What has been the impact of your solution to date?
Compassionate Campus started in a private school in Northern California. The program evolved and was implemented at a public charter school also in Northern California. Now the program is in its third evolution and has been in effect at Journey School, a public K-8 charter school, since September 2011. Since implementation at Journey, there has been a 60% reduction in discipline issues as measured by children being sent to the office. Also, the percent of students who feel safe & secure at school rose from 76% to 92% as a result of this program.
Teachers note that children feel more connected to other students across their school, they feel as if they have someone to bring problems to and they feel heard. They are more open to talk, more expressive in their feelings, and love spending time with their partners -- they feel a great bond. Mentors, are rising to the challenge and getting out of their comfort zone (boys especially) to be emotional guides for the younger buddies.
What is your projected impact over the next 1-3 years?
Empathy will become ingrained in the Journey School culture as listening and inquiry skills deepen with practice year after year.
Teachers will have more time to focus on lessons as disruptions decrease and students are less distracted by social-emotional issues.
Parents will become trained and involved in the program as Calm and Return Educational Servers (CARES) and Parents on the Playground (POPs) volunteers.
An entire school community will become a community of compassion and serve as a scalable model to be replicated in public schools across the country.
What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?
The biggest barrier is in finding administration champions to spearhead the Compassionate Campus program in each school -- it takes dedication and a compelling advocate to implement the program. The second biggest barrier is in carving out time in the curriculum to teach these social-emotional skills.
With published statistics on the decreased need for interventions and discipline issues, we can show administrative and classroom time savings that would offset the time needed to implement the program.
Also, with statistics and survey results showing greater student satisfaction and happiness, we can ask schools and parents to consider the importance of social-emotional education. The imperative to make room in the curriculum becomes clear with measurable results.
Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and track growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact
Compassionate Campus program expands to include parents engaged in increasing their own empathy and modeling it.
Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone
Use statistics and create a hand book to get other schools to implement the Compassionate Campus 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]
As the Education Director at another school, Bonnie River, the founder of Compassionate Campus, intervened in an incident where an older boy was physically harming a younger girl. As Ms. River hugged him tightly to restrain him, he began to sob. The "bully" began repeating to himself how he was not fat, not stupid. He went on to say maybe he was fat, maybe stupid. Finally he ended with he was fat, he was stupid. It became clear he was acting out as a victim of bullying himself. It was at that moment that Ms. River felt compelled to create a program where children could find a way to safely express the social challenges they were facing. She began work with Kim Jon Payne to create the Social Inclusion project. With time it became clear to Ms. River, that the adult-driven method developed with Mr. Payne needed to be more child-driven to be truly embraced by the students. Compassionate Campus was born of Ms. River's vision of using student-to-student interactions to grow empathy.