SocialSmarts® Program Tied to Improved Teacher Effectiveness and Student Results

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In response to the growing emphasis on the importance of teacher effectiveness in the classroom as evidenced by Race to the Top Funding criteria and the $300M in school grants released last week by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The PoliteChild today released results of its programs’ positive impact on both teacher performance and student achievement.

That so much attention is being paid to teacher effectiveness is a positive thing

In response to the growing emphasis on the importance of teacher effectiveness in the classroom, The PoliteChild today released results of its programs’ impact on both teacher performance and student achievement.

The topic of teacher effectiveness and the need to improve it has recently surged to the forefront as evidenced by a number of consecutive events and announcements. First, the release of the final qualifying rules for Race to the Top Funding placed significant value on developing “great teachers and leaders.” Last week’s announced grants totalling $330M by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation also underscores the importance of teacher effectiveness as part of education reform.

“That so much attention is being paid to teacher effectiveness is a positive thing,” said Corinne Gregory, President and Founder of The PoliteChild, creator of SocialSmarts. The program is the leading educational program dedicated to developing social skills, positive character and values in students from PK-G12. “What concerns us is that the current emphasis appears predominantly tied to evaluating and assessing, not on actually taking steps to improve effectiveness.”

With repeated studies showing that teachers are currently losing between 25-50% or more of productive teaching time on managing discipline and behavior in the classroom, there is no doubt that teachers’ productivity is negatively affected by this problem. A recent report released on The Apple, which profiled teachers’ seven biggest complaints, listed the number one challenge teachers shared was dealing with bad student behavior. Further, a study released by Public Agenda last month, also funded in part by the Gates Foundation, showed that 40% of teachers considered themselves “disheartened” with the greatest influencing factor in that labeling came from dealing with disruptive students. A recent survey, conducted by The PoliteChild of school principals across the country, also reinforced that increasing teacher effectiveness and student achievement are their highest concerns.

SocialSmarts recognizes that these problems in the school system have a common root cause. SocialSmarts builds solid foundations for learning and using appropriate social behavior and developing good character through its school curriculum and managed classes in public and private schools. Schools that have implemented SocialSmarts report up to a 43% increase in student time-on-task. A recent side-by-side comparison of schools within the same district, city, and student demographics showed that schools using SocialSmarts had significantly higher test scores in all areas over those schools not using the program.

“While we certainly won’t be so bold yet as to say our program was the only factor in increased student achievement,” Ms. Gregory says, “at the very least it shows that we are helping schools achieve more with our program than they are accomplishing without. And, we also know teachers are able to spend more time on teaching because they are spending less time managing discipline and behavior.” The company is hoping to become part of a research study in the near future that will show more conclusively the quantifiable effects of the program on academic achievement.

About The PoliteChild, Inc. The PoliteChild is the leading program dedicated to developing excellent social skills in students from toddlers to teens by building solid foundations for learning and using proper social behavior, developing good moral character and values through its licensed curricula and managed classes. The goal of The PoliteChild is to help parents, educators, and others develop young people with strong self-esteem and confidence, and that are socially comfortable and proficient in handling a large variety of social interactions and situations. The company is headquartered in Bellevue, WA. For more about The PoliteChild, visit the company website at http://www.socialsmarts.com. Copyright © 2009 The PoliteChild, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Corinne Gregory
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