Monday, October 31, 2016

Core values

Radio Commentary

Publisher Dwight Moody once said, “Character is what you are in the dark.” 
In the current national climate of political attack and shrillness, it seems more important than ever to make sure our young people acquire the core values of honesty and decency. 
The idea is not new. Several years ago major corporate employers rated the five employee traits that are most and least important to them.
The highest rankings were all “work ethic” items: arriving on time, not stealing, putting in a full day’s work, being reliable. 
Interestingly, the lowest-rated items were academic background, knowledge and experience.
Author Rushworth Kidder reinforced these findings through his own research. He pointed to troublesome indications that adults’ ethics have been moving in the wrong direction.
Today we can cite hedge fund managers and a broad range of banking and white-collar fraud.
The good news is that a large portion of the public has noticed and seems to care.
Several schools throughout our county have been using constructive programs that provide values education.
The Anti-Defamation League’s programs, “A World of Difference,” and “No Place for Hate,” are excellent resource hubs for educators at every level. The common thread is that important values are selected, discussed, and practiced.
No single institution is responsible for the challenges that face our youth and adults today, and no one institution can solve the problems in isolation. I applaud our public schools for becoming an increasingly large part of the effort.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Talking with Teachers with Bill Cirone (Lauren Eubanks)

Lauren Eubanks
Orcutt Academy High School

Innovations in Education - November 2016

November 2016
Water Tower Garden
Hope School

Local Leaders with Bill Cirone (Ed Birch)

Ed Birch
Mosher Foundation


Radio Commentary

Halloween is on Monday, and it is a favorite day for young and old alike.  
However, adults should take precautions to make sure that the children who go out “trick or treating” have a safe, enjoyable evening. 
For starters, parents should make sure children wear well-fitted clothing and shoes.  Children should be encouraged to use makeup rather than masks that can obstruct their vision in the dark.
Children should also carry flashlights, and wear light-colored costumes that can easily been seen by drivers.
Children should be selective regarding the homes they visit, and it’s best to have at least one adult accompany each group of children. 
If children are old enough to be out on their own, parents should know the general path they plan to take. All children should have a specific time limit for when they are to return.
There are also several “don’ts” for children to heed:  Children should not enter any home; they should stay outside, on the front steps. 
They should go only to homes that have lights on. They should not eat any candy before an adult inspects it. Unwrapped items should be pitched.
Make sure children know to be on the lookout for cars when they cross streets and driveways.
Finally, adults should remember to take extra precautions when driving on Halloween night because children will be everywhere.
It can be a safe, harmless, enjoyable evening for all who take part if simple precautions are followed.  

Thursday, October 27, 2016

A nation of education

Radio Commentary

The percentage of the United States population that has completed high school and college has increased over the past generation.

As late as 1970, only 55 percent of the population age 25 years and older had completed four or more years of high school.
That total has jumped from 55 percent to nearly 90 percent in a recent survey.
Meanwhile, the percentage of 25-year-olds who have completed four years of college has increased from 11 percent to 34 percent.
These are findings of the National Center for Education Statistics.
Many people find it surprising to learn that, at any given time, nearly one-third of Americans are involved with our education system.
Think about that.
The United States has a population of almost 320 million people.
Of those residents, more than 77 million students are enrolled in American schools and colleges.
Many residents also work in the education system. Almost seven million Americans are employed as elementary and secondary school teachers and as college faculty.
Another five million work as professional, administrative, or support staff of educational institutions.
Clearly, education is a central portion of who we are as Americans, and nearly a third of us cherish it enough to participate in it or work for it. It’s an impressive statistic.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Ingredients for success

Radio Commentary

Four simple ingredients can make any child achieve better in school. These elements are easy to provide, and will help make your child more successful, and in life.
First comes support. 
Young people need to know that someone is in their corner. They can be successful if they feel that someone cares deeply about whether they succeed or fail, and is proud of their successes and efforts.
Second is having boundaries and expectations. Children need adults who act like adults.
Parents who are firm and loving have children who do better at school, feel more self-confident, and get into less trouble than children whose parents are either too strict or too lenient.
Third is empowerment. All people need to know they make a difference. Encourage children to provide service to others. Make sure they take part in school, community or religious organizations that provide service to others.
And fourth is constructive use of time. After school, children still need to be involved in constructive activities. Research shows that children who watch more than 10 hours of TV per week are less successful in school. 
So be sure young people have challenging and interesting activities to do after they leave the classroom each day.
These four elements — support; expectations; empowerment; and constructive use of time — have proven to make a big difference in a child’s success at school and in life.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

