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At a statewide forum on school safety sponsored by the NJ School Boards Association on January 18, 2013, more than 700 educational leaders discussed the issue of school safety and security in light of the unfathomable deaths in Sandy Hook Elementary School. Why it takes a tragedy to force us to think about things that were no less important the day before that tragedy, we can lament. But now, we must act, and act wisely.

The right question to ask is not simply about student safety. We must address the overwhelming wellbeing of our children and the climate and culture of the schools in which they spend 180 school days each year for so many years. I do not want to minimize the events in Newtown but children are most affected by what happens around them every day.

And every day, when children come to schools hungry, afraid of harassment, intimidation, or bullying, or of neighborhood violence, or if they are involved in alcohol or tobacco or other drug use, or if they are victims of unkindness, or consumed by their educators’ anxiety over standards and standardized tests, they are not able to learn to their potential. It will be the unusual child who will worry every day about a crazed gunman breaking down the school door. And for every child who may be reassured by the presence of armed guards, more children are likely to be more anxious. That is the dilemma we face.

Ultimately, the decision about how to increase security in schools is political and financial. From a public health perspective, there is no clear way to prevent the kind of determined and well-armed intruder who seeks to do harm to children in or around schools. At the conference, Raymond Hayducka, the Chief of Police and Coordinator of the Emergency Management Office in South Brunswick, NJ, was highly articulate about the importance of ensuring that anyone with weapons in the school is highly trained and fully coordinated with the policy.

This only comes from having a police officer in the school or from a well-regarded security agency with known relationships with the police force in one’s district. A retired officer or a private guard has no legal authority and the school has no assurance of how well versed they are in the current and ever-changing standards for dealing with armed intruders.

The Chief also spoke eloquently about how, if a decision is made to not have armed personnel in schools, it is wise to increase policy patrols around and in schools, as well as police involvement in emergency response and evacuation plans, including the conduct of a security audit.

Helping Students Understand More Police Presence

From a social-emotional learning point of view, the question that looms is how do the inevitable increases in security, including greater police presence, affect children. It does not take special insight to realize that some kids will be put off, and others will hardly notice or, if they notice, will not care. A few are likely to feel a sense of reassurance. However, the greatest harm comes from not confronting the issues directly.

Handling changes in school safety procedures involves explicit, conversations with children and parents. Recognize first that for young children — through elementary school — the key goal is to provide reassurance. They should not have any sense of danger in their school and it is likely that the vast majority will have put the Sandy Hook shootings out of their minds.

For secondary students, the goal is to express prudent caution. Again, there should be no sense of imminent danger, but older students can be told that in light of Sandy Hook, the school wants to be extra careful and so certain steps are being taken. I believe this is the approach to take with parents, as well — there is no reason to expect assault in the schools and so a measured, appropriate response is being taken to be on the side of reasonable safety.

But there is more — from a SEL point of view. This is a tremendous learning opportunity to help children understand not only the role of the police in their lives, but other emergency services providers. These include firefighters, EMS technicians, and sanitation workers. If there is a greater police presence in the schools, ensure that this becomes a teachable moment and help students understand everything that police do, and invite other emergency service providers into the school to discuss what they do, walk around and be visible to students, and help all students understand that their safety in all respects is important. The community cares about them and they should appreciate this.

By so doing, we allow the focus to shift from security and danger to caring and concern. What happened in Newtown must not distract us from recognizing that the greatest safety for the greatest number of individuals comes from a safe, caring, supportive, academically challenging, healthy school culture and climate.

In such schools, students learn to be empathic to their classmates, including those who are different, and to be upstanders, not bystanders. They learn that violence is not a way to solve problems and they learn how to manage their strong emotions. These schools embrace students who are suffering from mental health difficulties, ensuring that they get needed services, and, should they drop out or otherwise leave, that they are followed.

A nurturing and positive school culture and climate provides the conditions that best allow schools to carry out their mission of educating children for success in school and life and preparing them to be responsible, productive, caring adult participants in their families, workplaces, and civic contexts.

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The Case For Electives In Schools

A vibrant elective program in middle and secondary schools should be considered just as precious as the core classes—after all, electives are the one or two periods a day that students have had a say in selecting. In a nationwide survey I conducted of sixth through 12th graders (for my most recent book), I asked what engaged them the most as learners. Across the nation, student choice ranked high in results. And according to education researcher Robert Marzano, choice “has also been linked to increases in student effort, task performance, and subsequent learning.”

Yet this very quality—student choice—seems to be one of the factors that make electives vulnerable.

