• Welcome to Engaging Schools

    Welcome to Engaging Schools, formerly known as Educators for Social Responsibility. We’re delighted to show you the result of nearly two years of planning and creation.  Why did we change our name? During the past several years, we came to understand that our name, Educators for Social Responsibility, confused people. Some people thought we were…

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  • What’s an Engaging School?

    We are Engaging Schools—but what’s an engaging school? In our vision of an engaging school, staff members and everyone in the school community hold a collective belief that all students have wonder, are curious and interested, and have the capacity to become deeply engaged learners. In engaging schools, teaching and learning improve. Teachers use a…

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  • Engaging Schools Releases Personal Opportunity Plan White Paper

    With support from the Nellie Mae Education Foundation and the Schott Foundation for Public Education, we’re delighted to share our new research paper, “Conditions and Considerations for Effective Development and Implementation of Personal Opportunity Plans by the Commonwealth, Districts, and Schools,” by Engaging Schools senior consultant Carol Miller Lieber. “Personal Opportunity Plans” contributes to the…

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  • Syracuse City Schools Move to Restorative Discipline with New Code of Conduct

    A recent WRVO public radio news report, “Syracuse school district has new discipline guidelines” shares news about the progress that the Syracuse, New York public schools have made toward creating more restorative, less punitive disciplinary measures. In collaboration with Engaging Schools’ Schoolwide Discipline and Student Support program, the district convened a 50-member task force that…

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  • A Look Inside “Countering Bullying and Harassment”

    In conjunction with October’s status as National Bullying Prevention Month, we’re sharing a look inside our related publication, Countering Bullying and Harassment: Skill-Based Lessons to Move from Bystander to Ally. Engaging Schools published this curriculum, focused on grades 6-10, in 2013. Author Jane Harrison, who is also an Engaging Schools professional services consultant, brought her…

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  • Countering Bullying and Harassment: Curriculum Background, Lesson Structure and Implementation

    To help middle and high school educators access high-quality resources that will help them support students to recognize, resist, and address bullying and harassment, we’re following up on last week’s overview of Countering Bullying and Harassment: Skill-Based Lessons to Move from Bystander to Ally. Countering Bullying and Harassment, our pro-social, anti-bullying curriculum for sixth through tenth graders, shares an approach…

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  • Are classrooms and schools ready for an effective anti-bullying curriculum?

    In our ongoing series in conjunction with National Bullying Prevention Month, we’ll consider recommendations that will help educators and school leaders to determine whether their classroom or school’s conditions will properly support a program that helps students identify, resist, and address various forms of bullying and harassment. While these recommendations were developed for and adapted from Countering Bullying and…

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  • Thoughts from Countering Bullying and Harassment Author Jane Harrison

    To conclude our focus on Countering Bullying and Harassment: Skill-Based Lessons to Move from Bystander to Ally, in conjunction with National Bullying Prevention Month, we’re sharing thoughts from an interview with author and Engaging Schools professional services consultant Jane Harrison. Jane has over 40 years of experience in education as a teacher, mentor, adjunct university…

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  • School Discipline Covered by “This American Life” 

    In its October 17 show, the radio show and podcast “This American Life” aired “Is This Working?” which focused on the challenges presented by school discipline. The episode looks at a variety of challenges, suggesting that no one has a clear sense of what works well to keep young people safe, secure, and engaged. For…

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  • “Creating Birds of Similar Feathers”: The power of creating teacher-student similarities

    Based on the premise that positive relationships between middle and high school students and their teachers can lead to better educational outcomes, “Creating birds of similar feathers: Leveraging similarity to improve teacher-student relationships and academic achievement,” by Hunter Gehlbach, Maureen E. Brinkworth, Aaron King, Laura Hsu, Joe McIntyre, and Todd Rogers, focuses on a simple intervention…

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  • Read this: “Social-emotional skills can boost Common Core implementation”

    The November 2014 issue of Kappan features “Social-emotional skills can boost Common Core implementation,” in which Rutgers psychology professor Maurice Elias argues that social-emotional learning (SEL) skills and related learning are critical yet thus far ignored components of Common Core success. Writing that “the same skills being neglected in the implementation of the Common Core…

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  • Advisory Facilitation Tips for Discussing Tough Topics

    In many middle and high schools today, teachers and students are finding ways to discuss the difficult events in Ferguson, Missouri. If you’re reading this post today, you know what we mean, and in the unlikely case that a future reader may not be clear, we’re referring both to the announcement last night that a…

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  • Recommended Resource: Core Elements of Teaching Practice in Student-Centered Learning

