Home About Us Media Kit Subscriptions Links Forum

June 2019 Archives


When I first started my journey into building safety and wellness tools to better protect students from bullying and cyberbullying, my goal was to empower students to always feel safe and secure at school. When children feel safe at school, they are willing to take more risks and subsequently learn more and faster. I continue to believe that almost every bully was once a victim of bullying. Bullying and cyberbullying are learned behaviors; they are behaviors we either model from others or learn from our personal experiences of being bullied. And I know that forgiveness and reconnection after an incident of bullying is essential to a bullying victim's continued social, emotional, and academic growth. But what I did not know at the beginning of my journey was that the majority of the social pain experienced by a bullying victim is not caused just by his bully. I will come back to this point, but first let's look at how society addresses bullying in schools. 

Most everyone in every community approaches solving a non-physical, social bullying incident by responding to the bully with a combination of punitive discipline (i.e. detention) and having the bully make amends (i.e. apologize to the victim); and in the most advanced schools, restorative discipline is applied to the bully (the bullies understand why what they did was wrong and they feel true remorse). Meanwhile, the parents of victims, more often than not, support their child with the timeless sticks and stones mantra, "sticks and stones will break your bones, but names will never hurt you." And after the bully serves out his detention, gives his apology and after the victim receives his parental support, fortified with a rendition of "sticks and stones", everything is expected to return to normal. But things do not immediately return to normal for the victim and sometimes never return to normal. This is because the victim is still hurting from the continuing effects of social rejection and pain. The social pain is caused by the bystanders' inaction! And their inaction is rationalized by saying [that] no one will do anything about it, and sadly they would be right in school communities that lack "connected" school leaders. 

The reason the victim continues to feel pain is that he or she believes the bully speaks for the entire school. That is because the bystanders do and say nothing, and the victim starts to believe the bully speaks for everyone. Why else would everyone watch the bully tease the victim. Additionally, victims often believe since a bully is singling them out, they must not be liked by the rest of the school community. In instances of bullying, absence of any social support is perceived as mass rejection. So in today's bystander-dominated schools, the pain and social rejection of being bullied is immediately amplified by the bystanders themselves (the students, teachers, coaches, and administrative staff) just watching, unwilling to do what is right: to deny, in public, what the bully is saying about the victim. The bystanders become the bully's accomplices, unleashing real pain, the social pain of being bullied. 

Based on studies from around the world, we know that approximately 10% of students between ages 12-16 are bullied on a regular basis. These students are in real pain every day. We also know that these bullied students are seven times more likely than other students to report being depressed. They experience more suicide ideation and are four times as likely as others to make a suicide attempt and more likely to succeed. This is the status quo and represents the horrible truth that all of us, who are "bystanders," have to live with. No more need be said. #

Jeff Ervine is a recognized expert in online defamation, student online safety, restorative practices, and social networks. Jeff is the CEO of Bridg-it. He and his Bridg-it team are committed to helping school leaders everywhere improve the social and psychological safety of their students. 

Preparing for the LSAT Exam



Preparation for important tests is often worthwhile!  

I began teaching LSAT preparation while earning my JD at the University of Virginia (UVA) Law School, and I found one misconception to be a curious and recurring theme: many students believe (and some are told) that preparation for such tests is not likely to have much effect on the outcome. While this is a convenient belief to adopt for those who might not be interested in the prospect of preparing -- and from my experience, taking and teaching such tests --performance can improve (in some cases dramatically) with the right kind of study and preparation. 

With some perspective, preparation can be productive (and even enjoyable!).  

I have certainly found this to be true from my own perspective; I very much enjoy teaching, from when I was casually tutoring friends early on, to when my teaching took on a much more structured approach under the tutelage of a great teacher and friend back in 2004. I have found that a good perspective and approach can reduce the stress that is often considered an inherent part of such efforts -- and, importantly, help to ensure that such preparation can indeed be worthwhile. #

Steven Stein began preparing students for graduate level admissions tests over two decades ago. A graduate of UVA, The Law School at UVA, and the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University, Steve scored in the 99th percentile on the LSAT, the GMAT, and the GRE.

Education Update (EdUp): What brought you to the field of fertility medicine?

