The Total Child

School-Based Approaches to Bullying Prevention

(National Awareness, Student Support Services) Permanent link

Guest post by Becca Mui, M.Ed. Education Manager at GLSEN

October is National Bullying Prevention Month, a perfect time to think about anti-bullying practices in schools. As a former school teacher, I remember how important the beginning of the year can be to setting up your classroom community. Now, in my role at GLSEN as the Education Manager, I get emails and messages every day from educators across the country asking how to support their students and address bullying and harassment.

Many of our supports are developed from our research on school climate. Our 2015 National School Climate Survey reported on the school experiences of LGBTQ youth including the extent of the challenges that they face at school and the school-based resources that support their well-being. This report found that anti-LGBTQ harassment and discrimination negatively affected the educational outcomes of LGBTQ youth, as well as their mental health.

In addition, From Teasing to Torment: School Climate Revisited, reports on the school experiences of all students to provide an in-depth look at the current landscape of bias and peer victimization across the nation. From this report we were able to determine that, compared to their non-LGBTQ peers, LGBTQ students are twice as likely to have missed school in the past month due to feeling unsafe or uncomfortable.

It’s important that the adults in school systems take a proactive approach to bullying and harassment by setting up a culture of LGBTQ visibility and support. Based on the research, we recommend four major supports that schools can use to cultivate a safe and supportive environments:

Enumerated Policies
Anti-bullying policies that are comprehensive and specifically include protections based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression can help in addressing and preventing bullying and harassment. Check out GLSEN’s model policies for some examples. Read about the latest LGBTQ student rights and policies on The Leading Edge.

Supportive Educators
As GLSEN’s Education Manager, I’m constantly meeting and hearing about educators who are doing all they can to support their students. We are constantly teaching, in what we say and what we don’t say, in the people we include in our lessons and the stories we share. Having educators advocating for LGBTQ youth and amplifying their messages can take some of the burden off LGBTQ youth. Educators can use our Safe Space Kit for information and tips for how to become an active ally to LGBTQ youth.

Student-Led Clubs
GSAs (gender-sexuality alliance type clubs) often advocate for improved school climate, educate the larger school community about LGBTQ issues, and support LGBTQ students and their allies. LGBTQ students need a safe space where they can be themselves and feel a sense of community. GSA type-clubs can be this space, and can also center youth activism to continue to make change in a school. You can find GSA activities and ideas on our website.

Inclusive Curriculum
In any subject, having LGBTQ visibility and inclusion in your lessons and being mindful of gender-neutral language can be a tremendous support. LGBTQ students in schools with an LGBTQ-Inclusive curriculum were less likely to miss school in the past month (18.6% compared to 35.6%, National School Climate Survey, 2015). Inclusive curriculum ensures that LGBTQ students see themselves reflected in the lessons they are being taught, and also creates opportunities for all students to gain a more complex and authentic understanding of the world around them. Overall, inclusive curriculum can contribute to a safer school climate.

Implementing these four supports in K-12 schools can help to address and prevent bullying and harassment and work towards cultivating a school environment where all students feel welcome and ready to learn.


ThinkB4YouSpeak Guide for Educators of Grades 6-12 - provided by GLSEN
“That’s so gay.”- Research shows that slurs like this one are incredibly common in our schools. The crazy part? Most students don’t mean to hurt anyone’s feelings – they’re just using everyday words and phrases. But as we know, they may be just three little words, but their power to hurt is huge. In order to address this unintentional-but-all-too-frequent harassment, GLSEN has partnered with The Ad Council to create the first national multimedia PSA campaign to raise awareness among teens and adults about the power their words have to hurt. With knowledge and a simple call to think before speaking, we hope to cut down and prevent the use of homophobic language in our schools.

GLSEN Safe Space Kit
Designed to help you create a safe space for LGBTQ youth in schools, this Safe Space Kit is GLSEN’s Guide to Being an Ally to LGBTQ Students. The guide provides concrete strategies that will help you support LGBTQ students, educate about anti-LGBTQ bias and advocate for changes in your school.

