+Works Broadens Vision Beyond Bullying and Announces +School Expansion for 2012-13

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

HOUSTON, TX — MAY 22, 2012 — On the two-year anniversary of its first grass roots coffee in a Houston backyard, the parent-driven, nonprofit organization +Works (pronounced Positive Works) today announced a new, broader focus that will extend beyond bullying to other top-of-mind school community issues. +Works also announced plans to expand its +School Distinction program from nine to 13 public, private, and parochial schools during the upcoming 2012-2013 school year.

Cofounded in April 2010 by Houston Moms Sarah Fisher and Trish Morille, +Works has evolved from a parent-driven program focused solely on bullying into a collaborative school-community-based program that provides an innovative, upbeat approach and common language for building a new sense of hope for change in our school communities. “After two years of working closely with our +Community of Schools, we see a clear opportunity for +Works to broaden its reach by sparking conversation on the tricky issues that keep adults in our neighborhoods up at night,” said Fisher, +Works CEO. “These concerns include bullying but extend to hypercompetitiveness, adolescent risky behavior, and other pressing issues. +Works has marshaled a unique base of support in Houston’s parent, school, medical, mental health, and business constituencies, and we are excited to leverage this support to serve as a catalyst for positive community change for us all.”

We Need Courage — And Each Other — To Create Peaceful School Communities

In an evolution of its core program philsophies of “Bullies only do what bystanders allow,” and “We are all in this together,” +Works will continue to spotlight the role of the bystander from home to home plate to homeroom. “These remain provocative times for parents and educators, and we need each other to raise upstanding, resilient children as a community. We really are all in this together. We must look unsettling issues like adult and student bullying, sexting, underage drug and alcohol use, squarely in the eye — beginning with our own roles as adult enablers and bystanders in the process. We need to peel the onion on our generation’s growing accountability gap and step up as parents and school leaders to model the behaviors we want to see in our children and hold the bar higher for positive, altruistic behavior across the board. We can create more peaceful school communities if we recognize that peace only comes through action, and with courage.”

+School Selection Process for 2012-2013 Now Open

The formal selection process to add four school communities to the nine current +Community of Schools this coming 2012-13 school year is now open. Interested school communities in Houston are encouraged to enter the school selection process by emailing +Works CEO Sarah Fisher at aware@positivethinkingworks.org. Two new schools will be woven into the program this Fall and two in January 2013. Schools not selected will be placed on a +Waiting List for the following year and will be encouraged to begin a grass roots buy-in process with parents and teachers in the meantime, with +Works’ support.

The +School Distinction Program is a minimum three-year, three-phase commitment by school communities with students from age 4 through grade 8. +Phase One focuses on rallying a school community around the fundamental +Works mindset that centers on adults modeling and actively promoting the kind of positive change we want for our chldren. Integrated +Parenting and +Teaching guides provide science-based information and tools to assist adults in finding a common language and platform upon which to discuss bullying and other school-community-specific climate challenges. A new +Athletics program is being developed and will be added to the +School program over the coming year. To promote a discussion of its fundamental mindset and spark community conversation around challenging issues, +Works will again present a series of +Talks open and free to its +Community of Schools and the greater Houston community in 2012-13. Annual school surveys of parents, teachers, and students, the formation of intraschool +Teams, a student mediation/ empowerment program, a unique visual reminder campaign, and monthly +Roundtable meetings of school leaders, round out Phase One of the program. Phase Two involves wrapping each school community’s unique culture and traditions around the +Works mindset. Phase Three challenges +School community teams to establish plans to ensure the hard-won change they’ve created is sustainable over time.

Our current +Community of Schools include:
• St. Vincent de Paul Catholic School
• St. Paul’s School
• Mark Twain Elementary School (HISD)
• Pershing Middle School (HISD)
• Durham Elementary School (HISD)
• St. Michael Catholic School
• Roberts Elementary School (HISD)
• Kolter Elementary School (HISD)
• The Awty International School

Fisher will continue to work full-time and Morille part-time on a 100 percent pro bono basis during this critical third year of program exploration and development. The cost of the +Works program is $5 per student per year, with a cap of $3500. +Works will institute a new minimum annual fee of $1000 for new schools with less than 200 students. There is a three-year minimum commitment by each school community to the program.

“Ask any of our +School Leaders and they will tell you that this effort to effect positive community change is a marathon, not a sprint,” said Fisher. “I believe they will also tell you this is a race worth running together — for our children — as a community.”

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About +Works
Co-founded by Houston Moms Sarah Fisher and Trish Morille, +Works is a 501(c)(3) organization offering integrated and measurable family and school programs that serve as a catalyst for positive community change. +Works currently serves 6,600 students in nine public, private, and parochial schools in Houston and is part of a global consortium of organizations utilizing the evidence-based CAPSLE (Creating a Peaceful School Learning Environment) program at its core. CAPSLE was developed by Dr. Stuart Twemlow with Dr. Frank Sacco, co-authors of the books, Why School Antibullying Programs Don’t Work (2008) and Preventing Bullying and School Violence (2011).

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:

Sarah Fisher
CEO & Cofounder, +Works
aware@positivethinkingworks.org
832 260 3131