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Making Caring Common: Cultivating Kindness and Preventing Bullying in Schools

4/27/16 to 4/29/16


Tuition: $1,675 per person

Faculty Chair Rick Weissbourd on Making Caring Common:

What You Will Learn

Discover strategies and processes to promote positive school culture, develop students’ social-emotional and ethical strengths, and address challenging student behaviors such as bullying.

Program Overview

Schools can foster cultures of care and respect by promoting strong relationships between and amongst students and staff and by building key social-emotional and ethical skills. Collecting data from students and staff about their perceptions of school climate can help school leaders better understand and address challenges and customize solutions. In this highly interactive program, school teams will learn how to implement a low-burden strategic data cycle to create caring school cultures, improve student safety and prevent bullying, identify high-quality research and practitioner-based solutions to school climate challenge areas, and work with school stakeholders  to implement a strategic action plan.

The plan you develop will include a summary of school challenge areas, priorities, and goals and will identify one or more responsive strategic interventions. You will present a draft of your plan and receive direct feedback from peers and faculty through a facilitated consultancy exercise. By the end of the program, you will have a defined plan and strategic interventions in hand that you can put into action right away.

By the end of the program you will understand how to:

  • Measure and interpret school culture and climate data
  • Articulate to key stakeholders why social-emotional and ethical learning, positive school climate, and bullying prevention are important for students and schools
  • Choose and implement responsive research and practitioner-based interventions that develop positive social capacities in students and prevent bullying and cruelty
  • Work with school stakeholders to share student data and enact an action plan

Pre-campus Experience

Prior to coming to campus, you will be provided a survey tool to administer to staff and students that will assess student safety and school climate. You will receive a report of all results, which you will use during the April session to create an action plan. Schools that are unable to administer the survey in advance of the program are still welcome to apply; they will be encouraged to complete it upon conclusion of the program.

Related News

Program Objectives
  • Learn strategies for promoting school cultures of caring and for preventing challenging student behaviors like bullying
  • Understand how to use climate data effectively to better drive decision-making at the school level
  • Develop an action plan, focusing on establishing priorities and understanding goals, to achieve improvements in school culture and climate
  • Determine how best to track and assess progress and success
  • Learn strategies for communicating your vision to school and community stakeholders
Who Should Attend
  • School-level teams composed of principals, assistant principals, counselors, instructional leaders, and teacher-leaders
  • Teams including school- and district-level leaders are also encouraged
  • Individuals will be considered on a case-by-case basis
Attending as a Team

Educators who attend as part of a team are able to increase the impact of their learning both while on campus and once they have returned home. Free from the usual distractions of the work setting, your team will benefit from additional opportunities to focus on your specific plan. Teams are able to collectively review and respond to school wide data, build a shared vision for moving forward, and will be better prepared to implement the plan as soon as you return home.

Faculty Chair

Richard Weissbourd is Senior Lecturer in Education at HGSE and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and director of the of the Human Development and Psychology master’s program at HGSE. His work focuses on vulnerability and resilience in childhood, the achievement gap, moral development, and effective schools and services for children. Along with Stephanie Jones, Weissbourd directs the Making Caring Common Project, a national effort to make moral and social development priorities in child-raising. He started a school in Boston and has advised on family policy and school reform at the city, state and federal levels. His most recent book, The Parents We Mean to Be: How Well-Intentioned Adults Undermine Children's Moral and Emotional Development, was named one of the top 24 books of 2009 by The New Yorker.

Enrollment & Fees

Enrollment Instructions

Making Caring Common is an application program. To maximize the learning experience, the program aims to bring together as diverse a group as possible. As the work of the program is team-based, it is highly encouraged that educators attend as a school-based or district-wide team. Both individuals and teams are welcome to apply. The Admissions Committee will notify you of a decision via email within three weeks of your application. As our programs fill quickly, early application is encouraged.


Step One

You will be asked to provide your personal profile and organizational information.

Step Two

  1. Explain how participation in the program will benefit your work and describe one or more significant challenges you would like to explore during the program. (250 word limit)
  2. In what ways do you expect your particular skills, experience and perspective to contribute to group discussions? (250 word limit)


Identify Your Team Coordinator

  • Before beginning the application process, you will need to identify a team coordinator.
  • The coordinator will be the primary point of contact during the application process and preparation for the program.
  • The coordinator does not need to attend the program and will have the opportunity to indicate if they will be attending during the application process.

The Application Process

There are two parts to the application process:

  1. A team application to be completed once by the coordinator.
    Please note that the team coordinator should only complete one application in total.
  2. A team member application to be completed by each member of your team.
  • In order for your team to be considered for review by the admissions committee, each team member will need to complete the team member application. The coordinator will receive a link to the team member application once the team application is complete.
  • Once started, the team application must be completed in a single session. It should take 15–20 minutes to complete.
  • A list of required questions will be provided at the beginning of the team application.
  • When your coordinator is ready to complete the team application, it can be accessed by continuing to the next page.


The comprehensive tuition includes all instructional materials and refreshments. Participants receive a certificate of participation and a letter confirming clock hours of instruction.

Payment or a purchase order is due 30 days after registration. If acceptance into the program falls less than 30 days prior to program start date, payment is due upon acceptance. Participants are responsible for their own travel expenses.


Hotel accommodations are made available to participants at a reduced rate. Rooms are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Detailed program information and accommodation options will be provided to all admitted participants. Please note, the Harvard Graduate School of Education is not responsible for non-refundable travel arrangements or other planning expenses incurred. We recommend that you not make lodging and travel arrangements until you are admitted to the program. 

Cancellation Policy

Cancellations must be submitted via fax or email. Full refunds will be given up to 30 days prior to the start of the program. Due to program demand and pre-program preparations, cancellations received 29–14 days prior to the start of the program are subject to a fee of 10% of the program tuition. Cancellations received within 13 days prior to the start of the program and no-shows are subject to the full program tuition. Please note: cancellation fees are based upon the date the written request is received.

The Harvard Graduate School of Education reserves the right to change faculty or cancel programs at its discretion. In the unlikely event of program changes, the school is not responsible for non-refundable travel arrangements or other planning expenses incurred.

Non-Discrimination Policy

The Harvard Graduate School of Education affirms the right of all individuals to equal treatment in education without regard to age, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, handicap, national origin, or any other factors that are extraneous to effective performance. The Harvard Graduate School of Education will accommodate anyone with disabilities.

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