The Bully Project, a new documentary from filmmaker Lee Hirsch, is a heartbreaking look at the ongoing violence and harassment that plagues school communities. Over the course of the film we meet
- Alex (pictured), whose daily abuse from peers stymies school officials who can't seem to offer much beyond shake-and-make-up solutions.
- Kelby, shunned by her community for coming out as gay; adults and students alike make school unsafe for her.
- Ja'meya, a 14-year-old behind bars for pulling a gun on her tormentors.
Mental Health Hotline Now Serving Students: Minnesota's largest school district, Anoka-Hennepin School District, will begin providing a mental health hotline for students and family members this summer. According to Superintendent Dennis Carlson, there is an unmet need for mental health service throughout the state. Callers to the hotline will be able to get referrals to other county services for further assistance. (Minnesota Public Radio)
Post submitted by Whole Child Blogger Karissa Bell
One boy talks about how he is consistently bullied by his classmates. Seconds later, footage is shown of another student pushing him off his bike. One girl talks about how girls at her school are continuously harassed and even touched by the boys in their class. Another boy talks about how he is the bully because he wants people to stay out of his way.
Let's Get Real is the title of Groundspark's most recent film about bullying in schools and the bias that leads to that bullying. And it's difficult to imagine that the film could get much more real.
If you felt picked on or not respected by the people you see nearly every day, how would you feel? What if you're a student and don't have a choice? Children who don't feel safe can’t concentrate on their studies, don’t connect with their classmates, or don't go to school at all. Do you know if your
- School's physical, emotional, academic, and social climate is safe, friendly, and student-centered?
- Students feel valued, respected, and cared for and are motivated to learn?
- School upholds social justice and equity concepts and practices mutual respect for individual differences at all levels of school interactions—student-to-student, adult-to-student, and adult-to-adult?
Ontario School Tests Effects of a Later Start Time: Students at a Toronto, Ontario, school are earning better grades, coming to school more often, and getting more sleep since the school pushed its start time to 10:00 a.m. The school began starting school at 10:00 a.m. in 2009—later than the previous 9:00 a.m. start—in response to research showing that teenagers are predisposed to waking up later. Educators say they are encouraged by learning gains and improvements in students' well-being. (ASCD Worldwide SmartBrief, 4/28)
Today is the 5th annual National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day, established and promoted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The Awareness Day provides a platform for national and local organizations to highlight an aspect of children's health that too often does not get the attention, focus, or funding it deserves.
Mental health may in fact be the one remaining "health" that stills holds somewhat negative connotations when discussed or highlighted. Simply Google the phrase "mental health," and the results indicate that this particular phrase may still be the "health" outsider.
Color-Coded Lunch Trays Teach Students About Nutrition: Jessica Alonzo was named one of the teachers of the year in her Long Branch, N.J., school district for her proposal to help students make better nutrition choices by using color-coded lunch trays that correlate with proper proportions of healthy foods. Also, an area preschool created a vegetable garden to help teach young students about healthy eating, and another school asked the PTA to substitute fruits for less healthy snacks.
Post written by Jillian J. Toews, a guidance counselor at Hesston Middle School in Hesston, Kans., and was featured in the April 2010 issue of ASCD Express.
Making the move from one school to the next often evokes unavoidable emotions in students, ranging from excitement to angst. But Hesston Unified School District 460 in Kansas has found a way to help allay the anxieties over such transitions while building a spirit of caring and generosity among its students. For four years, the district's Transition Buddy Program has used the inevitable move to a new school to help shape Hesston students into thoughtful, compassionate, and empathetic citizens.
Post submitted by Whole Child Blogger Robyn Gee
What could prompt a high school student who once upon a time wanted to become an Egyptologist or a race car driver to decide in her senior year that she wants to become a teacher?
Maybe it's the fact that Janet Gil is a student at Quest Early College High School, which was recognized this year with the Vision in Action: The ASCD Whole Child Award.
Working in partnership with Lone Star College-Kingwood, students at Quest can earn a high school diploma while simultaneously earning an associate's degree or two years of credit toward a bachelor's degree. "We have structures that are very nontraditional, and not academic, in place at our school," said principal Kim Klepcyk. "We include some soft skills that other schools weren't attending to. Traditional schools say that they want students to be active citizens, but what does that mean? There's no way to assess these abilities."