    We recommend that educators spend time watching, reading, and thinking about “Core Elements of Teaching Practice in Student-Centered Learning.” In this project, produced in collaboration with Jobs for the Future and the Nellie Mae Education Foundation’s “Students at the Center” initiative, Kathleen Cushman and Barbara Cervone of What Kids Can Do documented practices in six high…

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  • Learning Forward Conference Recap, December 7-10

    Earlier this month, Engaging Schools staff members debuted our new name and look at Learning Forward‘s annual conference. Director of Sales and Marketing Denise Wolk shared products and services in the exhibition hall, and also collaborated with Director of Professional Services Michele Tissiere to present “Creating the Engaged Classroom in Secondary Schools.” Conference-goer Liz Smith, pictured left, won a…

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  • Happy Holidays from Engaging Schools

    For many of you hard at work in and on behalf of schools, this is a crazy, joyous, exhausting, and wonderful time of year. We wish you the best for a hard-earned break, and hope that you and your students enjoy peace, safety, and security during the coming days and weeks. In order for Engaging…

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  • Engaging Schools Welcomes Chantal Kokaram!

    Engaging Schools is thrilled to welcome a new staff member. This autumn, Chantal Kokaram joined our staff as the director of finance and administration, heading up all matters related to finances, administration, information technology, human resources, and more. Chantal lives with her family in Ashland, Massachusetts. She joins us after seven years in nonprofit administration…

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  • Foundational Activators to Increase Engagement (free download)

    Since its release in the fall of 2013, Activators: Classroom Strategies for Engaging Students in Middle and High School has been one of our best-sellers. As you gear up to go back into the classroom after what we hope was a restful winter break, we’re sharing Chapter Four of Activators as a free download. This chapter, Foundational…

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  • Free viewings of “Selma” for 7th, 8th, and 9th graders

    Through an initiative that started in New York City and is spreading to metropolitan areas nationwide, seventh, eighth, and ninth grade students able to produce a school ID or report card will be able to see the movie “Selma” at no charge. Recently released to great critical acclaim and some controversy, “Selma” focuses on events in…

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  • Engaged Classrooms and SEL in Anchorage, Alaska

    From time to time, we share a snapshot the ways schools and districts are working with Engaging Schools. Today, let’s visit Anchorage, Alaska, where for more than 25 years, Engaging Schools has been supporting teachers and leaders in the Anchorage School District to integrate academics with social and emotional learning (SEL) for almost 48,000 students in more than 100 schools and…

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  • Increasing Engagement at IS27

    Anning S. Prall Intermediate School, Magnet School with Applied Learning with Technology Integration–located in Staten Island, New York and better known as IS27–is a diverse middle school serving more than 1,100 students. In 2013, IS27’s leaders started partnering with Engaging Schools to increase student engagement in classrooms to improve student behavior and raise achievement. Engaging Schools consultant M.J….

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  • Engaged Classrooms: Learning and Teaching for Rigor, Creativity, and Ownership Workshops — March and April in MA and CO

    Engaged Classrooms, one of our core professional services, offers an approach to instruction, classroom management, and discipline that fosters academic, social, and emotional learning and development in each and every student. In order to expand access to our work, we’re pleased to offer the Engaged Classrooms: Learning and Teaching for Rigor, Creativity, and Ownership workshop….

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  • Engaging Schools 2013-14 annual report released

    We’re pleased to share the latest Engaging Schools annual report, created for and shared with our donors in print form earlier this year. We’re making it more widely available as a useful overview of our recent work. This annual report contains news about our organization’s name change, our collaboration in Syracuse, NY with district and community…

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  • Engaging Schools Participating in Capitol Hill Briefing on School Discipline, March 3

    On Tuesday, March 3, Engaging Schools Executive Director Larry Dieringer will participate in “From the Police Precinct to the Principal’s Office: The Challenges Facing School Districts One Year After the Release of Federal School Discipline Guidance,” a Congressional briefing exploring changes underway more than a year after the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice released guidance…

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  • Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, member of Engaging Schools Advisory Board, passes away

    Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, a member of our national advisory board since soon after our founding, passed away on February 26 at age 97. President of the University of Notre Dame from 1952 to 1987, Rev. Hesburgh was one of the nation’s most influential figures in education, civil rights, and other national and international affairs. Father Ted was…

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  • Recommended Resource – You Can’t Fix What You Don’t Look At: Acknowledging Race in Addressing Racial Discipline Disparities

    “You Can’t Fix What You Don’t Look At: Acknowledging Race in Addressing Racial Discipline Disparities,” by Prudence Carter, Russell Skiba, Mariella Arredondo, and Mica Pollock, is the fifth in a series of briefing papers published by the Discipline Disparities Research-to-Practice Collaborative. Based at Indiana University and supported by The Atlantic Philanthropies and Open Society Foundation,…

