Restorative Practices and The 3 R’s – Restore, Rebuild, Reconnect

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This month’s blog is by Mark Marini, known to most as “Muggsie,” an Intervention Specialist at Albemarle High School. For the past 19 years, he has worked diligently in education to support struggling learners, both with behaviors and academics, by working both with students and teachers. He fills many roles at Albemarle High including: Intervention Specialist, English teacher, Special Education teacher, Mediator, School Based Intervention Co-Chair, Response To Intervention Specialist, AVID English teacher, and lifelong learner. Check out his blog, On Education.

Youth-Nex had the pleasure of meeting Muggsie at this year’s conference, “Youth of Color Matter: Reducing Inequalities Through Positive Youth Development.” We are grateful for his and fellow educators’ participation at the event.

There are some children in the world who were just born to be good. My daughter, who is now nine, seems to be one of those children. When she was small, still crawling around, my wife and I remember her going past an electrical outlet in our house. She started to reach towards it, and my wife gently said, “No; don’t touch.” She looked at my wife, looked at the outlet, and kept crawling. Several days later, she was crawling past the same outlet, and she stopped. Pointed at it and said, “No.” Then she continued crawling. For the most part, my wife and I did not have to teach her good behavior. It is as if she was born with a gene that helps her to do the right thing. But that does not mean she always does.


“My experience is that Restorative Practices, if implemented with the required support and training, can have a great impact on a community. This could be a school, a neighborhood, or even a family. With time and dedication, the gains for our next generation are great. For, while resolving conflicts with Restorative Practices, we teach children how to resolve future conflicts on their own.”


SomeWalkingAwaytimes, she needs additional support. She has a younger brother who tests her and her ability to make the right choices. In those moments when she is tested, she needs support to know how to act, and how, if she has caused harm, to fix it.

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Have Courage – The Connection Between Race and Trauma

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Lauren Mims is a Ph.D. student in the Curry School of Education’s educational psychology-applied developmental science program. She is also affiliated with Youth-Nex, and is a fellow with Virginia Educational Science Training (VEST). Mims interned at the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans in the summer of 2015 and posts regularly on their blog. This article is reposted with the permission of the U.S. Dept of Education, White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans.

I will never forget my experience working as a Mile 22 Hydration Station volunteer at the Boston Marathon when bombs exploded at the finish line. I can still picture the chaos that ensued moments after the bomb exploded at the finish line: the speeding of police cars from the security station behind me, the confused looks from runners who asked me what was happening, the screams from sprinters passing by as they called the names of fellow teammates, and the sobs of onlookers doubled over in fear and distress. I offered Gatorade and words of comfort to runners until the road in front of me was clear. Continue reading

Good Sports and PYD

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SuperStarters Tennis & Teamwork Activity

Ellen Markowitz is a social entrepreneur who uses sports to help youth become their “super selves.” She studied Sport Psychology and Positive Youth Development through sport at the Curry School of Education. She founded SuperStarters Sports which offers sports-based youth development programs and consulting. Markowitz received a BA from Yale University, an MBA from New York University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education, in 2010.

Playing sports as a young girl, changed my life. When I was in high school, being part of a team helped me feel good about myself, and gave me tools to connect with others. So it has been my passion to help other girls feel connected and competent through physical activity and sport.

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SuperStarters Tennis & Teamwork Activity

In the ‘90’s, when I started working in the world of after school programs in New York City, there were no acronyms like “PYD” or “SBYD (sports-based youth development).” Practitioners and researchers understood that after school programs could provide many diverse opportunities — as safe spaces for youth to connect with peers and adults, as growth places for youth to explore new activities and identities, and as home bases where youth could learn skills and competencies that could open doors to unimagined futures.

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An Inside Look at AERA 2015

Chicago – Site of 2015 AERA. “ChicagoOverheadTiltShift”. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Over the course of five days in mid April, thousands of researchers, teachers, and administrators came together to discuss current educational issues. Valerie Futch, Ph.D., gives us a look into the 2015 American Educational Research Association (AERA) conference held in Chicago this spring. aera jpeg

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Valerie Futch, Ph.D., is a Research Assistant Professor of Education, and Youth-Nex faculty member at the Curry School of Education. Her current work includes several projects that aim to improve understanding of youth experiences in the classroom, in after-school programs, and in relationship to adults. Futch is Program Chair for the American Educational Research Association Out-of-School Time (OST) SIG, American Educational Research Association, 2015 & 2016 Conferences. She was a Youth-Nex postdoctoral fellow from June 2011–August 2014.

Since I’m only one person and can’t be in multiple places at once, I followed a lot of the concurrent sessions on Twitter. If you want a great recap of the main points as well as links to lots of other resources, definitely check out the #AERA15 conversation.

The theme this year was “Toward Justice: Culture, Language, and Heritage in Education Research and Praxis” and many of the keynotes took up issues of achievement and opportunity gaps, disciplinary discrepancies, access to quality schools, and issues of education policy and reform. For a full listing of keynote speakers and information about their talks, visit the conference page.

