February 1, 2018 - In This Issue:

We're happy to share some winter updates with you, and, in the context of the #metoo groundswell, we want to let you know about several resources that we've developed over the years that can help you foster civil dialogue and respectful conversations in your classrooms and schools. Please see below for details.   
Best wishes, 
Lucy Patton
Engage! Newsletter Editor

Safe Public Spaces for NYC
middle schools

Our Safe Public Spaces project continues in 12 New York City middle schools, where our field staff are helping the schools impro ve physical safely and emotional well-being for their students. By systematically using specific strategies, adults build relationships with young people while monitoring hallways, entryways, cafeterias, and other public spaces.

Small changes can have a big effect. Posting visual reminders with agreed-upon norms allows adults not to have to play the "bad guy" and instead say, "I need to abide by the same expectations you do -- let's do this together." 

"The substantial increase in adult presence has resulted in a decrease in serious incidents. And I notice how the kids have taken ownership in the hallways."  
- Assistant Principal Joe Pecoraro, Anning S. Prall Intermediate School, Staten Island

"It really goes back to how to engage kids in conversations, how to de-escalate when someone's having a bad day. Engaging Schools' ideas around having conversations were a big deal for us." - Principal Rashan Hoke, PS282, Brooklyn

We'll be comparing outcomes in these 12 schools to those of a control group, with results expected sometime next year.  
Resources for educators
on gender dialogue, respectful conversations, and more 
For decades, Engaging Schools authors have been offering their expertise on fostering civil dialogue and respectful conversations across genders and other groups. Here are some resources that may help you as you address these issues in your school and classroom.
  • Making Connections - Gives middle and high school students the tools for creating connections across genders, building community, and addressing disconnections. Provides students opportunities to openly ask and discuss questions genders have about each other.
  • Conflict Resolution in the Middle School - Helps students address the conflicts that come with adolescence. Provides sections on creating a classroom for teaching conflict resolution, developing staff and parent support, and assessing student learning; an infusion section which includes math and science; and a section on adolescent development exploring gender and race.
  • Conflict Resolution in the High School - Enables students to learn the essential skills they need to manage and resolve interpersonal conflict and explore diversity, power, and prejudice as they develop greater emotional and social skillfulness.
  • Dialogue: Turning Controversy into Community - Uses a case study approach to illustrate techniques and structures for helping students build skills such as listening, managing anger, communicating, researching issues, uncovering bias, understanding and appreciating different perspectives, and creating solutions. (Limited supply)
SEL programming in middle and high schools is an important investment in the future.
An issue brief published by Penn State researchers (funded by the Robert Wood  Johnson Foundation) entitled " Promoting Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) in the Middle and High School Years" advances the case for SEL at the secondary level.  

The brief provides an overview of frameworks that define social-emotional competence and reviews the landscape of school-based programs designed to promote its growth in middle and high school students.

The brief concludes that "SEL programming in middle and high schools is an important and worthwhile investment in the future. To realize the full potential of these efforts, we must design programs that are responsive to the needs of adolescents, engage and collaborate with families and communities, and use findings from research on school climate and structures to inform how America's future middle and high schools are designed so that they support the SEL of all students."

                             Please Support Engaging Schools! 

Engaging Schools is a nonprofit organization that collaborates with middle and high school educators to create schoolwide communities of learning that integrate academics with social and emotional development. We provide professional learning and publications for instructional practice, classroom management, discipline and student support, postsecondary readiness, and advisory programs - all grounded in the values of equity, community, and democracy. The result: engaging schools where each and every student succeeds and makes positive contributions in school, work, and life.  

We rely on tax-deductible donations from you and others to develop our programs and resources and help us reach more teachers, schools, and young people. Please support our work with a gift today. Thanks!