For many schools, budget cuts and an ebb and flow of educational funding are par for the course. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, “As of the current 2023–18 school year, at least 12 states have cut ‘general’ or ‘formula’ funding—the primary form of state support for elementary and secondary schools—by 7 percent or more per student over the last decade.” In many cases, schools look to the classes they deem extras to be the first to fall.

For many, that means electives. However, I want to push back on this notion that electives are somehow expendable. In fact, some might argue they are just as vital as core content classes.

The Power of Connection

Students also reported in the nationwide survey I conducted that they need to be more connected to the adults on campus. We talk so much about differentiating students, but we need to differentiate teachers and schools too. It helps our students to connect with school if they learn that there are many diverse personalities on hand for them to learn from. Electives, many times, reflect the interests of the teachers that teach them as well as the students that choose them. This permits a student to automatically have a self-selected connection to the adult in the room.

The Journal of Educational Psychology recently reported that in a study of almost 400 students and their 25 teachers, researchers found that when teachers and students were given information about five similarities they shared, the knowledge helped improve student-teacher relationships and academic achievement.

Electives Support Core Classes

Electives can also do double duty as vehicles for core content standards. And teachers can help ensure that electives are not thought of as inferior to core classes by guaranteeing that they help carry the weight of teaching literacy along with core classes. Elective teachers can provide evidence of the learning happening by doing three key things:

Encourage annotation when students read texts related to the elective topic.

Utilize pre- and post-assessments to show growth in related informational reading comprehension.

Fold in writing and oral presentations to help students communicate the elective’s content.

Yearbook, robotics, film society, photography, world languages, theater, speech and debate, music appreciation, and current events—all of these classes can tap into reading, writing, listening, and speaking. And all of them attract a variety of students while adding a self-selected layer of engagement to those students’ learning of core standards.

I’d also like to make the push for electives to be more inclusive. I think it would help eradicate the myth of electives being nonessential if we dropped the grade-point average prerequisite and other requirements that grant students access. Student choice, after all, must be about the student, not the process of selection.

Elective programs can play a large role in our schools’ goals in preparing our students for college and career. Being able to select classes reflects the same process that they will see again in college.

When Teachers Are Engaged

The fact is, while many consider electives the B story in a school, they can, in fact, set the tone for a campus and play a huge role in engagement. And because they are highly engaging, electives play a role in keeping our students on campus—especially those reluctant learners and ones who struggle academically.

The power of engagement, however, is not limited to students alone. Elective classes can serve a purpose to continue teachers’ engagement as well. Feeling like you’re burning out? Pitch a class that you want to teach, that you’d love to teach. Teach one that helps fuel your teaching flame. Teachers are helping to create master schedules that reflect a variety of interests—from gardening to digital storytelling. Create a class that helps lure students to learning in a way that engages you as well.

Alleged Sorority Hazing Investigated By University, Police

Alleged Sorority Hazing Investigated by University, Police Sigma Delta Tau suspended during probe

Dean of Students Kenneth Elmore is weighing the fate of the Sigma Delta Tau sorority after it was temporarily suspended earlier this month for alleged alcohol-related hazing.

Elmore says the University is investigating both the group and roughly 20 individual students—SDT sisters and members of an undisclosed fraternity—involved in the alleged hazing. The fraternity is not recognized by BU, unlike SDT before its suspension.

“Given the facts we had, I asked that SDT be suspended pending our ability to investigate this,” says Elmore (SED’87). He hopes to wrap up the inquiry by the end of next week and says most students involved have been cooperative.

If the allegations are judged true, the sorority could face permanent suspension, while individuals found to have violated BU’s conduct policies “could warrant suspensions or worse,” Elmore notes. “Any organization that has members who are going to be complicit with hazing or haze other students should expect that they are not going to be associated with BU.”

This is the first reported allegation of hazing at BU in more than a decade, according to the dean. “I’m particularly disappointed,” he says, because of the timing: just this past January, in the wake of incidents elsewhere, Elmore met with student organization leaders, including those from fraternities and sororities, to talk about hazing. He says he discussed with the leaders that Massachusetts outlaws hazing and that “there’s just no place at all for hazing in these organizations and in this community.”

The March 3 incident, first reported by the Daily Free Press, began when students summoned an ambulance for an intoxicated female student on Ashford Street around 9 p.m., according to BUPD Lieutenant Peter DiDomenica. About an hour later, he says, BUPD officers stopped three men helping a second woman who also appeared intoxicated. “It caused concern for her medical condition,” and the officers arranged for her to go to the hospital as well, DiDomenica says.

“My understanding was they were treated and released,” says Elmore.

