MI ‘success coach’ works with school, parents, community to reduce absenteeism

School “success coach” Scott Snyder is working to improve school attendance among students at Cascades Elementary School in Jackson, Michigan, reports media website MLive.

“We try to provide anything (parents) need to get their children to school,” he told MLive, as he played rock-paper-scissors with students streaming into the building on a recent morning. “We greet the kids every morning enthusiastically.”

Snyder is among numerous success coaches deployed to schools across Michigan by the state’s Department of Health and Human Services. A key goal is to reduce student absenteeism.

According to MLive, the Pathways to Potential Program started in the Detroit, Flint, Pontiac, and Saginaw school districts in the 2012–13 school year and has since spread to other schools in the state.

Success coaches focus on removing barriers that keep kids from school, through everything from securing clothes and personal items to connecting parents with resources in the community. A Pathways statement notes that “students who don’t have these basic needs met often do not go to school.”

The program helped cut chronic absenteeism in Jackson County schools by 20 percent during the 2016–17 school year. Just six Michigan counties met that target, MLive reports.

MDHHS spokesman Bob Wheaton told MLive that Pathways is unique in that it doesn’t require participants to come to a government building to receive assistance, and said student attendance is one of five issues the program works to address, the others being education, health, safety, and self-sufficiency.

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Perhaps the most critical element of this effort is the connection between the success coach, the school’s officials, the parents, and the community in helping the child succeed. Daily school attendance requires—and develops—responsibility, dependability, and grit. These qualities are moral in nature, and while they ultimately reside in each individual student and become each student’s concern, they are more likely to flourish when they are visibly supported and reinforced by the actions and the words of the various adults in the students’ lives. As James Davison Hunter put it in his monograph The Tragedy of Moral Education in America:

Moral education can work where the community, and schools and other institutions within it, share a moral culture that is integrated and mutually reinforcing; where the social networks of adult authority are strong, unified, and consistent in articulating moral ideas and their attending virtues; and where adults maintain a “careful watchfulness” over all aspects of a young person’s maturation.

The habit of attending school regularly is an area where a student’s virtue—in this case, self-discipline—is directly and clearly connected to their academic achievement. The website Understood.org has discussed the impact chronic absenteeism can have on a child’s academic progress, particularly with young students (like those at Cascades Elementary School). “Missing school in the early grades can have a snowball effect,” notes writer Kate Kelly on the website. “It sets kids up to fall behind in the fundamental reading skills they need in order to move on to more complicated work.”

Parents are key to this process. Kelly observes that

Many parents may not realize how often their child is absent from school. A missed day here and here may not seem significent compared to missing several days in a row. But missing just two days per month can add up to a child being considered chronically absent.

This, she adds, can have direct academic impact:

Chronic absences keep kids from getting the consistent instruction they need to build on basic skills. For kids with learning and attention issues, there’s something else to consider: Frequent absences not only mean less instruction, but also missed opportunities for intervention, re-teaching and enrichment.

NY students interview vets, use stories to create interactive book

Fourth graders in Pittsford, New York’s Thornell Road Elementary School are making some new friends in their community and chronicling their stories in a book about service and sacrifice.

Teacher Toni Stevens-Oliver’s class recently interviewed 23 veterans from the Rayson-Miller American Legion Post 899 to get an intimate understanding of why they joined the service and how it shaped their lives. The students then chronicled the stories in a new book called “Veteran’s Voices” – which also features an online app to view videos of the veterans in their own words, WHAM reports.

“The book was a way for us to connect one-on-one personally a student with a veteran and get to know each other through the veteran telling their story and the student writing that story,” Stevens-Oliver told the news site.

The veterans “were blown away by the interest the students showed, the respect the children showed,” she said. “We hope our book inspires people to ask their local veterans what their story is.”

Students told WHAM they learned a lot from the class project.

“Freedom isn’t free, and the veterans sacrificed a lot of things,” student James Kazacos said. “They sacrificed time with their family, holidays.”

“They are just like normal people, except that they step up and do a job that takes courage,” classmate Jake Schreyer added.

Al Herdkoltz, commander of the Rayson-Miller post, said the effort gives him hope the stories of local veterans will not be forgotten.

“They actually had an interest and they were my friends,” he said. “I felt very comfortable and at ease. I felt I had a new friendship even though there was quite a bit of age difference, they were my friends.”

