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Interview with Harriet Sanford, President & CEO of the NEA Foundation

We recently sat down with Harriet Sanford to hear about her impressive 40-year career in education, and her current work supporting public teachers and students through the NEA Foundation. The interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Harriet Sanford

Why did you go into education? 

I began my career – 40 years ago (sigh!) — as a public school teacher at Arbor Hill Elementary School, in Albany, NY, just blocks away from where I spent the first seven years of my life. Although I did not remain in the classroom for many years, my commitment to improving lives and underserved communities for the better never faltered. It has been a privilege to work in education philanthropy for the last 12 years, but make no mistake, it is educators who go to work in the trenches every day, not funders.

Neither my mother nor father completed their educations. Nonetheless, they were adamant that their children take advantage of all of the opportunities that a public education offers — both in and out of school time. They fully expected their children to pursue higher education and ensured that we could immerse ourselves in our studies, service, sports, and more. With many communities, schools and families just like mine facing insufficient resources, my work and the Foundation’s work is to do all that we can to ensure that every student has access to a high-quality education and finds his or her own joy in learning.

What is the NEA Foundation and what support does it give teachers?
The NEA Foundation is an independent, 501(C)3 public charity, created, in 1969 by educators for educators, to improve public education for all students. Highlights of support for teachers include:

  • Our Grants to Educators, distributed three times each year, fund educators’ creative and innovative classroom projects designed to prepare students for college, work, and life. Last year, our grants empowered more than 6,000 educators, reaching more than 186,000 students.
  • Our annual Awards for Teaching Excellence honor the challenging but crucial work that public school educators do every day. We reward outstanding educators who are shining examples of the millions of people who work tirelessly in America’s public schools, in service of students, but seldom hear how much we appreciate them.
  • Our Global Learning Fellowship, leads 30 educators along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu and other significant historical and cultural sites in Peru, as part of a year-long, cohort-based, professional development program. Participating educators return from their travels with fresh knowledge, skills and perspective needed to teach in the global age, and better equipped to deliver globally focused curriculum in their home schools and communities. Fellows also contribute to a growing, freely accessible, online collection of 195 lesson plans, accessed by peer teachers around the country more than 4,000 times.
  • We regularly produce issue briefs sharing the Foundation’s and our partners’ lessons learned on a wide range of topics and disseminating actionable information that helps educators overcome challenges to teaching and learning.

How do EverFi & the NEA Foundation work together?

The NEA Foundation and EverFi work together to increase educator and student access to technology and digital learning tools. We collectively strive to support critical skill areas that will enhance students’ ultimate academic and life success.

The partnerships currently supports NEA school districts across the country, providing free access to EverFi’s digital resources and accompanying professional development. Districts that have participated include Springfield, MA; Lee County, FL; and Prince George’s County, MD. Our partnership is leading us to work on more programming in STEM and to develop initiatives in social and emotional learning.

What encouragement would you give teachers who are working to integrate critical skills education into their classrooms?

My key piece of advice to educators, no matter what or whom they teach, is almost always the same: It takes “fierce” to battle your own self-doubt when you are the only one who seems to know that “good enough” is just not good enough for your students. Excellence is what you are after, and you are not going to let anything or anyone stand between your students and excellence. Bring “fierce” to the table every time. Be gentle, kind and caring with your students, but be fierce about their education.

 

Thanks to Harriet for giving us a glimpse into the important work she and the Foundation are doing to support public school education! If you’re interested in learning more about EverFi or our work with the NEA Foundation, reach out to Steve Sandak at steve@everfi.com.

Vault Helped Me Learn about Needs vs. Wants

Today we’re featuring a guest post from Chicago student Khloe W who shares how the skills and knowledge she gained from Vault – Understanding Money™  will help her reach her goal of graduating from college and earning her doctorate. Congrats to Khloe for being one of our scholarship recipients!