Gender Inclusive Schools Tool Kit - provided by Gender Spectrum
Gender inclusive schools and classrooms welcoming all children and teens are within any school community’s reach with our education focused resources.

GLSEN National School Climate Survey
The GLSEN National School Climate Survey is our flagship report on the school experiences of LGBTQ youth in schools, including the extent of the challenges that they face at school and the school-based resources that support LGBTQ students’ well-being. The survey has consistently indicated that specific school-based supports are related to a safer and more inclusive school climate, including: supportive educators, LGBT-inclusive curriculum, comprehensive anti-bullying policies, and supportive student clubs, such as Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs).

Bullying Resources from the CDC
As bullying remains a serious problem among teens in the U.S., the CDC has developed a number of resources to help local education agencies better understand, prevent, and respond to bullying in their schools; some of which include: Understanding Bullying, Anti-Bullying Policies and Enumeration, Bullying and Absenteeism
Bullying and LGBT Youth
Visit to learn more about:

  • Creating a Safe Environment for LGBT Youth
  •  Federal Civil Rights Laws and Sexual Orientation


Panic Attacks and How to Treat Them

 Permanent link

Child Mind Institute explains that "a panic attack  is an explosion of fear with scary physical symptoms — a racing heart, shortness of breath, sweating, shaking, dizziness — that lead many people to think that they're having a heart attack. The physical symptoms themselves are actually harmless, but the terror is so acute that people who've had them start avoiding situations and places where they think another attack might occur."

Below are resources from the Child Mind Institute about panic attacks (which often start in adolescence), how they start, how avoidance an escalate and how to treat them.


Hurricane Relief Resources

(National Awareness) Permanent link

 Hurricane Irma

To help those most severely impacted by Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Hurricane Irma in Florida and the U.S Virgin Islands and Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, AASA has launched a national relief effort, in collaboration with our state affiliates, to assist the schools in these heavily-damaged areas. It is a role AASA began with Hurricane Katrina (2005), Hurricane Sandy (2012) and a tornado that ripped through the Oklahoma City area in 2013.

Below is a way you can donate to help those affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, as well as a clearinghouse of tools and resources regarding hurricane relief.

How to Donate

Collected funds will be distributed to districts most in need of repairs and supplies, and to aid families impacted by the storm. Those wishing to contribute can send a tax-deductible donation to AASA. One hundred percent of your tax-deductible donation goes directly to the districts in need. Checks should be payable to AASA and mailed to:

AASA c/o Hurricane Relief
1615 Duke Street
Alexandria, VA 22314

Green Apple Day of Service – A Local Springboard for Global Impact

(National Awareness) Permanent link

Guest post by Anisa Heming, Director, Green Schools at U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC)

If you could do anything for your school or district, with limitless resources, money, and time, what would you do? Would you improve the school playground or building? Cultivate an impressive library of educational resources? Create new programming to enhance student health and wellbeing?  

For five years, Green Apple Day of Service has presented educators, parents, students, and community members with an opportunity to be creative and make measurable, positive change by engaging in service projects that address a school’s environmental impacts, student and faculty health and wellness, and environmental and sustainability literacy.

We’ve seen participation from almost one million volunteers in 73 countries since 2012, and our actions have impacted the learning environments of over seven million students. Providing students with a hands-on experience that both improves their learning environment and engages them with authentic and place-based learning is the best of what green schools offer.

 Healthy Schools: Be Well, Learn Well

We spend 90% of our time indoors, and one out of every six Americans sets foot in a school building every day. Students, teachers, administrators, and community members all interact with learning environments day in and day out. So it is critical that we address how our school buildings and their surrounding environs impact human health and wellbeing.  