Further investigation revealed that the drinking was part of an alleged hazing at an off-campus private residence. Aside from the University probe, Boston police and the BUPD are investigating possible violations of the state’s anti-hazing law, according to DiDomenica. Hazing is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a $3,000 fine and a year in jail.

Marisa Feehan (CAS’12) and Juliette Miller (CAS’12), respectively the president and vice president of campus affairs for the Panhellenic Council, which governs the University’s recognized sororities, issued a public statement deploring “any behavior that threatens the well-being of any member of Greek Life,” and saying, “we will not accept the occurrence of such incidents.”

The council lifted its SDT recognition, the statement says, but also urges the University community to “support each other and the sisters of Sigma Delta Tau.”

The alleged hazing drew local media attention to BU at a time when two former members of the hockey team are facing sexual assault charges. President Robert A. Brown appointed a task force earlier this month to report by this summer on the culture of the hockey team.

Against that backdrop, Elmore says, “I want to remind folks the overwhelming majority of our students are doing the right thing. Real community holds its own accountable, and we’ve been consistent in terms of doing that. In social situations, we’ve got to be ‘present.’ We’ve always got to be folks who look after themselves. This community still moves on.”

Explore Related Topics:

What Happened To The Local Schools?


Girls School in India – 1848

The Missionary Repository for Youth, and Sunday School Missionary Magazine, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

What Happened to Local Schools Under British Rule?

In India, there were numerous pathshalas prior to British control. There were more than 100,000 pathshalas, and each had 20 students or less. Books, blackboards, benches, timetables, roll-call registers, and exams are all part of the educational system. The lessons were delivered at the guru’s residence, at a shop, a village temple, or even outside under a tree. There were no separate courses, and all instruction was given orally. The parent’s income determined the pathshala’s fees. Since many rural kids were working in the fields during harvest, there were no courses at the pathshala.

The British decided to reform the pathshalas in 1854 and assigned government officials to oversee operations and raise the pathshalas’ teaching standards. The gurus were instructed to keep to a set schedule, teach using textbooks, and produce recurring reports. The pupils had to come to class on a regular basis, pay a set fee, and pass exams. Government grants were provided to pathshalas that agreed to follow British regulations but not to those that dissented. Numerous impoverished children’ lives were negatively impacted by the new system since they were no longer able to attend school due to fixed costs and set schedules. It was challenging for many gurus who wanted to operate independently to compete with the government-supported pathshalas.

The Report of William Adam

William Adam travelled to the areas of Bengal and Bihar in the 1830s at the request of the Company to provide a report on the development of education in local schools. In Bengal and Bihar, nearly 1 lakh pathshalas with little more than 20 pupils each were reported, according to Adam’s research. Rich people or the local community established these institutions. The educational system was open-ended and did not include a set tuition fee, printed textbooks, a separate school building, benches or seats, blackboards, a system of separate classes, roll call registers, annual exams, or a set timetable. The guru’s house, the corner of a village store or temple, or a banyan tree were all common locations for classes.

The amount of tuition was based on the parents’ income, with the wealthy having to pay more than the underprivileged. Based on the demands of the students, the guru selected what to teach them orally. The guru worked independently with groups of kids who had varying levels of learning while the class was all seated together. Local needs were met by this adaptable system. No lessons were held during the harvest season. As soon as the crops were cut and stored, the pathshala began once more.

New Routines, New Rules

Higher education was the focus of the company. The East India Company made the decision to strengthen the vernacular education system after 1854 by bringing order to the system, setting procedures, defining norms, and ensuring regular inspections. new customs and regulations The Company hired several government pandits and assigned them to four to five schools. The pandit’s responsibility was to check on the quality of instruction in the pathshalas. Every guru was required to turn in reports on a regular basis and attend classes on the scheduled days. Teaching was centred on textbooks, and learning was assessed via an annual exam system. Students were required to pay the standard cost, attend regularly scheduled classes, take fixed seats, and abide by the new regulations. Government funds were provided to pathshalas that complied with the new regulations. Due to the flexibility of the schedule, children from low-income peasant households had previously been able to attend pathshalas because of the new norms and procedures. Even during harvest when children from low-income families had to labour in the fields, the new system required frequent attendance.

Conclusion FAQs

Q1. Explain Charter Act of 1813

Ans. The introduction of the Charter Act of 1813, implied the permanence of British Rule in India. Amounts for education under this Act were set at INR 1 lakh annually. The East India Company Act, 1813, is another name for this. This law is significant because it established the status of British Indian territory in the constitution for the first time.