Dr. George Kofinas (GK): I was lucky in my curiosity to be guided to this field. When I was finishing medical school in the 1970s, there was no such thing as fertility medicine. It began to form as a sub-specialty within obstetrics and gynecology after the first successful in vitro fertilization (IVF) birth in 1978; around the time I came to the US. And I jumped right in. The emerging science and the surgery were so exciting to me. With that, you could say that I've lived the entire history of fertility medicine - I was there at its conception, I've evolved with the field every step of the way, and I've also had the opportunity to conduct significant research over the decades which has helped us secure better outcomes for patients. It's the most beautiful field in medicine.

Dr. Jason Kofinas (JK): I decided to specialize in fertility medicine because I love helping create human life for people who can't. Every day, I feel like I'm making a difference in someone's life in a very positive and personal way, and through this process, I also get to know my patients very well because we spend so much time together. For me, while the medicine is important, it's not just about tests and procedures. The emotional side to fertility treatment is tremendously important and taking the time to know and support my patients establishes a connection that goes beyond any specific treatment. Also, growing up with my father in this field and with my mother who worked in neonatology was a wonderful introduction, though neither of them ever pressured me to go into medicine or into the fertility field, more specifically.

EdUp: What do you think has been the key to your success?

GK:Well, there are a lot of factors that have contributed to our success. For one, it's our comprehensive approach, which is to always investigate every aspect of a patient's infertility challenges first. It's only after this in-depth investigation that we move forward with a treatment plan. This initial discovery process can be a tedious and time-consuming process that many fertility practitioners don't spend as much time on anymore before proceeding with fertility treatment, but we think it's absolutely essential to optimizing the patient for success from the very beginning. Of course, once you know the source of the problem, you then need the expertise and skillset to address it, and we have the surgical expertise and resources to correct the anatomical problems that cause infertility, such as fibroids and endometriosis. In both these cases, surgery can be complex, and we often see and successfully treat cases that other physicians aren't willing to operate on.

EdUp: What's endometriosis and how does it affect fertility?

JK: Endometriosis is a condition where endometrial tissue is found outside the uterus.  It's a condition that unfortunately goes undiagnosed by many physicians and which many avoid operating on because the surgery is complex and requires a high level of expertise. But this condition is a fertility killer. Many clinics will go right to IVF, but we ask very specific questions that are associated with this condition. We go deep into their history, and if we suspect it, we'll perform a diagnostic, minimally-invasive laparoscopy and remove any lesions we find. We believe that diagnosing and treating endometriosis before IVF is beneficial to the overall success rate of the patient, and this approach has allowed us to have higher fertility success without fertility treatment once the endometriosis is treated.

EdUp: Designing and building this new facility from scratch must have been a huge commitment and undertaking. Why make this investment?

GK: MRSC was built with one important purpose in mind: to enhance every aspect of a patient's surgical experience and optimize her reproductive health. And so, in addition to the convenience of offering patients the full range of advanced fertility treatment capabilities under one roof - including lab testing, examinations, and surgery - we strongly believe that this centralized approach to fertility care will significantly improve patient outcomes beyond what we are already delivering, including shorter post-surgical recovery periods and extremely low infection rates due to the facility's advanced sterilization techniques. It will also be the first standalone reproductive ambulatory surgery center in New York State dedicated to the treatment of patients who suffer from a wide scope of gynecological conditions, including fibroids, endometriosis, pelvic pain, congenital abnormalities of the uterus, and infertility. 

JK: Everything in this facility has been designed around improving patient outcomes and optimizing our ability to serve our patients. This facility has been five years in the planning and building and has been informed by decades of experience. We calculated the space we need and designed it to support the way we work as a team. For example, we designed the operating rooms and the laboratory so that they don't get in the way of each other, but so that we can also work together through pass-through windows. This feature, which doesn't exist at hospitals, is absolutely essential because it will minimize the time that an embryo is outside of the incubator down to around thirty seconds. On top of that, everyone in the facility - from the surgeons to anesthesiologist to nurses to administrative staff - is dedicated to fertility medicine. We all work together every day and operate as a cohesive team.

EdUp: For people considering fertility treatment, what's the most important thing you want them to know?