Undertaking projects to improve indoor air quality, temperature and humidity, acoustics, access to daylight, and access to nature can have a real impact on how students feel each day, and how well they learn. A healthy indoor and outdoor environment is one place to start; another place to begin is in programming or education to support nutrition and healthy habits. A Green Apple Day of Service project is the perfect way to address health and wellbeing at your local K-12 school, wherever you choose to begin.

Project Profile: School Garden Planting Week  

“May in Minnesota is a bit unpredictable—it could be snowing, it could be 85 degrees, it could be raining for days on end,” says Steph Leonard, project manager with USGBC Minnesota. “After a bit of it all, the weather shifted and delivered mostly sunshine just in time for the second annual Minnesota Schoolyard Garden Planting Week. Nearly 100 people gathered in the newly built outdoor classroom at Washburn Elementary School to help plant their gardens and celebrate those who make outdoor learning possible.

 “The outdoor classroom will serve as a learning and reflection space for the students and as a gathering space for the community, who are welcome to come and learn about sustainable sites that incorporate things like vegetable gardens, native plants, and water management measures,” says Leonard. “As part of planting week, we track each project under the banner of Green Apple Day of Service to better understand need and impact.”

 Sustainability Literacy: Read, Write and Speak Green 

Schools educate and prepare students to be responsible and engaged citizens, and a crucial component of their success hinges on understanding the connections between the environmental, economic, and social structures that influence daily life. Education that uses the environment as a context for learning can help improve test scores in reading and math while teaching systems thinking, STEM subject matter, creative problem solving, resource management, and more, 

Environmental and sustainability education prepares students for the challenges they will inevitably face as adults. One of the most beautiful things about sustainability education is that it can be conducted next to any other subject matter being taught. For loads of ideas on environmental and sustainability lesson plans, check out all of the standards-aligned, bilingual, high-quality lessons on the Learning Lab platform for K-12 sustainability content.

 Project Profile: Sacramento Unified School District’s Green Week

In 2016, the Sacramento City Unified School District (SCUSD) used Learning Lab to help shape their Green Week, which used Green Apple Day of Service as a catalyst for a week of sustainability lessons and activities.

“Green Week was a huge success for us,” said Rachel King, sustainability director for SCUSD. “We partnered with community organizations and planned activities all week. Activities included a plug load audit, waste sorts, walk to school day, all green salad bar in cafeterias, and air quality flag program. We had 14 schools participating in various activities throughout the week with their classrooms, and even more participating in International Walk to School Day. We also had our Board approve a proclamation to declare the first full week in October Green Week every year.”

Low-impact Schools: Reducing the Footprint 

Arguably, a complete and effective education includes some measure of conscious character development. What better way to encourage students to take personal responsibility for their actions and decisions than to involve them in the hands-on improvement of their learning environment?  

Making changes that improve the classroom experience, both indoors and outdoors, is a powerful first step toward teaching students about their impact on the environment. By updating classroom lighting fixtures, conducting a water or waste audit, or establishing a recycling or composting program, students can have a hand in real changes for their schools and communities.

 Project Profile: Recycling in Georgia

Each year, Cass High School in Cartersville, GA, kicks off their recycling program as their Green Apple Day of Service project. The students’ project includes creating a video PSA that is used with the school throughout the year as they compete against the other schools in their district to be one of the top recyclers. Their Environmental Science AP students also spend time learning about and monitoring the school’s energy use to look for ways to become more efficient.

Elsewhere in Georgia, in Bartow School District, the Sustainability Programs Coordinator coordinated a successful Recycle Bowl last year that diverted .5 million pounds of waste from the landfill through the efforts of the district’s 26 schools. Green Apple Day of Service helps to kick off the district’s recycling program each year and inspires individual schools to take on other efforts.

 Do It Yourself: Green Apple Day of Service 

We know from experience that passion, dedication, and inspiration can go a long way toward making up for limited resources, money, and time. We also know that financial support, volunteers, and other resources can make Green Apple Day of Service projects go farther. With that in mind, here’s what you need to know about this year’s events:  

This year, schools commit to a project at the beginning of the school year and name your own date. The projects themselves can happen at any time from August 2017 through May 2018. However, the projects can only receive official support with funding, volunteers, and other resources if they are registered on the website by the end of October.