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AERA OST-SIG Business Meeting Panel

I also had the opportunity to chair the program for the Out-of-School-Time Special Interest Group (OST-SIG). We had several roundtable and paper sessions, as well as a few posters. Some of the topics that were covered included discussions of what constitutes quality in after-school programs, how we can build collaborative opportunities in out-of-school-time settings, a full paper session documenting outcomes in these programs, and a look at global programs for youth. We also had a very productive business meeting with leading researchers in the OST field where we discussed the ESEA renewal debate in Congress and the importance of funding after-school programs. We are working on compiling all of the slides from our presenters and will post them on our SIG webpage for you to have access to in the next few weeks. You can follow us on Facebook and Twitter to have access to these materials when we post them!

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Maxine Greene Memorial Program

There were somber moments as well, as several memorial sessions honored and mourned the loss of brilliant scholars. Two who were influential to me were Maxine Greene and Greg Dimitriadis. Both took up issues of art, aesthetics, justice, and philosophy of education. Their ideas fuel many educators and researchers and inspires us to create classrooms that spark creativity. The full rooms and heartfelt memories shared by former colleagues, students, and friends attests to their long-lasting influence on many in the education field.

The highlight of my trip was definitely the Saturday morning Youth Research Festival coordinated by AERA President Joyce King and Distinguished Professor Michelle Fine. Over ten teams of youth researchers from across the nation (and one group from South Africa!) presented their participatory research projects and highlighted the impact these projects had in their local communities. You can learn more about several of the projects by visiting the Public Science Project webpage. I’m looking forward to chairing the OST-SIG program again next year and encourage you to submit your work for presentation at the 2016 conference, to be held in Washington, DC.

Seven Key Principles Identified in New Report on Self-Regulation Development

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“Kids at Kubota Garden 2003” by Seattle Municipal Archives from Seattle, WA. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

We are pleased to share the first in a series of four inter-related reports on Self-Regulation and Toxic Stress from the Duke Center for Child and Family Policy. In the current report, the authors introduce and describe a set of seven key principles that summarize their understanding of self-regulation development in context.

Aleta L. Meyer, Ph.D., of the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation Administration for Children and Families at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, conceived the project, led the effort, and is the project’s program officer.

Key Authors:
Desiree W. Murray, Ph.D., Research Scientist, Center for Child and Family Policy, Duke University, Scientist and Associate Director of Research, Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Desiree.murray@unc.edu
Katie Rosanbalm, Ph.D., Research Scholar, Center for Child and Family Policy, Duke University. Katie.rosanbalm@duke.edu

Self-regulation has become increasingly recognized for its foundational role in promoting wellbeing across the lifespan, including physical, emotional, social and economic health and educational achievement.  Given this growing knowledge base and a desire to inform on-going services for children and youth from birth to young adulthood, the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation at the Administration for Children and Families commissioned a series of four inter-related reports from a team at the Center for Child and Family Policy at Duke University; the series is titled Self-Regulation and Toxic Stress.

The first report from that series, Foundations for Understanding Self-Regulation from an Applied Developmental Perspective, is now available and provides a comprehensive framework for understanding self-regulation in context, using a theoretical model that reflects the influence of biology, caregiving, and the environment on the development of self-regulation from birth to young adulthood. In that report, the authors introduce and describe a set of seven key principles that summarize our understanding of self-regulation development in context:

  1. Self-regulation serves as the foundation for lifelong functioning across a wide range of domains, from mental health and emotional wellbeing to academic achievement, physical health, and socioeconomic success. It has also proven responsive to intervention, making it a powerful target for change.
  2. Self-regulation is defined from an applied perspective as the act of managing cognition and emotion to enable goal-directed actions such as organizing behavior, controlling impulses, and solving problems constructively.
  3. Self-regulation enactment is influenced by a combination of individual and external factors including biology, skills, motivation, caregiver support, and environmental context. These factors interact with one another to support self-regulation and create opportunity for intervention.
  4. Self-regulation can be strengthened and taught like literacy, with focused attention, support, and practice opportunities provided across contexts. Skills that are not developed early on can be acquired later, with multiple opportunities for intervention.
  5. Development of self-regulation is dependent on “co-regulation” provided by parents or other caregiving adults through warm and responsive interactions in which support, coaching, and modeling are provided to facilitate a child’s ability to understand, express, and modulate their thoughts, feelings, and behavior.
  6. Self-regulation can be disrupted by prolonged or pronounced stress and adversity including poverty and trauma experiences. Although manageable stress may build coping skills, stress that overwhelms children’s skills or support can create toxic effects that negatively impact development and produce long-term changes in neurobiology.
  7. Self-regulation develops over an extended period from birth through young adulthood (and beyond). There are two clear developmental periods where self-regulation skills increase dramatically due to underlying neurobiological changes– early childhood and adolescence – suggesting particular opportunities for intervention.

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Down and Dirty – Impacting Youth Wellness

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Students with onions from the garden project – a University-school partnership.

