WALTHAM, MA | February 29, 2012
EDC and Boston Public Schools are partners in an innovative approach to expand and deepen the schools’ ongoing efforts to respond to and prevent bullying, in compliance with the 2010 Massachusetts Bullying Prevention and Intervention Law. EDC is offering workshops and online professional development to help K–12 teachers recognize warning signs, learn how to intervene effectively, and help students develop their own skills to prevent bullying.
As part of the initiative, newly hired teachers, school personnel, and parents participate in face-to-face workshops conducted by EDC’s Bullying Prevention and Research Institute. The workshops will be ongoing throughout the school year.
In addition, EDC developed “Creating a School Climate for Bullying Prevention,” and “Bullying Prevention and Students with Disabilities,” two online professional development modules that provide school personnel with bullying prevention and intervention information and help them meet the requirements of the new law. The online modules are now available to all BPS staff through the Boston Public Schools’ website (www.bostonpublicschools.org/antibullying), enabling teachers to take the course either at school or at home.
EDC also created five guidebooks, including one to help K–12 teachers embed bullying prevention messages in their core curriculum. The guidebooks, which will soon be available on the BPS website and in print, will help parents and school personnel learn the signs of bullying, as well as what to do about bullying and how to prevent it. The workshops, online modules, and guidebooks all include a focus on students with disabilities, because research has shown they are especially at risk for becoming involved with bullying.
“Our approach is to create training and resources that are not only research-based and informative, but also flexible for districts to use,” said EDC’s Kim Storey. “The online modules are an innovative and effective way to reach the over 5,000 school personnel in the Boston Public Schools.” Storey and EDC colleague Ron Slaby, both noted bullying prevention experts, developed these new materials and also the landmark multimedia program Eyes on Bullying (www.eyesonbullying.org).
“The number of students who are adversely affected by bullying is staggering,” says EDC’s Ed Donnelly, a former school headmaster in Boston who helped design the new resources. “Statistics show that 160,000 students nationwide are absent from school daily due to bullying situations, and more than 20 percent of students report being bullied in school. It’s important that teachers know how to spot signs and know what action to take.”
EDC’s initiative with the Boston schools follows passage of the Massachusetts Bullying Prevention and Intervention Law, one of the toughest in the country. The law makes acts of bullying illegal—whether on school grounds or through the use of technology, such as texting, e-mailing, or posting on social media sites—and requires that schools and teachers proactively identify, report, and prevent bullying. To comply, all Bay State schools have had to develop detailed bullying prevention and intervention plans. The BPS partnership with EDC will support the district schools in the implementation of these plans.
For more information on the Boston effort or the training offered by the EDC Bullying Prevention and Research Institute, contact Susana Valverde at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC), is a Massachusetts-based, global nonprofit organization that addresses urgent challenges in education, health, and economic development. EDC manages 350 projects in 35 countries. Visit www.edc.org.