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On a sunny summer weekend, the reality of a cruel world found us in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Normally, we’d simply be preparing for a new school year, but this year in Albemarle County, the end of summer became something else entirely when a “Unite the Right” gathering of white nationalists protesting the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, the county seat, clashed with counter-demonstrators .

Three weeks later, our children have filled our learning spaces. They are walking, playing, talking, and studying together in our 25 schools across 726 square miles. Some of those schools sit within blocks of the scenes that made our area a symbol of American dysfunction and discord, while others are so distant and isolated that children may not even feel the connection.

Creating a Resilient Community

The answer to the question, “How do we respond to a tragedy in our community?” lies in the work we have done before tragedy strikes. This will be true for every school. If children are prized, if their needs lie at the center of every decision, if they have true voice, true agency, and true power over their own environment, you will have a learning community that is resilient and able to emotionally support itself.

Our work depends on an understanding and acknowledgement of our community’s past. Charlottesville and Albemarle County have occupied a complex place in national history. From its early days as home to Thomas Jefferson and the University of Virginia to its role in the American Civil War and Reconstruction and later the “massive resistance” movement of the 1950s and 1960s, the area has experienced some of the best and worst of America’s public and hidden histories.

Today, our area is home to both liberal and relatively conservative communities and both highly educated families and ones with minimal formal education. When children arrive in our schools, they bring all the perspectives, values, and understandings of diverse geographic communities—rural, suburban, and urban. We have children who live in poverty and ones who have all the amenities of wealth. Our students speak 91 languages; many of them come from international refugee camps. Ours is a community where opportunity gaps abound, gentrification threatens families, and a legacy of racism is still unresolved.

Albemarle schools had been working to create more resilient students long before tragedy struck on August 12 of this year. We had already developed the Seven Competencies Framework to help address the changing demographics of 21st-century students, for example, and our “All Means All” philosophy was firmly in place, creating the expectation that every child would be treated with full respect by both adults and peers. To support that mission, we had established a strong commitment to trauma-sensitive education that built on our focus on culturally responsive classrooms, and on social and emotional learning in general. Those efforts led directly to this year’s commitment to providing focused team support in our urban ring schools for social, emotional, and academic development. We also already had a plan in place for our high schools to engage in a grant from the National Writing Project to implement project-based learning to deepen students’ understanding of the meaning of various local historical memorials and monuments.

You can never be entirely prepared for events like the deadly protests that occurred in our community—reality will always have the capacity to surprise and shock—but in Albemarle we had done the hard work that laid a foundation of resilience in our students. We are incredibly fortunate that our educators were able to draw upon the trauma-sensitive work we began last year, which has been critical to allowing our opening days this year to be as healthy and happy as can be expected for everyone.

To support our staff, we aggregated resources from some of our previous and newer work on how to talk to students about tragic or violent events. These resources include some that are specific to Charlottesville as well as materials for all grade levels on teaching controversial issues and creating a kinder classroom.

In high schools, the point when students received their one-to-one laptops doubled as a safe time for students to talk with their teachers and to each other. Students at one middle school began by spending four and a half hours in each of the first four days working on issues around humanity, community, citizenship, and responsibility. In our elementary schools, educators capitalized on our existing responsive-classroom model, which has built-in social and emotional conversation time and established routines for safe and open conversations with children.

As we have listened to our young people—from 5 to 18 years of age—gather and talk together in the opening days of school about what they want their school communities to be like, their words represent the best of who we are as humans. One young man in a middle school classroom said it best: “If we really believe in and do the things that show respect for each other, no one gets left out.”

This has been a very difficult time for us, but it has also showed us that our belief in moving education forward is making a real difference.

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When Should You Pay Your Employees?

How many pay periods are in a year?

The number of pay periods in a year depends on the pay schedule you use, and there are several options. Keep in mind that the best schedule for employees might not be the most beneficial for your company. You’ll have to weigh the pros and cons of each pay schedule to make the right decision.

“Some small employers pay monthly because it is administratively easier to pay once a month when all other bills are being paid, [but] employees don’t usually prefer that,” Dooley said. “The checks are bigger, but that’s a long time to wait for another paycheck. Small employers may not pay more frequently because payroll takes up too much time and because cash flow may not permit such frequency.”