Steven-Oliver shared the project on Shutterfly and posted supporting documents to her Pittsford Schools website as a template for teachers looking to pursue a similar project. The school page also features a special shout out from Sen. Rich Funke acknowledging students’ hard work.

“To take the time to not only interview our veterans, but to take those interviews and incorporate them into an interactive book was special, not just to them but to all of us who care about our veterans,” Funke said in a video message.

Researchers at the Institute of Advanced Studies in Culture stress the importance of developing a sense of responsibility for and ownership of something larger than students’ self-interests. In The Content of Their Character, researchers noted how rural schools are particularly strong at fostering connections to broader spheres of moral obligation through immigration, religion and the military.

“In addition to building greater knowledge of cultures and societies outside of the U.S.,” researchers wrote, great teachers “were aiming primarily to build social-perspective taking, empathy and general critical thinking skills.”

Much of the work centers on gratitude, and the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues offers a plethora of research on the subject, including the public’s perception of gratitude and links between the virtue and service.

“More recently, the Centre has extended its focus on gratitude by examining the effects of teaching interventions on comprehensions of gratitude and related virtues,” according to the website.

IN history teacher brings Pledge of Allegiance to life through personal connections

Greensburg High School history teacher John Pratt is bringing the Pledge of Allegiance to life in a unique way that’s inspiring students to think big.

Pratt explained his very simple idea for the pledge to the Indianapolis Star: “Each day we have someone different from the community in to lead us.”

So far, those people have included Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb, astronaut David Wolf, former Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz, journalists and cartoonists for the Star, Congressional Medal of Honor recipients, and dozens of other inspiring characters.

In some cases those who participate call in, or video conference, while others visit the rural school in person to connect with students. Pratt told the Star that arranging a new person to lead the pledge each day can be a chore, but it’s a worthwhile effort to offer up role models who love and respect America.

“I love saying the pledge every day because it gives me an opportunity to thank those who served our country,” he said. “In particular those in my family.”

Many of the distinguished guests share inspiring stories with students that encourage them to dream big, a concept Pratt first developed as a teacher near Lake Chautauqua, New York two decades ago. There, Pratt revived a 19th century program called Chautauqua that brought in notable speakers to share their unique lives. Many had overcome life-altering challenges, such as the Holocaust, life without a limb, or the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

And while the program at Greensburg High School involves less interaction than the in-depth lectures in New York, it’s clearly inspiring students to reflect on their civic responsibilities and character.

“It’s an awesome project that Mr. Pratt put together. It makes you more attentive,” Greenburg High School senior Walker Taylor told the Star. “It makes you want to put more effort into the pledge because there is someone with a different history in here every day.”

Pratt believes it’s a program all schools could benefit from to make significant broader impact.

“I teach students to be idealists. And wouldn’t it be cool if once a month every school had a guest leader for the Pledge of Allegiance?” he told the Star. “There are hundreds of dignitaries in Indiana. Wouldn’t it be great if each one took 60 seconds out of the schedule to phone in the Pledge of Allegiance with any school. Think of the value that would have.”

Research from the Institute of Advanced Studies in Culture at the University of Virginia shows parents undoubtedly support Pratt’s mission.

A 2016 survey summarized in “The Vanishing Center of American Democracy” found that “eight of 10 (respondents) … agree that ‘America is an exceptional nation with a special responsibility to lead the world.’

“Overwhelmingly (93%), they also describe themselves as patriotic,” according to the report.

Educators considering their role in promoting patriotism in students could consider education activist Diane Ravitch’s article “Should We Teach Patriotism?

Ravitch reviews her take on the history of patriotism in American schools, as well as thoughts on the proper way to convey the concept to students.

“If … we teach civic education and define patriotism as a respectful understanding and appreciation of the principles and practices of democratic self-government, then patriotism should be woven through the daily life and teachings of the public schools,” Ravitch wrote.


SC schools improve behavior issues through ‘Leader in Me’ character education

The Sumpter School District is working to create a culture shift at five South Carolina elementary schools through a “Leader in Me” character education curriculum based on “The Seven Habits of Happy Kids.”

“The Seven Habits of Happy Kids” is a book by Sean Covey, son of best-selling author Stephen Covey, who is known internationally for his work “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.” The Leader in Me curriculum encourages kids to create habits to “Be Proactive,” “Begin with the End in Mind,” “Put First Things First” and “Think Win-Win,” among others, the Sumter Item reports.

