Masthead Masthead

Blog Archive

This is a list of all the past blog posts.


Creating a Ripple Effect of Hope With Your Students
Posted: July 19, 2019, 12:00am By: Kathleen Nelson-Simley

I've been thinking about those students we talked about in last week's blog. Those students who are stuck and have no hope. And, are likely students you are working with right now.

But, the good news is that hope is something you can cultivate with all of your students – even those who are at risk for losing it or have already lost it.


Are Your Students Hopeful or Stuck?
Posted: July 11, 2019, 12:00am By: Kathleen Nelson-Simley

I want you to think about two kids you work with…one who is resilient and happy and the other who is struggling and discouraged. Imagine if you interviewed each of them and you ask them to respond to each of these statements with a “yes” or a “no.”


Vaping Surges... Largest Year to Year Increase Ever Recorded
Posted: June 28, 2019, 5:53am By: Kathleen Nelson-Simley

How Your Kids Will Remember You
Posted: June 24, 2019, 12:00am By: Kathleen Nelson-Simley

You are a leader. You are a leader of children. You are creating a legacy every day you come to work. You are leaving your mark – an indelible impression upon the kids entrusted to your care.

In this week's blog, we wonder How Your Kids Will Remember You.

If you're wondering, too, then take a moment from your busy life and read on.

We don't think you will be wondering any more.


Lessons Learned from Stories Told
Posted: June 13, 2019, 12:00am By: Kathleen Nelson-Simley

One of the best parts of my job is hearing stories from All Stars teachers after they have taught the program. Some stories make me laugh. Some stories make me proud. Some stories make me cry.

But, every story teaches me (and you!) a lesson that impacts our work with kids, especially in All Stars.


Teens And Volunteerism: "Try It! They'll Like It!"
Posted: June 6, 2019, 12:00am By: Kathleen Nelson-Simley

I remember a summer day when I told my 8-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son that I was taking them to lunch. They were excited and quickly requested their favorite restaurant.

We got into the van and drove off. It didn’t take them long to notice I wasn’t going in the direction they expected me to go. Instead I parked in front of a local soup kitchen with people lined up outside waiting for lunch.


Lessons Learned From a “Dark Monday”
Posted: May 31, 2019, 1:26am By: Kathleen Nelson-Simley

I refer to it as “Dark Monday.” It was April 15, 2019. In a matter of hours, I learned…

I had to write a check to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). (UGH!)

My daughter was moving out and into her own place to live; leaving me to live alone for the first time in my home.

My aunt had hours to live.

My dad was diagnosed with kidney failure.

I was diagnosed with shingles.

I’ve had challenges, bad news and unfortunate luck in my past, but usually it’s over the course of weeks, months or years. I have never had a single day when, within hours, I have been hit with so much devastating and life-changing news.


The Gift That Keeps On Giving
Posted: May 17, 2019, 3:39am By: Kathleen Nelson-Simley

A dear friend and colleague shared a podcast with me this morning and encouraged me to listen to it. The podcast, What's Not On The Test: The Overlooked Factors That Determine Success, was published by NPR as part of their Hidden Brain podcast series. It featured an interview with James Heckman, a professor at the University of Chicago who, in 2000, won the Nobel Prize in Economics.


To Pick The Tomatoes Or Not Pick The Tomatoes
Posted: May 10, 2019, 3:26am By: Kathleen Nelson-Simley

My son, Christopher, was an All Stars student. It didn’t surprise me that he choose me as the adult he wanted to talk to about his All Stars conversational assignments. I also wasn’t surprised by what he was saying about himself through his All Stars work. Everything seemed to “fit” for him. For example, Christopher by nature is a helpful person. It was no surprise to me when he brought his Getting A Reputation worksheet home and he had written that the reputation he most wanted in his future was “to be a helper,” it fit. He got great advice from his classroom partner, his best friend, and me on things he should and should not do if he wanted to earn this reputation.


Tips For The Opinion Poll Game
Posted: March 12, 2019, 2:22am By: Kathleen Nelson-Simley

I offer coaching to All Stars teachers who desire to be their best and do their best when teaching the program . The lesson I coach the most is the Opinion Poll Game. I want to share with you the tips I recommended to teachers to improve their effectiveness. I hope these insights are helpful.


Every Good Teacher is Prepared
Posted: October 15, 2018, 5:07am By: Kathleen Nelson-Simley

I think everyone will agree how important it is to prepare before teaching an All Stars lesson. However, agreeing and doing are two different things. Two challenges I hear All Stars teachers say they face in prepping is time and not knowing how to effectively prepare. Here are some suggestions.


Becoming A Loving And Nurturing Adult
Posted: June 21, 2018, 2:48am By: Kathleen Nelson-Simley

Kids Without Friends
Posted: March 18, 2018, 12:01pm By: Kathleen Nelson-Simley

I think I am like many of you. I know understanding and addressing the needs of kids who don’t have friends – social isolates – is important. The challenge is where to start. If you feel a little stumped, take heart that there are many who feel the same way.

