Compassionate Schools with James Wright

The importance of school connectivity

Spectrum Podcasts audio linkEpisode Summary: Middle school counselor James Wright talks with Dr. Jane Bluestein about the importance of connectedness and compassion in schools. They explore the impact of adverse childhood experiences on kids’ experiences in school, especially with regard to their ability to learn and their response to traditional, punitive discipline policies. Wright discusses working with teachers to help them appreciate the impact of crises and trauma in kids’ lives. They also examine the gap between the brain research and typical school policies, the importance of giving students opportunities to be successful and feel valued and safe, and specific strategies Wright has used to teach kids to be compassionate and respectful to one another. Right-click on this link to download a copy of this mp3 file to your hard drive, or click on the bar below to listen.

 See below for related links and resources.

Janes Wright on Compassionate Schools, Spectrum Podcasts

James Wright
Counselor, Mill Creek Middle School, Kent, WA

Phone: 253-373-6134

James Wright is currently in his 21st year as a middle school counselor. Over the years, he has gradually expanded his role from a primary focus on student support to include being an agent for change in his building. Wright feel strongly that our focus on reading, math, and the tests that go with them is hurting our schools. Particularly in order to save our highest risk students, he believes that we need to spend much more time on the social and emotional realms. For the past several years, he has been an advocate for animal rights, something that has helped to shape his views about schools.

This program was recorded on September 19, 2012. The content will also be available on the Energize Students Web site.

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Related links:

Things I Can Do To Reduce Bullying: A Guide for Middle School Students,” by James Wright. A bully-prevention brochure of student bystanders.

Compassionate Schools: The Heart of Learning and Teaching.” Available on the State of Washington Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction website. Includes 10 principles of compassionate schools.

The Compassionate School: A Practical Guide to Educating Abused and Traumatized Children, by Gertrude Morrow, M.A. Available on Amazon.

Brain Rules, by John Medina. Book and other resources on Medina’s website.

School Connectedness: Improving Students’ Lives,” by Robert Blum, MD. Available on the Center for Effective Collaboration and Practice website.

Dr. Robert Blum at the 2007 AASB Conference in Alaska,” video summarizing Robert Blum’s presentation on “School Connectedness and Student Learning.”

Understanding Complex Trauma: Strengthening Supportive Learning Environments through a Trauma-Sensitive Lens,” by Natalie Turner, MS LMHC.

The Effects of Complex Trauma on Youth: Implications for School Discipline and Court-Involved Youth,” by the Judicial Council of California.

Complex Trauma.” Video sponsored by the Spokane County Community Network 2009.

Creating Emotionally Safe Schools, by Jane Bluestein, Ph.D. (Deerfield Beach, FL: Health Communications, Inc., 2001).

School Connectedness: Strategies for Increasing Protective Factors Among Youth.” Article on the CDC website.

School Connectedness.” Short CDC article with links to fact sheets for teachers, administrators, and families.

A Case for School Connectedness,” by Robert W. Blum. Article from Educational Leadership magazine (April 2005, Vol. 62, Number 7; pages 16-20.

Resilience, School Connectedness and Achievement.” Informational program video and PowerPoint presentations by Bonnie Benard and Greg Austin of WestEd on the relationship between academic success and youth development. Available on the California Department of Education website.

Teachers Matter: Feelings of School Connectedness and Positive Youth Development among Coos County Youth,” by Nina Stracuzzi and Meghan L. Mills. Available on the Carsey Institute (UNH) website.

Fostering School Connectedness,” by James Whitlock. Research facts and findings article on the ACT for Youth Upstate Center for Excellence website.

Resiliency in Schools: Making it Happen for Students and Educators, by Nan Henderson and Mike Milstein, Foreward by Emmy E. Werner. (Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press, 2003). Available on Amazon.

From Risk to Resilience: A Journey with Heart for Our Children, by E. Timothy Burns (Dallas: Marco Polo Publishers, 1996). Available on Amazon.

From Risk to Resiliency: What Schools Can Do,” by Bonnie Benard.

Schoolwide Methods for Fostering Resiliency,” by Virginia Smith Harvey. PDF available on the National Association for School Psychologists.

How Educators Can Nurture Resilience in High-Risk Children and their Families,” by Donald Meichenbaum, Ph.D. Includes a chart detailing Adverse Childhood Experiences, with research and practical implications for educators.

A Guide to Promoting Resilience in Children: Strengthening the Human Spirit,” by Edith H. Grotberg, Ph.D.

Resilience Guide for Parents and Teachers.” Includes tips for working with children at different ages. Available on the American Psychological Association website.

Building Resilience in Children,” by Bonnie McClain. The 7 “Cs” of resilience. Available on the Healthy Children website.

10 Ways to Make Your Children More Resilient,” by Robert Brooks, Ph.D. and Sam Goldstein, Ph.D. Available on the Family TLC website.

Promoting Resilience in Children: What Parents Can Do,” by Christine Christle, M.Ed., et al. Includes a list of risk factors. Available on the Center for Effective Collaboration and Practice.

Bouncing Back: The Art of Resiliency,” by Jane Bluestein, Ph.D. Excerpt from Creating Emotionally Safe Schools.

Students: Worth the Investment,” by Jane Bluestein, Ph.D. Excerpt from Creating Emotionally Safe Schools.

The Win-Win Classroom by Jane Bluestein, Ph.D. (Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press, 2008).

Rules and Beliefs of Unhealthy Adult-Child Group Systems,” adapted by Jane Bluestein, Ph.D.

Characteristics of Healthy Adult-Child Relationships,” by Jane Bluestein, Ph.D. A similar version for parents is also available.

Checklist of Positive Teacher-Student Relationships,” by Jane Bluestein, Ph.D. Version for teachers available at A similar version for parents is also available.

Children at Risk, Families at Risk,” by Jane Bluestein, Ph.D.

The School as a Dysfunctional Family,” by Jane Bluestein, Ph.D.

Stressful or Painful School Experiences that can Compromise Emotional Safety,” by Jane Bluestein, Ph.D.

Also see:

List of Spectrum Podcasts by guest
List of Spectrum Podcasts by topics
About Dr. Jane Bluestein

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