In Sumter schools, administrators and teachers are working to incorporate the concepts into all aspects of school life with the help of designated Student Leaders. Each month, participating schools select Student Leaders of the Month from each classroom, as well as a Teacher Leader of the Month from each school, and celebrate the recognition during a special awards breakfast with parents.

The new approach has created “a huge climate change in the school among both students and teachers,” Shaw Heights Elementary School principal Melissa Morris told the news site.

Morris said teachers focus on a fresh aspect of the habits for healthy kids each week, and she’s witnessed a decrease in behavior problems compared to previous years, something she attributes to Leader in Me’s focus on deeper concepts that are often overlooked by other character education programs.

“In Think Win-Win, students not only celebrate their successes, but also celebrate others’ success, accordingly, as well,” Morris said. “The program is helping throughout the building. Previous methods never caused a cultural shift for the whole school. We’re creating responsible, respectful, life-long learners.”

Students and parents seem to agree.

Clyde and Tiffany Rankins both took time off work in the U.S. Air Force to attend a recent breakfast at Shaw Heights, where their third-grade son Kayleb was selected as classroom Student Leader of the Month.

“We’re super proud of him,” Tiffany Rankins told the Item. “We’re proud to see him be a leader among his peers. I think it’s a great initiative.”

The successful program reflects the strong ties between Sumter schools and parents, and the shared vision of creating well-balanced students of good character

James Davison Hunter, founder of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture, wrote in his book “The Tragedy of Moral Education in America”:

Morality is a vision of moral goods shared by a community; the attitudes, aspirations, sensibilities, and dispositions that define its highest aspirations for itself, and how those moral goods find expression in every situation in daily life.

The Leader in Me website offers a variety of ways to take action, whether it’s through education, advocacy, parenting or sponsorship. The site also provides links to events, funding, resources, news, speakers, books, and blogs to guide people through the school transformation process.

DC schools search for new chancellor ‘with a deep moral compass’

District of Columbia Public Schools is hosting public forums as part of its second search for a new chancellor in as many years, and it’s clear many are looking to avoid ethical issues that plagued prior administrations.

DCPS’ most recent chancellor, Antwan Wilson, resigned in February for bypassing the district’s admissions lottery process to transfer his daughter to a limited enrollment high school – the same exact issue that led to the departure of the previous chancellor, Kaya Henderson, WAMU reports.

The situation wasn’t lost on those who participated in the public forums in August and September, when many spoke of the importance of selecting a new leader with strong character.

“Given the history we have in the city, I think we need a chancellor with a deep moral compass,” Anacostia High School volunteer Aaron Jenkins told WAMU. “(We need) someone that has an understanding of not only the job they have to do as chancellor but also a deeper awareness of right and wrong.”

Emily Mechner, a mother of three students at Oyster Adams Bilingual School, echoed Jenkins’ sentiments.

“A lot of people at our table were really interested in our chancellor having a real strong ethical center, to have a real clear moral sense of what is right and what’s important for the schools and the community,” Mechner said.

Participants also identified a performance gap between schools in the district, the accessibility of central office officials, and a need for more family engagement as top priorities. D.C. Interim Deputy Mayor for Education Ahnna Smith and her staff documented the public forums, and she said “the mayor and committee members would receive a synthesized report of all the public forums”.

The city will consider the feedback, as well as comments submitted online, as committee members wade through applicants for a new chancellor.

James Davison Hunter, founder of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture, wrote about how a person’s character is largely the product of a broader moral culture that includes school, home life, media, relationships and countless other factors.

“This moral culture not only gives us our ethical understanding, it also tells us who we are,” Hunter wrote in “The Tragedy of Moral Education in America” “It provides us with an understanding of what it means to be human and what kind of human we should ideally be.”

Great Hearts Academies offers a video about what the non-profit public charter school network is doing to develop future leaders schools and communities can depend on, with the character and integrity to serve others honorably.

In the video “Building Goodness by Building Character” students and school officials explain why Great Hearts is focused strongly on character formation, and why it’s important for the future.

“It’s not just about producing brilliant kids,” Great Hearts co-founder Daniel Scoggin said, “but brilliant kids who have the character to deploy that talent for a good that’s greater than themselves.”

