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The Polite Times 
 A regular newsletter published by The PoliteChild, Inc.
 Vol III, No 4
May 2004 

In This Issue

1. President's Corner

2. Update on National Licensee Program

3. Parenting Tip: Teacher Appreciation Gifts

4. PoliteChild in the Media

5. EspeciallyPolite’s First Fun-draiser Coming Soon!

6. Public Agenda Report on School Discipline Policies

7. Next Licensee Training

8. New Recommended Books

9. Southwest Regional Office Information

President’s Corner – Have we finally had enough?

Dear PoliteChild families, supporters, and friends:

Something interesting is happening in our world, it appears. And, it’s something good.

I was contacted for an interview by Time Magazine recently. It seems they were interested in discussing the phenomenon of parents sending their kids to manners classes. Fortunately, the discussion went beyond just teaching the behaviors of etiquette and manners, and they were very interested to hear about our broad approach of social skills development, but I couldn’t help but get stuck on one concept?

“Phenomenon?” I would agree that there is a growing interest in the topic, but if Time thinks there is enough interest out there to warrant a story, well, then, there must be a whole lot of manners going on.

And, that’s good news.

I think we turned a corner when Janet Jackson’s Super Bowl costume, um… “malfunctioned.” It was good to see that the majority of America was outraged by this display of poor taste and vulgarity. It was as though we said, “Ok…enough is enough!” And, there have certainly been smaller points along the way in recent months where it seems as though we’ve had it with the crass and rude way we’ve been treating each other. But, I think Super Bowl Sunday will remain a major turning point as we examine consider what’s going on in this “manners movement.”

I can certainly see the momentum that’s growing just in the way PoliteChild has been growing. But, that’s a micro view of the issue. That our company is expanding and increasing its reach in a “down” economy is a very good thing, of course. But, others are taking an interest in our business, too, examining what we have to offer and committing their energies and financial resources to the mission. So, it’s not just my opinion, it’s being backed up by others.

Ultimately, it’s the rise in the interest level of people like you, however – the moms and dad, grandparents, caregivers, educators – that is the most telling. We want the best for our kids, and we understand and appreciate that strong social skills is a critical key to a life of success and happiness. And, that’s why I’m encouraged that we’ve all started something good: our kids and grandkids may be living in a world that is kinder and gentler, where respect, honesty, and consideration for one another is more the rule, and not the exception.

That’s my definition of “success” and the PoliteChild mission. But, each and every one of you believes in the return to civility in your own way. And, that’s why I know we’ll all be successful. We’re making the world a better place, together, one child at a time!

Corinne Gregory
President and Founder, The PoliteChild, Inc.

P.S. As always, you can reach me at corinneg@politechild.com with your feedback and comments.


  Update on National Licensee Program

We are excited to report that we have completed our first training session for our national licensees in April. We held training in Palm Desert, CA, retreat-style, over a 3 day period. The first set of licensees trained in this session included individuals from new regions within California as well as one from as far east as Pennsylvania.

Now that this first training is complete, our attention will focus again on evaluating applications we have received which include new states within the US such as Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, Maryland, Texas, Colorado, Washington D.C.,.

We are scheduling the next licensee training for mid-to-late July. We have decided that future training will take place in the Palm Desert/Palm Springs area because of the ability to bring new affiliates together in an intensive 3-day “retreat”-like setting where they can receive high quality training along with the opportunity to connect and network with one another in a relaxed atmosphere.

“The desert provides the perfect venue for hosting this type of training,” President, Corinne Gregory explained. “This area gives us everything we need, including good weather, ideal accommodations, and extra amenities that make for a good first experience for individuals and organizations that have invested in the opportunity to participate in this business and make a difference in the social fabric of their communities. We believe in the value of relationships, and offering our training in this area in a retreat format reinforces and enhances that message.”

For more information about business opportunities with The PoliteChild or our licensee training, check out our dedicated web page at: http://www.politechild.com/company-license.htm.



 Parenting Tip: Teacher Appreciation Gifts

One topic that keeps coming up this time of year is that of what to do to thank the teachers in your children’s lives. There are a vast selection of options, and many schools help set the tone and direction of how parents and kids are to celebrate the teachers in their school.

Often, the PTA, PTSA, or PTO will be the organizing body that determines or structures many of the events or methods for showing our teachers we care. They may be, for example, a luncheon or brunch for the teachers, a class-wide party, or even a group gift.