Our web site,, provides everything you need to create a successful project, including flyers, planning checklists, and fundraising tips.

Teachers and school leaders know what’s most needed at their school, and they are the ones who will keep sustainability values strong after the day of action is over. We’re making it worthwhile to join in: matching funds are available for supplies through our corporate partners on, volunteer assistance is available through our community teams around the country, and fun downloads and planning resources are given to those who sign up. Check out our FAQ for detailed information. And then join us by registering your project!

A VOYCE on the School-to-Prison Pipeline

(School Discipline , Student Support Services) Permanent link

A guest post by Maria Degillo, VOYCE coordinator at the Voices Of Youth in Chicago Education (VOYCE)  

My friend, Antonio (Tonii) Maggitt, is a young person who has personally been affected by the large dependency that schools have on the police in our schools. In Chicago and other school districts the drive to keep students and the schools safe has resulted in bad consequences in my experience for fellow Black, Latino, and students with disabilities across the state.

Last month, I was so proud of Tonii for finally graduating from his CPS (Chicago Public Schools) school despite the challenges he personally faced in dealing with police over the years. Throughout his elementary and high school years, Tonii had family problems which lead to him moving around between his mother and his grandmother. He felt like no one wanted to take responsibility for him. This led to him closing himself off from others all while he kept his thoughts and feelings to himself. The only place where he was comfortable enough to express himself was at his school. One day in 8th grade he was excused by his teacher to go talk to a counselor, and on his walk through the hall a police officer at the school assumed that he was cutting class and proceeded to grab him. Tonii pulled away, then the officer rushed to grab him again and a physical altercation broke out between the two. This led to his arrest.

What the police officer did not know is that Tonii was suffering from severe depression and was clinically diagnosed because of his family situation. He was trying to seek help but instead was targeted and the outcome was the loss of school for Tonii, a criminal record, and a new perspective of how Tonii came to view police in schools. After his second arrest in high school for a disruption in the hall, Tonii joined Voices of Youth in Chicago Education(VOYCE) to try to have his story be told. VOYCE was founded by students to have their voice be told, create youth led solutions to discipline, and end the school to prison pipeline.

I wish I could say that Tonii is the exception to having these type of experiences, where students feel like no one but a police officer is there to handle difficult situations, but that is not the case. Many schools across the state have become overly reliant on law enforcement personnel to handle routine school disciplinary situations. Young people are often criminalized and kicked out of school for minor infractions that could be handled in the school’s disciplinary office. In 2015-2016 school year, a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) filed by the Shriver Center uncovered that Ottowa Township High School had 225 school-based arrests, 187 of which were for truancy. Can schools do a better job in addressing behavioral and mental health needs of students to address the root cause of problems without cops? 

A few years ago, VOYCE created a “wishlist” of things we wanted to achieve statewide. This list included:

  1. To create data transparency that would lay out the demographics of who was getting suspended and expelled from their schools. It is also important for this data to be available to the public and have school districts that are on the top 25 percentile to create an improvement plan that would help address the issue;
  2.  To eliminate zero tolerance policies that kick students out of school and increase their chance of falling into the prison system; and
  3.  To diminish the amount of school based arrests on students.

It has been three years and VOYCE has been able to accomplish the first two items on that wishlist. It is the continuing passion and experience of the young people like Tonii and myself that work with VOYCE on ending the school to prison pipeline that has resulted in these changes. It is an absolute injustice that young people are being arrested for getting into verbal arguments, a dispute with another student, or even drawing on a desk. All of these are issues that schools should definitely address, but not through the criminal justice system.

