The 100% RESPECT! Campaign


The 100% RESPECT! Campaign is a comprehensive social and emotional learning program that seeks to transform positively the tone and culture of a school building. Matthew Guldin developed the 100% RESPECT! Campaign to address disrespectful behaviors being exhibited by students to each other and to staff during his tenure as Dean at a small school in NYC. Teachers needed a means to address the situation, and Matthew set about making a plan to ensure that everyone at the school got what they wanted: RESPECT!

100% RESPECT! for 100% of the people 100% of the time
100% RESPECT! for 100% of the people 100% of the time

The Campaign accomplishes this aim by acknowledging the fundamental equality of all people while at the same time recognizing the different roles we all play within a school community. Developed on the ground by professionals with years of experience in “tough” inner-city schools, the program has been very successful in reducing violent and anti-social behavior—leading to falling suspension rates, higher test scores and a much safer school environment. The Campaign aims to help all members of a school community—students, teachers, school leaders and all school support staff—to treat each other with respect. Since there are differences (sometimes major differences) in how the various constituents of a given school define respect and interpret one another’s actions, we have developed a program that fosters communication and collaboration between all people who are members of a particular school community. The 100% RESPECT! Campaign is a program that can be scaled to suit campuses both large and small.

Students perform a skit about treating each other with 100% RESPECT! when things get heated
Students perform a skit about treating each other with 100% RESPECT! when things get heated

The Campaign begins by breaking down and rebuilding the primary relationships in a school environment: those amongst students and those between students and staff. The program structures activities to help people communicate with each other across all the social barriers that tend to keep us apart—those of age, class, color, nationality, gender, and sexual orientation. It then teaches skills to ensure that people continue listening to each other and begin giving respect in ways that others can accept skills that students and teachers alike can use beyond the confines of the school environment.

The 100% RESPECT! Campaign operates on a participatory democracy model in which everyone’s voice is heard and all work to define what respectful behavior looks like. This approach acknowledges our common humanity and establishes the fact that everyone does, in fact, deserve 100% RESPECT!

The Campaign aims to help all members of a school community to treat each other with 100% RESPECT!
The Campaign aims to help all members of a school community to treat each other with 100% RESPECT!
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Benefits of 100% RESPECT!

Some of the major benefits of the 100% RESPECT! Campaign include:

  • establishing clear guidelines for behavior, thus reducing suspensions and time away from the classroom
  • increasing passing rates and tests scores due to less time and energy used addressing classroom management issues
  • acknowledging the fundamental equality of all, while recognizing & appreciating the differences in both background & roles within the school community
  • addressing power imbalances within the school community and providing all concerned with the skills to communicate in spite of those differences
  • teaching direct participatory democracy and its application in a real world situation
  • allowing for students & teachers to collaborate on leading aspects of the Campaign
  • teaching conflict resolution skills to students which can be used at home and in the future [e.g. college, workplace, etc.]
  • providing professional development for adults and teachers in how to improve their relationships with teenagers
What RESPECT! Looks Like

The program is built in such a way that this new environment of respect is self-reinforcing: structures are established that facilitate responsible dialogue and criticism between adults and students, leading to a more positive social climate that welcomes and nurtures incoming cohorts of students. The end result is a fundamentally revitalized school culture, one that is academically, professionally, socially and personally beneficial to all involved.

The RESPECT! Reps Meeting

During our RESPECT! Reps meeting, I had them do the first building block activity of the Campaign: the Defining RESPECT! Activity (DRA). In small groups, the Reps compiled lists of what they felt respectful behavior should look like at East Side. We focused on 3 areas of RESPECT!: student to student, student to teacher and teacher to student. When they were done in group, we put our ideas together to make a master list of our definitions of respect. Having done this activity, the Reps were now able to work with their advisers and plan a similar activity that they would co–teach in Advisory. The advisers knew that they’d be asked to co teach with their Rep and doing this lesson sent a very powerful message to the students of the MS: young people’s voice and leadership would be taken seriously in this effort.

