The Absolute Best School Climate Blogging (This Week): ‘The Extra Step’ Edition

By Evie Blad — February 13, 2015 1 min read
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Happy Friday, Rules readers.

Before I share some links, I’d like to share a powerful video with you.

Remember “I, too, Am Harvard?” Through the popular social media campaign, black Harvard students shared their experiences on campus.

As, for the first time, a majority of students in America’s K-12 schools are from racial and ethnic minority groups, youth advocacy groups have said involving students in such conversations will help break down barriers and promote equity.

Through “I, too, Am B-CC,” black students at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, which is located in an affluent Washington suburb, speak honestly and emotionally about their experiences. The 1,870-student school is 15 percent black.

“We feel that we have to go the extra step to prove that we are on the same level,” one student in the video says through tears. What kinds of stories could your students tell?

Here are some other links from this week that may interest folks who are concerned about school climate and child well-being.

On restorative practices...

It's a lot harder than a regular suspension," said Trevino, who had been kicked off campus multiple times at other, more conventional schools. "You can't run from anything, and to have people talking good about you, telling you they're truly disappointed—it hurts. It was kind of overwhelming, actually." —A look at one school in Washington's switch from conventional discipline to restorative practices.

On ensuring success for all students...

While the nation's graduation rate, including that of black and Latino males, has continued to grow, the gap between black males and their white peers has widened..." —District Dossier covers a new report on race gaps in graduation rates for male students. What are some ways schools can better engage and support these students to help them persist?

On supporting vulnerable children...

We simply cannot let down our most vulnerable children today, then lock them up tomorrow and act surprised." —California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris announced this week the Bureau of Children's Justice within the California Department of Justice. The bureau will address issues including truancy and equity in discipline.

What can schools learn from the military?

Research and real-world experience show that student interventions focused on fortifying social and emotional skills can help improve academic performance and behavior in school and beyond. If asked which American institution embraces this robust commitment to the academic and social development of young people, the U.S. military is probably the least likely to come to mind. Yet the military enjoys a well-deserved reputation for reaching, teaching, and training young people who are rudderless and drifting through life." —Hugh B. Price writes about an unlikely source of social-emotional and student-support strategies.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Rules for Engagement blog.