Partnerships

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rsz_1rsz_csca_hero_blueborder_10-14School counselors have been longtime BrainWise champions and supporters, and helped pilot the first courses taught to at-risk teens.  Today, they continue to be the largest group of program users.  The BrainWise team presented a session at the 2015 Colorado School Counselors’ Association Conference, and received high evaluations from participants.

Afterwards, some of the counselors talked about how they planned to introduce BrainWise throughout their schools, and how they will work to create a school-wide culture that reinforces the concepts.  These outstanding educators help students deal with formidable issues on a daily basis, and live up the conference’s theme:  School Counselors:  The Super Heroes of Education.

Tricia Jones, Ph.D., President, Faculty Senate, Professor, Department of Strategic Communication, Temple University, and Board Member, the Association of Conflict Resolution (ACR), invited the BrainWise organization to submit a grant for the 2015 ACR/JAMS Funding Cycle.  The focus of the grant was a project that supported the development, implementation and/or assessment of conflict education serving special needs youth populations.  BrainWise responded with  a 175-page document that proposed teaching BrainWise enhanced with the BrainWise online course infused with conflict problems faced by youth with special needs  (i.e., youth with intellectual disabilities, social emotional/emotional disabilities, learning disabilities, hearing and/or visually impaired, physical disabilities, traumatic brain injuries, autism spectrum disorders, and other disabilities).

The turn-around time for the grant  was short, and heartfelt thanks go out to BrainWise board members  Matt Sena, M.S. (help writing the grant), Dan Himelspach, J.D. (finding the grant), and Don Eberle, J.D.  (editing and organizing the grant).  Master BrainWise teacher, Karyn Singley Blair, School Psychologist at Aurora Central High School, teaches BrainWise to “exceptional students,” including special needs.  Karyn was thrilled to be part of the grant and wrote a letter saying her classroom would be a teaching site.  Similarly, Susan McAlonan, Ph.D., Director of Student Services at HOPE Online Academy, volunteered special needs students attending HOPE, an innovative blended learning school, as another project site.

Dr. Jones and the ACR Board will notify grant recipients in November.   This is an exciting opportunity to showcase BrainWise as a conflict resolution intervention, publicize the program’s use with students who have special needs, and get the BrainWise online program up and running.

 

Colorado School Counselor Association (CSCA).  Thank you CSCA and Matt Clemens!  Matt wrote a marketing plan for BrainWise as part of his MBA studies at the University of Colorado.  He found that school counselors were large users of BrainWise, and we are excited that our submission, “BrainWise:  Teaching K-12 Students Executive Functions and SEL” will be presented at the annual Colorado School Counselors’ Association (CSCA) conference.  The conference, titled   Superheroes in Education, will be held in Colorado Springs on November 11-13th.  Samantha Haviland, PhD, Director of Counseling Support Services at Denver Public Schools and Presenter Liaison for CSCA said that the review committee had received an overwhelming number of presentations, and congratulated us on our acceptance.  We will present an overview of BrainWise and outcomes that include Colorado State University’s Christine Cerbana, M.S. and Juliana Rosa, M.S. found when they collected and analyzed data on 600 K-5 students at Manitou Springs Elementary School, as well as earlier research Dr. Welsh conducted on adolescents.

Working with BrainWise on the Computer

Working with BrainWise on the Computer

Avaya Communications has a new corporate giving program that involves loaning the expertise of one of their senior management staff to a nonprofit organization.  BrainWise is the fortunate recipient of technical advice from Rob McMaher, M.S., APS Chief Architect and Consultant/Global ASA Team.  Rob is helping us put together a 5-minute You Tube video and an instructor training video.  He will share his expertise with us as a developer of online corporate training programs for Avaya.

RYLA Plus is a Rotary Youth Leadership Awards program for potential future leaders with physical disabilities, or other similar challenges.  Targeted for high school or college students ages 16-20, this is the third year that the Rotary Club of Denver Southeast and Easter Seals Colorado have held the week-long camp (www.easterseals.com/co/shared…/ryla/ryla-2015-flyer.pdf)   Rotarian Karen Loeb, Ed.D., PMP, professor of leadership and technical management at the University of Denver Daniels College of Business, leads the staff and students in leadership classes and activities.  She has invited BrainWise to be part of the curriculum, and will integrate the 10 Wise Ways into True Colors®, a program that helps individuals understand themselves and others based on their personality temperaments.

RYLA Plus Participants

RYLA Plus Participants

 

Girls in Lakakh, Kashmir

Girls in Lakakh, Kashmir

Street Scene, Lakakh

Street Scene, Lakakh

Serendipitous connections involving Rotary, and Indian educator, and a Tibetan Buddhist nun have resulted in BrainWise being taught in five schools for girls in Ladakh, a remote and desolate area of India.  Linda Sue Shirkey, a member of Denver Mile High Rotary Club, met Indian educator, Marguerite Theophil, Ph.D., on a trip to India.  She learned about Marga’s work, including efforts to help improve education for girls in the Kashmir/Jammu area where Ladakh is located.