Khloe W

Student: Khloe W
Teacher: Linsey Rose
School: STEM Magnet Academy
State: Illinois
Sponsor: MassMutual Foundation

Imagine standing on a tall podium, thanking your family for supporting you from undergraduate to doctorate! That is how I want to be. There are many things that this EverFi Vault has taught me that will help me accomplish [my goals]. One big accomplishment that I want to do when I grow up is go to college, and be very successful. College is very important to me because I love getting an education and learning new things. Seeing my brothers and sisters go through college, I know it can be stressful thinking about failing many times. I also know that college costs a lot. EverFi Vault has prepared me to become a successful and responsible college student through the modules.

One important thing that Vault has taught me is about the different institutions that take care of money like brokerage firms, banks and credit unions. This is important to know when I go to college because I will need a bank account, since I will be away from my parents and have my own responsibilities. Also, I will need to know about these different parts because I will need to open up savings accounts for emergencies and pay bills to help my parents with the college funds.

Knowing that college is a lot of money, Vault has also taught me to be responsible and careful with the people I share my financial information with. EverFi says that financial information is very imperative and a key to success to life. If others can get access to it, things can do bad. For example, people can hack into your account and take your name, and spend your money, and that is not good. So, we have to be mindful about the information we share to others about our financial purposes. This is important to me and my dream to go to college because the world is cruel, and people can take advantage, be manipulative, and this can be food for thought as I continue to try to accomplish my dream.

One last thing that is very important and can affect my dream is how I spend and save my money. In college, I’ve heard many stories about the students being “broke”, and having no money to live off of, or not enough to buy necessities. I do not want this to happen to me and the way I can do that is to manage my money correctly. I will make a budget and make sure to document/establish my needs and wants. This is important because some people will focus on what they want to buy to fit in and do not focus on what they need to survive or succeed. Also, I can do this by getting a debit card. EverFi Vault has taught me the difference between the two [debit cards and credit cards] and for this situation a debit card is the best decision. Knowing that I can track my balance, see transactions and transfer/send money, this can help me better manage my money and what I spend rather than using cash.

In conclusion, this is how EverFi is helping me to with accomplish my dream to go to college. Vault is a very fun and interactive game that helped me better understand real problems in the real world.

Announcing the Scholarship Contest Winners!

The Winter Scholarship Contest ended last week with a record number of student submissions. From earning their doctorates to being nautical engineers, your students shared big dreams. We loved hearing about what they’ve learned through Vault and FutureSmart, and how financial education will make a difference in their lives. Each of our five student winners earned a $1000 college savings scholarship to help make their dreams a reality. Their stories will be featured on the EverFi Blog over the coming weeks. Congratulations winners!

Khloe W, STEM Magnet Academy, Illinois

Shannon W, New Market Middle School, Maryland

Grace K, Falls Lake Academy, North Carolina

Diandra P, Giltner High School, Nebraska

Mateja C, Berlin Middle School, Wisconsin

Want to submit more stories? The Spring Scholarship Competition is now open! We will be awarding another five $1,000 college savings scholarships to students in the U.S. who complete Vault, FutureSmart, or EverFi Financial Literacy, and who provide a short reflection by April 28th. This is a great capstone project for students and allows them to reflect on what they’ve learned. Click here to learn more.

TEACHER SPOTLIGHT: Sean Bradley

We recently sat down with Sean Bradley, a teacher at W. Erskine Johnston P.S. in Kanata, Ontario, to hear more about how he uses Hockey Scholar with students. This is part of our Teacher Spotlight series.
teacher-spotlight

Sean Bradley

How do you use EverFi’s courses in your classroom?

I have my students work at their own pace to complete the modules. Due to the high level of student engagement, and with all of the earphones being used, you can hear a pin drop at any given moment. We use the topics covered in the lessons to springboard into other discussions of how Mathematics and Science are related to the NHL and the real world. This has provided material for rich and relevant teachable moments and for the class to draw connections across the curriculum.

We recently watched the streaming of the Future Goals Showcase, EverFi’s virtual educational field that kicked off the World Cup of Hockey on September 14, 2016 (video here). Everyone became very excited and watched many of the games, especially the final game when Canada won the cup! This opportunity was a wonderful way to establish a community of learners and to positively start a brand new year.

What do you like best about the program?