More decision-making skills

Radio Commentary

There are actions parents can take to help children develop good decision-making skills.
First, always set clear expectations. Children should know exactly what your position is on drug and alcohol use, gang affiliation, sexual activity, and school attendance. 
There must be clear consequences for failing to observe these rules, and your enforcement must be consistent.
You should also be aware of the example you set. 
Children of all ages are aware of your attitudes and habits. They are more likely to follow your example than your lectures.
The old adage, “Do as I say, not as I do,” simply doesn’t work with young people.
A positive parent-child relationship is good motivation for your child to follow your guidelines and standards.
Remember: You should have high expectations, but influence is not control. 
This means expressing to your child statements such as:  “You have everything you need to be successful” … and … “You can do it!” It does not mean pressuring children to achieve unrealistic perfectionist standards.
The road to adulthood is never straight and smooth, but parents can help their children on that journey with the right attitude and the right tools.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Setting TV limits

Radio Commentary

When you consider Saturday morning cartoons, computer games, advertising, and movies, it can be worrisome to think about the media’s impact on children.
How can you set family standards for violence and other questionable content?
A resource called “Parenting in a TV Age,” published by the Center for Media and Values, answered some of these questions.
First, parents should take charge of children’s TV watching or computer-game use by setting limits on how much they will be allowed to watch or play. Typical limits include two hours a day, or 10 hours on a weekend.
Parents should also encourage daily alternatives, such as sports, games, hobbies, reading, chores, and playing with friends.
It’s also a good idea to get a locking device on your TV to bar access to certain cable channels and to consider similar filters for online sites.
Parents should decide ahead of time what “strings” to attach to viewing a popular show that may contain troublesome content. For example, children might be allowed to watch a certain program only if they agree to spend 15 minutes afterward discussing it with you.
Perhaps most important of all, parents sometimes forget their crucial role as a model for their children. Be willing to set limits on your own viewing.
Model the media behavior you would like your children to follow.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Joy of reading

Radio Commentary

Columbia University professor Lucy Calkins inspired a generation of teachers to help young children become better readers.
One of her books is a parents’ guide to raising lifelong learners, and it offers some very good advice.
Her basic counsel is that good things come to those who read. If children read avidly and read a lot, they will write better, spell better, they will know more, and they will care more.
For parents, it is critical not only to support reading, but also to do it the appropriate way.
She paints two different pictures to illustrate her point. In the first scenario, the parent asks a child arriving home from school if she has any homework. The child says, “Yes, I need to read.”
The parent says, “It’s good to get your homework done right away. Why don’t you go to your room, sit at your desk, and do your reading? It really matters. That’s how you get ahead — by reading.”
That’s one way to support reading. Here’s another: The parent greets the child by saying, “You’ve had a really long day at school. I bet you’re ready for time to rest and snuggle. Why don’t we each get our books and read here on the sofa? I’m in the middle of mine now.”
“I don’t know that book you’re reading. What’s it like? You are so lucky to have teachers point you to great books like that.”
The professor says that while both approaches support reading, the second conveys the message that reading is one of life’s great gifts.
And that can make all the difference.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Zaca Preschool to move forward with help of community partnership

News release

As a result of a partnership among staff members, parents, and political and community leaders, the Zaca Preschool Program in Buellton will be able to move forward and continue to serve children and families.

The future of the program, which began 20 years ago under the umbrella of the Santa Barbara County Education Office (SBCEO), became uncertain when changes to the funding model for education made it impossible for the SBCEO to sustain the program financially.

SBCEO put in motion a series of steps to help ensure that this high quality, model preschool program could continue. The program has long enjoyed enthusiastic support of the parents of all the children involved, and the annual waiting list demonstrated its desirability and value to the families and the community.

As part of the efforts to ensure sustainability, SBCEO appointed Dr. Florene Bednersh, who established the Zaca Preschool Program two decades earlier, to identify ways to move forward. She and Shelly Grand, director of the Zaca program, are leading the transition with a partnership that has emerged among
parents, staff members, and Buellton City staff and community members.

A 501c3 will be created, and staff members and the director will stay with the program. Parents and City Council members have also indicated a willingness to take part in potential fund-raising efforts.

