2012-2013: Community-University Partnership Grant

In 2012, Rutgers University's Social Emotional and Character Development (SECD) Lab was given a Community University Partnership Grant to work with New Brunswick Middle School (NBMS) in New Brunswick, NJ. 

School Climate Surveys

Climate surveys serve as an indicator of how the New Brunswick Middle School environment is changing based on the people, programs and various initiatives within the school. The surveys are taken on an annual basis by the students and staff members of the school.

Four key areas of school climate are reported; school bullying, student respect, teacher and staff respect and teacher/staff and parent respect.

In 2013, results from Rutgers' SECD Labs school-climate data reveals the presence of an overall negative school climate at NBMS characterized by students' not feeling engaged in learning and teachers agreeing that this was so. 

2013-2014: The Creation of the Life, College and Career Advisory (LCCA)

The Life, College and Career Advisory

Responses to 2013 School Climate data involved a collaborative process for creating the LCCA, which is a daily school wide advisory to build students' social emotional competence and character, and the role for Student Ambassadors to discuss the climate data with peers and engage in joint problem-solving with the goal of improving their school environment.

Student Ambassadors

Each class has one or two elected ambassadors. These students remain ambassadors for three years (through 8th grade) unless they are removed for disciplinary or academic reasons, after probation. Ambassadors facilitate weekly discussions with their classes about school related concerns--Ambassador Fridays. Ambassadors bring this feedback to student councils and these councils or other administration respond to ambassador feedback with regular reports that they share with their classroom advisories. 

The hallmark of this collaborative process is to empower staff and students to take ownership of their school and to increase school contentedness and a sense of positive purpose beyond test scores. 

2014 School Climate Data

Percentage of students who reported that bullying was infrequent and that students feel safe: 31%

Percentage of students that reported that students treat each other with respect: 39.8%

Percentage of teachers/staff who reported that teaches and staff support and respect each other: 75%

Percentage of teachers/staff who reported feeling respected and supported by parents: 71.4%

2014-2015: New Brunswick Middle School (NBMS) Receives a National Promising Practice Award

New Brunswick Middle School's work in collaboration with Rutgers University and the SECD Lab on the development and implementation of LCCA into the daily curriculum received recognition through a National Promising Practice Award from character.org. 

National Promising Practice Award

Every year, character.org nationally and internationally recognizes educators who have implemented original and effective character education strategies in their schools. This award is part of character.org's Schools of Character program. 

2015 School Climate Data

Percentage of students who reported that bullying was infrequent and that students feel safe: 28%

Percentage of students that reported that students treat each other with respect: 37.4%

Percentage of teachers/staff who reported that teachers and staff support and respect each other: 62%

Percentage of teachers/staff who reported feeling respected and supported by parents: 78.8%

2015-2016: Community-University Partnership Grant- Creating Schools of Character Teams- Building Capacity for Student Success in New Brunswick

As an expansion of the 2012-2013 Community University Partnership Grant that led New Brunswick Middle School (NBMS) to change from one in which students and staff felt disengaged and disempowered to one recognized in 2015 for a National Promising Practice Award, the district is expanding this work to improve school culture and climate (SCC) to all of its schools. This project builds on the mechanism of success in NBMS of creating effective SCC teams within each school. 

 2016 School Climate Data

Percentage of students who reported that bullying was infrequent and that students feel safe: 76.1%

Percentage of students that reported that students treat each other with respect: 80.1%

Percentage of teachers/staff who reported that teachers and staff support and respect each other: 88.8%

Percentage of teachers/staff who reported feeling respected and supported by parents: 94.4%

2016-2017: New Brunswick Middle School (NBMS) is Recognized as a National School of Character

The National School of Character recognition is given by character.org to schools that embrace and utilize their entire school community to provide the most valuable and connected social and academic education possible that inspires and motivates students to be involved in their community. 

According to character.org National Schools of Character are schools in which:

  • Bullying is rare.
  • Cheating and discipline problems decline.
  • Test scores, grades and homework completion go up.
  • Attendance and graduation rates are high.
  • Dropout rates are low.
  • Achievement gaps are narrowed.
  • Teacher retention and satisfaction are high. 
  • Parent satisfaction and engagement rates are high.
  • Student engagement and involvement is high.