Author: Dave Reckess

Making Time for Resilience: Tier one starts with the master schedule

By Lura Lunkenheimer, Ed. D., and Carin L. Reeve As we prepare for multiple contingencies of reopening school buildings, we know school leaders are thinking about how to best support the social and emotional needs of students returning from prolonged isolation, uncertainty, and the routine and structure of classroom learning. While some students may take these sudden and dramatic changes in stride, other students will struggle – acting out or acting in, depending on their own personalities. Within this set of challenges lives an opportunity for school leaders to consider how their biggest resource – the master schedule – canRead More

Re-writing the Script: Adjusting our tier one language for reopening schools

By Carin L. Reeve If you have been teaching or leading for a while, you probably have some well-established scripts for teaching expectations and “how to do school.” As we prepare for whatever reopening schools is going to look like, it will be necessary for all of us to rewrite our scripts to ensure that new expectations become a part of our classroom and our school culture. Our internal scripts come from the common language and clear expectations that live in our tier one, school-wide behavioral and academic language. Tier one, in a Multi-tiered System of Supports, is built onRead More

Social Connection in Socially Distanced Classrooms

By Carin L. Reeve As we begin to imagine re-opening school buildings for in-class instruction in the fall, it becomes clear that there are many layers that will need to be thought through and addressed in order to safely bring students and staff back into classroom communities. School with social distancing guidelines doesn’t have to be boring or full of anxiety. With a little innovative thinking, we can help teachers and students feel safe and connected to their classroom communities, even when things might look and feel very different. Students talking to students We know that strategies like “Turn andRead More

Trauma-informed schools: Supporting teachers in post-COVID classrooms

By Carin L. Reeve The question is a part of every discussion right now: “When do you think we will return to school?” That question is quickly followed by the next question: “What do you think schools will look like after all of this?” The decision to re-open schools is complex: there are many interlinked systems that are essential to educating our kids. In the midst of everything that school leaders must consider, one of the most important discussions must be this: how are we going to support teachers as they return to classrooms? Teachers are among the most hard-working,Read More

Welcome to our New Blog!

Dear Colleagues, At Peaceful Schools we are fortunate to network with amazing educators and administrators from here at home and across the country.  This year we look forward to bringing you voices from the field to engage in idea sharing, highlight best practices that we see, and share the moments that touch our hearts as educators. At Peaceful Schools we are embracing the lessons of 2020 and realizing that our mission to give EVERYONE the POWER to be PEACEFUL, matters NOW MORE THAN EVER.  We are living in a moment that provides us an opportunity to forge a new socialRead More

Building Women Enrichment Class Teaches Teamwork, Empowerment

“Building Women has taught me that girls can do everything that boys can do… even if we think we can’t!” sixth grader Nadia Jackson said. “When I get older, I’ll be able to teach other women how to cooperate and work together as a team.” In this profile of our Building Women Enrichment course at H.W. Smith, the Syracuse City School District highlights the young women who have been building their self-worth, teamwork and leadership skills – and improving the school – thanks to a Building Women group. The enrichment group provides empowerment and personal growth opportunities to girls inRead More

Helping Students Peacefully Engage with Emotions

Building a classroom community that focuses on healthy social and emotional development for children of all ages starts with the commitment of a classroom teacher who understands that children are not simply “little adults.” Children at every level of development need support, encouragement, and opportunities to practice managing their emotions. Carin Reeve, Director of School Improvement, shares tips on ASCDExpress for creating a “PeacePlace,” one strategy that supports emotional regulation in a classroom. A dedicated, non-punitive area in a classroom, a “PeacePlace” allows students to step away when they feel angry, stressed, or sad, and incorporates strategies for reflection. It’sRead More

What is Missing From Our Social Emotional Learning Plan? Systems Thinking!

Educators spend a substantial amount of time trying to solve problems, and even more time wondering why our solutions did not yield the expected results. When it comes to implementing social and emotional learning, if we expect to have an impact, we must apply systems thinking to our plan. Carin Reeve, Director of School Improvement, wrote recently in Vanguard Magazine about the importance of a systems thinking approach to supporting the social and emotional health of our students.     What is Missing From Our Social Emotional Learning Plan? Systems Thinking! In the past two decades, schools have become increasingly awareRead More

One school district is fighting decades of ‘punishment culture’

“The Syracuse School District has embraced “restorative practices” in an effort to reduce racially disparate suspensions. Lincoln Middle School is part of a pilot program with the organization Peaceful Schools, which provides mediation and conflict resolution services in schools. The program gives Lincoln more support staff to address student behavior and conduct restorative circles. Last summer, the state took the school off of its “persistently dangerous” list.” Since 2015, Peaceful Schools has partnered with the Syracuse City School District to embed staff in schools to provide restorative conferencing, mediations, social skill groups, behavior intervention, teacher development and consultations, family engagement, andRead More

S.T.A.R. POWER: Peace, art fills extended learning day in one Syracuse school

“When the state mandated that H.W. Smith Pre-K-8 School in Syracuse adopt an extended learning day three years ago, Peaceful Schools stepped in to fill the students’ longer day with art, engineering and S.T.A.R. POWER.” Behavioral rehearsal of social skills pairs with hands-on projects in dance, robotics, painting, coding, leadership, and other courses in our Enrichment Programs in the Syracuse City School District. Since 2015, our Enrichment Instructors have woven together the social-emotional themes at the heart of all Peaceful Schools projects with fun, engaging, standards-driven courses in Syracuse elementary and middle schools. Syracuse.com visited with our students at H.W.Read More