The current model for most school-based misbehaviors is the wrong approach. It is costing taxpayers too much money and costing the lives of our students most in need of an opportunity to get an education. VOYCE believes that we need to invest in our young people by focusing our resources on strategies that address the root cause of the issues. We have a motto that we try to work toward creating a transformative education and lessen the transactional experiences. This is why VOYCE works tirelessly to end the school-to-prison pipeline and uplifting student voice through sensable reforms to the system. We need schools that will provide an education and transform our lives for the better.

Last year hundreds of students have been arrested in schools for minor reasons across our state and thousands across the country. We are young people, we are learning, and we are growing. We need support, we need connections, and we need education. As Tonii once said, “giving up has always been my option, but it has never been my choice.” Students go to school to learn, and that is why VOYCE and the young people who have worked so hard to support the work that we do will not give up until schools handle all students actions with the correct resources. Police should not be handling all issues in the community or in our schools.

The Voices Of Youth in Chicago Education (VOYCE) is a youth-led alliance that is made up of four different community based organizations; Communities United, Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP), Westside Health Authority (WHA), and Mothers Opposed to Violence Everywhere (MOVE). Khadijah Lee is a senior at Prosser Career Academy and is a core student organizer with VOYCE. If you want to know more about VOYCE please contact Maria Degillo, VOYCE coordinator, at  

EQUITY SERIES: SEL, Whole Child Education and Student Readiness: How do They Connect?

(Coordinated School Health, Equity Series) Permanent link

Guest Post by Karen Pittman, Co-Founder, President and CEO, The Forum for Youth Investment

Imagine this scenario. A smiling five-year-old is brought into a bare room with a table. On the table is a plate with a single marshmallow. The researcher who brought them in says she will back in 15 minutes, and gives them a choice: they can eat the one marshmallow while she’s gone or wait until she returns and have two. This simple test turned out to be an effective measure of willpower or self-control and a strong predictor of future success. Children who displayed early ability to defer gratification, on average, had higher SAT scores, lower body mass index and a host of other desirable outcomes.i


For decades, the results of the “Marshmallow Test” have been used to suggest that traits like self-control, emotion management and grit matter. Rightly or wrongly, however, the study has also been interpreted to suggest that these are relatively immutable traits that are baked into children early. 

We now have ample evidence that these skills are malleable. Brain research confirms that these skills continue to develop well into adolescent years and even beyond.ii Program evaluations show an increase in skill growth in response to explicit instruction.iii Combined, these findings suggest the need for more intentional focus on social and emotional learning (SEL) as a part of schools’ commitment to educating the whole child.iv  

The good news is that educators are responding to this challenge. The bad news is that efforts to teach SEL can sometimes reinforce counterproductive stereotypes about students and their families.

The statement that social and emotional skills can be taught is technically correct. But the suggestion that schools should teach these skills too often ends with the selection of a curriculum that emphasizes teaching SEL content. This expedient decision can pull educators away from having broader discussions about creating learning contexts that encourage students to demonstrate and build on the skills they have.

A new marshmallow study makes this point unequivocally. Researchers at the University of Rochester once again put young kids into a room with a marshmallow. But this time, the children were randomly assigned to have a pre-encounter with a member of the research team. Some had an unreliable experience: The adult promised fun art supplies but never came back. Others had a positive experience: The adult delivered the art supplies as promised. The impact of this seemingly insignificant encounter was amazing.v  

In the original study, the average time young children waited before eating the marshmallow was about 6 minutes. In this study, the average time for the group that had the reliable pre-experience was 12 minutes. The average time for the group with the unreliable pre-experience was only 3 minutes! Dramatic findings like these are almost unheard of in behavioral studies.

This simple test has enormous implications. It reminds us that even at a young age, a child’s behavior is a product of what they can generally do and what they believe makes sense to do in that situation or environment. The difference between the two groups is clearly not related to their general ability to delay gratification—it is related to their assessment of the specific behavioral cues provided by the adults around them.