Friendships, belonging and acceptance grow in importance as kids move through adolescence. Their identity becomes defined by the group of friends they have. Spending time with friends provides opportunities for social interaction, information sharing, demonstration of values and reinforcement of behaviors important to the peer group. Sometimes we fear peer groups have a negative influence on adolescent behaviors; however, research and experience generally shows that, with the exception of getting high-risk kids together, the influence of peer groups is almost always positive.


Using Peer Opinion Leaders As Change Agents In The Classroom
Posted: February 19, 2018, 2:37am By: Kathleen Nelson-Simley

Peer opinion leaders are students who set the trends. They define what is "in" and "out". They influence the opinion of others. Knowing who the natural peer opinion leaders in your class or group are is a key to setting positive norms and making anything you do successful.

Almost every peer group has an opinion leader. During early adolescence, girls will have their leaders and boys will have theirs. Some can be positive leaders while others may be negative. We tend to think we know who the peer opinion leaders are on our own. We sometimes see them as the class clowns, the most vocal or the most popular. These characteristics can be misleading. Not all peer opinion leaders have these traits.


All Stars Character Education: A Unique and Fun Way of Reaching Elementary Students
Posted: January 18, 2018, 12:00am By: Kathleen Nelson-Simley

All Stars Character Education is an innovative program that promotes the development of positive character traits and attitudes with children ages 9-11 (grades 4 and 5). Research consistently demonstrates that early intervention is essential to prevention and positive character development. Substance use and violence are rare among later elementary-aged students. However, research shows that attitudes and beliefs formed during these years predict the development of problems later on.


The Meaning Behind the All Stars Name
Posted: January 11, 2018, 12:00am By: Kathleen Nelson-Simley

Often I am asked about the name, All Stars. Does it have special meaning? Why was it chosen?

While writing the commitment sessions in All Stars, developer, Dr. William Hansen, believed he needed to have students make commitments in some symbolic way. He considered giving some kind of recognition for each commitment made in All Stars. Dr. Hansen developed a circle of nine stars and found that each star could represent one of nine commitments made in All Stars. When a student makes nine commitments for themselves in All Stars – earning all nine stars – they become an All Star!


The Importance of Ideals
Posted: January 4, 2018, 12:00am By: Kathleen Nelson-Simley

My son, Christopher, was an All Stars student. It didn’t surprise me that he choose me as the adult he wanted to talk to about his All Stars conversational assignments. I also wasn’t surprised by what he was saying about himself through his All Stars work. Everything seemed to “fit” for him. For example, Christopher by nature is a helpful person. It was no surprise to me when he brought his Getting A Reputation worksheet home and he had written that the reputation he most wanted in his future was “to be a helper,” it fit. He got great advice from his classroom partner, his best friend, and me on things he should and should not do if he wanted to earn this reputation.

Things were going well for Christopher until one hot July day six months after All Stars concluded. That day I asked Christopher to pick the tomatoes in the garden. He had every excuse as to why he couldn’t pick the tomatoes. I was not in the mood to argue with him. In fact, I knew I didn’t have to argue with him. Within an arm’s reach hanging on the refrigerator were his All Stars worksheets, including his Getting A Reputation worksheet. I removed the sheet from the refrigerator and asked him to listen to something he wrote six months earlier. I read what he had written, ”More than anything else, I want to have a reputation of being a helper.” I also read aloud the advice his best friend and I had given him on how to earn this reputation, which included “being willing to do something when asked.”


Teachers Do Make A Difference
Posted: December 19, 2017, 12:00am By: Kathleen Nelson-Simley

There is no doubt that nearly all teachers are effective. The more important consideration is the ways teachers differ in their influence on students. What is it that makes some teachers more effective and influential than others?

Recall the teachers who truly made a difference to you when you were in school. Most of us think of 1-2 teachers. During your elementary, middle school and high school years you would have experienced between 40-60 teachers. That means only 4-6% of your teachers left their mark. What is unique about these teachers that sets them apart from all the others?


All Stars Senior Has A Facelift
Posted: December 14, 2017, 12:00am By: Kathleen Nelson-Simley

All Stars Senior has a brand new design and delivery! The program now includes five interactive and engaging online modules that Senior High students complete on their own. Knowledge checks after each module, along with a teacher-facilitated classroom/group lesson before and after the students complete the modules, makes this version of All Stars Senior an efficient, fun and effective way to deliver a wellness and prevention program. Module topics include perceptions of drug use, personal consequences of use, resisting pressure, opioid and prescription drug use and planning for the future without ATOD use - just to name a few.


Opioid Use Now Included In All Stars
Posted: December 12, 2017, 12:00am By: Kathleen Nelson-Simley

The national opioid use epidemic has created the need to address it as a specific behavior in All Stars. The middle school All Stars series - Core, Booster and Plus - have all been updated to include opioid use. Contact Anne to get more information on how you can receive these updated materials to include in your future delivery of All Stars.


Search Blogs