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  • Engaging Schools participated in March 3 congressional hearing on school discipline: recap and video

    On Tuesday, March 3, Engaging Schools Executive Director Larry Dieringer played a key role in “From the Police Precinct to the Principal’s Office: The Challenges Facing School Districts One Year After the Release of Federal School Discipline Guidance,” a Congressional briefing that explored changes underway and challenges remaining more than a year after the U.S. Departments…

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  • Engaging Schools at ASCD

    We debuted our new name and look at the ASCD 70th Annual Conference and Exhibition in Houston, TX. From March 20-23, Director of Marketing Denise Wolk met hundreds of teachers, administrators, and school leaders interested in our work in the areas of schoolwide discipline and student support, classroom management and instruction, and student advisory programs. Engaging…

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  • Recommended Resource: The Economic Value of Social and Emotional Learning

    “The Economic Value of Social and Emotional Learning,” authored by Clive Belfield, Brooks Bowden, Alli Klapp, Henry Levin, Robert Shand, and Sabine Zander, was released last month by the Center for Benefit-Cost Studies in Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. This report looks at results from several prominent social-emotional learning (SEL) programs in order to…

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  • Engaging Schools Recognized as Community Quarterback by Eastern Bank

    Engaging Schools was one of the organizations recognized by Eastern Bank at its annual Community Quarterback awards ceremony. We were honored for our work helping the Eugene Wright Academy, a middle school in Chelsea, MA, address schoolwide discipline and student support, a project supported by Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation. The awards ceremony included legendary football quarterback Doug Flutie…

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  • Engaging Schools Employment Opportunity: Director of Professional Services.

    We are expanding our professional services capacity to add an experienced professional to our staff to help us provide responsive, high quality services. The Director of Professional Services will direct Engaging Schools’ professional services operations as part of a two-person leadership team. The Director of Professional Services will manage relationships with high priority clients, manage our consultants, represent us at…

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  • #Suspended4WHAT

    This week, DoSomething has partnered with Dignity in Schools for a week of action to amplify the stories of inequitable, discriminatory, and inappropriate school discipline. Unfolding on the web and Twitter (follow the #Suspended4WHAT hashtag), this action shares stories gathered from students nationwide about how disciplinary actions with sometimes terrible consequences followed minor actions. Here’s today’s…

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  • Social-Emotional Learning Alliance for Massachusetts Fourth Annual Conference May 27

    Those who are in or who can get to the Boston area may want to register for the Social-Emotional Learning Alliance for Massachusetts (SAM) Fourth Annual Spring Conference, “Social-Emotional Learning: The Core of Academic Success and Safe, Resilient Communities.” This conference will take place on May 27, 2015, 9:30 am-4:30 pm, with a special pre-conference ceremony at…

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  • NAEP to assess noncognitive skills, starts 2017

    Education Week reports that starting in 2017, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) will include measures of motivation, mindset, and other noncognitive factors. According to Education Week: The background survey will include five core areas—grit, desire for learning, school climate, technology use, and socioeconomic status—of which the first two focus on a student’s noncognitive skills, and the third looks…

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  • Dan Losen and Larry Dieringer Conversation, Part 1: The Nature of the Disproportional Discipline Problem and Promising Approaches

    Engaging Schools’ Executive Director Larry Dieringer sat down for a chat with Dr. Daniel Losen, Director of the Center for Civil Rights Remedies at The Civil Rights Project at UCLA. Dan is also the author and editor of influential studies and books about school discipline, most recently Closing the School Discipline Gap: Equitable Remedies for Excessive Exclusion. Larry…

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  • Dan Losen and Larry Dieringer Conversation, Part 2: Out-of-School Suspensions, In-School Suspensions, and Teacher Support

    In this second part of their wide-ranging conversation, Larry and Dan talk about the importance of professional development, support, and cultural awareness in reducing suspensions, and some of the pitfalls that can take place when those are not present. Larry: We see a lot of districts revising their codes of conduct. One of the most…

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  • Dan Losen and Larry Dieringer Conversation, Part 3: The Importance of Developmental Competence among Educators

    In this part of Dan and Larry’s discussion, they talk about the importance of understanding adolescent development and how fear and stereotyping can play into disproportionate discipline.  See previous installments here. Larry: In our work we talk about both developmental and cultural competence. Among people who work with adolescents, there may be a lack of…

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  • Dan Losen and Larry Dieringer Conversation, Part 4: Practices that Create Accountable and Restorative Discipline

    In this installment of Dan and Larry’s discussion based on their shared focus on developing and sustaining equitable, supportive, and restorative systems of school discipline, they cover remedies and approaches to the problem. See previous installments here. Larry: In your book, you talk about specific remedies that have begun to generate evidence of impact and success….

