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#ILAchat: Literacy’s Role in Creating Safer Schools

by Wesley Ford
 | Apr 10, 2018
ILAchat cohosts for Safer SchoolsSchool safety has come to the forefront of both national conversation and media coverage. It is a crucial conversation; safe and secure learning spaces are paramount for student learning.

But what do we mean when we say safe? What does a safe school look like? What constitutes a safe learning environment, and how can educators and students work together to create such a space?

That’s the focus of our next #ILAchat, which will occur April 14, at 8:00 p.m. ET.

Much of today’s conversation around school safety is centered on gun violence, which is no surprise, given the catalyst that sparked a national movement. But gun violence, or indeed violence of any kind, is not the only threat to safety in schools. Threats to students’ sense of security are manifold, ranging from bullying or sexual harassment to natural disasters, such as the hurricanes that devastated the Caribbean and Texas last year.

Through it all, literacy can be the balm that helps students and educators alike cope with, overcome, or even prevent those factors that compromise the safety of schools. The right story can offer a glimpse into another perspective, create emotional bonds, and teach a lesson of kindness. Science texts can help students understand the powerful forces of nature, and in so doing, overcome their fear. Books can offer solace and peace from the turbulent world. The power of writing and communicating can start a movement that changes the world for the better.

Our #ILAchat cohosts are true leaders when it comes to working with students to create safer school environments.

Russell Schwartz is an elementary school principal in Broward County, FL.  His passions in education include personalized professional development, personalized learning, learning spaces, school culture, and having a school filled with kindness, compassion, and acceptance.

Amy Fabrikant  works as a staff developer with Morningside Center for Teaching Social Responsibility, where she facilitates Restorative Justice Circles. She is also a speaker and consultant in the United States, presenting on how we can build connections with and respect for all in our school communities using restorative circles, mindfulness practices, conflict resolution strategies, growth mind-sets, and other practices that lead to positive critical awareness. She has authored several parenting and school-based articles as well as the award-winning children’s books When Kayla Was Kyle and Paloma’s Secret. She is also a panelist on the ILA 2018 Conference Equity in Education panel.

Keith Peters is the principal at Gator Run Elementary in Weston, FL. He is passionate about bringing change to public education and promotes risktaking throughout his school, which is known for innovations such as Genius Hour, BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), 1:1 learning, Breakout EDU, and flexible learning spaces. Peters was also recently part of the State of Florida’s Commissioner’s Leadership Academy and Leadership Florida. He is a champion of social media in education and presents regularly on this topic.

Diana Haneski is the media specialist at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where she promotes reading, incorporates technology, and curates resources for her young adult and adult learners.  A library teacher of 20 years, Haneski holds National Board Certification in Library Media, a master’s degree in information, and a bachelor’s degree in communication speech and theatre. Haneski is on the board for Broward County Association of Media Specialists, where she presents, facilitates, and supports new technologies and initiatives.

We hope you will join us April 12 at 8:00 p.m. ET as we tackle the critical topic of the role of literacy to make schools safer for students and educators.

See you there!

Wesley Ford is the Social Media Strategist for the International Literacy Association.

1 comment

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  1. J.P. | Apr 10, 2018
    Hello! Thank you for this -- approximately how long do these chats last? Thank you!

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