Category: School Improvement

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

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