For an example of the behavioral guidelines created for the Community School for Social Justice in New York City, please click here.

For another example of developed RESPECT! norms, namely the BSSWA Scholar-Activist Respect Guidelines, please click here.

Holding People Accountable - The NO EXCUSES (XQZz) Mediation

Though there are many other steps to fully putting the 100% RESPECT! Campaign in place, I’ll move now to one of our most effective restorative practices: The No Excuses Mediation. In this mediation format, the goal is to have the participants take responsibility for their actions and 'repair the harm' or 'clean up the bad situation that you made'.

Click here to see a poster describing how the NO XQZz Mediation works.

For examples of the successes that this approach has led to, please click here.

Involving Everyone: Teacher to Student RESPECT!

What really sets the 100% RESPECT! Campaign apart from other programs geared at including students on setting behavioral norms is the component Teacher to Student RESPECT! In this program, school staff is asked to change and respond to student feedback on what respectful/disrespectful adult behavior looks and feels like to teens and preteens. This puts students and teachers on an equal footing. Experience shows that learning what is respectful to teens, and altering your behavior accordingly, facilitates communication with students. By promoting this mutual respect and understanding, the 100% RESPECT! Campaign facilitates both academic and emotional learning—for everyone involved.

Testimonials about 100% RESPECT!

"Developing and implementing the 100% RESPECT! Campaign at East Side Community High School over the four years between 2005-2009 played a major role in increasing the safety of our school, the social and emotional development of our students and learning in general. Under the leadership of Dean Matthew Guldin and in collaboration with all sectors of our staff and students, this social emotional learning program gave East Side common language and behavioral guidelines, which anchored our efforts to help students mature and make better decisions. Additionally, it helped many staff members improve their relationships with their students.

"100% RESPECT! helped the community address bullying and do preventative No Excuses Mediations, which contributed to a substantial reduction in fighting. Within the first two years of implementation we reduced overall suspensions by 51% and now fights are extremely rare at our school. The 100% RESPECT! Campaign allowed teachers and students to focus on teaching and learning, contributing to our middle school and high school earning "A's" on our progress reports for all 8 years that grades have been assigned. I strongly recommend Cross-Cultural Consulting Services’ 100% RESPECT! Campaign and Matthew to any school that is looking to improve or even profoundly change the tone and culture in its building."

  • Mark Federman, Principal, East Side Community, 2014

"Matthew Guldin and Cross-Cultural Consulting Services' 100% RESPECT! Campaign has made a positive impact in Bronx Lab School. It has allowed us to lay the foundation for a positive learning environment. Since working with Matthew three years ago, we have seen real results. Overall, fights decreased by 28% when comparing the 2010-2011 school year to the 2011-2012 school year. We also had 75% of staff agree with the statement that "order and respect are maintained at my school" up from 50% three years ago. Finally, the 100% RESPECT! Campaign helped open up a dialogue on respect and led to school-wide community events such as participating in National Coming Out Day, National Day of Silence, Respect Week, and an Anti-Bullying Week. We have seen positive results by making the 100% RESPECT! Campaign part of our school culture."

  • Christopher Lagares, Principal, Bronx Lab School, 24 November 2012

The 100% RESPECT! Campaign has also received accolades from:

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What Does a School Need to Achieve RESPECT?

If you intend to make the 100% RESPECT! Campaign work in your school, there are, of course, certain preconditions. Fortunately, every school can do it. All you need is to:

How We Can Help

If you contract with the 100% RESPECT! Campaign, we will:

Contact Us

To learn more about bringing RESPECT! to your school, don't hesitate to write an email to CCCS' Director of Educational Programming, Matthew Guldin. We look forward to hearing from you!

Interview with Matthew Guldin

In this interview, Matthew Guldin describes the background of the 100% RESPECT! Campaign, its roots in Social and Emotional Learning as well as the Restorative Justice Movement, and its relation to his lifework in education.