FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
HOUSTON, TX — MAY 25, 2011 — Yesterday, +Works® (pronounced Positive Works), a Houston-based, parent-driven, nonprofit organization on a mission to get ahead of America’s bullying epidemic with positive talk and action, celebrated the one-year anniversary of its first grassroots +™Coffees and announced plans for the 2011-12 school year. Those plans include a new three-year +™School Distinction program, updated +™Parent and +™Teacher Guides, a greater focus on school community team-building and a new emphasis on driving the program’s fundamental principles. Forty +Works supporters, including parents, administrators, teachers, pediatricians and mental health professionals attended the +™Year One Coffee, hosted by +Works® Co-founders Sarah Fisher and Trish Morille, at Fisher’s home in West University Place. Dr. Stuart Twemlow, international bullying/school climate expert and +Works® board member, attended.
FIRST ROUNDTABLE REMAINS STRONG; +WORKS® ENVISIONS WELCOMING TEN NEW SCHOOLS IN 2011-12
At the coffee, Fisher and Morille announced that their first +™Roundtable of pilot schools, St. Vincent de Paul Catholic School, Mark Twain Elementary School, St. Paul’s School, West University Elementary School, Pershing Middle School and Durham Elementary School, remains strong. These schools will continue their alliance this fall. The +™Roundtable, a core component of the +Works® school program, gathers school leaders monthly with Dr. Stuart Twemlow to discuss the fundamentals of the program and to provide participants with the opportunity to connect with each other. +Works plans to welcome two more +™Roundtables of schools, five each for a total of ten schools, beginning in the fall. This plan is contingent on the success of a new effort to raise funds to hire staff to support the organization.
FUNDRAISING NOW A TOP PRIORITY
“Our goal is to evaluate our program professionally and to have the (wo)manpower to stay in close touch with all of our aspiring +Schools,” said Sarah Fisher, +Works CEO. “We have come a long way in a year. We know we are onto something. Fundraising is now a top priority to grow the program in the quality way in which we started.”
Fisher and Morille encouraged the grassroots gathering to take their enthusiasm for +Works® to individuals, corporations and foundations in the Houston community. “We need to identify people and organizations who share our vision and passion for creating positive authentic change in our communties through cognizance, courage and connectedness,” said Morille. “We feel confident that we can raise the money necessary to move our ground-breaking programs forward.” +Works is a 501(c)(3) organization.
While this was not a +™Fundraiser per se, +Works® spontaneously raised $1,450 from several generous individuals in attendance. Going forward, Fisher and Morille will continue to work on behalf of +Works® on a 100 percent pro bono basis.
NEW FOCUS ON FUNDAMENTALS — AND COMMUNITY OWNERSHIP OF ISSUE/PROGRAM
+Works® announced that their new +™School Distinction Program will be a three-year commitment for school communities.
• +™Year/Level One: Focusing on Fundamentals. The +Works® school program will be updated this fall to include a new focus on the key tenets of the program. These tenets will be emphasized in updated +™Parent Guides (to be included in the school program this fall), updated +™Teacher Guides, and a series of +Talks to school communities throughout the school year. These +Talks will spark +Community conversations on: Redefining the Bullying Issue/Power Dynamics; Positive Reframing/Resilience; Mentalization; Adult Accountability and Leadership; Emotional Intelligence/The Whole Child. Willingness to be evaluated, commitment to monthly +Roundtable meetings, and use of the program’s +™Visual Reminders will be emphasized.
• +™Year/Level Two: Customizing to Culture. Every school has unique values, traditions, culture. The +Works® program is a mindset, not a curriculum. In the second year, aspiring +™School teams will work to wrap their culture around the +Works® mindset in a sustainable way that reflects their community’s individuality. In the spring of +™Year Two, school teams will present their creative community approaches to their respective +™Roundtables.
• +™Year/Level Three: Maintaining the Mindset. Year three will focus on ensuring that the newly established mindset continues to evolve, stays fresh and relevant, and is sustainable over time.
• Schools completing each level successfully will receive a banner. Schools achieving the +School Distinction will receive a large +™School flag to fly above their school and the right to apply the +™School brand to their school materials for three years. Schools will evaluate annually and reapply every three years to maintain +™GoodStanding.
• Cost for aspiring +™Schools will be $5 per student per year for each year of the program. Cost for the +™Family Membership will remain $25 for families with one caveat: families in schools involved in the +Works +School program will receive the +™Parent Guide as part of that program. They can become members and receive the +™Visual Reminders for $15.
+PTO/A IN THE WORKS; +ATHLETICS DEVELOPMENT SLATED FOR FALL 2011; +WORKPLACE ON THE HORIZON
+Works has held a series of meetings this spring with teachers, administrators and current and rising leaders in Houston-area parent-teacher organizations with a view toward developing a +™PTO/A Guide this calendar year. The group is addressing the important question: how can parents and teachers work together to lead the way on creating authentically positive communities? Email Sarah Fisher at email@example.com for more information on how your school leaders can become involved.
+™Athletics will translate the fundamental tenets of the +™Parent and +™School programs into a program targeting community-based athletic organizations and will be a key +Works® focus area for Fall 2011. +™WorkPlace will be a focus for 2012.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:
Sarah Fisher, +Works® CEO, at 832.260.3131 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.