The Bullying Academy

The Bullying Academy

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Last Update: June 6, 2012

The Bullying Academy is an interactive, online program to help educators address bullying related issues and provide anti-bullying education in the classroom. We launched September 2011 and in our first year more than 40,000 students in 4th-8th grades in 1,000 US schools participated in the curriculum. We expect to more than double participation in 2012-2013 when we launch a high school version of the program.

Type: citizen sector

The Problem

Reducing the growing trend of young people hurting themselves and others as a result of bullying, including cyberbullying. We felt that education in the classroom setting was the proper place to begin tackling the root of this problem, but there were little to no anti-bullying resources made for classroom use. Three main obstacles we tackled moving forward were that educators don’t have the time or resources to put together their own curriculums, school servers block a majority of youtube.com videos and other flash sites created to address bullying, and curriculums that require extensive training of educators slow down the process of implementation.

The Solution

We created the Bullying Academy which is an interactive and completely web-based program that provides anti-bullying curriculum for 4th-8th grade students, and soon 9th-12th. The educational materials contain professionally developed, age-appropriate content for each grade. Due to the program being completely web-based, it is immediately available to all schools throughout the US (and beyond) with internet access and there is nothing to ship or download to begin implementation. This web-based element is also useful for flexible implementation alongside current efforts in the classroom. All content, which includes written and video content, is formatted to be accessible to a majority of school servers. The curriculum is self-directed to a large extent and requires little to no familiarity with the subject matter on behalf of educators.

Example

Ammons Middle School in Miami, Florida decided to adopt our program to be used in their lab setting and implemented by their technology coordinator. Their lab is just a room full of computers where students participate in various online or software programs. The school began by having their 6th grade students take turns over six weeks to complete the Bullying Academy. Each student would begin by registering with our site under the appropriate state and their corresponding school. They would complete a pre-quiz to assess what they already know about the subject of bullying. Next they would work their way through the lessons, that the site has nicknamed scavenger hunts, which is a structured outline of written and video content meant to engage the student. The students completed the program by taking a post-quiz. Each student’s score on the two quizzes are compared to determine if learning is actually taking place. Each student receives a Students in the Know/Bullying Academy diploma, with their corresponding scores upon completion. All participating schools have their students' cumulative scores automatically entered into a national contest cycle in which the top scoring school wins a trophy and party. Ammons middle school won our first national contest cycle which ran from September to October 2011.

Budget: $250,000 - $500,000

Marketplace

Pacer, Stomp Out Bullying, MTV’s athinline campaign and Net Smartz (NST Teens) are all organizations/programs that have created website or video content to address bullying awareness. None are specifically designed to be used in the school setting, do not have grade-based structured curriculum and are not evidence-based (to meet state standards.) Pacer’s website is completely flash based and blocked by almost all school servers. CommonSense offers free educational materials and videos resources for educators to use, but the material is heavily teacher dependent. Olweus is an evidence-based anti-bullying program which is expensive and involves no web-based or online materials. ADL is free but not web-based. All are positioned to help as they could share component materials with us.

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Comments & Activity

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Pamela Strother profile img
Fri, 05/18/2012 - 11:50

I am lucky to be part of the Bullying Academy team as they go from start up to growing in the next school year. They are the first organization to figure out how to make online anti-bullying curriculum available to all students in the US -- anytime, anywhere. They have a keen understanding of the realities of the use of online technology in the classroom, especially when it comes to videos and filtering issues. Most importantly, they listened to teachers and created a program that works for them. The Bullying Academy is poised to become the standard for activating empathy in US class rooms (and beyond.)