The videos in Hockey Scholar are fantastic. In addition, the interactive game that follows allows the students to practice what they have learned in fun and authentic ways. Lastly, the multiple choice quiz checks to see if they have mastered the skill or not. I especially like the fact that they can go back and redo the module to improve their score and get a minimum of 70%, which is needed in order to ‘win’ the Stanley Cup! This offers the student an opportunity to learn from his or her mistakes and demonstrate persistence, and to take responsibility for his or her own learning. The students who completed the whole program were very excited when they received a certificate in the end, which provided them with the satisfaction of accomplishment.

I am always trying to tie in “real world” applications into my Math and Science classes. There is no better way to do it than with my favourite sport – hockey!

What impact has this course had on your students?

I think that the courses impacted my students in different ways. Many of the students were already familiar with the sport of hockey, whether they played on a team or watched the sport on TV, but I don’t think they had ever given any thought to the extent that Science and Math are used in the NHL. I don’t think that they will ever look at the game in the same way again!

For the students who were not as familiar with hockey, this provided an opportunity to learn about the sport while engaging in worthwhile math and science activities. I believe that some new Senator fans emerged after learning about the sport.

I always ask my students at the end of the year to share some of their favourite moments of grade 6. Time and again, the Future Goals program came up as their favourite activity of the year.

What best practices would you share with other teachers?

  • Love what you’re doing! If you show that you are enthusiastic about a topic, the students will likely respond positively to what you are teaching. It never hurts to show that you have a sense of humour, too.
  • If you can get them engaged and focused on what they are learning, you will have them hooked. This can be best accomplished with activity based lessons and more of a constructivist approach, rather than the students sitting and listening to the teacher lecturing – they become active participants in their own learning!
  • Make it “real”! Students shouldn’t have to ask, ”Why do I ever have to know this?” Providing opportunities for authentic learning experiences is an invaluable practice in the classroom. It provides the students with a keen sense of purpose for the learning activity, and highly motivates them by making connections to their real lives and the world around them.
  • We need to realize that it is okay to share the teaching with online work. As technology becomes more available in the classroom, it is important to utilize these tools in connection with face-to-face discussions. In other words, the students are not supposed to just log on the computer and the teacher just sits back and hopes that learning is happening. I’ve found you must plan thoughtful discussions that complement the online experience, and instigate peer to peer conversations using accountable talk and building on each other’s discoveries and ideas. I feel that the integration of these two learning tools together is key!

Do you have any advice for other teachers considering using Hockey Scholar?

Don’t hesitate to adopt EverFi. Do it for sure! After completing the course for the first time last year, the course has now become a staple in my Math and Science classes and will be for years to come. Think of yourself as essentially the ‘coach’, shaping their skill development, guiding them to be their best, and assisting the students in reaching their future goals.

Thanks for taking the time to talk with us, Sean!

Thank you to the NHL, NHLPA and EverFi for the time and effort that went into producing such a worthwhile and engaging STEM educational program!

EverFi at NASPA National 2016

Five Sessions on Preventing Campus Sexual Assault, Addressing Alcohol Abuse, and Promoting Wellness in Diverse Student Populations

We are proud to share that members of the EverFi Partner Education team will be presenting five sessions at the upcoming NASPA National Conference taking place in Indianapolis. From climate surveys to policy-driven windows of opportunity—and a whole host of unique student populations along the way—this year’s NASPA Conference highlights EverFi’s commitment to thought leadership and comprehensive prevention research.

If you will be attending NASPA, please check out the session information below. We hope you’ll consider attending one of our presentations! The EverFi team will also be available at booth #606 in the Exhibit Hall – we encourage you to stop by and connect with us, and check out some of the great materials we’ll have at our booth to support your work.

If you won’t be at NASPA this year, we’ll miss you. But please don’t hesitate to reach out if you’re interested in finding out more about the cutting-edge prevention research we’re doing and how we can support you further in the important work you do to keep your campuses thriving.

