [to me] … a lot of black mothers” who shared her experience with excessive suspensions, said Powell. “We live in a time when we just say, ‘Suspend them, get rid of them.’”

A glance at news headlines confirms that Powell and her sons are not an anomaly. From a 3-year-old suspended for too many toileting mishaps to a 4-year-old booted out of school for kicking off his shoes and crying, toddlers are racking up punishments that leave many parents and child experts bewildered. Overall the rise in school suspensions and disproportionate impact on youth of color has triggered a flurry of interest from activists and high-ranking government officials, and for good reason: A February 2015 report from UCLA's Civil Rights Project examined out-of-school suspension data for every school district in the country and found that nearly 3.5 million children—about six out of every 100 public school students—were suspended at least once during the 2011-12 school year, with close to half of those (1.55 million) suspended multiple times.

But for some more astounding than these discipline statistics were the thousands of the nation’s youngest learners—nearly 8,000 preschoolers—suspended from school in the same year, often for relatively minor disruptions and misbehaviors. For researchers and educators immersed in this work, why preschoolers are put out of school and the entrenched racial disparity seems most closely tied to reasons such as teacher bias and children living in poverty whose hitting, biting, and pinching is frequently labeled misconduct rather than developmental delays."...

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Add "Upstander" to the Dictionary // #AddUpstander // [Sign Petition] By Katy Butler, The BULLY Project

Add "Upstander" to the Dictionary //  #AddUpstander // [Sign Petition] By Katy Butler, The BULLY Project | Safe Schools & Communities Resources |

By Katy Butler with The BULLY Project

"Upstander n.  A person who chooses to take positive action in situations where individuals are being harmed or in the face of injustice in society.

When I was in middle school, I was bullied all the time for being gay.  Kids called me unspeakable names, and violently attacked me. One day, one group of guys even slammed my hand into my locker, breaking my finger, laughing as they did it.  So many people – students, teacher and even parents ­– just watched it all happen. They were all bystanders, and no one was teaching them otherwise.  The worse thing about this is that it wasn't just happening to me. Bullying affects over 13 million kids a year.

Back then, although the word bystander was widely known, we did not have a word to describe those being more than a bystander, those people actively standing up for each other, an act that would have made the world of difference for kids like me. But a lot has changed since I was at school. Today, we DO have a word, and that word is upstander.

Thousands of people today are mobilizing around the term upstander, and taking action to help others in their schools and communities all over the world. Research shows that over 50% of the time, when an upstander intervenes, a bullying situation is stopped in less than 10 seconds. So, imagine how many more upstanders, and how much less bullying there could be if the word was in the dictionary!

Thousands of schools around the world are teaching words that have not been recognized, and this just has to change, especially when I look at all the frivolous words that HAVE been added in the last year; words like Fratty, Jeggings, totes and double-double.

This is why I,  along with Sarah Deker, Monica Mahal, the Bully Project and a coalition of supporters and organizations, are petitioning for upstander to be added to the Merriam Webster and Oxford English Dictionary. 

Standing up for what's right is our responsibility. Please sign and share our petition to #addupstander." 

Katy Butler
Monica Mahal & Sarah Decker
The BULLY Project
Facing History & Ourselves
Bystander Revolution
Not In Our School
National School Climate Center
They Say Project

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L.A Unified Takes on Sexting with Education Campaign, Not Punishment // LA Times

L.A Unified Takes on Sexting with Education Campaign, Not Punishment // LA Times | Safe Schools & Communities Resources |

By Teresa Watanabe
"When Viviana Martin Del Campo walked into her sixth-period geometry class at Venice High School in March, she saw a group of boys huddled over a cellphone, laughing. The target of their attention turned out to be a sexually explicit photo of two classmates. 
The photo, circulated on social media, embroiled the school in turmoil after the arrests of 15 boys, mostly on campus, on suspicion of sexually assaulting two girls.


But what shocked Viviana, 16, wasn't so much the photo. It was the arrests. Sexting has become so common, she said, that few teenagers would ever imagine that police would get involved. "I didn't take it as much because it kind of happens often," she said. "Students shouldn't be criminalized for it."


As teens' access to social media expands — 92% report going online daily and three-quarters have access to smartphones, according to a 2015 Pew Research Center report — sexting has also proliferated. A 2014 Texas study found that 28% of teens surveyed had sent naked pictures of themselves via social media and 60% had been asked for one. Both researchers and students say that sending other texts — including photos of others, semi-nude pictures, sexually explicit cartoons and messages — is even more pervasive.

