Student Development

Student Development

What is Student Development?

All students deserve the opportunity to practice using their social skills in safe, risk-free settings. Understanding appropriate social skills and how to use them takes direct instruction, discussion, and multiple opportunities for behavioral rehearsal. Using our base teaching of C.A.R.E.S. skills and S.T.A.R. power strategies, our Student Development Services help students learn to manage feelings, make responsible choices about their behavior, and handle conflict while still being respectful to themselves, others, and the community.

What services do we provide?

Upstander Assembly Series/Classroom Presentations

Engaging multi-media presentations address students in a realistic and safe way about their power to stand up for themselves and others. Created for upper-elementary through high school students, Upstander Assemblies empower students to improve the culture and climate of their school and community. Presentations can be done for up to 200 students at a time, or with classroom-sized groups.

Peaceful People Assembly Series/Classroom Presentations

Based on our Peaceful People social skill curriculum, assemblies can be tailored to specific topics based on the needs of students in grades K-5. All presentations include follow-up materials to support the content.

Student Leadership Training

Small-group work with students yields big results! Student Leadership Groups set the tone for the culture and climate of a school. Positive peer-pressure is powerful! Trained facilitators work with students to develop common language, conflict management, and communication skills. This empowers student leaders to launch or enhance school-wide projects to help others be peaceful people.

Embedded SEL Coordination

Peaceful People can change the world! A Peaceful Schools employee can be assigned to your school site 3-5 days a week to teach the Peaceful People social skill curriculum, meet with students one-on-one or in small groups to work through conflict, and provide building-wide SEL supports.

The Upstander Assembly Series is being presented throughout Central and Western New York to thousands of students in grades 5-9. Through discussion, videos and storytelling, the presenter connects real-life situations to the skills needed to be an Upstander face-to-face and online.

This year we began a multi-year series of Upstander Assemblies in partnership with Best Self Behavioral Health in Buffalo, NY. Students in grades 5-9 across 4 schools are receiving 3 presentations each and the feedback from students and staff has been overwhelmingly positive. Administrators have requested posters and copies of the Upstander language to implement into school-wide practices. Engagement and participation during assemblies is near 100% because students feel heard and understood. Presenters use storytelling, humor and a multi-media approach to teach students how to stand up for themselves and others.

“You really get me!” – 4th Grader, Syracuse, NY

“This language is exactly what our building needs.” – K-8 Principal, Buffalo, NY

“Every time we see the presenter she gives us real-life tips we can actually use” – Middle School Principal, Syracuse, NY to 6-8th graders before assembly

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 and ...Read 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 in ...Read 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 aware ...Read 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. visited with our students at H.W. ...Read More