Tagged “School Climate”

Stephen Sroka

Tips from the Trenches: Teaching

During the last few months, I have had the chance to talk with several speakers who strongly affected their audiences. I started to think about the remarkable leaders with whom I have worked over the years and how they have made huge differences with their incredible wisdom, insight, and actions. I contacted some of them and asked them to comment on working in education in these difficult times. I asked them to share some take-away messages, so that, if they were speaking, what would they want their audience to remember? Read the other installments in the series: school safety, student services, and administration.

The bottom line in education takes place when the teacher shuts the door with the classroom full of students. Some say that teaching is a science and some say it is an art. Many educators know that students do not care what you teach, if you do not teach that you care. Here are some "Tips from the Trenches" from those who are or have been in the classroom.

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Kristen Pekarek

Words Can Hurt: No Name-Calling Week 2013

Inspired by the young adult novel The Misfits, where characters work together to create a no name-calling day in their schools, this annual event aims to end name-calling of all kinds in schools and communities everywhere. The No Name-Calling Week Coalition, created by whole child partner the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, provides students and educators with opportunities and resources to help celebrate the event. Below are 10 simple ways you and your school community can participate.

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Stephen Sroka

Tips from the Trenches: Student Services

During the last few months, I have had the chance to talk with several speakers who strongly affected their audiences. I started to think about the remarkable leaders with whom I have worked over the years and how they have made huge differences with their incredible wisdom, insight, and actions. I contacted some of them and asked them to comment on working in education in these difficult times. I asked them to share some take-away messages, so that, if they were speaking, what would they want their audience to remember? Read the other installments in the series: school safety, administration, and teaching.

Students are more than grade-point averages. Often they are faced with many barriers to effective education. Dealing with the whole child, and not just the academic child, can help facilitate learning. Safe and healthy students learn more. Here are some "Tips from the Trenches" about the value of supporting students.

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Stephen Sroka

Tips from the Trenches: School Safety

During the last few months, I have had the chance to talk with several speakers who strongly affected their audiences. I started to think about the remarkable leaders with whom I have worked over the years and how they have made huge differences with their incredible wisdom, insights, and actions. I contacted some of them and asked them to comment on working in education in these difficult times. I asked them to share some take-away messages, things that if they were speaking, they would want their audience to remember. Read the other installments in the series: student services, administration, and teaching.

School safety was a front page story following the tragic shooting deaths of 28 people, including 20 children, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Students need a safe school to learn. Most of these "Tips from the Trenches" regarding school safety were written before the Connecticut shootings.

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ASCD Whole Child Bloggers

Our Top 10 Blog Posts in 2012

In the past year, experts and practitioners in the field, whole child partners, and ASCD staff have shared their stories, ideas, and resources to help you ensure that each child, in each school, in each community is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged and prepared for success in higher education, employment, and civic life. These are the top 10 posts you read in 2012.

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Klea Scharberg

Support, Optimism, and Hope

No community is immune to the effects of traumatic events. Our ASCD community includes the students, teachers, and residents of Newtown, Conn. This morning we shared posts from our archives that speak to providing safe and connected learning environments. We hope the following resources from ASCD and our Whole Child Partners connect to educators, families, and communities' resilient spirit so that they can tap the resilient spirit in their students.

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Sean Slade

What’s in Our Control: Safer, Connected Environments

Almost no one has been unaffected by the events in Newtown, Conn., last week—especially if they are a teacher or parent or have kids who go to elementary school, as many of us do. It's hard to discuss and even harder to make any kind of sense out of what happened.

Today we highlight posts from our archives, the ASCD community, and our partner organizations that speak to how we can make our schools and communities safer and more connected. While we cannot immediately change policies that affect our schools and larger communities, we can strengthen our resolve to make sure that we create environments for our kids that are welcoming, supportive, and caring. The immediate reaction is to hunker down; however, as we hear so often, the best next steps are to open doors, re-engage and reconnect.

We hope the following pieces may resonate or help. Standing strong together and reminding ourselves that a connected community is a safer and friendlier community may be the best action we can take right now, and it's something we can have some control over.

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Thomas R. Hoerr

Teacher Evaluation and the Whole Child

We measure what we value. This is true in how we spend our time, where we focus our efforts, and how we evaluate our teachers. Believing that educators must embrace the whole child—we must be sure that a child is healthy, safe, supported, engaged, and challenged—then how should that affect our approach to teacher evaluation? Don't misunderstand me: academic skills are terribly important, and teachers, principals, and schools are judged on how children perform on multiple-choice tests. We can mourn that (and I do), but it is a reality. But it can't be the whole reality. As we prepare students to succeed in the real world, not just to do better on their tests next year than they did this year, we must bring a whole child approach to how we view our students.

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Kristen Pekarek

Play Well With Others ... Be Active Against Bullying

Bullying is a major societal issue affecting everyone worldwide. According to current statistics, more than 30 percent of our school-age children—approximately 5.7 million children—are bullied in schools, on playgrounds, and in recreational facilities each year. Research shows that these numbers can be reduced by nearly half through the use of effective bullying prevention programs.

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Podcast Whole Child Podcast

Respecting and Reflecting School Culture

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A positive school culture is the cornerstone of a good school and the foundation for school improvement. School culture encompasses the schoolwide ethos and the culture of individual classrooms, high expectations for learning and achievement, a safe and caring environment, shared values and relational trust, a powerful pedagogy and curriculum, high student motivation and engagement, a professional faculty culture, and partnerships with families and the community. It is constantly being shaped through our interactions, individual identities, beliefs, traditions, experiences, and community diversity. Research shows that successful schools with positive, effective school cultures are places that foster teacher learning and motivate students to learn.

Many schools may be in the process of implementing a program or process to support a whole child approach to education. Other schools may be looking at how to sustain what has already been achieved or developed. Fully embedding a whole child approach into the culture so that it becomes an integral part of what we do and who we are as schools and communities is key to ensuring that each child is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged and prepared for their future college, career, and civic lives.

As Harvard educator Roland Barth once observed, "A school's culture has far more influence on life and learning in the schoolhouse than the state department of education, the superintendent, the school board, or even the principal can ever have."

In this episode of the Whole Child Podcast, Klea Scharberg, project manager for whole child programs at ASCD, talked with members of the Special Olympics National Youth Activation CommitteeSpecial Olympics Project UNIFY is a whole child partner—about what a safe and positive school culture means to them, student voice and leadership, and why they are committed to being agents of change for their communities and young people across the United States. You'll hear from

  • Daniel Fink, originally from Alaska and currently attending Washington State University;
  • Kelsey Foster, from South Carolina;
  • Heather Glaser, from Wyoming; and
  • Bernice Higa-French, from Hawaii.

How does the culture of your school and community affect the success of your students?

"It's not necessarily that something is different about the school. They don't have different curriculum that they teach—no, it's just that it's more integrated and inclusive. You can walk down the hallway and you're not afraid of talking to anyone because of their race or their background, or anything like that. ... You walk in and there's just a smile on your face—and you don't necessarily know why—and you want to know more about why [the school culture] is that way."

—Daniel Fink

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