The practice of giving teacher appreciation gifts can become a really thorny problem, however. It’s unfortunate because the idea is to recognize and acknowledge the bond that has developed between teacher and child, and to say “thank you” for all the time and effort a teacher has taken during the past school year. But, sometimes the opportunity to publicly recognize someone becomes an unfortunate show of one-upmanship. It becomes instead a game of seeing who can give the teacher the most extravagant gift, or, even worse, to see whose gift hasn’t “measured up.”

How do you handle this tricky situation? Again, much depends on how the events or giving opportunities are organized. There may be a designated day on which kids are supposed to bring in their gifts. Or, there may be a basket or box set aside for each teacher where gifts are to be placed, to be opened later by the teacher in private. Another option is the “group gift” approach where everyone in class is expected to pitch in to purchase one single gift on behalf of the entire class. This can cause problems or possible embarrassment because not everyone in class may be willing or able to participate to the same extent. If everyone is expected to contribute $20 and one or more families can’t afford that, for example, there may be hurt feelings and embarrassment on both sides as a result. It’s hard not to succumb to group pressure when you know “everyone else is paying up,” even when you know you shouldn’t or can’t.

Keep in mind that, ultimately, it is the thought that counts. Teachers want to know that they have mattered and have made a difference in the lives and success of their students. A heartfelt hand-written thank you note or picture colored by the student sharing a special moment will mean much more than most store-bought gifts ever could. If you’d like to add a purchased gift, think about what the teacher might truly want or need: maybe a gift certificate for a night out at the movies, or a “group gift” that includes the components of a special evening out – including babysitting, if he or she is a parent – might work as a really unique gift.

Spending too much or being unnecessarily extravagant may cause embarrassment for another person: the recipient. You want to express your appreciation, but we all know that the effort and attention most teachers put into their teaching can never be repaid with money. So, consider the thought behind the gift before you even begin to shop. If you put your heart in it, and encourage your child to do the same, the sentiment will come through loud and clear, and the value of the gift will have nothing to do with the actual price tag.

Have a question or comment about this section? Let us know!


 PoliteChild in the Media

The PoliteChild continues to make the news, with regular media features and inquiries. Here’s a sampling of recent and up-coming appearances:

This month’s issue of OC Family magazine contains a feature article entitled Thank You: Raise polite children in an age of rudeness. It is full of terrific information about the need to improve children’s social skills, and calls attention to the PoliteChild program in a colorful sidebar. We’ve received lots of great response to that article so far.

We know we’re about to appear in Time magazine. We completed the interviews in April, and we’ve been told by the senior editor a number of times that it will be the “next issue.” So far world events seem to be taking over all the available print space, so the story hasn’t yet appeared. But, check “next week’s” issue to see if we’ve made it. We’re all waiting breathlessly. It should be a great read, discussing the “phenomenon” of parents seeking outside classes for social skills.

We’ll be appearing in Entrepreneur magazine in July, in a story about people who dreamed up a business. While being part of PoliteChild is definitely a “dream gig,” see what parts of the business were really inspired while getting 40-winks.

Also, check out President Corinne Gregory’s Letter to the Editor on the topic of “Investing in improving students’ behavior” in the May 18th issue of USA Today! http://www.politechild.com/go/518.htm. It’s in response to a research report released by Public Agenda (see full story, further in this issue!)



 EspeciallyPolite’s First Fun-draiser Coming Soon!

We’re excited to announce that EspeciallyPolite, Inc. (the not-for-profit sister corporation of The PoliteChild) is going to be having its first fundraiser. And, the great thing is – everyone is invited and you don’t have to worry about dressing up or leaving home!

EspeciallyPolite is holding an on-line benefit auction. MaestroSoft, makers of the leading software for managing benefit auctions and other fundraising events, is providing the platform for our auction which will raise funds to support the EspeciallyPolite’s mission – providing social skills education and resources to disadvantaged kids and their families.

Proceeds from this auction will be used to…

1) Acquire a desktop system/server to help manage and administer the EspeciallyPolite program
2) Cover costs of training teachers/provide materials for 20 Washington middle school EBD kids
3) Provide for adaptation of PoliteChild curriculum for high-functioning behaviorally-challenged kids
4) Provide scholarships (partial or complete) for students in behavioral-specialty EP programs

Our goal is to raise $20,000 this first time out, and, given the number of our supporters, it’s an ambitious goal, but not one that’s unrealistic. We will be offering a number of really special items such as trips (anyone for a safari, or a jaunt to Australia/New Zealand?), golf excursions, and more. The idea is to get something you’ve always wanted AND help a good cause at the same time. What can be better than that?

