The Bullying Academy

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The Bullying Academy

Davie, United StatesDavie, United States
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
Growth
Budget: 
$100,000 - $250,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

The Bullying Academy is an interactive, online program to help educators address bullying related issues & provide anti-bullying education in the classroom.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

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.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

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.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

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.
Sustainability

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

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.
About You
Organization:
Students in the Know Foundation and our program The Bullying Academy
About You
First Name

Tommy

Last Name

Walser

About Your Organization
Organization Name

Students in the Know Foundation and our program The Bullying Academy

Organization Country

, FL, Davie

Country where this project is creating social impact
Your role in Education

Other.

The type of school(s) your solution is affiliated with

Public (tuition-free)

How long has your organization been operating?

1‐5 years

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Innovation
How long has your solution been in operation?

Operating for less than a year

Now that you have thought out your entry, help us pitch it.
Define your company, program, service, or product in 1-2 short sentences [136 characters]

The Bullying Academy is an interactive, web-based program designed to help educators address bullying related issues in the classroom.

Identify what is innovative about your solution in 1-2 short sentences [136 characters]

The Bullying Academy is an evidence based curriculum, immediately available to all schools and requires little to no training to use.

Social Impact
What has been the impact of your solution to date?

The program is currently only available to schools in the United States. We have 700 schools registered to use the program with at least one school in every state. Since the launch of the program in September of 2011, we have had 29,000 participating students. We are in the final stages of becoming research/evidence-based so that we can guarantee each student is demonstrating learning by measuring the difference between their pre-quiz and post-quiz results. We are empowering students directly with the proper responses and preventive strategies to ensure bullying doesn’t escalate into a tragic situation.

What is your projected impact over the next 1-3 years?

By September of 2012, we will have 1,200 schools registered from around the United States. After assessing how the program performs in the 2012-2013 year, we will consider opening the program up to other countries such as Canada, Great Britain and Australia. In a three year time frame the program will reach at least 3,000 registered schools.

What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?

Barriers include schools not willing to pay or not able to find funding for anti-bullying programs. States have promised to provide grant funding, but these sources can be difficult to gain access to. Some organizations provide free hard copy curriculum materials which serve as an alternative to our own program. The Bullying Academy will combat these challenges by keeping our core program low-cost (free to those without school funding) and the fee for compliance reports low (within the discretionary spending of the principals.) To ensure use each year for each grade level, We will continuously updating our content to keep it relevant, fresh and engaging for students.

Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and track growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact

By September 2012 we will have 1,000-1,200 schools registered to participate in the program.

Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your six-month milestone
Task 1

Develop payment structure and marketing materials informing current users of pricing and delivery of data reports for 2012-2013

Task 2

Develop a strategic corporate partnership program, including proposal packages and begin negotiations with potential partners.

Task 3

Finish research with SEG measurement in order to become an evidence-based program.

Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone

Our 12 month impact milestone is to have 2,500 schools registered to participate from around the United States.

Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your 12-month milestone
Task 1

Regularly scheduled email marketing campaigns to educators.

Task 2

Form a partnership with a national media corporation to increase visibility and credibility.

Task 3

Develop webinars and other means of communication to ensure registered schools become active users of the program.

Founding Story: We want to hear about your "Aha!" moment. Share the story of where and when the founder(s) saw this solution's potential to change the world [125 words]

I, Tommy Walser, as founder of the program had experienced bullying in my own life and the lives of those around me. In college I became involved with a non-profit which used a database technology to create individual web-based scholarships for organizations. It worked by testing children on their retention of knowledge after reading through content on a particular website. I realized this technology had the capability of administering and tracking exams for thousands of students at a time, and its current capabilities were not being used to optimize its capacity. While bullying was becoming an epidemic being splashed across national headlines, I knew that I could solve a major problem involving a lack anti-bullying education in the classroom through creating a standardized and engaging curriculum on the topic.

Sustainability
Tell us about your partnerships

Nova Southeastern University is a college in the South Florida area which assists our non-profit in administering the database component of the Bullying Academy. Students in the Know shares office space with Nova employees and works alongside other programs provided by Nova. Two of the directors on our board are also Nova employees. We currently have a grant from google.com/nonprofits in which they provide us with free marketing service for up to $10,000 a month, which renews every month. We have entered into a partnership with the Professor Garfield foundation as we use some of their videos.

What type of team (staff, volunteers, etc.) will ensure that you achieve the growth milestones identified in the Social Impact section? [75 words]

We need effective program coordinators who can answer email inquiries, telephone calls and enter new school registrations into our database in a timely manner. We need professional consultation with a corporate sponsorship specialist to determine which corporations we should be partnering with and what are reasonable prices to set for sponsor packages. We also need our graphic designer and database administrator to finish creation of the payment structure connected to the website, as well as the data warehouse where educators can access all of their students’ scores.

Please elaborate on any needs or offers you have mentioned above and/or suggest categories of support that aren't specified within the list

Marketing the program through appropriate avenues to reach the right school officials is paramount at this time. Potential collaboration or partnerships between our organization and many other types of entities will help us in moving forward, such as educational associations and corporate partners.
Grants from either government sources or private foundations is a possibility.

Comments

Pamela Strother's picture

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.)

Pamela Strother's picture

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 classrooms (and beyond.)