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Dr. Jody McVittie Reflects on a New Phase

Dr. Jody McVittie Reflects on a New Phase

Featured, In the News

January 2022; We are on the threshold of a new year, and I am also on the threshold of a new phase of life. Beginning in February, I am shifting from my role as Director of Strategic Partnerships to a transitional role as part-time Strategic Advisor. For the next 6-9 months, I’ll focus on a few specific projects: evaluation, curriculum development, and capacity building. As I move toward full retirement, I’m looking forward to spending more time with my grandchildren, playing with some art projects, and exploring a small collective climate project that has interested me for a time.

This …

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The Power of Shared Purpose

The Power of Shared Purpose

In the News

Every day, we live in the tension between immediate practicality and purpose. Sometimes scary obstacles, challenges, distractions, and habits of mind obscure or induce amnesia about our deep purpose. What’s worse, the more aware of purpose we are, sometimes the more agonizing it is to struggle between our defaults and a response that connects with our purpose! (Or am I the only one?).

  • Do I need this kid to grow up loving learning, or just to get their homework done, brush their teeth, and get to bed so I can rest?
  • Do I need my student to experience belonging, or
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Specialists Find Special Time with Students

Specialists Find Special Time with Students

Connection, Inspiring Stories, Problem Solving, Relationships, Teachers

Imagine you’re a librarian at an elementary school. You have the unique opportunity of getting to interact with EVERY student in your school community and hopefully instill in them a lifelong love of reading. Cool, right? Here’s the catch: unlike a classroom educator, your time with students is limited and spread out. So, how do you develop those deeper relationships that support students to engage in learning?

The Specialist staff at Terminal Park Elementary in Auburn, Washington were feeling this struggle of not having enough time to get through their content while also getting to know their students as individuals. …

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Taming the Brain’s Negativity Bias with Gratitude

Taming the Brain’s Negativity Bias with Gratitude

Brain Science, In the News, Trauma

Schools — places chartered to support young people to reach their full human potential — can instead be places where adults get stuck in negativity bias — perfectionism, hurt, fear, cynicism. It’s our body’s default response to stay safe. Our brains are wired to notice danger, threats, and problems. Because of this, we sometimes simply do not see the strengths, beauty, and potential in one another.

Let’s start by talking about strengths

One educator we began working with several years ago was struggling to see the good in her students. In the beginning, she believed Sound Discipline approaches were nonsense. …

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#EducatorsAreShowingUp

#EducatorsAreShowingUp

Inspiring Stories, Teachers

Our Inspiring Story this month (and probably next month too) is you!

Whether you are an educator in Washington or Oregon, or somewhere in Indiana reading this on your laptop in the dead of night. Educators – we see you. You’re showing up. When school was abruptly cancelled on Friday, November 12, many more people became aware of the pressures on educators as they navigate the third school year impacted by the pandemic.

This week, a teacher confided in one of our staff that she had yelled at one of her students because they answered a FaceTime call during class. …

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Shifting from Power-Over to Power-With When Working with Young People

Shifting from Power-Over to Power-With When Working with Young People

In the News, Point of View, Teachers, Uncategorized

“If I could wave a magic wand, my students would understand how thrilling it can be to take control of their learning. My co-workers would understand how much more of an enriching experience it is for both us and the humans who are our students to buy in to their learning.”

        • Sara Wozniak-Randall, 7th grade Pacific Northwest History, Dimmitt Middle School

 

 

Sound Discipline’s work is about power. Our work invites adults who work with youth to shift from practices based in control and compliance to practices based in shared power. The principles of shared power are basic to …

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What Happened to You?

What Happened to You?

Brain Science, In the News, Point of View, Trauma

When I was a kid in the late 1960s and early 70s, I attended St. Rita’s school in a little town called Sierra Madre. The culture was corporal punishment and shame. It wasn’t until 5th grade that I had a teacher who did not use physical violence or terror. None of this seemed unusual. My experience was common. We found ways to navigate and survive. Kids’ stories of themselves and one another were shaped by shame and fear – those stories shaped the course of our lives. My story was that adults could not be trusted. I did not respect …

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Lunch time! How Bryn Mawr Elementary Creates Community in the Lunchroom

Lunch time! How Bryn Mawr Elementary Creates Community in the Lunchroom

Connection, Inspiring Stories, Routines, Teachers

We all have distant memories of a loud, chaotic lunchroom, where students often had their heads down for being too loud and left lunch a bit dysregulated and less ready to learn. At Bryn Mawr Elementary, the staff has creatively addressed one of the key sources of stress for all schools this year – how to manage the lunchroom in the wake of a pandemic.

Lunch time at Bryn Mawr Elementary

They wanted to create opportunities for students to learn and be part of community throughout the day, and that included lunch time. The classified staff met in August to …

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Gathering Student Input and Learning About Feelings

Gathering Student Input and Learning About Feelings

Feelings and emotions, Inspiring Stories, Teachers

Redwood Elementary in Grants Pass, Oregon is one of the schools in our District Partnerships program. Last school year, the school’s data team collected data about student behaviors that were most challenging to the staff. One of the challenging behaviors was defiance.

Initially, the data team started thinking about it from the teachers’ perspective, wondering what other tools could be used to deal with defiant student behavior. Before the educators implemented any tools, they decided to gather information from students. Teachers talked to students individually and had class discussions. What they learned surprised them!  As students shared, a pattern emerged: …

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Repackaging Consequences Does Not Create Equitable Learning Communities

Repackaging Consequences Does Not Create Equitable Learning Communities

In the News, Point of View, Race and Equity

As the new executive director of Sound Discipline, I spend a lot of time studying everything I can about education equity, and social emotional learning.

A few weeks ago, I read an article that I found disturbing:  “How Novice and Expert Teachers Approach Classroom Management Differently.” Citing a 2021 study, the author asserts that it “reveals the ways in which new and experienced teachers think about discipline – plus 5 takeaways for managing your classroom effectively this year.”

I posted it on Sound Discipline’s internal Slack, asking colleagues, “Does this article bug you?”  Here are highlights of …

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