Types of payroll schedules

Here are the four most common employee payroll schedules, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS):

Weekly. A weekly pay schedule is the second-most-common pay schedule, with 34% of employers using it. With this pay schedule, you’ll pay your employees the most frequently – generally, 52 times a year. Keep in mind, however, that leap year could add an extra pay period because it could lead to a 53rd week.

Weekly payroll schedules are the most time-consuming and costly payroll option. If you handle payroll on your own, it could chew up a lot of your time. And if you use an online payroll service, you may have to pay extra if your provider charges you each time you run payroll. However, some payroll services charge a flat rate for unlimited payroll runs. If you are using a weekly pay period schedule, we recommend finding a payroll provider that offers this option. Here are our picks for the best online payroll services. 

Biweekly. A biweekly schedule means you pay employees every other week. According to the BLS, this is the most popular pay schedule, with 42% of U.S. employers using this model. Through this pay schedule, employees can expect to receive 26 paychecks in a year. However,  because the year doesn’t evenly divide into seven-day weeks, an extra paycheck could still occur, resulting in 27 pay periods in one year.

Semimonthly. With a semimonthly pay schedule, employers pay their workers twice per month – typically, on the first and 15th of the month or the 15th and last day of the month – resulting in 24 paychecks per year. This method gives employees set dates when they will be paid, though you will have to make decisions such as how to handle payments if the 15th lands on a weekend and how you will pay overtime if your pay period is not based strictly on a 40-hour workweek.

Monthly. If more frequent pay periods are too costly and difficult for you to handle, you can choose a monthly pay schedule. This pay schedule is less common than the others, with just 5% of U.S. workplaces using this method, according to the BLS. This is largely because employees find it difficult to carefully plan out their budgets for an entire month.

Did You Know?

If you decide to go with a more frequent pay schedule, you may find moving to a paperless payroll system beneficial. The more times you run payroll means the more paperwork you will have. Digitizing the process can help ensure nothing gets lost or misfiled.

Editor’s note: Looking for the right online payroll software for your business? Fill out the below questionnaire to have our vendor partners contact you about your needs.

How to choose the best pay schedule for your company

By keeping the above points in mind, you should be able to determine which pay schedule will work best for your company and your employees. Manning said it’s important not to rush the decision.

You’re going to need a “reasonable amount of time to collect information, process payroll accurately and distribute paychecks to employees,” he said. “But it’s often more beneficial to select an efficient and reliable system first, a process or system that a small business owner can rely on and trust.”

Make sure to be careful with your decision making, discuss your company’s financial situation with a professional and consider what workers in your industry expect of you, Dooley said.

“When strategizing payroll, employers should consider their cash flow and their other financial obligations and when they’re due,” he said. “Employers should consider the expectations and preferences of their staffs and should do what is administratively most beneficial.”

Key Takeaway

When deciding how often to pay employees, carefully consider the norms in your industry, employees’ preferences and your cash flow needs.

How To Use Controversy To Get High

Controversy gets links.

If you know how your audience feels about a particular issue, taking a stand on that issue only reinforces your brand’s relevance to your target customers.

Savvy Brands Take Stands

Brands like Ben & Jerry’s, Patagonia, Heineken, Starbucks, and many others have successfully parlayed arguably controversial social stands into thousands of links from high-quality sites.

And the links have come from not only relevant sites that cater to the brands’ supporters, but from high-quality sites that cater to those opposed to the brands’ social positions.

In other words, they get links from their supporters and their detractors.

Stats Show Taking a Stand Can Be Beneficial

A recent study by the public relations juggernaut, Edelman, states that more than two-thirds of worldwide consumers would buy or boycott a brand based on its social stance.

Consumers are increasingly aware of brands’ social stances and they are acting based on their own beliefs.

The Edelman study is conducted every year. In the latest study (2024), the increase in consumers that cared about a brand’s social stance increased by 13%, the highest increase in the history of the study.

More than half of the people surveyed in the study believed that brands play a more powerful role in social change than the government.