"It's a perfect storm of adolescent hormones coupled with the immediacy of a smartphone," said Jeff Temple, an associate professor and psychologist at the University of Texas Medical Branch who coauthored the sexting study.

The growth in sexually explicit photos in text messages has set off wide-ranging responses from families, educators, legislators and law enforcement."... 

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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 |

"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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WeAreTeachers: 10 Things About Childhood Trauma Every Teacher Needs to Know

WeAreTeachers: 10 Things About Childhood Trauma Every Teacher Needs to Know | Safe Schools & Communities Resources |

"This is the first blog in the Childhood Trauma Blog Series, sponsored by Starr TLC.

With grief, sadness is obvious. With trauma, the symptoms can go largely unrecognized because it shows up looking like other problems: frustration, acting out, difficulty concentrating, following directions or working in a group. Often students are misdiagnosed with anxiety, behavior disorders or attention disorders, rather than understanding the trauma that’s driving those symptoms and reactions.


For children who have experienced trauma, learning can be a big struggle. But once trauma is identified as the root of the behavior, we can adapt our approach to help kids cope when they’re at school. Detroit-based clinical director of the National Institute for Trauma and Loss in Children, a program of the Starr Global Learning Network, Caelan Kuban Soma offers these tips for understanding kids who have been through trauma, plus strategies for helping them.


1. Kids who have experienced trauma aren’t trying to push your buttons.
If a child is having trouble with transitions or turning in a folder at the beginning of the day, remember that children may be distracted because of a situation at home that is causing them to worry. Instead of reprimanding children for being late or forgetting homework, be affirming and accommodating by establishing a visual cue or verbal reminder to help that child. “Switch your mind-set and remember the kid who has experienced trauma is not trying to push your buttons,” says Soma.

2. Kids who have been through trauma worry about what’s going to happen next.
A daily routine in the classroom can be calming, so try to provide structure and predictability whenever possible. Since words may not sink in for children who go through trauma, they need other sensory cues, says Soma. Besides explaining how the day will unfold, have signs or a storyboard that shows which activity—math, reading, lunch, recess, etc.—the class will do when.


3. Even if the situation doesn’t seem that bad to you, it’s how the child feels that matters.
Try not to judge the trauma. As caring teachers, we may unintentionally project that a situation isn’t really that bad, but how the child feels about the stress is what matters most. “We have to remember it’s the perception of the child … the situation is something they have no control over, feeling that their life or safety is at risk,” says Soma. It may not even be just one event, but the culmination of chronic stress—for example, a child who lives in poverty may worry about the family being able to pay rent on time, keep their jobs or have enough food. Those ongoing stressors can cause trauma. “Anything that keeps our nervous system activated for longer than four to six weeks is defined as post-traumatic stress,” says Soma.


4. Trauma isn’t always associated with violence.
Trauma is often associated with violence, but kids also can suffer trauma from a variety of situations—like divorce, a move, or being overscheduled or bullied. “All kids, especially in this day and age, experience extreme stress from time to time,” says Soma. “It is more common than we think.”

5. You don’t need to know exactly what caused the trauma to be able to help.
Instead of focusing on the specifics of a traumatic situation, concentrate on the support you can give children who are suffering. “Stick with what you are seeing now—the hurt, the anger, the worry,” Soma says, rather than getting every detail of the child’s story. Privacy is a big issue in working with students suffering from trauma, and schools often have a confidentiality protocol that teachers follow. You don’t have to dig deep into the trauma to be able to effectively respond with empathy and flexibility.


6. Kids who experience trauma need to feel they’re good at something and can influence the world.
Find opportunities that allow kids to set and achieve goals, and they’ll feel a sense of mastery and control, suggests Soma. Assign them jobs in the classroom that they can do well or let them be a peer helper to someone else. “It is very empowering,” says Soma. “Set them up to succeed and keep that bar in the zone where you know they are able to accomplish it and move forward.” Rather than saying a student is good at math, find experiences to let him or her feel it. Because trauma is such a sensory experience, kids need more than encouragement—they need to feel their worth through concrete tasks.


