I have acknowledged the challenges related to keeping up with the latest social media and communication tools that our children and young adolescents are using. The Internet and social media sites are not going away. Children and adults use them every day and they can be useful tools. They can also be abused and waste a lot of time for people. I would like to share some advice from the Olweus Program as to how a student (any person) should react if he/she is the receiver of bullying like comments or cyber bullying. (Taken from Cyber Bullying: A Prevention Curriculum)
DO FIRST is an acronym where the first letters represent a step one can take to address cyber bullying like behaviors and/or cyber bullying. Reviewing these steps with your child will be useful in providing them with tools to address negative comments on the internet.
Do not retaliate-When people find out that something mean or nasty or untrue is being said about them, they often want to get back at whomever did it. Not only will that make the things worse, but you will be giving the person who is cyber bullying what he or she wants-a reaction from you.
Off your friends list-If you have been bullied or attacked on any social network site like Facebook, Twitter, Ask.fm or others, take that person off you list so the person will not bother you any more. You also need to make sure that your pages are set to private so you can control who views your information.
Figure out who it is-If you receive unkind information through your phone, trace the number. Do not respond, but tell an adult and determine next steps when you are calm.
If you are receiving threatening email messages or texts or posts, tell an adult right away. Police should be contacted.
Ignore it-Sometimes just ignoring it makes people stop, because their actions are not having the effect they’re hoping for.
Respond after you think about it carefully- A response is different than a retaliation. You might be hurt or angry or upset, but you don’t want to give the people who are unkind to you the satisfaction of knowing it. So if you choose to respond, make it clear and simple.
Save the evidence! This is very important! Save anything that is harmful-even the messages you decide to ignore-in case you receive more of them later. IF the bullying like behavior continues, you will need to have evidence before steps can be taken to make it stop. You can save evidence by printing it, copying and saving it, or just not erasing.
Tell an adult! If you receive or are aware of disturbing, unkind or threatening messages, it is important to ell an adult immediately. This could be an adult at home or school. Here at school we will take all reports of cyber attacks very seriously.
It was so wonderful to see so many of you last Friday evening at the International/Family Fun Night extravaganza. What a wonderful array of diverse cultural presentations, history lessons, and cuisine. In addition there were fun activities like card making, mask making, henna hand art, the chance to "walk inside the Earth" with Mr. Brown and more!
I must thank the PTO, the many adult volunteers and parent, Marcia Ramos-Sosa, for her incredible planning and execution of the event. We are so grateful to have a community that wants to enrich the lives of every student and family.
And for your planning for lots of rest and hearty breakfasts...
Children are Always Watching and Listening to the Adults!
Posted by Monica Crowley on 4/22/2019 7:00:00 AM
They are Always Watching and Listening!
As an experienced educator and mom, I sometimes think and feel that I deserve “time off” for good behavior. There are times when I go home at night and I have very little left in the tank to finish out the evening, let alone help prepare dinner or find time to check in with family.
I have worked very hard to always be aware of my words and actions in front of my children and the many students I have taught and support as an administrator. I know that each and every interaction I have with a student (and colleague or parent) is to be treated as if that is the most important connection I make that day. I like to think that I am often successful, but I am human! When I have reservations about a conversation, I try to find time and reflect on my contribution, and if I am not satisfied with my input I make an effort to follow up and clarify.
My approach to interactions has been reinforced as I do my part to reinvigorate the implementation the Olweus Anti-Bullying and Prevention Program at Lawrence School. I have engaged in numerous conversations and have followed up with students who need guidance and direction. These interactions continue to affirm the need to model the behavior I hope to see.
When I speak to students, I always begin by asking them to share with me their understanding of the situation. I listen with understanding and empathy as they communicate what they perceive transpired. When they are finished, I repeat back to them what I heard to seek clarity, and ask questions to put the pieces together so we are communicating about the facts. It is important that I remain neutral and do not pass judgment on them or their communication. I treat them with respect and kindness while I make clear there is no room for inappropriate behaviors or bullying-like behaviors. These conversations are not easy for many children to have, especially with an administrator. However, I do believe that they are important learning lessons and experiences that add to their toolbox for problem solving.
