by Amy V. Simmons
The SDP Bullying Hotline
With the advent of a new school year brings hope, promise, new beginnings, and excitement for most students. Sadly, it also brings forth bullying, harassment and cyberbullying.
The School District of Philadelphia has official guidelines, policies, and procedures regarding bullying and cyberbullying of students within the school system. Bullying takes many forms, including physical violence, teasing, name calling, rumor spreading, and threats, among other antisocial behaviors.
The technological advances of the last ten years and the advent of social media platforms and portable devices has exacerbated this behavior in the form of cyberbullying. According to stopbullying.gov, typical cyberbullying may include mean text messages or emails, rumors sent by email or posted on social networking sites, and embarrassing pictures, videos, websites, or fake profiles. The 24/7 access and availability of these methods make cyberbullying a particularly insidious form of harassment.
Bullying affects the children who are targeted and those who perpetrate the act. The first thing parents need to do if they discover their children is being bullied is to contact the principal or other officials of your child’school to discuss what has occurred. If there is no response, the parents can contact the District’s Bullying Hotline at (215) 400-SAFE (7233) to report the incident.
For more information about District bullying prevention policies and procedures, as well as tips and resources for parents, kids, and educators, visit: http://webgui.phila.k12.pa.us/offices/a/attendance–truancy/bullying-prevention.
FLP Homework Help Online
The Free Library of Philadelphia’s Homework Help Online program is run by Brainfuse.com, a dynamic online tutoring website that offers a multitude of services to students of all ages, including adult learners. Research aids and portals offer a variety of study guides and tools, many in real time. For instance, the Flashbulb app — which can also be uploaded on iOS and Android mobile devices—offers electronic flashcards covering subjects such as geography, finance, history, math and science, among many others. Students can utilize the cards in each topic, or create their own.
There is real-time online tutoring available, as well as study groups. There is an exclusive platform for LEAP students as well. For high school students, college prep tools like PSAT and SAT study assistance is also available through the website.
The Adult Learning Center section also offers online tutoring, information and study guides, assistance with career and resume writing resources, GED test preparation, Microsoft Word tutoring and US Citizenship test preparation. Many services are available in real time as well.
All Homework Help Online programs are available in English and Spanish.
All you need is a current FLP library card to sign up for this service.
For more information, visit: www.freelibrary.org or contact Brainfuse Online Tutoring directly at 1.866.BRAINFUSE (1.866.272.4638)
No matter how sophisticated learning has become with the advent of the computer age, nothing surpasses a safe, resource-filled, and reliable “bricks and mortar”afterschool program.
The Free Library of Philadelphia provides homework assistance and more through its Literacy Enrichment After-School Program (or LEAP). LEAP provides a robust after-school program for students from K-12 grade during the school year in the FLP’s Parkway Central Branch, all neighborhood libraries and in its three regional libraries. The Parkway Central and neighborhood LEAP services are offered Mondays through Thursdays. The LEAP services at the three regional branches are offered Tuesdays through Fridays.
High school students—although mostly self-reliant and independent—often continue to need some homework help, research assistance, college selection guidance and basic library skills instruction; all of these are available in a non-judgemental, helpful setting through LEAP. In addition to homework assistance, elementary school students also participate in technology, science and cultural arts enrichment activities.
Specially trained After School Leaders (ASL) and Teen Leader Assistants (TLA) work with librarians and staff to provide this vital service to the communities they serve.
All LEAP services are offered free of charge.
For more information about the LEAP program, contact your local FLP branch, or the Office of Public Service Support at (215) 686-5372.
Students are not a monolith when it comes to their learning styles, interests, and talents, especially when it comes to extracurricular activities. There are many program choices in the Philadelphia region alone; some incur a cost, but quite a few are offered on a sliding fee scale or are free of charge.
According to their website, Philadelphia After School Activities Partnership (ASAP) — whose mission is to develop high-quality, after-school activities and resources to empower youth and strengthen communities in Philadelphia— facilitates weekly clubs in schools, libraries, and community and recreation centers throughout Philadelphia. The website also states the ASAP was created in 2002 at the request of City leaders to bring to public awareness the dangers of the afternoon hours for unsupervised youth in Philadelphia. The program has served more than 60,000 kids by recruiting volunteers, teachers, and organizations to lead enrichment clubs across the city, with an emphasis on areas with high rates of poverty, crime, and truancy.(Source: phillyasap.org)
The website offers information about which ASAP after school clubs and programs are available in their particular neighborhood. The ASAP clubs offered focus on developing students’ skills in chess, debate, drama and Scrabble.
ASAP also maintains a comprehensive online After School Directory where parents can research information about over 900 different after school programs, activities and services offered throughout the city.This database is also a feature on the city’s Philly311 mobile app.
For more information about ASAP, visit www.phillyasap.org or call (215) 545-2727.