Tackling Truancy, Suspensions, and Stress
Visitacion Valley Middle School, San Francisco, CA
In this installment, we show you how Visitacion Valley is changing the culture of its school with a meditation program called Quiet Time.
Back in 1999, when Principal Jim Dierke was getting started at San Francisco's Visitacion Valley Middle School (VVMS) so many fights were breaking out between students that it became known as "the fight school." Police routinely made arrests on campus, and every day, lines of students stretched down the hall outside the counselor's office.
Drugs and gang violence, rampant in the nearby housing projects, were spilling out into a community already challenged by unemployment and a high homicide rate. Students were coming to school fearful, anxious, and stressed. The consensus was they were suffering from PTSD -- what one teacher described as persistent traumatic stress syndrome.
Unable to combat the painful realities enveloping the neighborhood, Dierke resolved to change what he believed he could control, his school. (Read more…)
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