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Ron Avi Astor: Racial Unrest, COVID-19 Need to be Addressed as Part of School Cimate

Ron Avi Astor, professor of social welfare in the Graduate School of Education & Information Studies, will participate in two webinars by the National Center for School Safety at the University of Michigan. These sessions are part of a series of three webinars to foster a holistically positive school climate for the 2020-2021 school year while addressing concerns related to COVID-19 and racial unrest, and aimed to inform and support parents, teachers, principals, superintendents, law enforcement, and mental health professionals.

A session on “Mapping and Monitoring Methods: Empowering Schools During COVID-19 and Black Lives Matter,” will take place on Monday, July 27, 2-3 p.m., EST. Professor Astor will be joined by Rami Benbenishty, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, co-author of Astor’s book, “Mapping and Monitoring Bullying and Violence: Building a Safe School Climate,” published by Oxford University Press

Astor and Benbenishty will discuss how Monitoring and Mapping through surveys of school communities and stakeholders can improve school climate, social justice, and safety, using student, educator, and parent voices to address issues including safe COVID-19 reentry to school; the presence of police on campuses; and the marking of safe places and – both physical and cyberspaces – that are vulnerable to acts of racism, victimization, or contagion. 

Professor Astor’s second webinar, “Welcoming Practices: Creating Schools that Support Students and Families in Transition,” will take place on Monday, August 3, 2-3 p.m., EST. He will discuss how the way students and parents feel welcomed and treated with respect can have an impact on their perceptions of a school, and how a welcoming school environment is even more critical in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and in the Black Lives Matter movement and other movements for social justice. Astor will focus on ways that schools can foster positive development and resiliency during difficult school transitions and provide a variety of examples of culturally sensitive Welcoming Centers at school and district levels. 

Professor Astor has recently published a research brief on “Opening Schools Safely in the COVID-19 Era: School Social Workers’ Experiences and Recommendations,” in collaboration with partners from Loyola University Chicago, CSU Fullerton and Hebrew University. For more information and to read the research brief, visit this link.

Astor joined the UCLA faculty in 2019, and holds a joint appointment in the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs with the Marjorie Crump Chair Professorship in Social Welfare.

Visit these links to register for the webinars or for more information on “Mapping and Monitoring Methods: Empowering Schools During COVID-19 and Black Lives Matter,” and “Welcoming Practices: Creating Schools that Support Students and Families in Transition.”