“With all these stakeholders working together in partnership for a common purpose, it is clear that the outlook is bright,” said County Superintendent Bill Cirone. “We are particularly proud and impressed by the parents involved, and their level of enthusiasm and caring,” he said, adding that several families moved to the proximity just so their children could attend this model, full-inclusion program.

“We recognize that a preschool program of this high caliber is a valuable asset to the children and families involved, and also to the elementary school the program feeds, as evidenced by the praise of kindergarten teachers for the preparation and abilities of the students who arrive from Zaca,” he added.

SBCEO is working to make sure that everything is in place by the next school year. If the process takes more time than anticipated, SBCEO will continue to provide support throughout the transition period until everything is finalized.

For further information, please contact Dr. Florene Bednersh at (805) 964-4710 ext. 4480.

Count to 10

Radio Commentary

According to child behavior specialists, you would be surprised how much good can result when a parent counts to 10 before responding to a child, especially in a tense situation.
When such a situation arises, pause. Don’t react. Don’t say anything. Avoid making any immediate threats, judgments, or punishments. Just wait, and give yourself 10 seconds to process the situation.
The space created by that pause will help you think about your response, and will lessen the likelihood of a “misfire” on your part that could compound the problem.
It is not uncommon for parents who are quick on the trigger to regret what came out in that first rush of reaction.
Hasty judgments, harsh consequences, or dire threats are very hard to take back once they’ve been delivered.
For that reason, it is far better to head them off before they are said out loud.
The simple act of pausing and counting to 10 can buy the time necessary to react more appropriately.
A pause can help a parent get closer to a response that is deliberate and wise.
So take a breath, count to 10, and use that time to think through what you really want to say and how you really want to react. It will make most situations much easier to handle.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Free and reduced-price meals provided in national school lunch program at one community school of the county education office for school year 2016/17

News release

Peter B. FitzGerald Community School, a program of the Santa Barbara County Education Office’s Juvenile Court and Community Schools program, announced the policy for providing free and reduced-price meals for children served under the National School Lunch Program. The school or central office has a copy of the policy, which may be reviewed by any interested party.

The household size and income criteria that follows will be used to determine eligibility for free, reduced-price, or full-price meal benefits. Children from households whose income is at or below the levels shown are eligible for free or
reduced-price meals.

Children who receive CalFresh, California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs), Kinship Guardianship Assistance Payments (Kin-GAP), or Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) benefits.

Application forms are being distributed to all households with a letter informing them of the availability of free and reduced-price meals for enrolled children. Applications are also available at the school.

To apply for free or reduced-price meal benefits, households must complete an application and return it to the school for processing. Applications may be submitted at any time during the school year. The information households provide on the application will be used to determine meal eligibility and may be verified at any time during the school year by school or program officials.

Requirements for school officials to determine eligibility for free and reduced-price benefits are as follows:

For households receiving CalFresh, CalWORKs, Kin-GAP, or FDPIR benefits – applications need only include the enrolled child(ren)'s name, CalFresh, CalWORKs, Kin-GAP, or FDPIR case number, and the signature of an adult
household member. All children in households that receive CalFresh, CalWORKS, Kin-GAP, or FDPIR are eligible for free meals, and if any child is not listed on the eligibility notice, that household should contact their school to have benefits extended to that child.

For households who do not list a CalFresh, CalWORKs, Kin-GAP, or FDPIR case number, the application must include the names of all household members, the amount and source of the income received by each household member, and the signature and corresponding last four digits of a Social Security number of an adult household member. If the household member who signs the application does not have a Social Security number, the household member must indicate on the application that a Social Security number is not available.

Under the provisions of the free and reduced-price meal policy, the determining official(s), as designated by the sponsor/agency, shall review applications and determine eligibility. Parents or guardians dissatisfied with the eligibility ruling may discuss the decision with the determining official on an informal basis. Parents may also make a formal request for an appeal hearing of the decision and may do so orally or in writing with the sponsor/agency’s hearing official. Parents or guardians should contact their child(ren)’s school(s) for specific information regarding the name of the determining official and/or hearing official for a specific school, agency, or district.

If a household member becomes unemployed or if the household size increases, the household should contact the school. Such changes may make the children of the household eligible for benefits if the household's income falls at or below the levels shown above.