7. There’s a direct connection between stress and learning.
When kids are stressed, it’s tough for them to learn. Create a safe, accepting environment in your classroom by letting children know you understand their situation and support them. “Kids who have experienced trauma have difficulty learning unless they feel safe and supported,” says Soma. “The more the teacher can do to make the child less anxious and have the child focus on the task at hand, the better the performance you are going to see out of that child. There is a direct connection between lowering stress and academic outcomes.”

8. Self-regulation can be a major challenge for students suffering from trauma.
Some kids with trauma are growing up with emotionally unavailable parents and haven’t learned to self-soothe, so they may develop distracting behaviors and have trouble staying focused for long periods. To help them cope, schedule regular brain breaks. Tell the class at the beginning of the day when there will be breaks—for free time, to play a game or to stretch. “If you build it in before the behavior gets out of whack, you set the child up for success,” says Soma. A child may be able to make it through a 20-minute block of work if it’s understood there will be a break to recharge before the next task.

9. It’s OK to ask kids point-blank what you can do to help them make it through the day.
For all students with trauma, you can ask them directly what you can do to help. They may ask to listen to music with headphones or put their head on their desk for a few minutes. Soma says, “We have to step back and ask them, ‘How can I help? Is there something I can do to make you feel even a little bit better?’”


10. You can support kids with trauma even when they’re outside your classroom.
Loop in the larger school. Share trauma-informed strategies with all staff, from bus drivers to parent volunteers to crossing guards. Remind everyone: “The child is not his or her behavior,” says Soma. “Typically there is something underneath that driving that to happen, so be sensitive. Ask yourself, ‘I wonder what’s going on with that kid?’ rather than saying, ‘What’s wrong with the kid?’ That’s a huge shift in the way we view kids.”... 

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Department of Education Releases Resources on Improving School Climate // U.S. Department of Education

Department of Education Releases Resources on Improving School Climate // U.S. Department of Education | Safe Schools & Communities Resources |

"The U.S. Department of Education today released new school climate surveys and a quick guide on making school climate improvements to help foster and sustain safe and supportive environments that are conducive to learning for all students.

The ED School Climate Surveys (surveys) and the Quick Guide on Making School Climate Improvements will enable states, local school districts, and individual schools to collect and act on reliable, nationally-validated school climate data in real-time. These new free and adaptable resources will enable educators, administrators, and school system leaders to understand and create environments where every child can be successful.

“All students deserve schools that work to ensure safe and supportive school climates in which they can reach their full potential,” said James Cole Jr., General Counsel, Delegated the Duties of Deputy Secretary of Education. “These new surveys and quick guide will support any school that seeks to make significant improvements in all students’ safety and sense of respect and connectedness at school. We owe it to our children to ensure that school is not only safe and engaging, but that we are also working to continuously improve school climate by using resources like these.”

Research shows that students learn best when they are in environments in which they feel safe, supported, challenged, and accepted. Positive school climates foster trust, respect, communication and cooperation among students, school staff, parents and the community at-large. By improving school climate, schools lay the foundation for improving daily school attendance and high achievement by all students.

These new resources build on two Administration initiatives: President Obama’s Now is the Time Plan, and his My Brother’s Keeper Taskforce, which recommended that the Department work on the issue of school climates. As part of Now is the Time, the Department announced efforts to place a high priority on helping schools create safer and more nurturing school climates. One result was that the Department funded its National Center for Education Statistics to develop the surveys to create a school climate measurement platform in coordination with the Office of Safe and Healthy Students.

The new school climate surveys, which are on a web-based platform, are designed for middle and high school students, instructional staff, non-instructional staff, and parents and guardians. Moreover, the platform can process real-time data and provide user-friendly reports. Education agencies and schools administering the survey can store school climate survey data on their state, local, or school-based data systems. The federal government is planning to conduct a sample-based study using the surveys for benchmarking but willnot collect or store data generated by the schools using the surveys for any other purposes.

In addition to the Quick Guide, a series of tools will be released later this spring and summer as part of the School Climate Improvement Resource Package, a web-based suite of action-oriented, research and evidence-based resources to help create and support positive school climates." 

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Mapping the School to Prison Pipeline

"Tia Martinez, Forward Change Consulting, and Sarah Omojola, Public Counsel and, present "Mapping the School-to-Prison Pipeline." This webinar will answer your questions about how out-of-school punishments can result in involvement with the criminal justice system, have health implications, and contribute to intergenerational poverty. This webinar uses data to provide a unique and detailed picture of how students and communities, especially those of color, are affected by punitive education policies."

