Category Archives: pc

Highmark Foundation reports $17.1 million savings when bullying prevention programs are sustained in Pennsylvania schools

AscentiveThe Highmark Foundation has released the first savings analysis created about the impact of bullying prevention programs in Pennsylvania. One example the report highlights is a $17.1 million in potential school savings when the number of students who leave schools because of bullying is reduced.

The Cost Benefit of Bullying Prevention: A First-Time Look at Savings indicates there are cost savings for schools when they initiate long-term evidence-based programs to prevent bullying. For the first time, the Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention at the Windber Research Institute looks at the anticipated financial impact of the expansion of the evidence-based Olweus Bullying Prevention Program (OBPP) during a three-year period in the 49 Pennsylvania counties that the Highmark Foundation serves.

“The cost-benefit analysis report provides valuable and positive outlooks that bullying prevention programs are having a greater impact in our schools, among health care organizations, within families and throughout the community,” said Highmark Foundation President Yvonne Cook. “The Highmark Foundation is focused on supporting health care initiatives that address the improvement of service delivery systems. It is our hope that this report will serve as a change agent for bullying prevention in schools and organizations across the nation.”

The report also compares the value of reduced health care utilization and care costs when bullying is reduced. Some of the various health-related conditions or problems caused by bullying incidents include mental health disorders, headaches, abdominal pain and/or alcohol use. On average, 31.4 percent of students with these bullying-related health disorders are treated at an estimated $1,683 per student (per 18 months).

“If the number of students who bully or who are bullied decreases, fewer students will experience such health-related consequences and a direct reduction in treatment costs will result,” said Dr. Matthew Masiello, director of the Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention at the Windber Research Institute.

This report demonstrates the Highmark Foundation’s continued efforts to address and fund evidence-based bullying prevention programs in Pennsylvania, and supports previous findings that 13 percent of Pennsylvania school children are experiencing a safer, more responsive school climate through exposure to the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program, as noted in Bullying Prevention: The Impact on Pennsylvania School Children, a report released by the Highmark Foundation in 2011.

The Highmark Foundation has also recommitted funding to the Windber Research Institute and the Center for Safe Schools through combined $1 million grants. The funding will support bullying prevention efforts in Pennsylvania through activities designed to fill gaps in resources, provide unavailable services and strategic development of outcomes evaluation.

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More Organizations Launch Anti-Bullying Campaigns

AscentiveCyber Safety news from the Ascentive team

More and more organizations are launching their own campaigns to stop bullying and cyber-bullying. Tanda, a pioneer in energy-based at-home beauty devices, announces its Zap Bullying campaign to raise awareness among parents and teens about this epidemic and to empower teens to feel confident and secure in their own skin.  The multifaceted campaign from Tanda Zap, the powerful acne clearing technology endorsed by leading dermatologists and successfully used by thousands of users across the country, will include a partnership with the national leading anti-bullying organization STOMP Out Bullying™, a social media awareness campaign and a limited edition blue Zap device to support the cause.

“We envision a world in which young people feel safe from bullying and we’re thrilled to partner with the STOMP Out Bullying™ organization. We share their commitment to help people take a stand against bullying in schools and communities,” says Fabian Tenenbaum, CEO of Syneron Beauty, the maker of Tanda branded products.  “Tanda Zap offers ground-breaking acne clearing technology to help teens feel comfortable and secure in their own skin and we hope that this initiative will raise awareness and dialogue around this issue and that ultimately it will serve to help foster greater understanding and mutual respect among teens.”

Tanda Zap invites consumers to “Zap Bullying” and pledge support to this social campaign by visiting its Facebook page, http://www.Facebook.com/Tanda.  “Like” Tanda and then “Vote” to Zap Bullying.  Tanda will donate $1 for each Vote to the STOMP Out Bullying™ organization.

“We are so grateful to have Tanda Zap as a philanthropic partner,” says Ross Ellis, Founder and CEO of STOMP Out Bullying™. “Together we can reach more schools, kids, teens and families affected by bullying with the critical educational resources and support services they need.”

As part of the campaign, the brand will introduce a limited edition blue Tanda Zap acne spot treatment device, from which a portion of proceeds will be donated to STOMP Out Bullying™. The limited edition blue Tanda Zap device will be available for $49 for Back to School 2012.

PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center, a partner in The Bully Project and a supporter of Lee Hirsch’s new documentary “Bully,” offers educators, students, families and individuals the tools they need to address bullying in schools. By downloading free resources at PACER.org/bullying, communities can find ways to help change the culture of bullying.

“The Bully movie gives everyone a heartbreaking look at the reality of bullying,” says Julie Hertzog, director of PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center. “Our hope is that the movie will be a call to action, and that more people will work together to create a climate that doesn’t accept this behavior.”

Resources available at PACER.org/bullying include bullying prevention classroom toolkits, activities and videos for K-12 students; toolkits for organizing community events around bullying prevention; tips for how parents can talk with their children about the subject and work with schools and more.

PACER’s TeensAgainstBullying.org website offers relevant and interactive information in a teen-friendly way. Teens can find strategies to deal with bullying, ways they can stand up for other kids, and ideas for how they can bring the bullying prevention message to their school. PACER’s KidsAgainstBullying.org website is also specifically designed for elementary-aged children and uses a cast of animated characters to share bullying prevention strategies.

In addition, PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center, The National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLB), AbilityPath and Autism Speaks are partnering with The Bully Project to raise awareness about how bullying affects children with disabilities. Resources and a toolkit will be available soon at specialneeds.bullyingproject.com.

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Fusion Project Unlocks Predictive Power of Public Data

AscentiveHave you ever wondered why Montana is the happiest state? Or why Mitt Romney is the front runner? These questions and others like them heavily influence our economy, our politics, and even everyday life, but the data that holds the answers is scattered far and wide. This is now changing thanks to the Fusion Project which is combing the vast data stores of government and research institutions alike to create one massively powerful data set.

The Fusion Project is making the promises of big data a reality and is possible only because of the explosion of available data. Back in 2010 Eric Schmidt, then CEO of Google, said that “every two days we now create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization up until 2003”. Data has even skyrocketed since then with the proliferation of smart phones, tablet computers, and other products producing new forms of data, but no one has yet taken full advantage of this overwhelming data source.

“I was surprised by the sheer volume of data available from governments and public institutions,” said Jason Kolb, a senior data scientist at Applied Data Labs. “But there is very little value being extracted from it due to its fragmented nature and our inability to analyze it all as a whole.” When the data is properly fused to private data, Kolb said, companies can reveal exciting new insights and identify ideas and opportunities that were previously hidden. For example, they can extend customer data with demographic and income information from the US Census project, or quality of life data from Pew Research. This unlocks much richer sets of information for use in customer service, marketing, and many other initiatives.

To address this need, Applied Data Labs is launching The Fusion Project–a public project using techniques and technology developed internally at Applied Data Labs to combine multiple public data sets into a single, value-packed data set for public consumption. Using distributed data analysis technology which employs advanced statistical analysis and data integration technology, the Fusion Project is able to join together previously silo’d data sets, unlocking insights and ideas that were previously unavailable. The project’s ultimate goal is to unlock the synergy latent in the publicly available data sets and put them to work in analytics environments.

“The Fusion Project uses several new and emerging technologies to work its magic,” said Kolb. “It’s one of the first projects to use Semantic Web technology in a meaningful way, and we’ve developed several unique ways to combine statistical research and analysis to stitch data sets together.” Applied Data Labs researches and develops experimental and theoretical analytic technologies internally and then consumerizes them in various ways, the Fusion Project being one of the first publicly-available incarnations of this process.

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California Youth Leaders visit Harvard for Lady Gaga’s Anti-Cyberbullying Event

AscentiveCyberbullying news from the Ascentive team

On Wedensday, 18 youth leaders selected from communities across the state by The California Endowment take part in the official launch of Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation, an ambitious new effort focused on empowering youth to be leaders and advocates in their communities.

Led by Lady Gaga’s mother, Cynthia Germanotta, the Born This Way Foundation has partnered with the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The California Endowment and The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard to explore the best ways to reach youth and create a new culture of kindness, bravery, acceptance and empowerment.  BTWF, a non-profit charitable organization, will address issues like self-confidence, well-being, anti-bullying, mentoring and career development through research, education and advocacy.

Youth were selected to attend today’s Harvard conference in recognition of their leadership in The California Endowment’s 10-year $1 billion effort to improve community health in 14 underserved communities across the state.  These communities are working to improve their neighborhoods and schools and the BTWF mission to empower youth advocates to help change the places where they live, work, learn and play is perfectly aligned with the communities’ Health Happens Here initiative to create environments where all can live long, safe and healthy lives.

