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WHAT IF AN OUNCE OF PREVENTION IS THE CURE?

State College, PA – Our schools are charged with creating safe environments where students learn, thrive, and grow into the adults who will ultimately be our next leaders, employees, educators, and parents. But, we’ve all seen the statistics. Nearly one in three schoolchildren in the United States has been bullied in some way by the time they reach middle school. It’s estimated that nearly 160,000 children miss school every day because they are afraid to go, and one in ten who drop out do so because of repeated bullying.
Bullies can’t exist without victims. It’s often theorized that the perpetrator has likely been the target of abusive behavior themselves in the past. They retaliate by picking on those they think are too weak or fearful to fight back. While the motives of the aggressor can be debated, there’s no question about the impact on the victim who has been singled out. But, there are more than two people involved in this painful school dance. They’re called bystanders.

Are You in the House?

With funding support and business mentoring from Ben Franklin Technology Partners, a former teacher and school counselor, Linsey Covert, started Teamology. Her company has developed a novel, holistic approach called PROJECT TEAM, a platform that helps students understand the value and significance of teamwork, leadership, and the importance of everyone working together. Their slogan, “Are you in the House”, reflects their core foundations, which in addition to anti-bullying, include: helping others; positive change; problem solving and conflict resolution; resiliency, and leadership. Being part of the TEAM’s house allows the children to learn in an accepting, nurturing environment where bullying is simply not tolerated.

The negative influence of bullying on a child’s emotional well-being is well-documented making it vital to identify a mechanism for prevention. Studies have shown that students who participate in this program feel connected to their school, the teachers, and their peers, and don’t end up socially isolated. This culture encourages bystanders to support and defend others, increases a child’s sense of value, and promotes the concept of “connectedness”. Unlike other programs, in addition to the bullying prevention model, PROJECT TEAM also focuses on a student’s social and emotional learning as well as career readiness. The platform ultimately creates a climate change in the school that encourages a sense of community where there are no bullies or victims.

Ms. Covert commented, “As educators and researchers, we know that numbers can tell a tale. While the stats on bullying and the effect it has on our children are alarming, the outcomes we’ve seen in schools that use our platform reflect a better ending to the story. Through years of research and data collection conducted at Penn State University, PROJECT TEAM’s impact has been dramatic: disruptive behaviors decreased 70%; defiant behavior incidents decreased by 64%; student incidents of skipping class decreased 97%; incidents of students degrading a peer decreased by 92%; and incidents of physical aggression among students declined by 53%. While there’s always room for improvement, these statistics are encouraging and remind us about the old-adage regarding an ounce of prevention.”
For more information, visit www.teamology.team

About Ben Franklin Technology Partners: The largest early-stage investor in the state, Ben Franklin Technology Partners/CNP, (an initiative of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and funded by the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority) provides funding, operational assistance, and business support services to emerging tech-based companies and small manufacturers to create and retain jobs in Pennsylvania. Visit Ben Franklin’s website at www.cnp.benfranklin.org.

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