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(T2) Trauma Transformed: Connecting Communities with Compassionate Systems

(T2) Trauma Transformed: Connecting Communities with Compassionate Systems | Safe Schools & Communities Resources |

"Who We Are

Trauma Transformed is the only regional center and clearinghouse in the Bay Area that promotes a trauma-informed system by providing trainings and policy guidance to systems of care professionals and organizations. A trauma-informed system is one that builds awareness and knowledge of trauma to shape policies and practices aimed at reducing the re-traumatization of youth and families and the professionals who serve them.


Acknowledging that trauma is pervasive in our communities and those of our children, youth and families most impacted by our public systems of care, seven Bay Area counties came together in 2014 to address a national public health crisis through a regional effort. The seven counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz, envisioned breaking down silos and coordinating and communicating more effectively across sectors and county lines through a Bay Area Trauma Informed Systems of Care Initiative (BATISC).

The initiative was focused on centralizing and building a regional trauma-informed Bay Area system of care and improving the ways we understand, respond to, and heal trauma. The response to the initiative resulted in awarding East Bay Agency for Children the task of supporting the partnership of counties and communities in July 2015. This collaboration of partner agencies: Youth in Mind, Center for Youth Wellness, UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland, and East Bay Agency for Children along with and the seven counties resulted in the creation of Trauma Transformed (T2), a Bay Area Regional Trauma Center."...

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Why Are Educators Learning How to Interrogate Their Students? // The New Yorker

Why Are Educators Learning How to Interrogate Their Students? // The New Yorker | Safe Schools & Communities Resources |

A company that provides training to police officers and private-security personnel is now offering its services to schools. [Credit: Illustration by Richie Pope] 



By Douglas Starr 

"About a year and a half ago, Jessica Schneider was handed a flyer by one of her colleagues in the child-advocacy community. It advertised a training session, offered under the auspices of the Illinois Principals Association (I.P.A.), in how to interrogate students. Specifically, teachers and school administrators would be taught an abbreviated version of the Reid Technique, which is used across the country by police officers, private-security personnel, insurance-fraud investigators, and other people for whom getting at the truth is part of the job. Schneider, who is a staff attorney at the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, was alarmed. She knew that some psychologists and jurists have characterized the technique as coercive and liable to produce false confessions—especially when used with juveniles, who are highly suggestible. When she expressed her concerns to Brian Schwartz, the I.P.A.’s general counsel, he said that the association had been offering Reid training for many years and found it both popular and benign. To prove it, he invited Schneider to attend a session in January of 2015.


The training was led by Joseph Buckley, the president of John E. Reid and Associates, which is based in Chicago. Like the adult version of the Reid Technique, the school version involves three basic parts: an investigative component, in which you gather evidence; a behavioral analysis, in which you interview a suspect to determine whether he or she is lying; and a nine-step interrogation, a nonviolent but psychologically rigorous process that is designed, according to Reid’s workbook, “to obtain an admission of guilt.” Most of the I.P.A. session, Schneider told me, focussed on behavioral analysis. Buckley described to trainees how patterns of body language—including slumping, failing to look directly at the interviewer, offering “evasive” responses, and showing generally “guarded” behaviors—could supposedly reveal whether a suspect was lying. (Some of the cues were downright mythological—like, for instance, the idea that individuals look left when recalling the truth and right when trying to fabricate.) Several times during the session, Buckley showed videos of interrogations involving serious crimes, such as murder, theft, and rape. None of the videos portrayed young people being questioned for typical school misbehavior, nor did any of the Reid teaching materials refer to “students” or “kids.” They were always “suspects” or “subjects.”

Laura Nirider, a professor of law at Northwestern University and the project director of the Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth, attended the same session as Schneider. She told me that about sixty people were there. “Everybody was on the edge of their seat: ‘So this is how we can learn to get the drop on little Billy for writing graffiti on the underside of the lunchroom table,’” she said. One vice-principal told Nirider that the first thing he does when he interrogates students is take away their cell phones, “so they can’t call their mothers.”


