The Absolute Best School Climate Blogging (This Week)

By Evie Blad — August 29, 2014 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Happy Friday, Rules readers. I took a little break this afternoon to look at Full Frame’s gallery of back-to-school photos, including the colorful image above. You should probably also take a look.

The start of a new school year is a big time for school climate and student wellness efforts. Educators are establishing routines, expectations, and trust with students—all crucial elements of making children feel safe and ready to learn.

Back-to-school season is also a good time to share some links with Rules readers. This week, we read about how students ask for help, how to reduce stress by getting outside, how District of Columbia schools plan to discuss Ferguson, how to encourage good behavior in disruptive students, and more.

Dear students...

Understand that you will face people who are more insecure than you are and, therefore, they will call you names or even belittle you to make themselves feel better. Don't get angry, but feel sorry for them. Be kind to everyone, even to those who aren't kind to you. Instead of trying to be accepted by others, try to accept yourself, which will matter much more later in your life." —Educator Nicholas Ferroni in a letter to students (this was published on Huffington Post in 2012, but it's still good).

Take a stand...

The kids who would normally be slouched down, half-asleep or fidgeting in their chair were now standing up and paying attention." —Teaching Now covers research about using standing desks in schools.

Talking about Ferguson...

Sometimes students don't participate in discussions about sensitive issues because they worry that they will be teased, their opinions will be ridiculed, or strong feelings will arise because the topic hits close to home. To create a safe and supportive environment, make group agreements at the beginning of the year. Remind students that when they talk about groups of people, they should try to avoid speaking in absolutes; using the word 'some,' not 'all.'" —D.C. Public Schools created a guide for discussing Ferguson in the classroom. Many of the tips may be helpful for a range of tough conversations.

What students need to be successful...

After several home visits, we found that 10 people were living in her two-bedroom apartment, including the student's mother, who had untreated mental health issues. The little girl often got lost in the shuffle, with no clean clothes to wear and no one to track her progress. Nor was there anything like a quiet place to do homework." —Communities in Schools President Daniel J. Cardinali writes about a model for supporting students in the New York Times.

To tackle stress...

Many schools already offer stress-management programs. But they're about teaching individuals how to deal with stress instead of creating stress-reducing environments." —Teaching Now covers research about getting students outside.

More than putting out fires...

When you're in a challenging school it's easy to focus on the negatives and it takes a lot of time and energy to put out fires. But if you put that same amount of effort into rewarding students who are doing the right thing, then the kids become attracted to that. Kids want to be rewarded, so if they see kids being rewarded they're going to want to do what's necessary." —New York City Principal Shawn Rux talks about his work.

Help! I need somebody...

Help-seeking is both academic and social in nature, and adolescents are looking at their classroom as an academic and social minefield." —Sarah D. Sparks writes about how students do (and don't) ask for help.

Photo: From left, Beau and Gage Williams, 6, show a teacher how they learned how to tie their shoes over the summer as they get set for the first day of the school year at Patronis Elementary School in Panama City Beach, Fla.
-Andrew Wardlow/News Herald/AP

Follow @evieblad on Twitter or subscribe to Rules for Engagement to get blog posts delivered directly to your inbox.

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

Commenting has been disabled on effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Evaluating Equity to Drive District-Wide Action this School Year
Educational leaders are charged with ensuring all students receive equitable access to a high-quality education. Yet equity is more than an action. It is a lens through which we continuously review instructional practices and student
Content provided by BetterLesson
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Student Well-Being Webinar
Attendance Awareness Month: The Research Behind Effective Interventions
More than a year has passed since American schools were abruptly closed to halt the spread of COVID-19. Many children have been out of regular school for most, or even all, of that time. Some
Content provided by AllHere

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Schools Get the Brunt of Latest COVID Wave in South Carolina
In the past few weeks, South Carolina has set records for COVID-19 hospitalizations and new cases have approached peak levels of last winter.
4 min read
Two Camden Elementary School students in masks listen as South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster talks about steps the school is taking to fight COVID-19, Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021, in Camden, S.C. McMaster has adamantly and repeatedly come out against requiring masks in schools even as the average number of daily COVID-19 cases in the state has risen since early June. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Collins)
Education More States Are Requiring Schools to Teach Native American History and Culture
Advocates say their efforts have gained some momentum with the nation’s reckoning over racial injustice since the killing of George Floyd.
3 min read
A dancer participates in an intertribal dance at Schemitzun on the Mashantucket Pequot Reservation in Mashantucket, Conn., Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021. Connecticut and a handful of other states have recently decided to mandate students be taught about Native American culture and history. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
Education Judge's Temporary Order Allows Iowa Schools to Mandate Masks
A federal judge ordered the state to immediately halt enforcement of a law that prevents school boards from ordering masks to be worn.
4 min read
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks to reporters following a news conference, Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021, in West Des Moines, Iowa. Reynolds lashed out at President Joe Biden Thursday after he ordered his education secretary to explore possible legal action against states that have blocked school mask mandates and other public health measures meant to protect students against COVID-19. Reynolds, a Republican, has signed a bill into law that prohibits school officials from requiring masks, raising concerns as delta variant virus cases climb across the state and schools resume classes soon. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Education Hurricane Ida Deals New Blow to Louisiana Schools Struggling to Reopen
The opening of the school year offered teachers a chance to fully assess the pandemic's effects, only to have students forced out again.
8 min read
Six-year-old Mary-Louise Lacobon sits on a fallen tree beside the remnants of her family's home destroyed by Hurricane Ida, in Dulac, La., on Sept. 4, 2021. Louisiana students, who were back in class after a year and a half of COVID-19 disruptions kept many of them at home, are now missing school again after Hurricane Ida. A quarter-million public school students statewide have no school to report to, though top educators are promising a return is, at most, weeks away, not months.
Six-year-old Mary-Louise Lacobon sits on a fallen tree beside the remnants of her family's home destroyed by Hurricane Ida, in Dulac, La., on Sept. 4, 2021.
John Locher/AP