During the Born This Way launch event, California youth will take part in training to learn how to advance social change through digital and social media advocacy, and will be posting multimedia content live throughout the day of the event.  The youth also join in a Harvard-sponsored youth summit titled “Prevent Bullying, Create Caring Communities” involving more than a hundred young people from Boston and other communities.  California youth also will tour the Harvard University campus.

“We are thrilled to welcome this courageous group of California youth to the official launch of the Born This Way Foundation,” said Cynthia Germanotta. She added, “The bravery and leadership they’ve demonstrated in helping prioritize community health issues in their neighborhoods and schools is exactly what we hope to inspire across the country.”
 
The California youth delegation will be accompanied by California Endowment CEO Robert K. Ross, who believes strongly in the importance of youth leadership in advocating for improved community health.

“Opportunities like this don’t come often and we jumped at the chance to involve some of our Health Happens Here community youth leaders in this unique event that will empower, educate, and inspire them with ideas about how to make they can take back to their communities,” said Dr. Robert K. Ross, M.D., President and CEO of The California Endowment.  “We’re thrilled to have a strong and vocal new ally for our youth in the Born This Way Foundation and Lady Gaga.”

At the conference, The California Endowment and Blue State Digital (a leading digital strategy agency) will cohost a Youth Advocacy Bootcamp at which youth leaders from around the country can be trained in online advocacy and the themes shared by Born This Way Foundation and The California Endowment.

The foundation’s launch day at Harvard will culminate in a keynote address by Lady Gaga, who will be joined by Oprah Winfrey, Dr. Deepak Chopra, U.S Health and Human Service Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and other luminaries committed to the ideals of the Born This Way Foundation to “lead youth into a braver new society where each individual is accepted and loved as the person they were born to be.”

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Boys and Girls Clubs of America and Sprint team up to fight cyberbullying

AscentiveInternet safety tips from the Ascentive team

Young people grow up hearing all kinds of safety warnings like “Look both ways before crossing the street,” or “Don’t talk to strangers.” But traditional safety tips are changing as today’s youth spend more time navigating an expansive online world.  Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) and Sprint today announced a strengthening of their work to educate young people and the adults who care for them about Internet and media safety.

BGCA and Sprint enter into their third year of working together with a $409,772 commitment aimed to highlight important online safety practices to nearly 4,000 Boys & Girls Clubs across the country. BGCA and Sprint will provide tools and resources to educate Club youth, parents and staff throughout the year with strong support around June’s Internet Safety Month.

This year’s funding will provide Clubs with a comprehensive media-safety strategy through the utilization of the NetSmartz and NSTeens programs, developed by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, along with resources that include media-safety discussion cards, social-networking and mobile-phone usage guidelines, and resources for Clubs to host their own Internet Safety days. Additionally, Clubs will be provided with teen-friendly video packages and media-safety articles, polls and contests for their members.

“Understanding media safety issues and knowing how to be safer online is critical for Club youth and parents,” said Judith J. Pickens, senior vice president for BGCA’s Program & Youth Development Services. “With Sprint’s ongoing support, Boys & Girls Clubs of America will continue to find creative ways to educate our young people on how to safely navigate the online world and be proactive with protective issues surrounding online safety.”

The goal is not only to educate, but allow for interactive engagement among youth. Creative avenues to communicate critical information are provided, such as the recent “Caption This!” contest, which was hosted on myclubmylife.com, BGCA’s website for teens.

The contest provided five sample posters representing critical media-safety topics: cyberbullying, password protection and online information sharing, sexting, Web chat safety, and mobile-phone recycling. Participants were challenged to produce an original slogan for one of the posters, and the winning slogans will be used in an educational poster series to promote the importance of media safety to some four million youth served by Boys & Girls Clubs.

“Sprint is pleased to continue its work with Boys & Girls Clubs of America,” said Ralph Reid, vice president of Corporate Responsibility for Sprint. “With so many young people accessing the Internet, it’s critical that they have ready access to information on how to stay safer; BGCA has been invaluable in seeing that this content gets into Clubs across the country.”

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Verizon Wireless Introduces Educational Programs, invests in New Jersey’s Wireline Communications

AscentiveEducation news from the Ascentive team

On Monday Verizon Wireless announced that it has launched “A Day in the Life of a History Maker” program to celebrate Black History Month. The program, a partnership with the UNCF, Teacher Planet, and Get Schooled, was developed to inspire and motivate high school students across the Philadelphia Tri-State Region by highlighting some of today’s most influential African American history makers.