WA revises student discipline rules to focus on keeping kids in school

Washington state’s new school discipline rules will continue to shift schools away from suspensions and expulsions in favor of policies that keep kids in the building for minor offenses.

The Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction recently adopted updated rules for student discipline as part of a broader effort to close opportunity gaps between students of different races.

The new rules, which were crafted through feedback from students, parents, educators and community leaders, will be phased in over the next two years, the Snoqualmie Valley Record reports.

For 2018-19, the state is prohibiting schools from suspending or expelling any student for excessive absences or tardiness, with additional restrictions set for next school year. The new rules encourage schools to use best practices to minimize suspensions and expulsions, particularly in response to behaviors that do not pose a threat to school safety. The rules will also ban the expulsion of students through fourth grade, and require schools to clarify how students can continue their education if they are suspended or expelled for students above grade four.

Snoqualmie Valley School District Assistant Superintendent Jeff Hogan told the news site he supports the changes, which are consistent with his district’s move toward a softer student discipline approach in recent years.

“We started changing our policies to keep students in school and engaged rather than stunt their education over more minor offenses,” Hogan said. “Back in the day if a student skipped school, it was the policy to suspend them. Seems kind of counterproductive, don’t you think?”

The new state rules ensure suspended or expelled students can participate in the general education curriculum to complete their classwork and graduation requirements, though those sent home for more than 10 days will now be required to secure a reengagement plan before returning to school, the Valley Record reports.

At Snoqualmie Valley and other districts, officials plan to rely more on punishments like community service, restitution and in-school suspensions to keep kids learning when they’re out of class.

“Our goals are to give appropriate discipline to students and to shorten suspension and get kids reengaged as quickly as possible for when they are suspended for serious offenses,” Hogan said.

Researchers at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture have noted how discipline policies help students do the right thing can be more effective than simply imposing punishment.

Institute founder James Davison Hunter explains in “The Death of Character” that moral autonomy is an individual’s capacity to freely make ethical decision, because “controlled behavior cannot be moral behavior, for it removes the element of discretion and judgement.”

By helping students work through conflicts and behavior issues, through restorative justice practices or counseling that help them freely atone for their behaviors, they gain the moral autonomy to do the right thing, for the right reasons.

The blog Academike takes a deeper look at “Reformative Theory of Punishment,” as well as the concept of restorative justice that’s taking root in both schools and the criminal justice system.

“Crime is a violation of people and relationships. It creates obligations to make things right,” according to the blog. “Justice involves the victim, the offender, and the community in a search for solutions that promote repair, reconciliation and reassurance.”


Alternative thinking about student discipline in schools

Schools across the country, and California as well, are rethinking school discipline in an effort to reduce suspensions for black students, both through restorative justice programs and policy changes focused on keeping unruly students in school.

Supporters of the new approach have pointed to evidence in suspension data in calls on U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to continue policies designed to reduce the racial discipline gap, while others are outlining nuances in discipline data to understand contributing factors, The 74 Million reports.

“So much of the debate centers on whether schools are being too dismissive or overly punitive, and factors like school structure, which data show correlates to suspension rates, tends to get overlooked,” Tom Loveless, an education policy researcher for the Bookings Institution, told the education site.

Loveless published a report in 2017 on out -of-school suspensions in California schools that examined trends between 2012 and 2015. The study focused on students in schools with more than 50 students, and excluded data from alternative schools, juvenile delinquent facilities and those serving students with disabilities.

According to The 74, Loveless found:

–        Among schools that suspend a disproportionate number of black students, school size tends to correlate with suspension rates. The rates of suspensions for black students went up as school size increased.

–        Suspension rates for black students tend to peak in middle school and then fall in high school.

–        Black students are more likely to be suspended when they attend segregated or “racially isolated” schools than when they attend majority-white or mixed-race schools.

Loveless and other education experts are only starting to understand what the trends mean, but it’s obvious that the structure of schools have an impact on outcomes.

“Loveless’s research suggests there are factors within school districts’ control that impact suspension rates but have little to do with actual discipline policies,” the education site reports. “One factor is school size, particularly middle schools. Loveless noted that school size could be adjusted by reassigning students to different schools or building new ones.”

Another factor that’s less researched is students’ character formation.

James Davison Hunter, founder of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture, highlighted the critically important role schools play in shaping the morality and character of students in his book “The Tragedy of Moral Education in America.”