One of the key components of the Olweus Program is the On-the-Spot Interventions. All the adults in the building have been trained to intervene when they see that students are engaged in inappropriate behaviors. They are to follow steps that include stopping and identifying the behavior, acknowledging the student who was mistreated, reminding students of school expectations and providing follow up. Staff is to intervene while modeling a neutral tone and respect as they are speaking to children who may have made a mistake and need to be supported on how to navigate social situations.
Parents, school staff and other caring adults have an equally important role to play in preventing bullying and unkind behaviors for all our students. Adults need to model the behaviors and Habits of Mind we want to see in the children as often as possible. For they are watching and listening to the adults in their lives all the time, even though they may pretend to not be interested.
Town Considering 15 Names for Coolidge Corner School
The Coolidge Corner School is being renamed through a town-wide process. Students are helping to lead the process, and it’s time for community members to provide more input. Last year, Town Meeting voted to change the name of the Devotion School because it no longer found it acceptable to name a school after a man who held another person in slavery. This year, the schools are leading a process to identify the new name. Community members nominated 119 different names for the school. The Student Nominations Committee reviewed all nominations and, through a deliberative process, has narrowed them down to 15 semifinalists. Now they are looking for input and feedback on the 15 semifinalists. Come to the Naming Night on Thursday April 11 at the main branch of the Brookline Public Library. Or to read more about the nominees and provide input please electronically, please visit the Coolidge Corner Renaming website.
BHS Expansion Project Begins this Summer
This summer the BHS expansion project will get fully underway as it enters the construction phase. This exciting project will include a new building at the 111 Cypress Street site, a new Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) building to replace the building at the corner of Tappan and Greenough Streets, renovations to the 3rd floor of the main building and the Tappan gymnasium, as well as improvements to Cypress Field. Last week, the BHS Building Committee reviewed the latest versions of the site plans, phasing timelines, and site logistics. For a complete update on the project and to review last week’s presentation please visit the BHS Project Website.
PSB Maker Day
Mark your calendars for Saturday, May 11, 12-4pm at the Coolidge Corner School for an afternoon to celebrate innovation and creativity. Bring your imagination to this FREE, fun, family event and discover what is possible at our district makerspaces.
• Experiment with hands-on activities
• Explore an exciting showcase of student work across grades K-8
Middle School Students Participate in Action Groups!
Posted by Monica Crowley on 3/18/2019 7:00:00 AM
This post shares about three exciting action groups that are taking place in the middle school. If your middle school child is interested in joining, please have them contact the facilitators below.
The Lawrence Climate Action Team
The Lawrence Climate Action Team is a group of students from grades 6-8 who meet once a week to engage with the youth climate movement. Students come with a wide range of interests and background knowledge, but all have one thing in common: they want to take action to help solve the climate crisis. Current actions include organizing a Lawrence event for Family International Night, and participating in a campaign to ask the Brookline Select Board to pass a resolution calling for bold action to fight climate change. Meetings are on Thursdays from 2:45 - 3:45 in room 145, and are advised by 4th grade teacher Justin Brown.
GSA Club-Grades 7 and 8
GSA is a student-led group which provides a safe place for students to meet, support each other, discuss issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity/expression, and work to end harassment and discrimination of LGBTQ students. Three typical functions of a GSA include providing support, building community and taking action to create change within the school. The major focus of this group is being an ally and how to support others in being allies as well. They meet in Ms. Hollander's room during lunch on Wednesdays. Advisors are Ms. Hollander and Mr. Keser.
Youth Service Group-Created and Facilitated by Students
Students come together to identify problems in the community. They can gain real world experience while at the same time helping the community and those in need. They meet in Mr. Porter's room, Wednesday after school.
In this blog, I share information provided by parent, Nira Pollock, and many other families and staff wo have been instrumental in starting the DICE group last spring. Their important work has continued this year, and I am proud to support them as well. PLease read all about the upcoming events that focus on the group's goals of diversity, inclusion, community and equity.