Households that receive CalFresh, CalWORKs, Kin-GAP, or FDPIR benefits may not have to complete an Application for Free or Reduced-Price Meals or Free Milk . School officials will determine eligibility for free meals based on documentation obtained directly from the CalFresh, CalWORKs, Kin-GAP, or FDPIR office that a child is a member of a household currently receiving CalFresh or FDPIR benefits or an assistance unit receiving CalWORKs or Kin-GAP benefits. School officials will notify households of their eligibility, but those who do not want their
child(ren) to receive free meals must contact the school. CalFresh, CalWORKs, Kin-GAP, and FDPIR households should complete an application if they are not notified of their eligibility within 10 calendar days. Households will also be notified of any child’s eligibility for free meals if the individual child is categorized as foster, homeless, migrant, runaway, enrolled in an eligible Head Start, or enrolled in an eligible pre-kindergarten class.

Foster children are eligible for free meals and may be included as a household member of a foster family if the foster family chooses to also apply for the non-foster children. Including foster children as a household member may help the non-foster children in the household qualify for free or reduced-price meal benefits. If the foster family is not eligible for meal benefits, this does not prevent foster children from receiving free meal benefits.

Children in households participating in Women, Infants and Children (WIC) may be eligible for free or reduced-price meals. Contact school officials for further information or complete an application for processing.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture prohibits discrimination against its customers, employees, and applicants for employment on the bases of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, gender identity, religion, reprisal, and
where applicable, political beliefs, marital status, familial or parental status, sexual orientation, or all or part of an individual's income is derived from any public assistance program, or protected genetic information in employment or in any program or activity conducted or funded by the Department. (Not all prohibited bases will apply to all programs and/or employment activities.)

If you wish to file a Civil Rights program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, found online at, or at any USDA office, or call (866) 632-9992 to request the form. You may also write a letter containing all of the information
requested in the form. Send your completed complaint form or letter to us by mail at U.S. Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410, or by fax (202) 690-7442 or by email at Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech
disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339; or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish).

USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. Note:  The only protected classes covered under the Child Nutrition Programs are race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability.

Further information is available from the Santa Barbara County Education Office, Rene Wheeler, Juvenile Court and Community Schools, at 967-5307.

Bad influences

Radio Commentary

How can parents draw the line for their children in our materialistic culture, and teach them the values of thrift and common sense?
There are several good approaches.
One mother makes her children use their own money, from allowance or chores, to buy the toys or goods that they pressure her to buy. 
She said:  “I find my children don’t always want it if they have to pay for it.”
Another good idea is to involve children at an early age in the family’s charitable acts.  
When it comes to school items, it sometimes helps to set a budget and let children get what they want within that budget.
Even if they would rather have one pair of jeans with a big brand-name label and stick with their frayed T-shirts, they’re learning to make choices about what money can buy. 
It’s also important for parents to be flexible. Maybe you can give in to your children on one less expensive fashion item — such as colorful mechanical pencils, which cost a little more than the basic No. 2 variety of pencil.
But in return, you could remain firm if you are being lobbied for expensive designer shoes.
There are no hard-and-fast rules when it comes to teaching values.
The best advice, always, is to live by the values you want your children to have.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

A new direction

By Bill Cirone, Santa Barbara County Superintendent of Schools

22-year-old Yaskin Solano surveys the group assembled before him at the Los Prietos Boys Camp, a 17-acre facility in the Los Padres National Forrest that provides work and vocational training, counseling, and promotes volunteer and community service to young males aged 13 to 18 who have had trouble with
the law.

“Yesterday, my life was headed in one direction,” Yaskin says, quoting author David Mitchell. “Today, it is headed in another. Yesterday, I believe I would never have done what I did today. Each point of intersection, each encounter, suggest a new potential direction.”

Yaskin pauses to allow the prospect of a new direction to sink in. He knows this audience rather well. He used to be one of them.

His parents divorced when he was young, and his mother worked multiple jobs to provide for her family, which often meant Yaskin was left to fend for himself. He also had plenty of opportunities to get into trouble.

“I was 13 when I got my first misdemeanor charge for petty theft,” Yaskin says. “I also got into a lot of fights.” He found himself drawing the attention of both law enforcement and school administrators, for all the wrong reasons.

More trouble followed. As a 14-year old high school freshman, he was charged with grand theft after a shoplifting spree in Santa Maria with several accomplices. One result of that action was a six-month commitment to Los Prietos Boys Camp.

Barely three months in, he and three other boys escaped from the camp while walking back to their dorm rooms after dinner one evening. The escapees would eventually split up, but Yaskin remained at large for nearly three weeks.

