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Using Social Learning to Improve Student Outcomes

Ceres High School is supporting the social and academic growth of its students by systematically improving school climate. “We like to say that ‘Ceres is serious about going to college.’” starts Ed Pelfrey, Assistant Principal at Ceres High School located just outside of Modesto, CA in the central valley. “But, trying to motivate students to work hard today for a reward they will get in eight years can be a tough sell. Especially, when they may not see many examples of this success in their homes and neighborhoods. It’s a story that’s played out in many areas across the nation: when the opportunities that students are exposed to are limited, it’s not unheard of for students to limit themselves. At Ceres High, Pelfrey says...

written February 15, 2020 by Keesa Sung

What happens when a district takes suspensions off the table?

Two studies examine the School District of Philadelphia before and after out of school suspensions were banned. It’s well documented that out of school suspensions can do more harm to students – and society —than good. The policy is not only “ineffective as a means of improving behavior,” but it’s also linked with “increased rates of academic failure, school dropout, misbehavior, criminal involvement, and incarceration,” asserts the Consortium for Policy Research in Education (CPRE) at the University of Pennsylvania. And across the nation, minority students are disproportionately handed out of school suspensions as disciplinary punishments. In light of this, Education Week notes an uptick in districts that are changing “their policies to limit student suspensions.” One of these is the School District of Philadelphia...

written March 1, 2018 by Autumn Miller

Why SEL Results Matter (And How to See More of Them)

Social and Emotional Learning has the potential to improve an entire generation. So why aren’t SEL practices widespread? What should our schools be teaching? It sounds like an obvious question, and reading, math, science, and history sound like the obvious answers. But what about social and emotional skills – the stuff that prepares children for their careers or college-life, as adults? While this may sound like a good idea in theory, it’s actually much more than that. Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) investments make fiscal and political sense too – for schools, districts, and our larger society as a whole. This is because, research shows, the payoffs are huge. A study for CASEL on SEL asserts “that social and emotional learning improves grades and...

written March 1, 2018 by Autumn Miller

Regarding Bullying, Technology is the Solution, Not the Problem

How EdTech companies are helping educators monitor, intervene – and even prevent – bullying. When we think about bullying, technology is often seen as part of the problem, not the solution. And no wonder, since the number of children who experience cyber bulling is staggering. In the CDC’s last study on the matter, 15.5% of high schoolers survey participants indicated they were cyber bullied in the last year. Gut-wrenchingly, 8.6% said they had attempted suicide in the same time frame. And yet, as smart phones continue to saturate our society, we must realize technology isn’t going anywhere. So perhaps it’s time for technology to be seen as part of the solution. In that vein, we’re excited to see Education Week’s article on fellow tech...

written December 20, 2017 by The Hero Collective

To motivate students, a little nudge can go a long way

Research concludes positive “nudges” can motivate behavioral change. Anyone that has tried to add more exercise into their routine or nix a bad habit knows that – to change behavior – having a little motivation helps. And while there are all kinds of motivational tactics and techniques, recent science shows that on students, some motivation works better than others. What’s not all that effective, turns out, is telling kids what they shouldn’t do. According to recent research highlighted in Education Week, “one of the quickest ways to lower motivation is to try to force people to make changes.” Instead, a team of behavioral economists at the University of Chicago, led by Steven Levitt, have concluded that to change behavior in students, it’s better to...

written December 19, 2017 by The Hero Collective

Can we Learn Anything From California’s Student Dashboard?

The rollout of California’s Accountability Model and School Dashboard is a promising endeavor to get parents, policymakers, and the general public involved in making California’s educational system better. But aggregating the massive sets of data—in real time—proves to be a complex operation. The Local Control Funding Formula, adopted by the California legislature in 2013, called for California schools to begin reporting on multiple student achievement criteria – in addition to test scores. Reporting criteria include: High school graduation rates, College/career readiness, Student test scores, English learner (EL) progress, Suspension rates, and Parent engagement. Since then, California school districts have been doubling their efforts and preparing their budgets to change their reporting requirements, and this year, California’s Department of Education (CDE) launched the latest phase...

written November 9, 2017 by The Hero Collective

Our customers say it best.

  • "Our focus on improving school culture is paying off. Teachers report fewer behavioral problems, disciplinary referral rates have dropped, and more parents are choosing Finger Lake for their children’s education. "

    Susan Steele

    Principal, Finger Lake Elementary

  • "I've been doing this work for 23 years. There's no doubt in my mind that Hero has been a major contributor to all that is positive at Lyons Creek Middle School."

    Horace Hamm, Principal

    Lyons Creek Middle School

  • "Hero reminds me to always be doing what is expected of me and encourage my friends to do the same."


    Cleveland School of the Arts


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