The IBPA Bullying Prevention Award – A Follow-up Interview with 2017 Winner, Matthew Carlson, Psy.D.

By: Nicolette G. Granata

Now almost one year after being notified as winner of the 2017 IBPA Bullying Prevention Award, we followed up with Matthew Carlson: School Psychologist at Orefield Middle School in Orefield, PA, to inquire as to how being the recipient of the Award has impacted him, his school, and his community.

We began by asking Matthew how he both discovered, and eventually decided to apply to, IBPA’s Bullying Prevention Award last year. He shared that: “I am certified in the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program (OBPP). I received an email from the OBPP team at Clemson University encouraging trainers to apply for the IBPA’s Bullying Prevention Award. At the same time, a colleague of mine received a different email about the Award, and she expressed interest in applying. The staff and students at Orefield Middle School have invested a great deal of their time and talent to bullying prevention. They have built a positive school climate and culture at Orefield. The extraordinary efforts of the staff and students at Orefield inspired me to apply for the Award.”

 When we asked Matthew if he could reflect over the course of the year, pinpointing areas of impact/change in his bullying-prevention program from receiving, and using, the IBPA Bullying Prevention Award, he so thoughtfully stated that, “Receiving the IBPA Award has had many positive effects on Orefield Middle School. For instance, some of our bullying prevention team members had the opportunity to go to the IBPA Conference to receive the Award. The team members learned helpful information from the conference workshops, and they were able to connect with scholars and educators who are knowledgeable and committed to bullying prevention. In addition, when Orefield Middle School staff and students heard about the award, they were inspired and motivated to continue to invest their time and talent to bullying prevention…”

“The Award also gave us good news to share across the district and community about the exceptional work that Orefield is doing to address bullying and to build a positive school climate and culture. We shared the good news on social media, email, and over our Orefield morning news. The award money has helped us to purchase items and services for our full-day annual kick-off event and our class meetings. For example, we just purchased materials for outside team building activities that will occur during our kick-off event on September 14, 2018,” says Matthew.

Finally, what is his advice to individuals considering applying for IBPA’s Bullying Prevention Award this year? “Take the time to apply for the IBPA Bullying Prevention Award,” Matthew says. “If your school wins this Award, it will enhance your bullying prevention efforts in many ways. Winning this Award will inspire your staff and students, afford you the opportunity to attend the IBPA Conference, give you good news to share about your bullying prevention efforts, and provide you with funds that will directly improve your program. When you are filling out the application, I would encourage you to provide as much detail as possible about your program…Good luck to this year’s applicants!”

We look forward to seeing the powerful, lasting impact of the IBPA Bullying Prevention Award on another engaged and upstanding individual in the bullying-prevention field this year. Thank you to our sponsor, the Ford Motor Fund, for making this kind of impact possible!

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