Students in the Philadelphia Tri-State Region are encouraged to participate in the program by submitting a 500 word essay about how they plan to make history.  Entries will be accepted through March 31, 2012, at the Verizon Insider website. Five lucky winners will receive a chance to meet and spend an afternoon with Amber Riley, star of the hit TV series Glee, in New York City.

Students can also nominate their high school through February 29, 2012, to win a special visit from Ms. Riley. Voting is unlimited and the school with the most votes wins. Additionally, the actress is scheduled to star in five webisode vignettes on topics like education, empowerment, innovation, leadership and inspiration. The vignettes will coincide with themed Lesson Plans of past and present history makers that teachers will be able to download for use in their classrooms.

To further support the program, Terrence J., the star of BET’s 106 & Park, will be participating in a meet and greet on Thursday, February 23 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Verizon Wireless retail store located at 4650 Jonestown Road, Harrisburg, Pa.

“Education and diversity are incredibly important to Verizon Wireless,” said Mario Turco, president of Verizon Wireless, Philadelphia Tri-State Region. “We worked hard to make this multifaceted program relevant to today’s students, and we hope that it inspires them to become great history makers themselves.”

More than 1,000 schools are expected to participate, with more than 1.4 million students and 328,000 educators.  Verizon Wireless will also support this program on Facebook and Twitter.

Investing in New Jersey’s Wireline Communications, IT Infrastructure in 2011

Verizon also continued to bring communications and computing innovation to the state’s consumers and businesses in 2011, investing more than $732 million in its wireline communications network and IT infrastructure throughout the state.

“The communications industry is vital to New Jersey’s economy, and Verizon is the state’s leading private investor in network and IT infrastructure,” said Dennis Bone, president of Verizon New Jersey.  “Verizon’s advanced networks serve as fundamental drivers of economic growth and innovation, providing a solid foundation for businesses to innovate, students to learn and people to stay connected.”

“Technology has forever changed the way we communicate, dramatically transforming our business in new and exciting ways,” Bone said.  “Verizon is facing these challenges and opportunities head on, but our future capital investments in New Jersey will be shaped by how well the state’s public policy evolves to create a positive environment for investment and innovation in our industry.”

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Monitoring Service from Gaggle Protects Students from CyberBullyies

AscentiveInternet communication offers a rare window into the lives of students, which presents a tremendous opportunity to provide a positive environment for learning and development. Beginning July 1, 2012, Gaggle will include its Human Monitoring Service (HMS) as a part of its subscription service in order to better protect students and allow educators to focus on teaching.

The Human Monitoring Service puts the monitoring of blocked messages in Gaggle’s hands, eliminating the need for teachers to review questionable communications so they can concentrate on classroom instruction. The Human Monitoring Service greatly improves the safety and security of students, both online and in the real world. Gaggle’s HMS team has uncovered bullying, drug use, threats of school violence, teen depression, suicidal intentions, and abusive domestic situations. Detecting issues early allows parents and educators to intervene positively on behalf of students.

Director of Instructional Technology Cleon Franklin of Memphis City Schools, which currently uses the service, says the additional safety feature offers peace of mind. “The HMS team keeps the job of reviewing inappropriate content off our teachers’ plates,” he said. “An unexpected benefit of the system is the student safety situations that Gaggle has brought to our attention, even after school hours, allowing us to intervene and avoid potential tragedies.”

“Our top concern is student safety, and HMS makes it easier for teachers to protect their students in and out of the classroom,” said Shannon Sweeney, Cyber Security Agent at Gaggle. “Teachers don’t have to worry about monitoring the system themselves, giving them more time to devote to classroom instruction.”

Chief Executive Officer Jeff Patterson of Gaggle said, “This is the final puzzle piece that districts need to safely incorporate social networking into the classroom. Districts using HMS can be assured that communications are being constantly monitored and that safety concerns will be quickly addressed.”

Founded in 1998, Gaggle is a leading provider of safe online communication tools for schools. Gaggle hosts more than 3 million users in the U.S. and 23 countries. Based in Bloomington, Ill., the company is an expert in secure communications and offers proprietary technology and monitoring systems developed specifically for the school environment. Gaggle’s collaboration tools have won numerous education industry awards, including a prestigious CODiE Award in 2011 and Tech & LearningAwards of Excellence in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

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