PJ BLOGGER

BOE APPROVES SOCIAL NORMS SURVEY TO ADDRESS SOCIAL BEHAVIORS

In Uncategorized on September 27, 2006 at 9:39 pm

The Board of Education approved student participation at Ridgewood High School in the Social Norms Prevention Campaign conducted through Rowan University. Social Norms is a proactive prevention model that encourages safe habits for students by correcting common misperceptions college and high students have regarding the prevalence of at-risk behaviors among their peers. The initiative was pioneered by Dr. Wesley Perkins of Hobart & William Smith University, who found wide disparity
between students’ descriptions of their alcohol consumption and their perceptions of their friends and classmates drinking habits. Because perceptions influence decision-making, the Social Norms approach discourages at-risk behavior by publicizing the true nature of student social behavior. For example, while the media coverage of student drug use and binge drinking on high school and college campuses creates the impression that at-risk behavior is more pervasive than it is, the Social Norms message attempts to correct that misconception. The idea is that if students know the truth they will feel less pressured to engage in dangerous
practices themselves. By using hard data collected in surveys, Social Norms dispel the notion that most students binge drink on a frequent basis.
Because studies at the college level have shown success in reducing alcohol intake among targeted populations, the Social Norms approach has been modified for middle schools and high schools. The purpose is again to promote healthy behaviors through conveying positive, inclusive, and empowering messages that provide information on the true nature of social behavior among their peers. Statistics are accumulated using web-based surveys. Consent forms for individual students to participate will be mailed to parents or guardians. Because of New Jersey statute (18A:36-34) concerning parental consent, only students who have signed parental consent forms will be allowed to take part in the web-based survey. The study has been designed to protect each student’s privacy. The results of the survey will be used to determine which healthy behaviors are student norms and that message will be communicated via a multi-media campaign, including the use of posters, flyers, advertisements in student newspapers, bulletin boards, and newsletters.

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  1. Haven’t those knuckleheads on the BOE learned by now that student surveys create nothing but trouble?

  2. what ever happened to the three R’s

  3. I have a social norm its called worshiping failure lest end it NOW!

  4. Surveys do not create trouble, if they are conducted with the proper permissions and confidentiality and statistical validity. If we as a community are going to take care of our young people, and if we as individual parents are going to take care of our individual children, the smartest thing we can do is to take the “temperature” of what’s really going on, and then make informed decisions about how to act and parent based on that data. Anyone who thinks at-risk behaviors are no more prevalent now than they were when we were kids, and anyone who believes that Ridgewood doesn’t have much of a problem, is misinformed at best and probably in denial. Thanks GOODNESS the BOE has the strength to recognize a good oppportunity for learning about our children so that we can better raise them. I will take all the insight I can get! Whether or not the follow-up marketing of social norms is successful, at least parents who want to know the truth will have this chance to get it and respond accordingly. (And Rufus, I’m not sure what you mean by worshipping failure, but I’m pretty sure learning how to spell would be a first step in ending it!)

  5. NO WAY MY BOY. NOT MY KIDS. IT MUST BE THE ONES FROM MIDLAND PARK.AT THAT HILLBILLY TOWNHA,HA,HA,HA.

  6. I think needs to refocus on learning no need for snoopy surveys ..

  7. I think the BOE should mind their own business and start doing their job educating kids ,and stop trying to cover up the schools failures

  8. this is criminal get back to educating DO YOUR JOB

  9. You’re not paying attention…the BOE is not DOING anything. They agreed to let RHS participate in a study being conducted by ROWAN UNIVERSITY. And the benefit for us parents is that we get to see the resulting DATA which can help inform how we as a Village keep our kids healthy and safe. How on EARTH can someone be against that? If you don’t want your child to particpate in the survey, don’t give consent. But don’t get in the way of ME trying to help MY kid.

  10. The BOE did do something; they approved the survey taking place!

  11. The BOE has got to be kidding with this criminal mischief they are attempting haven’t we been down this road before ?

  12. OK, you are clearly joking. You must be. What exactly is “criminal” and what part of this is “mischief?” The survey, conducted by Rowan and NOT by the Ridgewood Public Schools, will follow the LAW that is on the books (thanks to Ridgewood). So, no crime there. And Webster’s defines “mischief” as “a specific injury or damage…a cause or source of harm, evil or irritation.” Hmmm, that doesn’t fit, since there will be no HARM and only potential HELP achieved by this. So what on earth are you talking about? No, we have NOT previously been down the road of participating in a completely voluntary and law-abiding study of the facts of high-risk behaviors among teens in Ridgewood. As a parent, I am THRILLED to go down this road. If you, however, do not wish to participate, then simply don’t. And leave the rest of us alone. Thank you.

