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In grades PreK-12, the Newton Public Schools utilizes a variety of curricula to teach and reinforce the values of empathy and respect for others - central to bullying prevention.
Second Step for Preschool
Developed by Committee for Children, this research-based program feels like play but builds critical social and school-readiness skills that can help young children achieve more and get along with others. Child-friendly photo-lesson cards contain complete lesson scripts with ideas for group discussions, skill practice, and other activities.
This approach to elementary and middle school teaching emphasizes social, emotional, and academic growth in a strong and safe school community. The goal is optimal student learning via specific guiding principles and classroom practices. Highlights emphasize the importance of the social curriculum and positive interaction skills. The program focuses on how children learn, respects the individuality of each child, utilizes partnerships with families, teaches cooperative problem solving, develops logical consequences, and models a collaborative whole-school approach.
Responsive Classroom focuses on preventing bullying by creating an environment where kindess rather than meanness prevails.
Understanding Our Differences
Understanding Our Differences (UOD) is a Newton nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing information, understanding, and acceptance of people with disabilities and individual differences. Since 1978, UOD has been disseminated to more than 200 schools and youth organizations nationwide. More than 26,000 elementary school students and some 8,000 adult, high school and college students have participated as trained, volunteer instructors. The nationally recognized, award-winning program fosters respect, tolerance, and compassion in elementary schools and communities at large to increase information, understanding, and acceptance of people with disabilities and individual differences. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Second Step Middle School Program: Student Success through Prevention
Developed by Committee for Children, this evidence-based curriculum targets substance abuse, bullying, and violence prevention. It promotes the development of empathy, positive communication, and emotion management; and coping, problem solving, decision making, and goal-setting skills. These positive factors enhance stress management. There are 13-15 lessons for each middle school grade: six, seven, and eight. These lessons use interactive teaching methods and media to engage students to make positive choices and support social emotional learning. It includes targeted lessons on cyberbullying. The comprehensive curriculum advocates a community-wide approach that links school personnel and parents to support common goals. These goals are designed to increase protective factors, such as school “connectedness” (i.e., students sense that they have at least one adult in the school that they feel connected to) and social skills development (such as assertive communication skills and positive peer relationships). The Second Step program is designed to create a peer environment where thoughtful decision making is encouraged and substance abuse is rejected.
Library: Lessons on Responsible Internet Use
Students use the Internet for information and for communication. The Library Department is developing a sequential series of lessons that instruct students in becoming ethical users of electronic information and resources, and responsible participants in social networks. In grades 3-5, there are a series of lessons in place that address Internet Safety. The classroom teacher and the instructional technology specialist jointly teach the lesson in grade 3. The lessons in grades 4 and 5 are co-taught by the library teacher and the classroom teacher. These lessons require students to apply what they learn in grade 3 as they are challenged to respond to a set of actual scenarios. The scenarios are thematic: grade 4 addresses the appropriate use of email; grade 5 addresses chat rooms and cyberbullying. Other lessons focus on social networking, student understanding of the Acceptable Use Policy, netiquette, and citing sources. These lessons are reinforced at the middle school level in lessons taught by the library teacher in grade 6 and by the health/wellness teacher, all in conjunction with the Second Step curriculum. The high school library teachers also reinforce messages having to do with responsible use of the Internet as part of their orientations to the library and their ongoing work with students conducting research.