After being taken back into custody, Yaskin was forced to confront the effects his behavior had on his mother and older siblings. “My brother and sister had their acts together,” Yaskin says, “and my mother is the hardest working person I know. I realized I was quickly running out of options. Worse, I was breaking the hearts of those who truly loved and cared about me. I had no choice but to change. Fast.”

Change he did. “When he returned to Camp,” says Mark Leufkens, the former director of Santa Barbara County Education Office’s Juvenile Court and Community Schools, “he was on his way to becoming a different person.”

With a disciplined commitment to success, he eventually graduated from Dos Pueblos High School in 2012. Yaskin, whose quiet demeanor belies his intensity and drive, is now one class short of earning his AA degree, and has his sights set on becoming an EMT, all while continuing to hone his skills as a martial
artist. He was also recently honored with an Every Student Succeeding Award, presented by the Association of California School Administrators.

But more important than the accolades is the opportunity to reach those who are making the same kinds of poor decisions he once did. It is a platform he relishes, in his capacity as communications coordinator for Freedom4Youth, whose mission is “to empower youth and build community in the juvenile
justice system.”

“I made a lot of bad choices,” Yaskin readily admits. “But I can also say that when I began to make good decisions consistently, I turned my life around. I’m excited for my future, and I’m thankful for the coaches, teachers, and administrators who never gave up on me.”

At every opportunity, Yaskin now shares his story with students. “The message I want to communicate to the students is that they have the power within them to make the right choices and turn their lives around.”

His story and message is one of hope and change. It is also one that captures the power in the saying, “Never give up on anyone. Miracles happen every day.” We join Yaskin in thanking his family, educators, and law enforcement officials who never gave up on him, inspiring a vision and path to a productive life.

Solving problems

Radio Commentary

Decision-making and problem solving are important skills to teach your child.
Talk with children about challenges they encounter. Helping them create a list of possible responses to a variety of situations can be a great learning tool.
Set up “what if” scenarios when children tell you how they might handle or deal with certain situations or problems. Brainstorm strategies and options as you show them how to take steps to tackle a situation.
It will allow them to feel confident about solving a problem or making a difficult decision.
Be sure to follow through when you are confronted with a problem and show your children the approach you use. Tell them about the tough decisions you have to make.
Realizing that everyone faces similar experiences makes children feel less frightened and helps them become better prepared.
When you’ve handled something you never thought you could, you really feel stronger and more self-confident. This is what really builds self-esteem.
Young people who experience these feelings are much more willing to face new challenges with confidence.
Remember: Don’t just handle problems for your children or make their decisions for them.
Teach them the decision-making skills they’ll need to solve problems on their own. This is an important skill that will last a lifetime.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Get involved

Radio Commentary

Any teacher will tell you: Children whose parents take an active role in their education usually do better in school, and seem to enjoy learning, and school, more than those who do not have much parental support.
They improve their skills and attitudes, develop self-confidence, and are generally better prepared for the future.
The difference comes from the message the child gets that the whole family is moving together toward the same goal.
The child gets the idea that education is important and what he or she is doing is valued.
Here are some suggestions for ways that parents can stay involved with their children’s schools throughout the school year.
  Continue to build a good relationship with your children’s teachers, the school’s principal, the guidance counselors, and other staff members at your children’s school.
• Take part in school activities: Be sure to go to Open Houses. Attend all parent-teacher conferences. Volunteer as an aide. Chaperone field trips. Join the Parent-Teacher Organization at your campus.
In short, do all you can to let the school know you support their mission and you’d like to help.
• Help your children make the most of their studies by making your home a place of learning.
• Show your child that you value education.
Stay involved! It can be one of the most rewarding and enriching experiences you’ll have. And as we all know, your children will be the beneficiaries.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Teaching self-confidence

Radio Commentary

Self-confidence enables young people to succeed in school, but it can be difficult to acquire and even harder to teach. However, parents can help nurture those skills and reap the rewards that result.
For example, children can be taught to respectfully question some conventional wisdom. There will always be those who say that something can’t be done. Help children identify the difference between those who have real wisdom and those who are just naysayers.
Emphasize that practical knowledge is just as important as learned knowledge, because knowledge lies at the heart of self-confidence. If children know how to do something, they will be more confident in their abilities.
Teach them that effort and persistence pave the road to success.
One of the most difficult things for young people to learn is that it’s OK to fail, as long as you can get back up and try again.
Find out what your child is good at, and encourage it. Success breeds self-confidence.
In school, children are required to take every subject, even those that are not their strengths. Those courses can cause frustration. Few humans of any age can be good at everything.
So be sure to focus your encouragement on the things your children do well, and don’t dwell too much on the areas where they might fall short, as long as you know they are working hard to master their challenges.
Show them that you believe they are successful. Knowing that YOU have confidence in them will help their own self-confidence.