A new branch of research called the science of learning reinforces the new marshmallow test findings. This research supports a simple premise: In order for children and youth to learn specific content (academic or otherwise), we must first ensure that we have created learning environments in which they feel socially accepted, emotionally safe and generally If these conditions aren’t met, young people are far less likely to engage in the learning activities, to show and use the skills and knowledge they already know, and to take the risk of stretching themselves into new areas of learning and leadership.vii  

 Consider the differences between these two statements:

  • Educators should prioritize social and emotional learning.
  •  Educators should recognize that learning is social and emotional.

 The first statement suggests that educators should take on responsibility for yet another set of skills that they and their students will be held accountable for. This means either that time has to be carved out of the school day to support explicit instruction, or that teachers have to squeeze SEL instruction into what are already demanding and prescriptive curricula.

The second statement suggests that educators need to understand the social and emotional profiles that their students bring into school and do as much as they can to anticipate their reactions to the learning demands, structures and supports being offered them in order to co-create contexts for learning that will differ school to school, class to class, and perhaps student to student.

The second statement, on its surface, seems more challenging. But it is also more empowering. It requires that school administrators, families, and communities acknowledge and support the powerful role that teachers can play not only as deliverers of academic content, but as shapers of the social and emotional contexts in which academic, social and emotional learning happens.

The push to formally integrate social and emotional skills development into the school day and the school curricula is playing out in at least three distinct (but overlapping) efforts.

  • Efforts to improve student behavior in order to address school discipline and school climate issues.
  •  Efforts to increase student engagement in learning through more active, personalized approaches to teaching subject areas such as science, technology, engineering, math (STEM) that respond to talent pipeline gaps.
  •  Efforts to prepare students for their future roles as citizens, community leaders and change makers.

All of these efforts involve deliberate work to integrate opportunities to name, use and build social and emotional skills into the learning content. Not all of these, however, are called social and emotional learning.  

 Project-based learning, deeper learning, service learning, STEM, career and technical education are examples of teaching/learning approaches and curricula that require students to practice the full range of social and emotional skills in the service of mastering academic content. These approaches focus more explicitly on skills like teamwork, problem-solving, critical-thinking, and initiative. These curricula or approaches are frequently described by their content focus or broader academic learning approaches.viii

These approaches, unfortunately, may not be equally available to all students. Teachers in gifted and talented programs and magnet schools, for example, are more likely to be trained and incorporate opportunities for students to demonstrate and develop all of these skills in their classrooms. A growing number of schools and school networks designed to provide these types of learning environments to low-income and minority students exist, but they are not the norm.ix  

Explicitly branded social and emotional programs (such as PBIS – Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports), in contrast, may focus on these “higher order” skills, but typically have emotion management and empathy as their starting points, moving on to include skills like “grit".x Many schools and districts have begun to implement curricula by starting with an explicit focus on improving student behavior. They have made a strategic decision to roll out these initiatives first in their weakest schools.

This targeted approach is justifiable. It can be an important first step towards reversing the disturbing trends in school discipline and suspension rates and in reducing disparities associated with race, ethnicity, income and gender. This first step becomes dangerous and divisive when it is the only step taken, or, more specifically, the only step taken for a subset of schools serving students and families whose lived experiences give them reasons not to trust schools and educators and give educators reasons not to have high expectations for students.xi  

It is absolutely unacceptable in the 21st century to have the social, emotional and academic competency expectations for black, brown and poor students be defined as having behavior good enough to allow them to stay in their seats so that they can complete needed credits. Readiness for college, work and life requires proficiency if not mastery of the social, emotional and academic competencies that have become the vocabulary of the workforce.

 Learning is social and emotional.