***EVERFI SESSIONS AT THE NASPA NATIONAL 2016 CONFERENCE*** 

Addressing Mission-Critical Institutional Priorities Using Campus Climate Surveys

Day/Time: Monday, March 14 (8:30 AM – 9:20 AM)

Location:  Meeting Room 136 – Convention Center

Presenters: Rob Buelow (EverFi), Kelley Adams (MIT)

Session Description: Sexual assault is widely prevalent yet vastly underreported, leaving campuses with incomplete information about the scope and nature of occurrence. As a result, administrators face significant challenges in providing adequate and effective services to prevent and respond to sexual assault. These deficiencies create ripples that impact all facets of our institutions from student wellness to retention. Presenters will provide important context about the merits of climate surveys and their value for achieving mission-critical priorities.

The Need for Collecting College-Specific Health Data of LGBTQ Students

Day/Time: Monday, March 14 (1:15 PM – 2:05 PM)

Location:  Meeting Room 136 – Convention Center

Presenters: Kimberley Timpf (EverFi), Sherri Darrow (University at Buffalo)

Session Description: A lack of data on the health of LGBTQ students means that colleges and universities are left to guess about protective and risk factors and health interventions for this population. The presenters will explore the implications of this challenge and discuss insights gathered as a result of adding sexual orientation and gender identity questions to national and campus-level surveys. Participants will be provided with resources to assist with the process of collecting similar data on their campus.

Shining a Light on Overlooked Student Populations for Sexual and Relationship Violence Prevention

Day/Time: Monday, March 14 (2:30 PM – 3:20 PM)

Location:  Meeting Room 138 – Convention Center

Presenters: Rob Buelow (EverFi), Holly Rider-Milkovich (University of Michigan)

Session Description: Presenters will explore primary and secondary research on the knowledge, attitudes, perceptions, experiences, and behaviors of often overlooked student populations, including graduate students, community and technical college students, and adult learners. The presenters will share experiential and data-driven insights on working with these students and describe the collaborative process of developing a unique approach to effectively provide prevention education to non-traditional student groups around sexual and relationship violence.

Addressing High-Risk Behaviors in Fraternities and Sororities: Evidence-based and Data-driven Prevention

Day/Time: Tuesday, March 15 (2:30 PM – 3:20 PM)

Location:  Meeting Room 138 – Convention Center

Presenters: Erin McClintock (EverFi), Nicole Cavallaro (EverFi)

Session Description: The presenter will review challenges facing campus and headquarters staff in addressing high-risk behaviors among fraternity and sorority members, providing a framework for developing effective prevention efforts. It will review data from in-course GreekLifeEdu surveys, reflecting attitudes, behaviors, and experiences of approximately 65,000 – 70,000 new members in 2015. This session aims to empower staff with effective approaches, to engage students in solutions, and to raise the profile of healthy and responsible Greek-affiliated students.

Leveraging the Current Regulatory Landscape to Support Broader Campus Prevention Initiatives

Day/Time: Tuesday, March 15 (2:30 PM – 3:20 PM)

Location:  Meeting Room 136 – Convention Center

Presenters: Kimberley Timpf (EverFi), Rob Buelow (EverFi)

Session Description: Heightened attention to campus sexual violence has student affairs leaders asking, “How can finite resources be allocated to appropriately address a growing set of mandates and responsibilities around this critical issue without losing focus on broader wellness and safety challenges?” The presenters will discuss cross-cutting public health frameworks and mission-critical priorities that can be leveraged to inspire collaborative efforts and insure we stay focused on doing the best work possible to address these interconnected issues.

How Effective Are Your Campus Sexual Assault Prevention Efforts?

The voices of survivors and student activists are demanding accountability from college campuses to combat sexual violence. Unprecedented action has been taken by the federal government to ramp up regulations and crack down on schools falling short of their responsibilities to protect and support students. As the result of a predominant focus on compliance with response-related mandates, there continues to be a lack of widespread articulation, understanding, and application of “best practice” for prevention.

When asked to describe their prevention efforts, campus administrators tend to default to listing out the programs they offer to students. This list varies from campus to campus in terms of the number of programs, the timing and target audience, and the underlying evidence-base for each. Regardless of the programmatic variance across institutions, however, an exclusive focus on programs is a myopic approach to prevention. Programming, while critically important, relies on a foundation of institutional commitment to wellness and prevention and engagement in critical processes necessary for doing effective prevention work.