Linda Sue was familiar with BrainWise from her Rotary club’s teaching of the program to inner city children and teens, and knew Dr. Li taught BrainWise to girls in Kunming.  She sent Dr. Theophil a copy of How to Be BrainWise and told her the program was taught to girls in the U.S. and other countries Dr. Theophil gave the book to one of the Buddhist nuns who was connected with five schools for girls in Ladakh, and was asked if she could help them add BrainWise to their curriculum.  Together, they raised funds to purchase five sets of the three curricula. BrainWise discounted the materials and sent them to Ladakh via FedEx.  We look forward to hearing more when the project gets started!

 

Dr. Susan McAlonan, HOPE Academy’s Director of Student Services, was the catalyst behind arranging a BrainWise training for 130 faculty and staff members at the school in November, 2014.  Dr. McAlonan’s experience with BrainWise came from her previous job as Director of Student Services for Aurora Public Schools, where she saw how the program would benefit the students at HOPE.  She is excited by the feedback  from the faculty, and reports that the next school year will be even better. She said that HOPE’s research team adapted the BrainWise Knowledge Survey for their students and found high validity among the measures.  These results are forthcoming.  However, they discovered that the translated version confused Spanish speaking students, and will resolve this issue for the upcoming school year.  In-house collection of data was necessary because they were unable to partner with our academic partner, Dr. Welsh and the University of Northern Colorado, to measure executive functions.  Strict data gathering regulations require that parent permission be obtained for students to participate in university-conducted research, and getting more than 2900 HOPE students’ parents/guardians to sign release forms was too difficult for them to do.

HOPE Teachers at BrainWise Training

HOPE Teachers at BrainWise Training

BrainWise board member Dan Himelspach, JD, co-founder of  Dispute Management, Inc. and an expert litigator and mediator,  saw a grant announcement from the Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR), in partnership with the JAMS Foundation, to fund “unique and innovative” projects that advance conflict resolution education serving blind, deaf, and special needs populations.  Dan saw that the grant was a perfect fit for BrainWise —  the 10 Wise Ways complement skills taught in conflict resolution, and many BrainWise  instructors teach special needs students.  The “tactile brain” Karyn Singley Blair, MS,  created for her blind students is an example, and other special needs sites, including the Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind, are teaching BrainWise.   We submitted a pre-proposal, and asked for funding to upgrade BrainWise online, develop a companion BrainWise mobile phone app, and add problem situations specific to special needs youth. Educational software provides an opportunity to teach BrainWise using  a blended learning approach that will not only enhance special needs students’ learning and retention, but will benefit all students.

A Tactile Brain

A Tactile Brain

Students Using an Electronic Reader with BrainWise Content

Students Using an Electronic Reader with BrainWise Content

Students Showing Their Own BrainWise Posters

Students Showing Their Own BrainWise Posters

The Manitou Springs school district has done an incredible job of teaching BrainWise to their students.  Trained by Colorado State University’s (CSU) Christine Cerbana, teachers have taught thinking skills to 539  K-5 students and administered pre and posttests.  CSU’s analysis of the data found the children made significant improvements in positive decision making, emotional regulation, goal setting and relationship skills.

CSU’s research team – Sabrina Norwood, Juliana Rosa, Kimberly Fairbanks, Danielle Dawes and Christine Cerbana will present the poster at the Rocky Mountain Psychological Association’s 2015 annual meeting.   Juliana Rosa will present a more detailed poster at the prestigious Society for Prevention Research 23rd Annual Meeting to be held in Washington, D.C. May 26-29.

RMPA 2015 BW EF & SEL Poster

Matthew1smallMatt started teaching BrainWise as an undergraduate at the University of Northern Colorado, and wrote his Masters Thesis on BrainWise and Young Fatherhood. He earned a second Masters degree in Clinical-Community Psychology from the University of Alaska, and currently is a doctoral candidate there in Family Counseling.

Sena works as a senior counselor at Hope Counseling Center in Fairbanks, where he works with intergenerational families providing therapy, aboriginal counseling and education. He is well-known for using BrainWise in his teaching and counseling with children, youth and adults.

Prior to his work at Hope, Matt worked with Chugachmiut, a consortium of tribal villages on the Kenai Peninsula, helping Alaska Native youth and families to use the 10 Wise Ways. A gifted teacher and grant writer, Sena gives generously of his time and talent to locate and help write proposals to fund BrainWise projects and research.

Matt is replacing longtime Board Member Michele Falivene. Michele recently retired from banking, got married, moved to Montana and is starting a second career in photography. She will continue to serve BrainWise as an advisor.

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