January 20, 2016
Bullying – there’s no place for it in our schools and there should be no place for it in our community. Unfortunately, the truth is everyone has experienced bullying, both as a child and as an adult. It doesn’t have to be this way.
As a teacher, principal and superintendent, I have set a clear expectation with staff and parents that it is not tolerated and we will take action when it occurs in our schools. Verbal, written, physical or sexual bullying and harassment are not condoned in our schools. The unsafe environment these actions create is absolutely unacceptable.
But in order to change behaviors, we must have a broader community conversation about what our kids are doing and what is appropriate behavior in our community.
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Oftentimes, bullying activities are not isolated events; we find they are a complicated web of interactions which occur – unreported -- over a long period of time. When we learn of an incident, school staff intervene and investigate immediately to ensure student safety. The district discusses the situation with involved students and their parents. Educators will meet with students and on some occasions have altered schedules so students are not near each other while in school. While we can’t always discuss the outcome due to student privacy laws, no parent should hear someone at the school say we can’t help them.
Bullying will not stop without adult intervention. We all have to be willing to be a part of conversations and solutions.
ASD staff is trained on bullying prevention strategies, what bullying looks like, district policies and how to enforce the rules for everyone’s safety. We regularly provide counseling and support for students. ASD is also a national leader in social and emotional learning. When educators talk about social and emotional skills, we’re talking about a child’s ability to manage his or her feelings and behavior, maintain positive relationships, and set goals in order to achieve important life tasks and how to solve conflicts. The American Journal of Public Health published a study in July 2015 showing that children’s social skills, like problem-solving and helpfulness, can predict their success as adults.
Within the school setting, SEL is accomplished through a layered approach of skill lessons, providing opportunities for the skills to be practiced through all curricula and classroom practices, and an environment of safety, respect and caring which models SEL values. We are using these proven techniques in all of our classrooms and are seeing positive results.
Our next community conversation and information night on the topic of anti-bullying will be held at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 28 at the ASD Education Center. This meeting will share tips on how to have conversations at home, at school and in the community to prevent bullying and harassment, and how to build social and emotional skills.
Whether you’re a community member or a parent, I hope you will plan to attend to address the behaviors occurring in our community.
Visiting Mountain View Elementary
Welcoming the future class of 2027
Congratulating the class of 2014
Getting a snapshot of East High School.
Ed Graff was appointed superintendent of the Anchorage School District on March 18, 2013.
Mr. Graff began his teaching career in 1991 at Gladys Wood Elementary School. Nine years later, he became an elementary school principal in the district. In 2008, Mr. Graff was named executive director of Elementary Education. The following year, he became the Chief Academic Officer, a position formerly referred to as assistant superintendent for instruction. A graduate in Elementary Education at the University of Alaska Anchorage, Mr. Graff holds a Master's Degree in Education Administration from University of Southern Mississippi. He has post-masters coursework in curriculum, educational leadership and instruction. Mr. Graff has served on several boards and professional organizations, including Junior Achievement, School Business Partnerships and Alaska Learning Network.
Originally from Minnesota, he has lived in several Alaska towns and villages, including Hooper Bay and Savoonga. He is married to Michelle Prince, an ASD elementary school principal. They have one son.
Download Mr. Graff's full biography
Search for the next superintendent
The Anchorage School Board is beginning its search for a new superintendent who will lead the district upon completion of Superintendent Ed Graff’s contract.
Read the news release »
The district's Multicultural Education Concerns Advisory Committee (MECAC) works to ensure equity for ally students by providing input directly to the Superintendent on relevant issues that impact student achievement, including parent involvement, community relations, curriculum adoption and implementation, cultural competence, and equity and other instructional concerns.
Superintendent's letter, 10/21/15
Read Superintendent Graff's response to the tragedy at AFN.
Read letter »
Destination 2020 is the district’s comprehensive, multi-year plan to increase student achievement. The plan focuses on improving the performance of every child to ensure at least one year’s academic growth each year. Destination 2020 is built on the district's mission, vision and core values as outlined by the school board.
Destination 2020 »