Eleanor V. Wilson, Associate Professor in the Curry School of Education, has been a faculty advisor for three “Wellness and Gardening” projects, all a part of a University-elementary school partnership which she says is having a cumulative impact on the community. Charlottesville’s Burnley Moran Elementary school and university students co-lead the work and “it is an example of not only school-university cooperation,” says Wilson, “but as examples of ways to incorporate principles of healthy living as a part of Positive Youth Development at the elementary school level.” Following is her summary of the projects.

Ellie Wilson_edit_4322 copyFor the past three years, U.Va. students have participated in projects initiated by a Charlottesville non-profit organization and then, a Community Based Undergraduate Grant, (funded by the Office of Undergraduate Research at the University of Virginia) and followed by two Jefferson Public Citizens grants have collaborated to enrich the Charlottesville City Schools “City Schoolyard Garden Project.” Initiated in 2009, the City Schoolyard Garden (CSG) was a non-profit venture dedicated to cultivating academic achievement, health, environmental stewardship and community engagement through garden-based, experiential learning. A pilot garden program was founded at Buford Middle School and in 2011 the partnership was extended to all city elementary schools. Once this project was underway, University students became involved as partners in expanding the goal of creating healthy living habits for elementary school students. View video: “Wellness and Gardening.”  Continue reading

The Inside of Mentoring

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Youth-Nex director Patrick Tolan, talks about “What Works in Mentoring?” at the recent YN Works In Progress meeting.

Reported by Youth-Nex Editors

Patrick H. Tolan is professor at the University of Virginia in the Curry School of Education and in the Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences in the School of Medicine. He is director of the cross-University multidisciplinary center, Youth-Nex: The U.Va. Center to Promote Effective Youth Development.

Audio and slides are posted here.

Background, Questions, and Definitions

For 20 years we have known that mentoring can be beneficial, yet we still do not know much about what causes these benefits. Tolan discussed his study, the first meta-analysis to look at the processes inside mentoring.

What difference do mentoring activities like modeling, teaching, emotional support, and advocacy make? Is all mentoring positive?

Knowing how such programs work is important. Some popular social programs thrive and continue to receive funding despite the fact that they fail at producing the desired results. At the same time, we can spend 10 years doing empirical studies which do produce results. Despite this, we don’t fund or create programs based on proven interventions. Mentoring works and it is popular, so it’s important to learn how it works. Continue reading

Health Effects Of Physical Activity In Youth – Russell Pate, Ph.D.

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The annual Youth-Nex Conference on Physical Health & Well-Being, was held October 11 & 12, 2013 at the University of Virginia.

The following is a summary of the presentation by Russell Pate, Ph.D., by Jeanette Garcia, graduate student in the Curry School of Education’s Department of Kinesiology, under the direction of Art Weltman, Ph.D., conference chair. Video also available here.

Russell Pate, Ph.D., is Professor and Director, Children’s Physical Activity Research Group, University of South Carolina Arnold School of Public Health. He is also the current president of the National Physical Activity Plan Alliance. His research interests include physical activity and physical fitness in children and the health implications of physical activity. 

There is evidence that the following strategies are effective:

  • Multi-component school interventions
  • Physical education in school

There is evidence that the following strategies are emerging or suggestive:

  • Activity breaks in school
  • Pre-school and childcare settings

Community and built environment

The following strategies have insufficient evidence at this time:

  • School physical environment and after-school
  • Camps, youth organizations, and other programs in the community
  • Family and home
  • Primary care settings

Current Physical Activity Guidelines for Adolescents and Youths Continue reading

School Climate: From Authoritative to Negligent

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Josie Boehlert attended Dewey Cornell’s Youth-Nex talk on
Bullying and Positive School Climate in Virginia Middle Schools.
She posted her thoughts for us:
Boehlert is a second year graduate student in the Counselor Education program at the Curry School. Boehlert is currently completing her school counseling internship at a middle school in Albemarle County. Much of Boehlert’s academic work has been focused on school climate and bullying prevention programs in middle schools. 

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Josie Boehlert, a second year student in Curry’s Counselor Education program.

 

Link to presentation audio and slides.

Dewey Cornell presented the findings of his team’s research as a part of the University of Virginia Youth-Nex Works In Progress lecture series. Cornell’s ongoing area of study focuses on bullying and school climate. The lecture reported the results of surveys of thousands of students and teachers across the Commonwealth of Virginia. The surveys were supported by the Virginia Department of Education and were therefore completed by a high percentage of Virginia schools. School principals were given the freedom to choose between a sample of 25 random students per grade or a sample that included the entire 7th and 8th grade. Continue reading

Of Robots and Mentors

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This team, repairing their robot between matches, received a “low dosage” of mentoring.

According to Curry Science Education doctoral student, Nathan Dolenc, mentors affect student development in countless ways, both positively and perhaps not-so-positively. 

Dolenc’s research examines adult mentoring styles on high school robotics teams. He is looking at how mentors define their own involvement, and how students respond under their mentors’ defined involvement and approaches.

He is also considering an investigation about the implications that these mentor-student interactions have on the students’ long-term growth. This entry specifically addresses low-dosage mentoring.

By Nathan Dolenc, Doctoral Student, in Curry’s Science Education, Curriculum & Instruction.

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