August 6, 2007
The Violence-Free Zone initiative places young people from the community into schools as youth advisers. These advisers form relationships within the school and nearby community, and they work to identify students labeled as the most disruptive. They may help a kid find a safe place to go after school or better living arrangements for families. At South Division High School, they have even helped families with tax forms.
In the hallways, advisers defuse arguments before they boil over, and they confront unruly students with a stern message: Violent behavior is not acceptable. But along with that message, healthy alternatives are offered.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “Making Connections,” August 5, 2007.
The Milwaukee Public School system is expanding its “Violence-Free Zone” school safety program this coming school year. The program, developed by the national Center for Neighborhood Enterprise, places mentors from the community inside schools to build relationships with students and to counsel against and defuse student violence. (The CNE site includes some data on on the program’s success.) The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported earlier this year on the program’s success at Milwaukee’s South Division High School, and applauds the expansion of the program.
July 8, 2007
A bit of comic relief, from UK’s Comic Relief 2007, featuring Shakespeare’s Sonnet 130 and much inside baseball for Doctor Who fans (and, for that matter, parents of teenagers). Who knew that the sonic screwdriver would be the solution for disruptive classroom behavior?
January 26, 2007
“The Mendota Way”: High expectations of students, a strong principal, enthusiastic and committed teachers and staff, involved parents, a supportive neighborhood community, and “a high degree of discipline and control…from a strict dress code to how students behave in hallways and classrooms.” Read Susan Troller’s article (“Successful Students, Successful School: Mendota Elementary Beats the Odds,” The Capital Times, January 26, 2007, via School Information System), and don’t miss her accompanying audio slideshow. It will make your day.
January 22, 2007
The success of the Harlem Village Academy charter school in New York City is spotlighted in a recent New York Daily News article (“Work and Pride Add Up: Harlem School Cheers Math Rank,” January 13, 2007). From the school’s web site:
Village Academies makes a deliberate effort to reach out and recruit New York’s neediest and lowest-performing children. 100% of students are minority, 88% are at or near poverty (qualifying for free or reduced price lunch), and 12% are special education. Students begin an average of two to four years behind grade-level in reading and math, and many enter the school with a history of poor behavior. Students are recruited from New York’s low-income communities, and accepted through an open lottery. [….]
We follow the “broken windows” theory of discipline – no late homework, disrespectful gesture, or other minor infraction is tolerated. Students wear school uniforms, must arrive to school on time and prepared, and are expected to follow a strict, clear and consistent code of conduct.
January 17, 2007
The campus sits in what looks to be a solidly middle-class minority neighborhood in the city of Carson. But a closer look suggests the classic profile of a school with poor achievement: The student body is about half black and half Latino, most of the students speak limited English, and the entire student body qualifies for free lunches. Some students come from the surrounding neighborhood, but most are bused from Compton.
“A School Finds A Singular Road to Academic Success,” Los Angeles Times, January 14, 2007 (via Joanne Jacobs).
Read how this school went from underachiever to role model through the vision and determination of a principal who demands accountability and expects high achievement of her students. The “top-ten” list of the strategies that have made Bunche Elementary a success is headed by this one: “1. Begin with classroom discipline.”