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Help our students with and without intellectual disabilities lead the way to socially inclusive schools
Exclusion, discrimination, bullying—all are in the headlines on a daily basis, but change is ahead. It is time for an inclusion revolution, and our middle level students can help lead the way by becoming part of...
How one school created a culture focused on improving student behavior
For many years educators have used punishment, or fear of punishment, as the primary deterrent to student misconduct. We have tried zero tolerance, excessive use of in-school suspension (ISS) and out of...
Creating a school culture that champions innovation, rewards teamwork, and values feedback
As a building principal whose days are filled with countless observations, emails, and student interactions, it's easy to forget that there really is a world outside of my wonderful middle school.
Over the last...
One school's approach to rethinking advisory
From our first days on campus, it was clear that the school had once been committed to an advisory program. There were dusty advisory binders in the corners of classrooms, and many teachers remained passionate about...
Engaging students in shaping school climate improvement pays off
There is growing research demonstrating that students perform better academically, socially, and emotionally when they are meaningfully engaged, contributing members of a school with a positive, caring, equitable...
Changes in school or classroom practices unleash a variety of emotions. How can we support each other in the process?
The faculty lounge crackles with disagreements about the new grading policies suggested by the standards-based grading committee. The English department debates whether or not grammar proficiency is a requisite for...
Watching for even the small details can create a responsive culture that meets the social, emotional, and academic needs of students
I bet you didn't know that you signed up to be a triage nurse now did you? Meeting the social, emotional, and academic needs of middle school students is a lot like working the triage desk in a busy hospital. The...
National Spread the Word to End the Word Day is March 7, 2018
For middle school students, each day is stacked with challenges—from dealing with physical and emotional development to navigating friendships and social situations, all while transitioning from elementary...
Four ideas to encourage middle schoolers to choose kindness
In recent years, there has been a renewed focus on intentionally fostering kindness and practicing peer respect. We don't want youth to simply not do the wrong thing, but do what is right instead—treat their...
A positive school environment paves the way for leadership and learning
In the book, The Art of Happiness at Work, (Dalai Lama, Cutler, 2009) the obvious conclusion to happy versus unhappy is clearly stated: "Happy people, in contrast, are generally found to be more sociable, flexible,...