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Back to School: Building a Bridge of Positive Communication to Create a Positive Learning Process


angela woodrowParent, you are your child’s best advocate. Just like painting a room, the more preparation you do the better the result. It may seem like oversimplification when it comes to communicating to your school, especially if it has not always been the most positive process. Separating the facts, emotions, and results can be confusing.

In this program we highlight three free resources that will help you:

  • Gather the facts
  • Organize your information
  • Identify effective ways to communicate with your child’s school /teacher

Knowing your child’s learning style and being able to quantify and collaborate their interest and abilities to what is going on in the classroom is like having cliff notes for accelerated learning. If you are a parent who feels overwhelmed, dealing with the demands of work as well as your child’s school issues this conversation is for you. Angela Woodrow, whom as a coach, provides the opportunity for individuals and the organizations to discover distinctions, maintain focus, and develop and implement action plans. As a life long learner, she advocates for parents and teachers to build the bridge to positive education processes for all.

For more information on this subject check out these sites: Parent Driven Schools, Authentic Happiness, and  Love and Logic


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Twenty Twinkling Stars: (A Children’s book) Celebrating the Children of Sandy Hook Elementary School

19 Sleepy StarIt has been two years since the tragic event on December 14, 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School that claimed the lives of 20 children and 6 educators. With school starting for most children in the upcoming weeks how does a parent prepare their children to handle conflict, disagreements and fighting on the playground and classroom? Even at the preschool and early elementary school age, modeling and sharing proactive and positive values and ways to resolve conflict can be very valuable. Having this kind of difficult conversation with your child could potentially be one of the hardest things you will have to do. Each parent will need to assess the situation for yourself and use your best judgment.

As a way to ease into the conversation, I suggest reading a book to your little ones entitled Twenty Twinkling Stars written by Laurie Schloff, Director of Executive Training with The Speech Improvement Company, Inc. and illustrated by Lena Warnke, a New York University student. The book is an intergenerational project where two minds have come together to share the beauty and joy of childhood. According to Laurie Schloff, the book can be used as a tool for “character building” and exhibits the “beauty of children through entertaining stars”. I had the privilege of speaking with Laurie to discuss the book. Her inspiration in writing the book was to “contribute to creating a more peaceful world through communication”.

It was my pleasure speaking with Laurie to gain a little insight into her project, Twenty Twinkling Stars. Here is a reflection of our phone interview:

• What do you want the readers to know about the book -Twenty Twinkling Stars?
The book was written to celebrate the spirit, joy, and passion of the twenty children of Sandy Hook Elementary School. I wrote Twenty Twinkling Stars to contribute to creating a more peaceful world through communication. The characters in the book are stars that have personalities – Caring Star, Courage Star, Love Bug Star, Sporty Star, Artist, Star, Music Star, Birthday Star, etc. Whimsical rhymes and the beautiful illustration are designed to appeal to young children between the ages of three and seven.

• What challenges did you incur while writing the book?
Pain and heartbreak at first. Then joy emerged as we celebrated the lives of the lost children as well as the energy joy and passions of children everywhere.

• Do you have a favorite star? If so, which star and why?
Sleepy Star is my favorite because he sleeps on the moon and dreams. Also, my last name Schloff, means “sleep “in German. Reading about sleepy star me just help your little ones go to dreamland!

• How can one purchase the book and learn more information?
To purchase the book, visit National SAVE or Amazon.com.

• Why did you partner with SAVE?
We wanted to contribute to an organization which uses communication as a tool to solve conflict. All the proceeds of the book will go to the organization SAVE (The National Associations of Students Against Violence Everywhere) a non-profit organization dedicated to decreasing potential for violence in school and communities with a focus on using communication as a tool to help youth resolve conflict through nonviolence.

Laurie and Lena were special guests on The Texas Conflict Blog Talk Radio program. Tune in to hear about how they partnered together and their thoughts on the book. In addition, Laurie provides five techniques for communicating in a peaceful, proactive way.

“We miss your exuberant endless joy. Take flight my boy, know you have the wings you wanted” – Twenty Twinkling Stars

By Yvette Watson Jenkins
Graduate Student, University of Baltimore – Negotiation and Conflict Management ProgramStars- frontcover

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What happens on the bus, shouldn’t stay on the bus!

TC Blog 7 - School Bus ConflictWith the start of 2014-2015 school year in full swing, children across the country will be boarding the school bus to arrive before the morning bell sounds. According to the National Highway Safety Administration, school buses are the safest mode of transportation for getting children back and forth to school. But how safe is a child from the other children inside of the bus? School bus bullying is becoming a growing concern among parents, school administrations, and bus drivers. According to the U.S. Department of Education 10 percent of school bullying occurs on the school bus. Stopbullying.gov defines bullying as “unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time.”

What are the signs of a child being bullied on the school bus?
• Reluctance to ride the school bus
• Repeated occurrences of “missing the bus”
• Asking others to take them to school to avoid the bus

School bus drivers have a very important task, which is to make sure every child on the bus arrives safely to and from school. To prevent or stop school bus bullying, it takes a village (parents, teachers, and bus drivers).

What can you do if a child is being bullied on the bus?
• Listen – It’s not easy for a child to say they are being picked on. When they bring it up, listen.
• Ask open-ended questions. An open-ended question can’t be answered with a yes or no response. Some examples of open-ended questions are:

  • What happened on the bus today?
  • How did you feel about riding the bus today?
  • Who do you like to sit with on the bus?
  • Who do you stay away from on the bus?

The buddy system – Have the child sit with a neighbor or friend.
• Have the child being bullied sit on the right front side of the bus. They can be seen in the bus driver’s mirror.

How can the school administrators and bus drivers be involved?
If you feel that more action is necessary, you can contact the school administration and find out what policies are in place for bullying on the school bus. If the school buses have assigned seats, suggest that they separate the children that are being bullied or are bullying others. Also some school buses may have cameras, find out if the child’s bus has a camera that could discourage bullying.

All children deserve to be and feel safe on the bus and at the school. Don’t let a child start their school day off as a victim of bullying. By working to identify and prevent bullying on the bus and at school, they can start and end their school day without fear of being threatened. This will take the joint effort from teachers, parents, bus drivers, and the school administration. It is time to start making a difference, how aware are you?

By Tracy Culbreath
Graduate Student, University of Baltimore – Negotiation and Conflict Management Program

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