 Honoring this premise means that schools as well as any other systems in which students spend their time have to ensure that all students have access to environments that they find safe, supportive, stimulating and empowering. This means creating safe, supportive, stimulating and empowering opportunities for the adults who work with students to reflect on their own skills, assess the adequacy and have the time and resources needed to create appropriate learning contexts– from core classes to communal spaces. It also means providing opportunities for teachers, students and families to voice and influence systemic changes in the conditions beyond their control that are affecting the social and emotional health of their school communities.xii  

When faced with the opportunity to truly improve young people’s readiness for college, work and life, how can we not respond with all we have?


i Mischel, Walter; Ebbesen, Ebbe B.; Raskoff Zeiss, Antonette (1972). "Cognitive and attentional mechanisms in delay of gratification." Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 21 (2): 204–218.
iiThe Adolescent Brain, Executive Summary, by Jim Casey Opportunities Initiative, 2011. Retrieved July 18, 2017 from
Siegel, Dan. Brainstorm: The Teenage Brain from the Inside Out (2014). Penguin Group.
iiiDurlak, J. A., Weissberg, R. P., Dymnicki, A. B., Taylor, R. D. & Schellinger, K. B. (2011). The impact of enhancing
students’ social and emotional learning: A meta-analysis of school-based universal interventions. Child Development, 82(1): 405–432.
ivSocial, Emotional and Academic Development Fast Facts. (n.d.). The Aspen Institute National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development. Retrieved July 17, 2017, from
vCasey, B. J.; Somerville, Leah H.; Gotlib, Ian H.; Ayduk, Ozlem; Franklin, Nicholas T.; Askren, Mary K.; Jonides, John; Berman, Mark G.; Wilson, Nicole L.; Teslovich, Theresa; Glover, Gary; Zayas, Vivian; Mischel, Walter; Shoda, Yuichi (August 29, 2011). "From the Cover: Behavioral and neural correlates of delay of gratification 40 years later". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 108 (36): 14998–15003.
Shorter summary: The Marshmallow Study Revisited. (2012). University of Rochester. Retrieved July 17, 2017 from
viBerg, Juliette, et al. Science of Learning and Development (2016). (Pre-pub copy) The Opportunity Institute, The Learning Policy Institute, Education Counsel.
viiDurlak, J.A. et al. (2011) “The Impact of Enhancing Students’ Social and Emotional Learning: A Meta-Analysis of School-Based Universal Interventions.” Child Development, 82(1) pp.405-432.
Smith, Charles et al. (2016) Preparing Youth to Thrive: Methodology and Findings from the Social and Emotional Learning Challenge. The Forum for Youth Investment, Washington D.C.
viiiEmdin, Christopher. “5 New Approaches to Teaching and Learning: The Next Frontier.” The Huffington Post. January 31, 2014.
Retrieved July 17, 2017 from
ixExamples include Big Picture Learning network schools (, EL Education schools (, XQ Super Schools (, and KIPP Public Charter schools (
xJones, S. et al. Navigating SEL from the Inside Out. (March 2017). Published on line. Harvard School of Education with funding from the Wallace Foundation. Retrieved July 17, 2017 from
xiHarold, Benjamin. “Is ‘Grit’ Racist?” Education Week. January 24, 2015.
xiiBridgeland, J., Bruce, M., & Hariharan, A. (2013). The Missing Piece: A National Teacher Survey on How Social and Emotional Learning can Empower Children and Transform Schools. A report for CASEL. Washington, DC: Civic Enterprises.

EQUITY SERIES: New Research Explores FLNE Student Experience in Massachusetts

(National Awareness, Equity Series) Permanent link


 A new report from the Center for Promise, supported by Pearson, explores what it’s like to be a First Language is Not English (FLNE) student in Massachusetts. Despite displaying an eagerness and motivation to learn, FLNE students experience a complex set of factors—from language barriers to school climate—that keep them behind.

I Came Here to Learn: The Achievements and Experiences of Massachusetts Students Whose First Language is Not English highlights that being an English Learner does not have to be synonymous with being a low academic performer. Some FLNE groups graduate at rates on par or even substantially higher than their native English-speaking peers. Others lag far behind. Learn more:

Feeding Hungry Minds: Superintendent Leadership for Alternative School Breakfast Programs Request for Proposals

(Alternative School Breakfast , Student Support Services) Permanent link

 School Breakfast Logo

 AASA, The School Superintendents Association, has funding from the Walmart Foundation to support "Feeding Hungry Minds", the Association's alternative school breakfast program.