  13. It’s deja vu all over again. Once more the board and the principal of the high school intend to survey some personal and intimate information based upon the specious theory (that has yet to be proved) of exposing social norms as a way of modifying individual behavoir. The current literature is not decisive on this theory, adherent’s acclaims not withstanding.

    Let’s see how the board and the high school handles the parental consent. The last time they tried this, it got the district embroiled in a lawsuit. Perhaps they will have learned from the last time, although I have my doubts.

  14. I see the board of ed is on the blog again.

    I think they should go ahead with the survey. This way the parents can sue AGAIN, and the compensation will go to funding college education.

    Im starting to wish that the state come and wash the “circus” out of town.

  15. anything to avoid doing there job

  16. “Social Norms ” How about Excelling in math and science novel I know

  17. you m,ust be kidding ,is the BOE this stupid? lawyers start your engines

  18. Only in Ridgewood!

  19. BOE belongs in the soviet union not America ..oh sorry this is the banana republic of new jersey ,its not America its jim macgrippy land

  20. Well now, yous all gots to understands about them sir-vay-or types. They knows what theys is doin. We needs to have them sir-vays done cause its terribly important to knows our kids and it prevents dems from consuming all that alkohall. We needs to know if their sexual or-re-entations is north or south. We needs to know all bout their parents. And we kneeds to know their feelins bout livin or dyin. All that thar stuff is important to preventin dem consumin alkohall. Yep, dem sir-vay-ors knows whats what.

  21. oh, brother. Aside from your inane writing style (gee, how clever), you are misinformed. This survey will have nothing to do with questions of sexuality, suicide, attitudes toward parents, peers or whatever. That was THEN — let’s move on. This survey, would be very straightfoward and deal only with a few questions regarding drinking and other substance use. That’s all. And yes, you will be happy to know it is to be administered in a completely different way than the previous survey, and will follow all the strict laws regarding parental consent, opt-in vs. opt-out, confidentiality, etc. In fact, the data will never go to anyone in Ridgewood, not the Board of Ed, not RHS, etc. It goes directly to Rowan, where they (strangers with no vested interests) will compile the results and prepare a report. The RPS will stick to the readin’ and writin’ as you have indicated they must. They will not be administering the survey. How many different ways can I say that? I’m disappointed at the knee-jerk (stressing the jerk!) reaction to a survey…use your head, get informed, and don’t be so quick to dismiss the value of a properly run survey. You can find out more about the social norms approach and read the results of other high school surveys as part of the Alcohol Education Project at Hobart and William Smith Colleges (where it was developed) at http://alcohol.hws.edu/ Go read the facts, if you dare. It’s not as fun as using hillbilly-speak as a smokescreen for lame arguments, but I liked it! (Finally, NO I am not a member, employee or even friend of the Board of Ed. Just a concerned parent.)

  22. schools need to focus on EDUCATION and mind there own business

  23. The survey “will deal only with a few questions about drinking and other substance abuse?” ONLY? Just because there are no questions about sexuality, suicide, etc. that makes everything okay? Get a reality check!

  24. I was simply correcting the erroneous statements by the hilbilly who mistakenly implied that those areas would also be included. And guess what — that’s what this survey would be — an honest-to-goodness reality check! Thanks!

    Can I just ask, why are you so afraid to find out the realities of substance use in Ridgewood? I could make guesses, but maybe you could honestly and thoughtfully explain your position? I’m willing to listen. We are all in this together after all.

  25. You don’t need a survey of questionable value to address the realities of substance abuse. I don’t think people are upset with addressing the issues of substance abuse. I believe they are upset with the intrusive nature of the survey itself and the preceived indifference of the board and school administration in administering such a survey.

    This school board and the former superintendent and the principal of the high school have done many things to arouse the suspicions of parents (the former survey and subsequent lawsuit, the attempt to sell off property to Valley, individual run ins with various players, the handling of the teacher’s strike to name a few).

    The education establishment in this town has a perception problem. Whether it’s justified or not is not the point. It’s there and the board has it within its power to change it. Instead, from what I see, they dismiss complaints. Doing so only feeds the fire.