Thursday, October 13, 2016


Radio Commentary

Trust is an important issue with preteens and teenagers. Parents often wonder how they can question their children without being accused of doubting their judgment.
Checking up on your children’s outside activities may not be met with enthusiasm, but it is important.
Many parents have heard the refrain: “I can’t believe you don’t trust me.” This can be a young person’s way of keeping parents at a distance and feeling more independent. 
It is not uncommon for young people to feel invincible and to resent interference with their social life.
One author recommends that parents respond to this resistance by saying, “We trust you, but we are concerned about the situation you’re going to be in.”
This response shows you’re concerned not with the child but with the circumstances that could occur.
Point out to your children that they won’t always have control over what can happen when they’re at a friend’s house without adult supervision.
Ask questions in a calm, non-confrontational way.
Safety issues top the priority list for parents. Young people are more likely to accept questions and supervision when it is framed in this context.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Suicide prevention

Radio Commentary

Change is a natural part of the teen years, but some changes are more serious than others. They may be warning signs of depression or even potential suicide.
If a teen shows signs of a serious problem, encourage him to get help. Warning signs include: 
• Major changes in eating or sleeping habits.
• Severely violent or rebellious behavior.
• Withdrawal from family or friends.
• Running away.
• Persistent boredom or trouble concentrating.
• Unusual neglect of appearance.
• Radical personality change.
• Preoccupation with the theme of death.
• Giving away prized possessions, and
• Expressing suicidal thoughts, even jokingly.
Parents can help a depressed teen. First, listen. Don’t dismiss the problems as trivial. To him they matter a great deal.
Be honest. If you are worried about your teen, tell him. Professionals say you will not spark thoughts of suicide by asking about it.
Share your feelings. Let your teenager know she’s not alone. Everyone feels sad or depressed occasionally.
Get help. Find a physician, psychologist or qualified professional. Don’t wait for it to “go away.” Simple depression can escalate to the point that the teen may think of suicide as the only way out.
If you see signs of depression, take them seriously. You could be saving a life.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Innovations in Education

October 2016
Crystal Apple Award Winners

Role models

Radio Commentary

A study shows that stress from school hits students hard at all ages and grade levels.
In the study, students named more than 300 stress factors they felt at school. The number one stress was schoolwork itself. 
Contrary to myth, most students work hard at school and want to do well. Having difficulty can cause a great deal of stress.
More girls than boys cited social stresses, and peer pressure about their appearance. More boys than girls said they felt anxious about discipline. This dovetails with studies that show more boys are disciplined than girls.
Also listed were stresses ranging from riding the bus to preparing for a career.
Clearly, no student can lead a stress-free life — plus, that would be terrible preparation for the real world. But we know that an overload of stress can cause physical and emotional problems that compound the situation.
 For this reason, it is a good idea to reduce some of the stress in children’s lives. Methods include using alternative forms of discipline and increasing cooperative activities.
It’s also critical to understand that each child is different, and matures at a different rate.
This knowledge prevents us from creating a one-size-fits-all situation where deviations from the norm create an additional form of undue stress.

Monday, October 10, 2016


Radio Commentary

We have made many strides in tolerance and consideration for others, both as a society and in our schoolyards. 
But human nature and normal child development dictate that despite our best efforts, there will still be bullies and victims.
The world is full of them, and our schoolyards are no exception. That’s why teaching children to deal with these individuals is an important life lesson.
The best way to safeguard your children from becoming victims of a schoolyard bully is to teach them how to be assertive.
Encourage children to express their feelings clearly and to say “no” when they feel pressured or uncomfortable in a situation. 
Show them how to stand up for themselves verbally, without fighting. And make sure they know to walk away in dangerous situations. Bullies are less likely to intimidate children who are confident and resourceful.
Here are some good ideas for parents:
  Teach your children early to recognize — and then steer clear of — children who show bullying behavior.
  Teach them to be assertive rather than aggressive or violent when confronted by a bully. They should say “no” or state how they feel as a simple fact, with no “attitude” attached.

•  Make sure they know not to threaten others in any way. It is also very important for them to know how to walk away without hesitation when it seems that danger might be present.