We had a wonderful DICE community dialogue on Feb 6th on the topic of implicit bias, guided by two facilitators from the Anti-Defamation League (Danika Manso-Brown, ADL New England Associate Education Director, and Kimm Topping, ADL Training Consultant). We discussed key terms and concepts and considered how implicit bias impacts us at school, work, and home. We had a nice turnout and it was very powerful to have our administrators, parents and teachers sitting together and talking about these complicated and important things. The slides Danika and Kimm presented are attached, and Danika also sent a link to the ADL glossary of terms: see here.
Pending DICE activities and updates:
Weds, Feb 27th, 2:45: “decision-making pilot” session (led by leader of the UMass School of Medicine Center for Mindfulness) to teach us about use of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) in schools and allow us to make some decisions about whether we might be able to pilot a program at Lawrence (for parents/teachers/kids) via UMass. Leaders from Lawrence admin, PTO, DICE, School Council, METCO, and SEPAC have been invited to attend.
Weds, March 13th, 7:30-8:30 AM (note: AM!): Next DICE meeting, LEDP room. Schedule permitting, we hope that Maggie Russell will join us to tell us about the literacy pilot program she started to provide extra reading/writing outside of school for METCO kids (parallels Calculus Project).
April 26th: International Night! Looking for performance ideas/volunteers!
This year Family Fun Night and International Night are combined into Family Fun @International Night!
Marcia Ramos Sosa is heading this event and is seeking cultural entertainment and activities, large and small.
May 8th, Lawrence library: Panel on Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction, organized by Brookline Adult and Community Education (BA&CE) and the DICE Mental Well-being Subgroup.
May 14th, 5:30-7 pm: Lawrence Reads, organized by the DICE Literacy Subgroup Lawrence Reads 2019, a book club for parents, caregivers, and students in grades 3-5, returns this spring with how Tía Lola Came To Stay by Julia Alvarez. Set in Vermont, New York, and the Dominican Republic, this beautiful story shows how families thrive even through the toughest times. Stay tuned for additional details and volunteer signup! We will need 2 adult (parent/caregiver/staff) facilitators per classroom. Faculty and staff participation is welcome. If interested in participating, contact Jessica Ullian, Julie Upadhyay, or Kathy Moriarty
Community K-2 Quilt Project: Danna Perry and Maritza Velez have made excellent progress and have nailed down some funding, and are considering moving the event to the fall (rather than the crowded spring) and thinking through how to make it an annual event. To be discussed with PTO and at the next DICE meeting. If interested in this topic, please contact Danna or Maritza
Performing arts/DICE: Vanessa Trien and Mary Gaughan lead the Lawrence Performing Arts Committee and are hoping to collaborate with DICE to bolster and enrich the performing arts offerings at Lawrence and to bring in cultural groups that celebrate the diversity of the Lawrence community.
At the last Principal's Coffee on Tuesday, January 29th, Kathleen Hubbard, PSB Mathematics Coordinator for Grades K-8, the Lawrence math specialists/coaches and I are met with parents/caregivers to share the district/Lawrence vision for the teaching of mathematics at Lawrence School for all students in grades K-8.
“Our goal as a district and as a school is to build the capacity of all teachers of math (classroom teachers, Special Education teachers, and math teachers) to provide high quality, equity driven, differentiated instruction within their classrooms.
Our vision is that all students, regardless of age, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, race, gender, etc. will engage in rich learning experiences that provide equitable access for all, leading to a deep understanding of math concepts.”
They shared the type of mathematical experiences, opportunities, routines and assessments that are designed to encourage mathematical growth for all students. I have included the link below for your review. In case you were not able to attend. I have shared the PowerPoint link below.
We Want Your Input - Please complete our Family Feedback Survey.
The survey begin on January 22. Please look for an email from Panorama Education on January 22 with a link to the survey. We urge all of our families to participate!
Please keep an eye out for our annual Family Feedback Survey. These surveys are a great opportunity for you to let us know what is working and what can be improved at the Lawrence School. Based on last year’s survey, we have focused on relationship building with all stakeholders, and the VPs and I created a chart of “administrative / guidance partnerships”; each staff member, organized by grade band, was assigned a key administrator partner that they could feel empowered to contact for support or with any questions.