  26. Well, I guess there is just a difference in how you and I react to the same things. I actually agree with you on some of the past events such as the poorly handled previous survey (although I was one who supported the survey, they didn’t handle it properly), the stupid Valley thing and their caving-in to the threatened teachers’ strike. Yes, the Board has always suffered from a bizarre inability to predict community perceptions, and their communication skills suck. I’m with you on all that, I just don’t hold that against this current effort. If you truly look into this survey and the social norms approach, it looks very promising. The survey is far from intrusive, and it has all kinds of privacy protections built-in.
    Interestingly, you comment about the perceptions toward the board being the reality, and how they should do more to work against that…I agree. However, consider applying that same thinking toward teens and drinking. Their PERCEPTIONS about what they think “everyone” does are usually very wrong. If we can correct the errors in their perceptions, and show them what the reality is, then we have an oppportunity to change behavior. This type of approach has been shown to have more success that simply “just say no” or “alcohol is bad” campaigns. It shows kids the truth and then respects them enough to act accordingly. (P.S. I changed from anonymous to my screen name so as to avoid all the confusing anonymous posts!)

  27. PJ,regarding the ridgewood school survey. its doubtful that the results will be worth anything because most teenagers will not tell what really goes on. they are afraid that their parents will find out.i would be skeptical about the results. also ridgewood teens are very smart and could manupulate the answers to come out in their favor to make them look good. surveys are a waste especially with young people.

  28. I have no argument with the survey – yet. I haven’t seen it and will do more reading up on it before I pass judgment on it. But that’s not the point. I can see we are both in agreement – it’s the handling of the situations that make for the poor perception.

    The solution to the board’s perception problem is more openness and sensitivity to parents. When I first came to this town 5 years ago, the amount of hostility, suspicion and dread I sensed when I walked into the BOE to register my son was palpable. I thought the admins were just having a bad day. But this feeling is persistent. I sensed it while visiting the high school and attended the HSA meetings and in any dealing that I or others have had with the school district. I always got the distinct feeling I was being handled. BTW I never felt that way with the teachers, guidance counselors, the nurse, or the coaches. The distrust is specifically from the administrative end of the school district.

    There is a distinct “circle-the-wagons-mentality” that persists among the board and the administration. As the state makes more and more regulations in response to property taxes, the board and the administrators are going to be feeling put upon more than ever before. I think the situation is going to get a lot worse as more pressure builds from the state. If the board and the administrators can separate the requests from the parents from the demands made by the state, they might be able to win over a few more supporters. However, I’m skeptical that they will be able to change the institutional culture fast enough.

    Just my two cents.

  29. Totally agree. Wow, how refreshing to see someone who understands the dynamics involved and doesn’t just call the BOE or Administration “evil.”

  30. I hope the BOE will signoff and pay for all the lawsuits out of their own pockets

  31. Again, why would there be any lawsuits? There is now a clearly-worded state LAW on the books (thanks to Ridgewood) re: surveys, and this survey’s procedure would follow that LAW exactly. It’s voluntary. It’s opt-in. It requires parental consent in writing beforehand. It’s confidential. The data goes directly from the survey-taker to Rowan University, with no stops in between at the RPS or BOE or RHS or village or anyone in this town. Oh, also, it doesn’t cost any money on our part. Honestly, I simply cannot see where the “lawsuits” would come from — if you can elaborate using some facts, please do, otherwise stop mouthing off aimlessly with hot-button words like “lawsuits”. Blah blah blah…what else ya got?

  32. Since you’re so righteous, if there won’t be any law suits then what’s the problem just indemnify the tax payers

  33. Frankly I think the BOE is nuts, with the flight of the Super, the failure with the standardized test, the sports folly ,questionable business practices and now the grand finally the busy buddy survey .If this was the private sector you guys in the BOE would have to get your resumes ready

  34. I’m not righteous, just right. 🙂

  35. Oh, this is so tiresome but I can’t help but keep correcting you. First, ,the BOE is not “nuts” they just have horrendous communication skills. The school did not “fail” on the standardized tests for NCLB. In fact, the schools passed all criteria for 05/06. Here’s the official story (including the one-time non-passing “grade” that put us on the warning list):

    “The Ridgewood School District met or exceeded the Annual Yearly Progress (AYP) on 40 of 40 criteria established by the federal legislation No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). The outcome is based on the results of New Jersey state tests administered during the 2005-2006 school year. Under NCLB, all students in grades 3-8 and in one grade in high school must be tested once a year in reading and mathematics. All students are expected to score at the “proficient” level or above on state-administered tests by 2014. Until then, students are expected to meet increasing benchmarks in proficiency. Subgroups of students, including low-income, black, Hispanic, special education students and English language learners, also must meet the same AYP standards on the same set of tests. If they do not, the entire school is deemed to have failed. Because the 11th grade special education students did not meet AYP in the 2004-2005 language arts test, Ridgewood High School was given an early warning status. RHS needs two consecutive years of meeting all criteria to be removed from the early warning list.”