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  • Dan Losen and Larry Dieringer Conversation, Part 5: Obstacles to More Effective Systems of School Discipline

    Here’s another installment of Dan and Larry’s discussion based on their shared focus on developing and sustaining equitable, supportive, and restorative systems of school discipline. They talk about challenges including the status quo, lack of professional development, teacher preparation, and structural racism and inequity. See previous installments here. Larry: What generally do you see as…

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  • Dan Losen and Larry Dieringer Conversation, Part 6: Policies, Police, and the Role of Data

    In this part of the conversation between Dan Losen and Larry Dieringer based on their shared focus on developing and sustaining equitable, supportive, and restorative systems of school discipline, they touch on policy, the role of police, and how data shines light on the problem and solutions. See previous installments here. Larry: What Federal and/or…

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  • Dan Losen and Larry Dieringer Conversation, Part 7: Getting Started

    Dan and Larry wrap up their conversation about developing equitable, supportive, and restorative systems of school discipline by discussing how districts can start making changes. They touch on leadership and teams, and touch on SEL and social context as well. See previous installments here. Larry: If a district wants to do something, what are some…

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  • Honoring Shelley Berman

    Recently, Engaging Schools staff and board members gathered to celebrate Shelley Berman’s 32 years of continuous service to our organization, and his transition from active to emeritus member of our board of directors. He’s currently interim superintendent of schools in Andover MA. See Shelley’s website for some of his writings and other information about his…

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  • Two new articles on school discipline from the staff of Engaging Schools

    Engaging Schools’ Carol Miller Lieber and Michele Tissiere published “Recalibrating Climate, Culture, and Discipline“ in Principal Leadership, a publication of the National Association of Secondary School Principals. And Larry Dieringer participated in a roundtable discussion covered in a special section on school discipline and expulsion in the same issue.

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  • Engaging Schools joins Call to Action to U.S. Department of Education

    Engaging Schools joined over 300 other signatories in a Call to Action submitted on June 1 to the US Department of Education (DOE) advocating for practices that reach and teach the whole child. The DOE is supporting states in implementing the new federal Every Student Succeeds Act. The Call to Action emphasizes the importance of…

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  • Resources for teachers, counselors, administrators, and families responding to the election and its aftermath

    Engaging Schools has gathered the following resources that we hope will be helpful to you in supporting civil discourse, respect, and a positive environment for all students as you respond with them to the aftermath of the election, and as you facilitate discussions related to events as they unfold. We will provide additional resources as…

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  • Shifting Gears recognized by Teachers College Record

    Since it was released last year, Shifting Gears: Recalibrating Schoolwide Discipline and Student Support has been an important, hands-on resource for hundreds of school and district leaders working on school climate, culture and discipline matters. Now Shifting Gears has received a positive review from the highly regarded Teachers College Record: “Shifting Gears is a text…

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  • Students are more likely to graduate if we help them successfully adjust to high school

    Our board of directors includes many educators with deep experience as practitioners and researchers. One is Jenny Nagaoka, who – along with John Gomperts of America’s Promise Alliance – recently published a commentary in Education Week citing ways to help more students finish high school. Jenny is the Deputy Director of the University of Chicago…

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  • Resources for adults in schools post-Charlottesville

    Thanks to the Massachusetts Teachers Association and others for collecting these resources to help adults in schools as they respond to hate and bigotry with their students and peers. “Seven ways that teachers can respond to the evil of Charlottesville, starting now” http://www.alternet.org/teachers-respond-charlottesville “The first thing teachers should do when school starts is talk about…

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  • Engaging Schools Publishes White Paper on Embedding Social and Emotional Learning in High School Classrooms

    Engaging schools is pleased to announce a new white paper, Embedding Social and Emotional Learning in High School Classrooms, to help districts and schools meet the challenges of implementing social and emotional learning (SEL) in high schools. Drawing on more than 20 years’ experience working with secondary school leaders and classroom teachers, we advocate that…

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  • Recommended resources for helping students cope with mass violence

    The following resources are once again relevant to recent events. The National Association of School Psychologists’ guidelines for helping students cope with terrorism and other kinds of mass violence provides support for adults in schools. Here is an excerpt: “Upper middle school and high school students will have strong and varying opinions about the causes…

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  • Realizing the Full Vision of School Discipline Reform

    The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center has released a new report, Realizing the Full Vision of School Discipline Reform: A Framework for Statewide Change, which documents how five states have reduced their reliance on suspensions while moving toward a more comprehensive vision of school discipline reform—one that ensures that efforts to limit disciplinary…

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