Q2. Who brought India to the British educational system?

Ans. In 1854, Sir Charles Wood was the company’s President of the Board of Control and sent a despatch to Lord Dalhousie, who was then the Governor- General of India. This text is often referred to as the Magna Carta of English instruction in India.

Q3. Who was Lord Macaulay?

Ans. Lord Macaulay was a poet and historian. From 1834 to 1838, he served as the first member of the law department on the governor general council, ensuring that English was widely used in India.

Q4. What is Wood’s Despatch?

Q5. Who and why did Asiatic society begin?

Ans. A British lawyer and Orientalist named Sir William Jones formed the Asiatic Society of Bengal on January 15, 1784, to promote Oriental studies. Orientalism was a Western academic field of study in the 18th and 19th centuries that included the study of the languages, literatures, religions, philosophies, histories, art, and laws of Asian countries, particularly those from ancient times.

Talking: A Strategic Social Media Management Framework

Frameworks for managing social media marketing

When I first read Groundswell by Forrester, I really liked their social media management acronym POST. It gave you a simple framework to digest their approach to social, don’t just jump to the technology, look at your People, Objectives, then develop your Strategy and finally implement the Technology.

This inspired me to create my own acronym TALKING, a social media management framework to help shape and champion social media plans. I’ve used it with many different types of business since and it seems to give rise to good discussions around the main social media strategy and management issues.

7 elements of the TALKING framework to manage your social media marketing

1. Tribes

Define and build your segments and personas.

Linking to Seth Godins reference to people being part of tribes of like-minded people who are connected and share goals and interested – in this context I am talking about your segments and persons. It is the first step before you dive right into your strategy is to create your persona for your ideal customers.  Find the hooks, the pain points, the problems that they will have and think about how your product or service is going to solve that problem for them.

 2. Activities

Understand their social activities and footprints.

Once you have identified your personas you will have a better understanding of what they are doing online.

Do your target audience maintain a profile on networking sites like LinkedIn or Facebook (joiners), do they read blogs or watch videos (spectators), or post reviews (critics) are they creating content (creators), do they bother with social media at all?

3. Listening

Taking the time to understand the conversation landscape.

When you know where your tribes hang out, and you have a confident indication about which social media channels they are using, you need to start listening. If you jump right in and start talking at people with no thought to what content will hook or engage them, you are simply shouting at people who will ignore you and won’t be afraid to publicly tell you that you have missed the mark.

This is the time you want to find groups and see what the hot topics they are talking about. Do your homework; find out who are the influencers that you need to engage with. Don’t forget to listen to what your competition is saying on their channels. 

A tip at this stage is to use Google Trends to map out the hooks and pain points you identified in your personas and listening activity and map out a calendar or topics for your social media conversations.

If you have social monitoring tools (free or paid) set that up now and monitor the conversations based on your target keywords, brand names, and the issues/ paid points your target audience are interested in.

4. KPIs

Key Performance Indicators: measuring your efforts.

Social media can have a bad reputation about being fluffy and not a value driver for a business, but it can and should be measured.

You must demonstrate to the board that your efforts will make a difference to the bottom line, and the only way you can do that is to measure with metrics. Not sure what metrics to use? Don’t be fooled by vanity metrics, check out 19 social media metrics that really matter, according to Hootsuite.

5. Investment

Identify resources, technology and time to implement.

You have an idea what social media platform your target audience live, what they talk about, who sways influence, how you are going to measure it. Now you need to identify what your company needs to invest it to make it happen. Social media platforms may be ‘free’ to set up but many companies fail in their social media strategy by underestimating the resource’s needed overall.

Do you have a dedicated person who is going to monitor and reply to your tweets, who is going to write you blog posts? What is the process if someone posts something bad? What would your social media policy be?  Do members of the team need additional training and development? Will you outsource some campaigns to agencies?

6. Network

Discover and engage with influencers

Influencers…..they will be the ones who with one bad status update will convince a percentage of people in your target audience never to use you, and don’t just base it on number of followers, companies have been knocked down a peg or two by people with a few hundred followers.

7. Goals

Set SMART goals for your business

Your social media management framework should provide you with information to link back to company goals- are you doing this for awareness, sales, loyalty, retention?

Google Analytics provides a number of reports to help you analyse how much your social media efforts are impacting your goals and bottom line.

Found within the Acquisition/ Social section of the site, there are a good couple of reports to help you report and gain insights on:

Network referrals: how much traffic was sent to your site

Data Hub Activity: shows you the posts that took place whilst sharing content, great for understating trends.

Landing Pages: lets you the top landing pages from your social referrals.

