New Directions

Welcome. I have been working for years on research and development of more effective strategies for schools to better foster positive relations between students and between staff and students. I have left all of the original text that has been on the home page of my site below, so you can see the tone and substance of what I have been trying to accomplish.

The approach most schools are using to reduce bullying is not working. This document explains why this is and what, in my opinion, schools should be doing. You can also watch this short video here. 

Students are always told, “Tell a school staff member, they will make it better.” The vast majority of students who are bullied or harassed also do not report — for good reason. Most often, after asking for help, things either stay the same or get worse. Students know this. This is why the vast majority do not ask for help.

By way of example, recent data from the Eugene 4J school district reveals that close to 9% of secondary students reported being bullied or harassed once a week or more and two-thirds said they would not ask for help from school staff. These numbers have not significantly changed since 4J started this survey in 2009. The approach the district is using to address bullying also has not changed. This is county data from the Student Wellness Survey.

I am launching a new approach, both nationally, and here in Oregon. This new approach has several components:

  • Be Positively Powerful.  Be Positively Powerful: An Empowerment Plan for Teens Who Are Bullied or Harassed  is a new book I have written for teens — also for parents. This book provides teens with seven positively powerful strategies to ensure they are a strong survivor of the bullying or harassment they have endured. Parents of younger children can adapt these positive strategies.
  • Bullying Resolution Services in Oregon. This page provides greater information on the Bullying Resolution Services I offer for parents in Oregon, staring in Lane County.
  • Positive School Climate Assessment. The research and guidance directed at how schools can ensure a positive school climate that supports and welcomes all students and supports those students who are at higher risk is quite clear. I have prepared this Positive School Climate Assessment that school leaders, parents, and community members can use to assist their local schools in conducting an assessment and making plans for positive change. More insight into the implementation of these strategies is in my book, Engage Students to Embrace Civility.
  • Positive Resolutions: How to Insist on a Positive Response by the School to the Bullying or Harassment of Your Child. This is a guide I have written for parents and parent advocates, counselors and social workers, peer support professionals, advocacy groups and others, so that they also can provide professional services to more fully support students in achieving a resolution of these hurtful situations.
    • This has been provided at no charge. I would thoroughly appreciate a donation of $20 – $30 if this resource has value for you. A donation link is provided.
    • Template letter and complaint and an instructional video is under development.
  • Oregon’s Anti-Bullying Statute. I have made recommendations to the Oregon State Legislature on how the statute can be amended to ensure greater accountability of schools in reducing hurtful behavior of students and effectively responding when the hurtful situations are witnessed or reported. These amendments would focus on incorporating the requirements under federal civil rights regulations and guidelines, that it is my perspective the vast majority of school districts are ignoring.
    • This is the email I sent to Oregon leaders related to how to amend the Oregon bullying statute.

 

Embrace Civility In The Digital Age                 

Make a Positive Difference in the Lives of Young People Today!

The mission of Embrace Civility in the Digital Age is to provide guidance to caring adults so they can better engage young people to embrace civility and foster positive relations.

Embracing civility supports the full engagement of students in maintaining an environment where hurtful behavior is incompatible with the accepted social norms and where everyone takes responsibility for the quality of the relationships.

 
 

Sample Text

 

 

Engage Students to Embrace Civility provides guidance for school leaders on research-based strategies to:

  • Engage all members of the school community in the effort to establish a positive school climate that embraces kindness, inclusion, and civility.
  • Increase the effectiveness of teachers in supporting positive relations and responding to minor hurtful incidents in a restorative manner that supports increased resilience of the involved students.
  • Increase the effectiveness of principals in investigating and intervening in the more serious or chronic hurtful situations in a manner that supports increased resilience of all involved students, holds hurtful students accountable, remedies the harm, corrects environmental concerns, and ensures ongoing monitoring until all involved students indicate that things have gotten better.
  • Empower students to embrace kindness, inclusion, and civility by engaging students as leaders in this effort, using a positive norms approach to encourage positive behavior, and increasing student resilience and skills as a witness to a hurtful situation, the one being hurtful, or the one treated badly.

New Stuff

Watch a new short Engage Students to Embrace Civility Introductory Video here.

You can also download the slides for this video.

This is a document that outlines the Engage Students to Embrace Civility approach.

Are Our Students Okay? What Does the Data Tell Us?

This is a slideshow that shares the data from the Student Wellness Survey and the 4J survey.

This is the commentary that ran in the Register Guard.

Increase Student Resilience

This document provides insight into research-based strategies schools can use to increase student resilience.

Rethinking Token Rewards

This document outlines the concerns associated with the use of token rewards in schools, a feature of Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports.

 This passage from the research article is most focused on the concerns associated with the operant conditioning, behavioral approach.

There is a misperception that PBIS will reduce bullying, because, although lacking any research to make the claim PBIS has been claiming that it will reduce bullying. This recent study demonstrates that this is not the case.

School Safety

As schools enter the new school year, given the events that transpired last spring, school safety has obviously emerged as a significant concern.

Embrace Civility in Schools

Embrace Civility

Embrace Civility is a student leadership program for students in grades 4 through early high school that teaches the values and skills to foster positive relations that focuses on positive social norms and effective skills. 

  • Reach Out. Be kind to those who are treated badly or left out and help resolve conflict.
  • Say “Stop.” Help those who are hurtful stop, accept personal responsibility, and remedy the harm.
  • Report Concerns. Report serious concerns to an adult who can help.
  • Stop, Own it, and Fix It. Avoid being hurtful and if you were, stop yourself, accept responsibility, and remedy the harm.
  • Be Positively Powerful. Respond effectively if someone is hurtful and become positively powerful.

This is a one-page brochure about the student leadership program and book.

Engage Students to Embrace Civility

Engage Students to Embrace Civility resources provide insight for educators that address:

  • Why current bullying prevention approaches are not effective and research-based strategies to achieve a more positive school climate that fosters positive relations.
  • Strategies grounded in trauma informed care, positive social norms, and social-emotional learning to empower students to foster positive relations.
  • Strategies to empower school staff to effectively respond when they witness hurtful incidents or hurtful incidents are reported.
  • Strategies to effectively investigate and intervene in the more serious or chronic situations.

Engage Students to Embrace Civility, is now available on Amazon!

Bullying Resolution Services

Bullying Resolution Services is new service for parents in Oregon.

Too often, when students or parents report bullying to the school, the situation remains unresolved. Bullying Resolution Services will assist parents in requesting an Independent Educational Evaluation in a situation where a student with disabilities is being bullied or pursuing an formal complaint to address bullying or harassment situations through the district and to the Oregon Department of Education, if necessary.

Bullying Resolution Services will encourage a positive resolution that will support all involved students and any involved staff.

Bullying Resolution Services can also provide services to schools and districts by supporting an investigation or mediation to assist in resolving these situations.

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Cyber Savvy

About

Nancy Willard, M.S., J.D., is the Director of Embrace Civility in the Digital Age. Nancy’s approach is grounded in youth empowerment and restorative practices. 

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