As we collect items and set up the website, you there are several ways you can help needy and challenged kids:

1) Help us get the word out. Auctions don’t work very well, we’ve found if there aren’t any bidders. Feel free to forward this newsletter, the upcoming auction announcement, or any of our other materials to folks that would be interested in supporting our mission.
2) Donate items. It’ll be really easy since it’s all on-line! No need to schlep that Chihuly vase in – just submit a photo! It’s time for Spring cleaning – what do you have in your attic that someone else might want?
3) Bid on items. Again, see #1 above.
4) Participate with cash or in-kind donations. If you have a spare computer, for example, that would work great as a server, we’ll be happy to accept your donation at fair market value.

We really want to make this a success because we are overwhelmed with the number of kids and families that could take advantage of our program if only we had the scholarship funds available or if we had the curriculum tailored to their specific physical or emotional challenges. Think how great it would be if, in the near future, we could say “yes” to their requests instead of “we’d like to but…”

Stay tuned for more information about the upcoming auction! If you have an item you’d like to donate, please contact us! And, for more information about MaestroSoft and how their products and services can help benefit auctions, golf tournaments, or more, check out www.maestrosoft.com.


  Public Agenda Report on School Discipline Policies

Rude behavior by students is disrupting public school classrooms and driving teachers out of their jobs, according to a new report, Teaching Interrupted, released by the research organization Public Agenda on May 11.

More than three out of four middle and high school teachers surveyed said they could be more effective in the classroom if they weren't spending so much time dealing with unruly students. Nearly 80% said there are serious troublemakers in their school who should have been kicked out of regular classrooms.

And more than one in three said they either have seriously thought about leaving teaching because they are tired of dealing with behavior problems or know a teacher who has quit for that reason.

We’re not surprised by this report. It supports what we’ve been saying since PoliteChild’s inception. Interestingly enough, the perception is that schools don’t have the time to focus on teaching social skills. But, the fact is, teaching social skills doesn’t have to take extra time; done properly, it is fully integrated into everything else already being taught in the classroom.

That’s how we designed our programs at PoliteChild, and where our courses are being delivered that way, they are having an amazing effect by decreasing discipline problems, increasing parent and student involvement and accountability, and regaining time lost in the classroom due to behavior issues. At one school, they have estimated that students’ time on task has increased by 30-40%. Can you imagine how teachers feel when they teach in orderly, calm classrooms where the students are attentive and ready to learn?

For more information about Public Agenda or the actual report, please visit our links page at www.politechild.com/manners-morale.htm .


  Next Licensee Training

March came in like a lion for PoliteChild instructor training courses. On March 5, teachers at Dr. Carreon Academy received training for the Exploring the Virtues II course, which they have begun teaching their students this month.

The following Monday, twenty new teachers, counselors, and administrators from eight new public schools in the Desert Sands Unified School District received training in the SocialSmarts? course. Schools represented included Madison, Kennedy, Adams, Carter, Eisenhower, Hoover, Lincoln, and Jackson. The training courses were well received by the “students” and overwhelmingly, teachers reported that their next steps would be to try some of the concepts in their classrooms before the end of the school year, with a goal of implementing the program in their schools as soon as possible. One teacher commented that by bringing this program into the schools, “I feel many problems which impeded instruction would be solved.”

If you’re interested in learning more about bringing PoliteChild programs to your school or organization, visit our website pages devoted to this topic:

For public schools:

For private schools and organizations:


  New Recommended Books

We’re always looking for new books to enhance our courses and to recommend to parents, caregivers, educators, and the public. This month we discovered a neat new series of four books for our youngest readers. The “American Virtues for Kids” books feature historical figures who learn important lessons in developing good character. There are currently four of these engaging board books, which are simple enough for toddlers to follow when read to, but are also good beginning-reader books for the early grade-school set. The titles are:

Little Teddy Roosevelt Learns a Lesson in Courage
Little Abraham Lincoln Learns a Lesson in History
Little George Washington Learns a Lesson in Responsibility
Little Ben Franklin Learns a Lesson in Generosity

Parents and kids alike will enjoy these stories, while absorbing messages about good social skills, and getting a little history lesson to boot! These books are part of the American Virtues for Kids series from Virtue Products, Inc. The books sell for $6.95 at local bookstores, or you can click on the titles above to purchase then online from Barnes & Noble.


  Southwest Regional Office Information

As mentioned in a previous issue of the PoliteTimes, we’ve opened our Southwest Regional Office in the Palm Springs/Palm Desert area. While the contact information is up on our website, we offer it here for your convenience:

PoliteChild – SW Region
74-924 Country Club Drive, Suite 150-64
Palm Desert, CA 92260


For more information, click here to go to PoliteChild.com.

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