Trackbacks: get data on what sources are providing you with traffic, great for finding potential influencers for your brand to work with.

Conversions: critical for your ROI reporting- how many goals were completed or assisted by social activity and can drill down by platform.

Plugins Users Flow: most websites now have social sharing plugins, this report will help you understand how people are interacting with your content for example some social sharing buttons may be working better than others, or content types e.g blogs may get more shares on Linkedin than Twitter.

I hope you find the TALKING social media management framework useful. For more on social media marketing management see our Social Media Marketing Learning Path for modules ranging from strategic planning to trends and tactics.

Also, don’t forget about our RACE Framework for omnichannel strategy and planning.

Core Module

Structure a plan using Smart Insights’ RACE

Part of the Digital marketing strategy and planning Toolkit

Learn how to structure a comprehensive omnichannel marketing plan, using Smart Insights’ RACE

Learn More

Tips For Principals Shifting Their Schools To Distance Learning

With schools closed for weeks—and in some states and districts, until the end of the school year—to slow the spread of the coronavirus, principals are leading their school communities into the uncharted territory of K–12 distance learning, writes Denisa R. Superville for Education Week.

Many schools are working fast to attempt to offer students high-quality, equitable distance learning within a very short time. School leaders must not only support teachers figuring out how to translate classroom curricula into engaging virtual lessons, but also ensure that all students—including those who are tough to reach even on a regular school day and those who don’t have access to a reliable internet connection—continue learning and connecting with their teachers and peers. At the same time, they must see to it that students who depend on schools for food and other critical supports continue to receive these services.

Here are four ways principals say they plan to lead their school communities and support teachers.

Be a ‘Calm and Motivating Presence’

Kelly Corbett, principal of Otsego Elementary School in Otsego, Minnesota, told Superville that principals and instructional leaders must remain level-headed: “We need to be prepared. We don’t need to panic. We have the resources in front of us. We have great educators. We just need to plan…. There will be bumps in the road; there will be glitches. Things happen.”

Day-to-day, Corbett is busy “working on making sure that teachers are developing high-quality lessons, answering questions about content and teaching, and helping troubleshoot along the way when teachers start using a digital platform they’ve really only used for short periods—mainly snow days.” But beyond these everyday responsibilities, she said, “being that calming and motivating presence is essential.”

Be a Source of Information

In addition to handling questions from teachers related to taking lessons online and troubleshooting tech issues, it’s important that school leaders also take on the role of chief information officer for the school community.

Kerensa Wing, principal at Collins Hill High School in Gwinnett County, Georgia, tries to keep in touch daily with students and their families so that she’s regularly communicating—in a calm and measured way—her expectations for students’ learning. “We want to continue the learning. We want to keep it positive, be patient with folks,” Wing told Superville. “We want them to be patient with the students’ learning curve. This is the first time they will be online for more than two days in a row.”

Encourage Teachers to Create a Sense of Normalcy for Students

Corbett, the principal at Otsego Elementary, is guiding her teachers to recreate practices for their students that are similar to their previous ones, by doing things like greeting students each morning with a video message and building in mindfulness breaks. The goal is not to replicate the whole school day at home but to provide students with a sense that they are still connected to the school community.

To help students continue to benefit from some of the school’s support structures, Corbett has asked teachers to brainstorm how to bring those structures into students’ homes—giving kids access to a virtual “calming corner” like they have in classrooms, a cozy spot where kids can retreat for a few minutes to manage their emotions.

Corbett has asked her school counselors and social workers to come up with self-regulating exercises kids can do at home. “It could be everything from counting your breaths, different ways to regulate your breathing, physical activities. We’ll have to figure out the best way to keep those experiences going when the students aren’t here,” says Corbett.

Make Sure Teachers Feel Supported

When Paul Kelly, principal at Elk Grove High School in Elk Grove Village, Illinois, hosted an online staff meeting, his teachers peppered him with questions about how they could possibly meet all the different needs of their students. Kelly’s message to them, after expressing his confidence that they would do their best for students, was that teachers needed to first take care of their own emotional health. “You are only going to be able to help the kids if you are in the right emotional space. Take care of the stresses in your home, with your family, and we will work together to make the e-learning work for kids,” he told his staff.

As a principal, he told Superville, his responsibilities are evolving given the realities of life during a pandemic. “I think my role shifts completely into this symbolic keeper of hope,” Kelly said. “My role in this family is to make sure that we know that we are trying to get them whatever they need, having staff members feeling like we care about them as humans and as families, and all of the details of their professional lives will get resolved.”

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