The training included tricks to provoke a response that might indicate guilt. One was the punishment question: “What do you think should happen to the person who did this?” Schneider recorded in her notes that an innocent person will give a draconian answer, such as, “They should be suspended/expelled/fired.” A deceptive person will equivocate: “That depends on why they did it.” Another question involves baiting the subject with supposedly incriminating evidence. For example, you might falsely suggest that the school had surveillance cameras at the scene of the infraction and see how the student reacts. At one point in the workbook, the phrase “Handling tears” appears, with a blank space underneath for trainees to take down Buckley’s dictation. “Don’t stop,” Schneider wrote in her notes. “Tears are the beginning of a confession. Use congratulatory statement—‘Glad to see those tears, because it tells me that you’re sorry, aren’t you?’ ” Buckley’s only caveat during the session, according to Nirider and Schneider, was that children under the age of ten should not be interrogated. “It was pretty horrifying,” Schneider told me."...


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Resources to Fight Bullying and Harassment at School // Edutopia

Resources to Fight Bullying and Harassment at School // Edutopia | Safe Schools & Communities Resources |
"Discover websites, organizations, articles, planning guides, lesson plans, and other resources dedicated to preventing bullying and harassment.

Resources by Topic:

Each October, individuals and organizations nationwide work together to raise awareness of bullying during National Bullying Prevention Month, an initiative of the PACER Center. Whether you are an educator, education leader, parent, or other community member, you can take action to prevent bullying and harassment by fostering a culture of caring and respect in your school, home, and community. Use the resources below to support your efforts. In addition, consider participating in Edutopia's community to share your own insights and resources about bullying prevention.

Resources for Educators:
Take a look at the infographic "Bullying: What You Need to Know," courtesy of, a U.S. government website, for information about some of the statistics behind bullying and impacts on children. As this video about a study from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)demonstrates, the effects of bullying are serious and linger well into adulthood."....

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Restorative Justice Presentation for Juvenile Justice Prevention & Programs Workgroup // Arash Daneshzadeh 

[Presented at the Santa Clara County Juvenile Justice Prevention and Programs Workgroup, December 11th, 2015 meeting.]  

"A synopsis of various incarnations of Restorative Justice in the Bay Area (SF/Oakland), citing ethnographic and mixed method studies along with theoretical frameworks."

For additional files related to the presentation, please see


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Safe Schools California

Safe Schools California | Safe Schools & Communities Resources |

Every Child Has a Right to a Healthy and Safe School

"Health Hazards from WiFi 

The World Health Organization warned in May of 2011 that microwave radiation from wireless devices such as WiFi and cell phones may cause cancer. It is considered a possible carcinogen on the same list as DDT, lead and engine exhaust. Governments and school boards can no longer say WiFi is safe. 

It is important to note that both cell phones and WiFi came to the market without safety testing as a gift to telecom companies to help them expand quickly.

novel group of symptoms has emerged in children attending schools in Simcoe County since the Board installed microwave WiFi transmitters.

Watch a Global News investigation that proves that WiFi is not "SAFE".
Watch what Children and Parents say at one Simcoe County School.

About WiFi: 

WiFi is a microwave transmitter that is used to connect to the internet without a cable. Wireless systems come with a long list of potential health risks. Most schools in Ontario already have safe cable connections that are faster and more secure.  However, school boards are pushing to install microwave systems that end up largely unused and continuously expose students to strong microwave signals. It is cheaper and safer to simply add more cables where needed. Hard-wired systems are now available from computer stores that easily turn every electrical socket in a building into a internet port. This is another easy and safe solution for schools or homes.  
Your Right To Know: WiFi is harmful to children.  Microwave exposure is linked to infertility, erratic heart rates, learning impairment, behavioural changes, leukemia and cancer, especially in children.

    The Committee has documented reports from children such as , "I can't hold my pencil sometimes," "I feel faint," "I keep having headaches," or "I feel sick to my stomach at school."  A distrubing number of children have suffered sudden erratic heart rates or full cardiac arrest during their school day. Cancer takes several years to develop before it is detectable."

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Seeing is Believing: Promising Practices for How School Districts Promote Family Engagement // Harvard Family Research Project

Seeing is Believing: Promising Practices for How School Districts Promote Family Engagement // Harvard Family Research Project | Safe Schools & Communities Resources |

"Harvard Family Research Project (HFRP) and the National Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) have teamed up to bring you this ground-breaking policy brief that examines the role of school districts in promoting family engagement.  

Seeing is Believing: Promising Practices for How School Districts Promote Family Engagement spotlights how six school districts across the country have used innovative strategies to create and sustain family engagement “systems at work.”  Our findings point to three core components of these successful systems: creating district-wide strategies, building school capacity, and reaching out to and engaging families.