Last year we had 21.7% of our families respond. This year our goal is to have all families respond. We want every family’s voice to be heard. These surveys provide valuable and helpful feedback about the climate, culture, and leadership at our school and around the district. Our teachers and leaders need to hear what you think the school is doing well and also what we can improve.
The survey begin on January 22. Please look for an email from Panorama Education on January 22 with a link to the survey. We urge all of our families to participate!
The Lawrence staff believes in the power of a growth mindset for all of our students and every staff member. One of the ways the staff tries to support and help each other grow is by sharing articles that can help us strengthen our capacity to educate all children. Lesley Fagen recently shared this article with the Lawrence staff, and I felt it might be useful to parents/caregivers. Feel free to substitute the word parent or caregiver for the word educator and the words student/s with your child's name.
I hope you find this article interesting and useful.
The Why Is Everything
Helping your students find their motivation on the path to success
Everyone loves a dark horse story: Albert Einstein struggled as a student. J.K. Rowling was on welfare before selling her Harry Potter manuscript. Oprah was fired from one of her first jobs before becoming a media mogul. But we usually consider such people, who followed unconventional, unexpected routes to success, to be aberrations, their paths unable to be replicated.
In some ways, they are — but there’s still a lot to learn from them, says Harvard Graduate School of Education Lecturer Todd Rose. Rose, who heads HGSE’s Laboratory for the Science of the Individual,believes that educators can do more to help all of their students be “dark horses,” shepherding them along individualized paths to careers and lives that address each student’s unique mosaic of motivations.
He describes his latest book, Dark Horse: Achieving Success Through the Pursuit of Fulfillment, as a kind of “user’s manual for the dark horse mindset.” He knows the mindset well; before he was a Harvard professor, he was a high school dropout. He forged his own path to success only after realizing what it was that truly motivated him.
Here are some ways that teachers can bring that mindset, with its emphasis on personal fulfillment as both a means and an end to success, to their classrooms. (Note: They just might help adults find fulfillment, too.)
Help your students figure out what makes them “tick” — it often can be applied in a variety of contexts. For his book, Rose and co-author Ogi Ogas interviewed leaders from an array of different fields, from journalism to professional closet organizing. They quickly found that all that dark horses “wanted to talk about was how they figured out what mattered most to them,” Rose says in an interview for the Harvard EdCast. Ask your students why they like the subjects or activities that they like. For example, if a student says that the only thing he likes about school is football, but you ask him to dig deeper, he might realize that what he loves is the teamwork aspect, being outdoors, or competition — all of which can translate to other arenas where he might succeed. “The why is everything,” Rose says.
Let students practice autonomy. In order to find out what really motivates them, students have to try things out for themselves. Look for ways that you can give students choice and voice, Rose says, like deciding how to present information for a project, or what books to read. “I still want teachers in charge, but if we want kids coming out as self-directed adults who understand how to make choices, how to learn from mistakes, what better place to learn that than [school]?”
Focus on personal responsibility. A focus on personal fulfillment doesn’t mean anything goes. It’s important for young people to be able to try different things to figure out what motivates them and what they really love — but that doesn’t mean being a flake. Instill in students a sense of personal responsibility. If they say they’re motivated by music and want to incorporate that into their final project, expect follow-through from them, even if it’s hard. And parents, if your child insists that they want to be a famous musician but choose video games or hanging out with friends before practicing every time, that might not be the arena in which they’ll be a dark horse. “Dark horses are willing to sacrifice for their versions of fulfillment,” Rose says.
Reward creative strategies. Run your classroom according to the principle of equifinality, the idea that there are always multiple ways to get to the same end goal. Dark horses are good at figuring strategies to solve problems that play to their strengths, but they don’t always find the right strategy right away. They often have to cycle through strategies to see what works. Give kids time to do that, Rose says. “The idea is helping kids realize that achievement is as much about finding the right strategy as it is about brute force or innate talent.”