GK: For any woman who is interested in building a family at some point in her life, I would say the following: consider a family as early as possible to ensure that your eggs are healthy. And if that's not possible now, I'd recommend that they consider freezing their eggs at an earlier age. We've now reached a point with our technology where frozen eggs have the same success rate as fresh eggs, so the benefit of taking action early on and preserving this option is tremendous. Along with advances in technology, which have taken more than twenty years to perfect, the cost of this procedure has also come down considerably, so it is often much more affordable than many women realize.

JK: I think it's important that people see the fertility process as a journey. It can sometimes take time to diagnose and treat an infertility problem, which can be quite frustrating. However, if they are committed to the process, we will eventually know what the cause of their infertility is. This is very important, because understanding what the problem is and why you have to undergo fertility treatment helps people find the strength and patience to go through the process. I spend a lot of time with my patients helping them to understand this because I think it's so important.  

EdUp: What is the biggest misconception that women who are looking to conceive have about the fertility treatment process?

GK: Many women believe that no matter what their age, they can get pregnant, but this isn't true. It is all about the quality of eggs a woman produces, and this quality naturally decreases with age. Again, that's why I recommend, to any woman who wants to have children at some point in her life but who isn't ready yet to freeze her eggs when she is younger to preserve this option.

JK: Many people believe that IVF is a year-long process. I've had some patients go through the whole process in months and others who take a slower approach. So much depends on the individual. Another misconception is that IVF is cost-prohibitive. The cost has come down significantly, even from ten years ago, and the fact is that a lot of insurance companies will now cover a significant portion of the cost, so it's good to investigate what your benefits are before concluding that it's beyond your financial reach. #

I recently had the pleasure of observing a STEAM program for Dwight Global Online School students at Dwight School in New York. I've followed Dwight, a leader in global education, for many years because the school is always innovating, so I was excited to see first-hand what was in store for students of Dwight's campus in the cloud.

Dwight Global extends Dwight's long legacy of "igniting the spark of genius in every child" and personalized learning without limitations, thanks to the latest technology. It combines real-time online video conferencing seminars, Oxford-style tutorials, and a college-style schedule to provide students in grades 7-12 with the intimacy of an independent school coupled with the freedom to pursue their passions ("sparks of genius"). Customizing the educational path for each student is the hallmark of a Dwight education on the ground and now in the cloud.

Dwight Global students, who live around the world, include competitive athletes, ballet dancers, working actors and actresses, and entrepreneurs, who are pursuing their dreams without sacrificing top-notch academics. They can attend classes from wherever they live or train, and have the flexibility needed to accommodate their busy competition and performance schedules. They can also participate in on-campus programs and attend classes at any Dwight School in its global network - in New York, London, Seoul, Shanghai, and Dubai - the choice is theirs. 

I met some of these talented students when they gathered on Dwight's Upper West Side campus for their annual STEAM Weekend, focusing on forensic science, design, and immigration this year. The program, I learned, is just one of several throughout the school year that bring online students together in the real world, distinguishing Dwight Global from other online programs. Some of the students I spoke with had chosen Dwight because it offered more in terms of academics, flexibility, and support than other schools. Through my own observations, I discovered that Dwight Global also offered more in terms of community. 

As students dove into the forensics portion of the weekend, I enjoyed following along. They were challenged with solving a fictional mystery, Sherlock-Holmes style, using the knowledge they had just gained in the classroom and lab. "We are learning to think critically and to use skills that involve both chemistry and psychology," reported one student, referring to conducting "witness" interviews and psychological analyses, examining fingerprints, and forensic testing of "evidence." 

This was an imaginative and creative way to learn and immediately apply new knowledge - and for students to connect with each other and their teachers. As the afternoon came to an end and I headed home, the students were getting ready to spend more time together over dinner and a Broadway show. I was ready to curl up with a classic Sherlock Holmes mystery! #

For more information, please visit www.dwight.global.

About Me

Homeroom is the place to go for quick news on what is happening in education around the world. Remember how you had to check in to homeroom for attendance and daily schedule changes in intermediate school as well as high school? Education Update has created this section...Read More

Education Update, Inc. All material is copyrighted and may not be printed without express consent of the publisher. © 2019.