    And finally, Rufus, you’re right, this is not the private sector. In the private sector, no one has to care about the welfare of our kids. In the private sector, it’s all about making money — not trying to do best for a community. Thank goodness the BOE is not in the private sector!!!

  36. BB the schools failed period stop trying to pretend otherwise ….

    and as for caring about the kids ,yea right this bunch of clowns dosnt care about the kids one bit school systems are all about MONEY and thats it …gee whats the survey about getting more FED AID to combat social issues …maybe the educators should focus on education instead of all this other bull …oh thats right the teachers might have to know how to read as well,its kinda sad when you realize that the janitors have highter standards than the teachers…

  37. oh brother. For the last time: the 11th grade special ed students did not meet the annual yearly progress in language arts in 2004-2005. That’s 1 of 40 criteria. That is not a failure. It precipitated an “early warning.” And then the school corrected the deficiency and EVERYONE met the AYP for 2005-2006. Meaning the problem was corrected and the school got a 100% PASS not FAIL. Why is this so hard to understand?

    I do not know all the school board members personally, but those I do know are there for the kids. Why on earth would anyone subject themselves to this asinine ridicule otherwise? There is no personal benefit. It’s jerks like you who prevent people like me from running for BOE…I care deeply about our schools and would love to do my part, however, sometimes I think the high percentage of lunkheads in this town makes it not worth it.

  38. oh brother. For the last time: the 11th grade special ed students did not meet the annual yearly progress in language arts in 2004-2005. That’s 1 of 40 criteria. That is not a failure. It precipitated an “early warning.” And then the school corrected the deficiency and EVERYONE met the AYP for 2005-2006. Meaning the problem was corrected and the school got a 100% PASS not FAIL. Why is this so hard to understand?

    isnt the real story that this student did not exist and the school was getting paid aid money for someone that wasnt there ? stop trying to make excuses failure is failure ,and taking money you dont deserve is…..

  39. I do not know all the school board members personally, but those I do know are there for the kids. Why on earth would anyone subject themselves to this asinine ridicule otherwise? There is no personal benefit. It’s jerks like you who prevent people like me from running for BOE…I care deeply about our schools and would love to do my part, however, sometimes I think the high percentage of lunkheads in this town makes it not worth it.

    how about to sell BF to valley and make lots of money,get their friends jobs,like jumping jane and of coarse to make sure there kids get everything handed to them.

  40. isnt the real story that this student did not exist and the school was getting paid aid money for someone that wasnt there ? stop trying to make excuses failure is failure ,and taking money you dont deserve is…..

    um, I don’t know where you get this fantasy info…care to divulge your source (or is your source an illegal mind-altering substance?).

    Perhaps you are referring to the fact the some special ed students attend schools in other districts. Are you aware that since they are Ridgewood residents, RPS must PAY for those students to go out of district. Any “aid” that RPS receives would be turned around and paid out for those students. The flaw from the NCLB standpoint is that even though those students are educated by OTHER teachers in OTHER towns, if they do not meet the AYP, then that “failure” is counted against Ridgewood, even though RPS are not able to affect the day-to-day education of that child. Does that seem fair? I think not.

    I’m starting to realize that you are simply coming up with this crazy stuff to bait me…what can I say, I’m a sucker for an argument. But this is getting surreal. I enjoy having an intellectual disagreement, but I think I’m alone on the intellectual side of this one.

  41. So your saying no one tried to sell BF to valley and make lots of money,got their friends jobs,like jumping jane and of coarse to make sure there kids get everything handed to them. really ?

  42. No one tried to “sell BF to Valley”…although the proposal to sell PART of BF was raised…and pretty quickly withdrawn due to community opposition…kind of the way it’s supposed to happen, right? It was a dumb idea, it didn’t go anywhere, get over it….getting their friends jobs? Is the only person you’re referring to Jane Reilly? Honestly, can you think of another group who could use help COMMUNICATING more than the BOE? I’m not sure how great of a job she’s doing, their communications are marginally better than before, but really it’s a step in the right direction, one person, one job…get over it! Do you want to make real progress or just keep looking back and badmouthing the past? Those issues you raise have their own merits…or not…but they definitely don’t have anything to do with the concept of a social norms campaign and a survey of youth drinking/drug habits.

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