AASA will provide funding for infrastructure (e.g. kiosks, insulated bags and other equipment for school breakfast implementation), and other equipment and supply needs around school breakfast implementation.

AASA invites proposals from qualified school districts that possess the commitment, need, and capacity to participate in this alternative school breakfast initiative.

The deadline for submission of proposals is July 31, 2017.Send completed applications and questions to Kayla Jackson at

The full application is below; please download all three documents.

 School Governance and Leadership Publication

 SGL SlideShow

 In preparation for your submission, you may also want to read our latest School Governance and Leadership, Feeding Hungry Minds: Stories From the Field, developed with support from the Walmart Foundation. It focuses on the impact of school breakfast by telling the stories of stakeholders including superintendents, food service directors, parents and students.


Making Memorial Day Meaningful: Supporting Military-Connected Students

(National Awareness, Student Support Services) Permanent link

A guest post by Dr. Tom Demaria from the National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement, who develops a number of topical articles on bereavement for the Coalition to Support Grieving Students

Memorial Day was established after the Civil War to honor those who had died while in military service. It is observed each year on the last Monday of May. While non-military families often see Memorial Day as the first celebration of summer, those connected to the military are likely to see it differently.

Military-connected students almost certainly attend your schools. There are nearly 2 million children of active service members—that is, with parents in active duty military, National Guard or Reserves. They live in communities across the nation. Over 80% attend public schools.

Things To Know 

 Here are some helpful things to consider if you are planning learning activities or other student events related to Memorial Day.

  •  Memorial Day is a solemn day for most military families. Many spend it visiting cemeteries to place flowers or flags on graves. They may attend special programs remembering those who have died in service.
  •  Children who have lost a loved one through a line-of-duty death often revisit powerful feelings of grief at this time of year.
  •  Memorial Day is not the same as Veteran’s Day. While Veteran’s Day honors all who have served in our military. Memorial Day focuses particularly on those who have died in the line of duty. This distinction is quite important to military-connected children and their families.
  •  The TAPS Good Grief Camp is a weekend experience offered over Memorial Day weekend to child survivors of service members who died in the line of duty.

 Things to Do

 To support military-connected children, especially those who are grieving a line-of-duty death, consider these steps. 

  •  Offer students opportunities to think about and discuss the serious and solemn qualities of Memorial Day.
  •  If active service members or veterans are invited to speak to students at this time of year, ask them to acknowledge and address the deeper meanings of Memorial Day.
  •  Support students’ efforts to attend events such as the Good Grief Camp.
  •  If you know military-connected students, especially if they are grieving, reach out as Memorial Day approaches. Ask them how they’re doing. Ask whether Memorial Day brings up any thoughts or feelings they’d like to talk about. Let them know you’re thinking of them.

 The Coalition to Support Grieving Students offers a range of free resources that can help educators learn more about supporting grieving students. They have just released a special module, Supporting Children and Family Survivors of Military Line-of-Duty Deaths. This will be helpful to any educator working with military-connected children. Our organization is a member of the Coalition.


Supporting Students After the Manchester Tragedy

(National Awareness, Student Support Services) Permanent link

Monday night's bombing in Manchester, England has likely unsettled some of your students, especially because so many of the deceased and injured are school-age. As the school year comes to a close, many students are preparing for trips to amusement parks, vacations to new places and concert venues to see their favorite artists. Cowardly actions like those of  the suspected suicide bomber will make some students AND adults afraid to go about their normal lives. In light of this, AASA has pulled together some resources to help you talk with your students as they process their grief and fear. These tools can help you provide suggestions for coping with this event and similar events in a healthy way.

 With any questions, please contact Kayla Jackson, project director, AASA, at or 703-875-0725.