Drawing from key theoretical frameworks and expert analysis gleaned from published literature, EverFi developed a comprehensive and broadly applicable model for approaching prevention as a process, not a program. This model consists of three tiers: programming, critical processes, and institutionalization. Across these tiers are 22 categories of recommendations, resulting from a qualitative coding of over 300 key findings elucidated from dozens of publications on sexual assault prevention.

A Best Practice Framework for Sexual Assault Prevention

sexual assault prevention model

This framework, while useful as a conceptual model, was truly brought to life in April 2015. In collaboration with leading researchers and nationwide prevention professionals, the recommendations were translated into EverFi’s Sexual Assault Diagnostic Inventory, a comprehensive assessment tool measuring campus prevention efforts across the three pillars of programming, critical processes, and institutionalization.

The Sexual Assault Diagnostic Inventory includes over 80 questions aimed at holistically examining a campus’s prevention approach. The tool begins with a number of demographic questions used for benchmarking and analysis. These include questions about the size of the institution, geographic location, religious affiliation, athletic division, public/private status, and number of graduates and undergraduates. The next set of questions examines prevention programming, focusing on the specific populations reached, frequency of programs, approaches utilized, diversity of educators, etc. The tool then looks at a set of processes deemed critical for effective prevention work, including training of educators, tracking of participation, reliance on theory and evidence, degree of evaluation, and strategic planning efforts. The last set of questions look at the degree of institutionalization around prevention, with questions assessing the number of full-time prevention employees, prevention budget, number of times a school’s senior leaders (President, Chancellor, VPSA, etc.) have publicly communicated about the issue, and the presence, frequency, and degree of progress of a prevention task force.

With over a year of pilot data, EverFi recently published a report detailing some groundbreaking findings about the state of prevention in higher education, including:

  • Sexual assault’s impact on retention, academic success, and more
  • Reporting of sexual assault, and student perceptions of institutional response
  • The type of programs schools are utilizing the most and least, and the degree to which these programs are research- or evidence-based
  • Engagement in strategic planning and goal-setting initiatives (or, lack thereof)
  • National trends around prevention funding and staffing, broken down by school type and size

These findings will help campuses identify areas for growth and improvement, but will also highlight the great work they are already doing to support and protect students. With comprehensive insights on their needs and strengths, campuses can truly make transformative impact in addressing sexual violence and creating safer, healthier communities.

To learn more about the Sexual Assault Diagnostic Inventory, and sexual assault prevention best practices, download our new guidebook entitled, “Improving Campus Sexual Assault Prevention: A Best Practice Guide for Administrative Leadership“.

Campus Alcohol Policies and Their Impact on Student Drinking

Most campus administrators have come to recognize that alcohol policies play a role in changing students’ behaviors towards alcohol. As students arrive on campus there is typically an increase in students’ alcohol use, what we call the “college effect” (see Figure 1). Students who have not been heavy drinkers may begin to consume greater amounts of alcohol. Those who have only occasionally had a drink may begin to drink more frequently, and those who have abstained may begin to experiment with alcohol for the first time. Policy enforcement during this time period is critical to set the tone on campus; however, students should be held accountable with consistent enforcement throughout the remainder of the year as well.

Figure 1. The College Effect – Student Arrival on Campus Corresponds with an Increase in Alcohol Use

the college effect everfi

There is a body of research with supporting evidence that policies can make a difference when designed and delivered appropriately. This policy research is presented succinctly within the newly released NIAAA CollegeAIM matrix, which also includes a top efficacy rating for AlcoholEdu, EverFi’s online alcohol education program for incoming first-year students. Environmental strategies are a broad set of policies and programs to reduce alcohol problems among college students. There are three broad levels of policy implementation: state, community, and institutional.

Examples of state level laws include minimum legal drinking age (MLDA) law, high volume sales and consumption, such as happy-hour sales, keg registration, or pitcher sales. Examples of community-level policies include increased surveillance and enforcement by city police, server guidelines, and noise ordinances. Institutional policies include restricting alcohol to specific locations, registration of social events with alcohol, banning kegs, alcohol education programs, sanctions for student violators, and parental notification for underage students.

