+School Collaborative Now Impacting 7,800 Students and Their Families in Ten Schools
September 6, 2012 – HOUSTON – +Works® (pronounced Positive Works), a Houston-based, parent-driven, non-profit organization serving as a catalyst for positive community change on issues including bullying and other trending community concerns, today announced Annunciation Orthodox School (AOS) as the tenth school to join its expanding +School program. AOS, located in Houston’s Montrose area, is a private school community serving 695 students ages 3 years through eighth grade and their families.
With the addition of AOS, +Works’ innovative +School program now serves 7,800 students and their families through its unique collaborative of five public, three private, and two parochial schools in the Houston area. The program will expand to a maximum of thirteen +Schools this school year.
The 2012-13 +Works +Community of Schools includes:
Annunciation Orthodox School
Durham Elementary School (HISD)
Kolter Elementary School (HISD)
Mark Twain Elementary School (HISD)
Pershing Middle School (HISD)
Roberts Elementary School (HISD)
St. Vincent de Paul Catholic School
St. Paul’s School
St. Michael Catholic School
The Awty International School
Schools in the +Works program participate in annual parent, student, and teacher surveys and form intra-school +Teams. The +Teams include parents, educators, and students who work together to creatively spark discussions about how to encourage positive, upstanding behavior in adults and children in their community. +Schools send representatives to monthly +Roundtable meetings. They display visual reminders in campus locations where negative behavior choices tend to happen. They also host and/or promote +Works’ series of +Talks, which are designed to foster constructive community conversation around trending issues of interest. The +Talks are free of charge and open to the entire Houston community. “Schools in our program are engaged in an extremely upbeat, creative, collaborative, organic process,” said Sarah Fisher, +Works Co-founder and CEO. “This innovative work brings parents, teachers, administrators, coaches, and students together in a way that hasn’t been done before.”
Students Benefit When Families and Schools Connect and Collaborate
Mark Kelly, AOS Head of School, views the +Works program as an opportunity to connect families and schools in a new way, both on the AOS campus and within the +Community of Schools. “Any time a school and its parents are strong partners working hand-in-hand toward the same goal, it will be good for students. We are looking forward to being part of the +Works community and the partnership it will provide for our school and our families,” said Kelly.
Monique Pappas, mother of two and president of the AOS Parent-Teacher Club, is supportive as well. “I was introduced to +Works by a friend and after reading about the program I realized this is not a ‘cure’ or a program with steps to ‘cure’ bullying. This is a mindset and a return to the idea of we as parents taking responsibility for raising our children with manners, respect, and courage. The courage to become an upstander and not a bystander. The courage to speak up when they see and know something is wrong. The courage to look inside and know they can make a difference. That mindset begins with us as parents at home and in partnership with the educators of our children. +Works helps to bring the two together with open discussions, and parent and educator involvement, one step at a time,” said Pappas.
Michael Grant, father of two and president of the AOS Dads Club also offers his support. “Our Dads Club is proud to see AOS endorse the +Works curriculum and will fully support the program. As fathers trying to raise our children to be confident and to be able to stand on their own, we look forward to learning how to be better +Fathers!”
Evolving Program Unites Families and Schools Around Common Ground: Our Community’s Children
The swift and steady growth of the +Works program is the result of an intense grass roots effort initiated in May 2010 by Houston mothers Sarah Fisher and Trish Morille and fueled since then by passionate parents, administrators, teachers, coaches, counselors, social workers, pediatricians, mental health practitioners, and other concerned citizens. +Works continues to raise awareness of and break the frame on adult and student bullying and has broadened its vision to include other trending community concerns, like hypercompetitiveness and risky tween and teen behaviors. “We want to spark conversations on tough issues that keep adults in our neighborhoods up at night,” said Fisher. “Our organization has evolved. We want to support families, schools, and community stakeholders in their desire to raise resilient, productive, upstanding children together as a community,” said Morille. “We see our role as a catalyst for positive change.”
Organic Process Focuses on Fundamentals, Culture, and Sustainability
The +Works approach is a three-phase process. +Phase One focuses on cementing the fundamentals of the +Works mindset with all members of the community – parents, educators, and students. +Parenting and +Teaching Guides provide science-based information and tools to assist adults in finding a common language and platform upon which to discuss school community climate issues, and to encourage students to speak up for themselves and for others. +Teams work to creatively engage teachers, parents, and students in a discussion about how to create positive school community change.
+Phase Two focuses on customizing the +Works mindset to a school’s unique values, traditions, and culture. +Phase Three focuses on maintaining the +Works mindset within a school’s unique cultural context and ensuring that the newly established framework continues to evolve, stays fresh and relevant, and is sustainable over time.
“We envision 2012-13 to be the year of the upstander,” said Fisher. “Upstanders are people who stand up to defend others who are being mistreated. To raise upstanding children, we need to be upstanding adults. When we learn to handle daily power struggles and personal challenges constructively in our adult world, we can more authentically coach our children to speak up and meet tough situations in their world with dignity and confidence.”
Co-Founders Fisher and Morille will continue to work for +Works on a 100% pro bono basis. School communities interested in learning more about the +Works +School program should contact Sarah Fisher, +Works CEO, at email@example.com.
Sarah Fisher, Co-founder & CEO
Trish Morille, Co-founder & EVP