Best practice resources for educators

Research- and evidence-based resources from top non-profit providers

Incident response: two important resources...

  • Generation Safe from nonprofit organization iKeepSafe, helps with digital-media professional development and incident management tools that address sexting, cyberbullying, harassment, hacking, cheating, blackmail and "improper boundaries between teacher and student." Subscription-based Generation Safe is being used by schools in the US, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia and China.
  • A sexting typology for working with students and parents in a sexting incident. Researchers at University of New Hampshire's Crimes Against Children Research Center make the distinction between “experimental” and “aggravated” sexting," the latter having “criminal or abusive elements beyond the creation, sending or possession of youth‐produced sexual images." The additional elements are either adult involvement or criminal or abusive behavior by the minors. The latter includes three categories: 1) sexual abuse, extortion, threats; 2) malicious conduct arising from interpersonal conflicts; or 3) creation or sending or showing of images without the knowledge or against the will of a minor who was pictured. [See also: "A Victimless Sex Crime: The Case for Decriminalizing Consensual Teen Sexting" (2013, U. of MI Journal of Law Reform); an at-a-glance chart about state laws addressing sexting and "revenge porn" (nonconsensual nude photo-sharing) from the Cyberbullying Research Center; and these research insights concerning sexting by minors.]

For tech and media policymaking: For schools or districts revising or developing Responsible Use Policies, iKeepSafe's 360 Self-Assessment tool lays out the steps to consider for policy that works for their school(s). And there's significant guidance throughout Generation Safe on how to establish policy that reflects a school's culture and social norms related to digital media. See also Edutopia's "How to Create Social Media Guidelines for Your School."

Student mentor training for bullying prevention: Through its Safe School Ambassadors peer-mentoring program, national nonprofit organization Community Matters trains students to be "upstanders" instead of bystanders, harnessing students' own power to prevent and stop bullying and violence. Since 2000, the evidence-based program has trained students in grades 4-12 with "the communication and intervention skills to prevent and stop emotional and physical bullying and improve school climate." Other Community Matters programs can be found here.

Social-emotional learning for safety from bullying: identified by researchers as a major part of bullying prevention (online and offline). Two evidence programs for school-based social-emotional learning are Committee for Children's Second Step programs for grades K-5 and 6-8 teach "skills for social and academic success" and the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence's RULER approach to whole-school-community SEL. "RULER" stands for Recognizing emotions, Understanding their causes and consequences, Labeling them accurately, Expressing them appropriately and Regulating them effectively.

Growing young people's resilience: Evidence-based Resilience Builder Program for Children and Adolescents: Enhancing Social Competence and Self-Regulation provides 30 group sessions "designed to help youth bounce back from the challenges in their lives by increasing confidence, self-esteem, self-control, and the use of coping strategies."

Digital literacy instruction for middle school: Nonprofit organization Cyberwise's research-grounded, three-year "Cyber Civics" curriculum for the middle school grades teaches critical thinking and ethical decision making about digital media issues through role-play, hands-on projects, and problem solving tasks. Can be taught without technology. 

Restorative practices resource: Many educators have heard of "restorative justice." According to the International Institute for Restorative Practices, restorative justice, a response, is a subset of restorative practices, which encompass both prevention and intervention. "In schools, the use of restorative practices has been shown to reliably reduce misbehavior, bullying, violence and crime among students and improve the overall climate for learning." The IIRP site is a comprehensive resource on restorative practices and professional development.

Suicide prevention & moreSources of Strength, listed in SAMHSA's national registry of evidence-based programs, is one of the first suicide prevention programs 
to use Peer Leaders to enhance protective factors associated with reducing suicide in schools. Also addresses bullying and substance abuse.

Addressing prejudice: WelcomingSchools.org, a project of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, offers professional development toolslessons aligned with the Common Core State Standards, and other resources for elementary schools on embracing diversity, avoiding gender stereotyping and ending bullying and name-calling.

Annual bullying prevention conference: Hosted by the International Bullying Prevention Association each fall, IBPA brings together the top researchers and practitioners and latest developments in social literacy, bullying prevention, restorative practices for a comprehensive update, networking opportunities and continuing education credits.

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