Drawing from districts’ diverse approaches, we highlight promising practices to ensure quality, oversight, and impact from their family engagement efforts. We also propose a set of recommendations for how federal, state, and local policies can promote district-level family engagement efforts that support student learning."...

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Trauma Transformed Launches Regional Effort in San Francisco Bay Area // ACES Connection

Trauma Transformed Launches Regional Effort in San Francisco Bay Area // ACES Connection | Safe Schools & Communities Resources |

By Alicia St. Andrews

"Nearly 300 impassioned and committed people crowded into the Green Room at the San Francisco War Memorial and Performing Arts Center last week to launch Trauma Transformed. Known as T2, the regional effort – representing the San Francisco Department of Public Health and seven Bay Area counties – is funded by a four-year, $4-million grant from the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).


Youth, families, health directors and public health leaders from the seven counties participated in the celebration. San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee committed to partnering with communities to break the cycle of intergenerational trauma and poverty.

Dr. Nadine Burke Harris emphasized how understanding the research about adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are the basis for understanding trauma.


Louise Rogers, San Mateo health chief, accounting the tragic stories of systems-involved youth and the county’s process of responding to their trauma, said, “It all starts with local stories.”

Toni Tullys, Santa Clara Behavioral Health dept. director, urged leaders to “get out of the way” and “support resources for community based organizations, families, and young people.”


Alex Briscoe, director of Alameda County Health Care Services, heralded the regional center to be the “holy grail of behavioral health,” and a “tool for racial justice,” yet only if done humbly and carefully. “Trauma-informed care is not just a response to pathology, but a social justice issue”, he noted.


National youth leader Sinead Anderson, a member of Youth in Mind, founded and steered by youth affected by the mental health system, bluntly told the crowd : “I am ACEs.” What doesn’t work to help troubled youth, she said, were truancy laws that put parents in jail, and “home hospitals” that prescribes pills for youth with clinical depression, but no support. Her recovery, she said, came about through developing safe, stable relationships with adults and peers; gaining knowledge about her history through African-American studies classes; and advocacy.


Citing trauma as the language of feeling and behavior in her work with families, Dr. Alicia Lieberman, director of the UCSF Child Trauma Research Program, said, “Through broken hearts we can transcend pain.”


Michelle Campbell-Mateo, speaking on behalf of traumatized families, said, “I am the evidence.” She told her story of coming from a generation that had been traumatized, and how she very passed some of that trauma to her daughter. She advocated for more peer educators and family resilience coaches.


Clifton Hicks, founder of Urban-Based Adventures and a psychiatric social worker for the San Francisco Department of Public Health, said, “Interventions don't matter if kids and families don’t feel felt.” He recounted stories of families constantly relocating in search for a sense of community, and called for regional conversations on trauma outside of silos. 


Lynn Dolce, curriculum developer and trainer for the San Francisco Department of Public Health’s Trauma-Informed Systems Initiative, wrapped up the ceremonies by asking those attending to commit to four precepts: be open, promote healing, trust each other, and collaborate.


“The regional trauma center is an opportunity for the San Francisco Bay Area to create a state and national model for collaboration and change,” she said.


For more info please see attached T2 summary, T2 Launch Event Program, T2 Launch Event Speaker Bios, and visit T2 online at


Correction to original post: Toni Tullys, Santa Clara Behavioral Health Department Director spoke on behalf of Rene Santiago, Santa Clara County Health and Hospital System deputy director.


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Test, Punish, and Push Out: How "Zero-Tolerance" and High-Stakes Testing Funnel Youth Into the School To Prison Pipeline

Via Roxana Marachi, PhD
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Getting To The ‘Why’ of Discipline Disparities // EdSource

Getting To The ‘Why’ of Discipline Disparities // EdSource | Safe Schools & Communities Resources |

"What happened at a rural high school was, according to a new guide to school discipline, the starting point for change. Faced with chronically tardy students and a steady stream of office referrals, including a disproportionate number of American Indian students, school administrators asked: Why? Why the lateness? Why the office referrals?

With schools across California and the nation working to reform discipline practices — either voluntarily or under legal pressure— the guide, “Addressing the Root Causes of Disparities in School Discipline: An Educator’s Action Planning Guide,” is intended as a tool to help schools “look for the whole story” behind who is disciplined and why...." 

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