An education and publicity component must be considered part of the policy effort. Even if policies are in place, those who are targeted must be aware of the policies in order to comply. When new policies are created, it is important to involve students early in the decision making process. Once policies are created, they must be enforced consistently to be meaningful deterrents.

Research shows that student support for stronger policies and enforcement is greater than most students perceive it to be (see Figure 2). In a study published in the Journal of American College Health, including 32 four-year institutions, ninety percent of students supported stricter disciplinary sanctions for students who engage in alcohol-related violence. The students’ perception was that only 65 percent of their peers would support stricter disciplinary sanctions. Seventy-three percent of students supported stricter disciplinary sanctions for students who repeatedly violate campus alcohol policy, but students thought only 41 percent of their peers were supportive. This information is important to share with student to correct misperceived norms and also with stakeholders on campus. Staff, faculty, and senior leaders may be surprised by such strong student support for stronger alcohol policies and enforcement.

Figure 2. Student Support for Alcohol Policies

student support for alcohol policies everfiSource: DeJong, W., Towvim, G., & Schneider, S. (2007). Support for alcohol-control policies and enforcement strategies among US college students at 4-year institutions. Journal of American College Health, 56(3). 231-236.

Next month we will be conducting a webinar on how alcohol policies and programming relate to the practice of pre-gaming. You can register for our upcoming webinar here: Strategic Drinking: Exploring the Culture of Pre-gaming and Implications for Practice. We will be providing examples of how campuses and national fraternities and sororities have begun to address this ongoing challenge.

Partnership in Prevention – New Online Programs from EverFi and the University of Michigan

Prioritizing Primary Prevention and Awareness Programs for All Incoming Students and Employees

How to Exceed Clery Act and Title IX Compliance Mandates

As of July 1st, federal legislation has gone into effect requiring all colleges and universities to offer “primary prevention and awareness programs” to all incoming students and employees, as well as “ongoing prevention and awareness campaigns” – all dedicated to help address campus sexual assault.

These guidelines are part of the Clery Act, put in place by the 2013 reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. Many refer to these Clery Act amendments as the Campus SaVE Act, and they will be enforced by the Department of Education in addition to all requirements of Title IX.

As institutional leadership consider these mandates, and what they mean for their students, faculty, staff, and institution, we’ve compiled a free guidebook to help institutions meet and exceed compliance. In addition, we will be hosting a webinar on this topic on Wednesday, August 5th, from 2 to 3 PM (EST).

Blog_Clery-Act-Guidebook(1)

The oft-cited statistics that 20-25% of college women (and 3-6% of college men) will experience sexual assault during their time on campus, albeit horrific, are only numbers. These numbers represent thousands of women and men whose lives are drastically affected by preventable violence and abuse. Depression, PTSD, anxiety, eating disorders, suicide, substance abuse, harmed social/intimate relationships, poor academic performance, higher rates of dropping out, and heightened risk for future victimization are among the potential fallout.

Beyond the physical, mental, and emotional toll sexual assault has on survivors, the impact of violence on higher education institutions is significant in multiple mission-critical domains: student attrition, reputational repercussions, enrollment, litigation costs, federal investigations tied to fines and funding cuts, more staff time, and increased demand for services. In fact, a report from the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault estimated a total economic cost of $87,000 to $241,000 per rape, while a recent study by United Educators cited $17M in losses to colleges and universities for sexual assault claims resulting in litigation (an average of $200,000 for defending/resolving each claim). To put this into perspective, a recent EverFi analysis found that the average campus sexual assault prevention budget is under $30,000.

As federal and state lawmakers continue to confront these issues, and mandates from Title IX, the Clery Act, and other pending legislation continue to evolve, institutions will require a more thorough and holistic approach to their sexual assault prevention efforts.

As part of our guidebook, we’ve compiled a list of key requirements from both the Clery Act and Title IX so that you can review your current efforts and ensure your institution is taking a best practice approach to create safer, healthier campus communities. Download our Clery Act and Title IX guidebook today, and learn how to meet and exceed the new compliance mandates.