“The components of morality are expressed in a community’s institutions, including its moral rules,” Hunter wrote. “When it functions well, our moral culture binds us, compels us, in ways of which we are not fully aware.”

Schools with a strong moral culture compel students to show kindness and compassion for their classmates, teachers and others, which reduces disciplinary problems.

The Community School for Social Justice and others are working to create that kind of atmosphere with restorative justice practices, such as fairness committees in lieu of suspensions.  However, restorative justice does not the offender off the hook.

“The Fairness Committee of The Community School for Social Justice is a restorative justice model of school discipline. This mode enforces positive conflict resolution, emphasizing on the violation of community norms established by all members of the school community,” according to the school website. “Fairness Committee seeks to encourage dialogue amongst community members in order to come to reach a consensus on appropriate consequences for those violations rather than handing out punishments.”

Texas middle-schoolers focus on leadership, service work, and financial responsibility

At Texas’ White Oak Middle School, students are learning about leadership, setting goals, career opportunities, and service work.

It’s part of an effort to give students “extra encouragement” to become role models for their classmates and others, and to help develop kids into responsible, respectable citizens who contribute to their community, the Longview News-Journal reports.

About 40 students enrolled in semester-long courses in leadership or career investigations this year, assistant superintendent Mitzi Neely said, and school officials are already noticing a “mindset shift” that’s making a positive impact.

“I had a student that came to me at the beginning of class who said, ‘I just wanted you to know I had a situation, and I wanted you to know how I handled it,’” Neely told the news site. “It was the total opposite of what he would’ve done four weeks ago, and he said, ‘It’s just about taking the high road … and not give in to what the negativity is.’”

Neely and White Oak principal Becky Balboa are working with the leadership students, while coach Roy Boyett leads the career investigations course, which involves online modules, personality and career survey, question-and-answer sessions with local professionals, job fairs and other work to help students get a head start on planning for high school and beyond.

In the leadership class, the focus is on developing character virtues, personal finance and service projects like a recent luncheon to give thanks to local police and firefighters on September 11, the News-Journal reports.

“I think (the community service project) will help us be more thankful for what they do for us,” eighth-grader Landyn Grant told the news site.

The intent, classmate Dyllon Heist said, is to show “a great respect for what they do.”

Heist told the News-Journal that while he initially signed up for the leadership course to spend time with Landyn, his best friend, the class has ultimately helped him “be a better person.”

“After being in there for a couple of weeks, it was like I’m having fun with Landyn, plus I’m learning,” he said. “(Before the class) I was, like, ‘I’m going to fight everybody,’ but taking the high road’s better. It really taught me to be a better person.”

The approach at White Oak Middle School is similar to “alternative pedagogy” schools in that it provides needed context for moral formation.

David Sikkink, researcher with the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture, explained how alternative pedagogy schools work in “The Content of Their Character,” a summary of character education in a wide variety of different U.S. high schools.

At alternative pedagogy schools, Sikkink noted “a distinctive organization and distinctive practices and orientations that generated a particular context for student moral and civic formation,” as well as “a fairly explicit understanding of student formation goals, which to a large extent were an outgrowth of an alternative vision of the educational task.”

The Jubilee Center for Character and Virtues provides resources for educators who want to help students develop their own “good sense,” a foundational concept that factors into everything from leadership to college and career planning to community service work.

“Living with ‘good sense’ sets out the ways and means of realizing the good in the down to earth, concrete realities of any given situation,” according to the lesson “An Intellectual Virtue: Good Sense.” “When it is well practiced, it enables suppleness in the face of the complexities of the ethical life. It is the essence of a life well-lived.”


Botetourt County, Virginia students are literally reaping the fruits of their labor, and word is it’s delicious.

Last year, the area behind Central Academy Middle School in Fincastle, Virginia was a barren strip of grass, but this year students are picking tomatoes, cucumbers and other veggies on that land to supply the school salad bar. The project, which also includes a small fish pond, is a collaboration between students in Central Academy’s art and agriscience classes, who designed the layout, selected and planted the crops, and decorated the garden with painted rocks and other artwork.

“I’m learning plant science, taking care of animals, taking care of crops,” seventh-grader Dylan Matheny told WSLS. “It’s fun. I like working outside. It’s nice doing all this. It looks like it’s really gone together well. Plants are doing good.”

“It’s amazing,” classmate Kaela Riddle added. “Everybody’s working together also.”

Agriscience teacher Jennifer Hannah told the news site she partnered with the Mountain Castle Soil and Water Conservation District to secure a school improvement grant through the Chesapeake Bay Foundation to attract pollinators to the area with native plant species.

The goal, she said, is to help students learn the value of accomplishing a large multi-faceted project, while also providing sustainable gardening skills they can use at home.

“This has been a student-driven project from day one,” she said. “I hope they walk away with some skills where they can do some sustainable gardening for themselves but also with some great pride in the work that they’ve done. This is a huge project for them.”

The group, which shared its latest crop with WSLS, now wants to add a greenhouse at the school to continue the work year-round.

“Everyone said the veggies were delicious,” said WSLS anchor Jenna Zibton.

The sense of accomplishment students gain from the experience is an undoubtedly positive contribution to the “moral ecology” that profoundly shapes their character.

In “The Content of Their Character,” a summary of character education in a variety of schools published by the Institute of Advanced Studies in Culture, researchers note:

When social institutions – whether the family, peer relationships, youth organizations, the internet, religious congregations, entertainment, or popular culture – cluster together, they form a larger ecosystem of powerful cultural influence.

The University of California Berkeley’s Greater Good Magazine explores in more depth how all different kinds of cultural influences impact character, and how students, educators and others can make a difference.

Greater Good’s “science based insights for a meaningful life” includes articles on everything from “How Seeing Good in People Can Help Bridge Our Differences” to “How to Raise a Kid with a Conscience in the Digital Age.”

Other features on the site include a Happiness Calendar, Greater Good quiz, and articles about specific virtues like compassion, gratitude, mindfulness and others.

Schools are monitoring student social media to address problems earlier

Lakeview School District Superintendent Blake Prewitt wakes up each day and scrolls through a dozen or more alerts from Firestorm, the Georgia-based service the district uses to scan through student social media pages across several networks.

Firestorm flags public posts that contain certain keywords and images of violence, or those that mention the district’s schools or community, giving Prewitt a jumpstart on addressing issues before they snowball into something bigger, Wired reports.

The program has helped in an abduction investigation, allowed officials to reach out to families with questions about the dress code, and Prewitt considers the alerts an important tool to keep the district’s 4,000 students and 500 staff safe.

“If someone posts something threatening to someone else, we can contact the families and work with the students before it gets to the point of a fight happening at school,” he told the technology site.

Firestorm is among a host of companies offering to help schools monitor student social media posts in the wake of high-profile school shootings in recent years, most notably the rampage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida in February that left 17 dead.

In the Florida shooting, the alleged perpetrator vented his frustrations on social media before the attack – something Firestorm and its competitor, Vermont-based Social Sentinel, are designed to catch.

Gary Margolis, CEO of Social Sentinel, said business is “definitely booming,” and it’s helping administrators track down guns in schools and other threats.

Others, meanwhile, are raising concerns that adults monitoring teens’ social media conversations can easily take things out of context and create more work for themselves than it’s worth.

“Even if you have people directly looking at posts they won’t know what they’re looking at,” said Amanda Lenhart, researcher with the New America Foundation who focuses on teen internet use. “That could be exacerbated by an algorithm that can’t possibly understand the context of what it is seeing.”

Columbia University professor Desman Patton is working with social workers in Chicago to monitor social media in an effort to reduce gang violence. He believes schools may benefit from tracking students’ posts, but warned that interpreting language used by black youth could pose problems and draw increased scrutiny from school officials, Wired reports.

“I think there’s an opportunity for schools to use this as a way to support people but I would do so with extreme caution,” Patton said.

While some focus on effective ways to monitor students on social media, others are examining the underlying reasons why teens – and many adults – are seemingly addicted to Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites.

Chad Welmon and Julia Ticona wrote in The Hedgehog Review, a publication of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture:

Believing that we as individuals are solely responsible for our technology-suffused lives, we risk overlooking the ways in which our individual incapacity to say no to Facebook is a cultural incapacity, one that Facebook is not only keen to exploit but also eager to preserve.

The fact sheet “Social Media and School Crises” from the National Association of School Psychologists analyzes the risks and benefits of social media for schools and students, and offers resources for educators to learn more about the issue.