Increasingly, consumers are going to want to know what the social stance of a brand is. And that will affect not only SEO, but sales and the bottom line.

Controversy Breeds Links

Obviously, if your brand takes a stand, the benefits (or, in the case of mistake, fallout) goes far beyond SEO and link building.

But make no mistake: links flow to brands that are willing to stick their neck out and take a stand.

Our job was to sell papers, and we knew that a car wreck or an accident would make the papers fly off the shelf.

The same is true in today’s modern journalism.

Journalists look for brands to take stands – particularly bold stands – either hoping for a trainwreck or a triumph.

And the best links come from journalists and online influencers.

The saying “I don’t care what you say about me, just spell my name right” has never been truer than in the battle for high-quality links.

But You Must Know Your Audience

In order to employ this tactic successfully, you must know your audience.

If you don’t know how your audience thinks, you stand to lose a lot more than a decent search engine presence.

If your core audience turns on you because of a social stance, you could lose your business.

I’m not just talking about merely understanding your audience demographics and buying patterns.

You need to understand:

How your audience thinks.

How your audience votes.

The issues that are important to your audience.

Understanding your audience does not happen by following your intuition.

There is plenty of data out there to help you understand your audience from a macro level, but if you can ask your audience directly what they think, that is always the best.

Think of yourself similar to a political pollster, trying to figure out the issues that are important to your constituents. Because, essentially, that’s what you are doing.

Work to create a statistically valid sampling of your audience and poll them.

If you must, incentivize the audience to tell you what they think, do it.

Understand incentivizing can skew results, so best to hire someone who knows what they are doing when it comes to polling if you can afford to.

If You Don’t Know Your Audience, Don’t Take a Stand

If you don’t understand your audience, don’t take a stand. Period.

Just ask the folks at the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, who are still recovering from their controversial decision to stop funding Planned Parenthood almost a decade ago.

You stand must also be authentic to your brand.

The buying public, as well as the gatekeepers of links, know when a brand is jumping on a social stance bandwagon.

It’s easy to see through a brand’s thinly veiled effort to ride the wave of the social consciousness theme of the month.

Just ask Pepsi about the backlash it received from a commercial that never actually aired on broadcast television.

A commercial in which a “woke” Kendall Jenner walked through a nebulous youth protest, only to share a Pepsi with a handsome police officer waiting to restore order.

This commercial garnered a ton of links – but I think Pepsi would rather it have never aired based on the headaches it caused for the brands.

But if you know your audience, be vocal about the causes that are important to them.

Don’t be afraid to take a stand that your audience will appreciate.

Downsides of Taking a Stand

Taking a stand can be somewhat exhausting.

Trolls are real.

There will be those who oppose your stance that will work to harm you online.

If you have extremely limited resources to combat your detractors, taking a controversial stand might not be feasible, no matter how well it will play with your target audience.

But if you can fight the trolls, the links you can garner from taking a stand are well worth the risks.

So You Took a Stand, Now What?

Once you have taken a stand, you aren’t done.

You need to create a campaign to let folks know about your stand.

Just like in the last tactic, you need to make sure that the important folks know about the stand you’ve taken.

Again, don’t play a numbers game with your outreach.

Find the most important folks, and make sure they are aware of your stand.

This list will most likely be different from your other lists, as you’ll want to find the influencers that are particularly interested in the stand you take.

In Conclusion

There is no way to understand how many links your brand will obtain by taking a stand.

As with anything, your mileage may vary.

One thing I can promise – taking a well-thought-out public social stand will boost your audience loyalty as well as your links.

Taking a stand isn’t for the faint at heart.

You have to plan it right, and most of all, know your customers and audience.

You have to be cognizant that trolls are inevitable, and you’ll need to deal with them.

But in the end, the results are worth the effort.

Summary

Timeframe: This tactic is campaign based.

Results detected: In many cases, results are immediate.

Average links sent per month: No way to know how many links – varies greatly across issues and verticals.

Tools: No specific tools needed, but audience research tools are recommended.

Benefits:

Controversy and social stands will build quality links if done correctly. Taking a stand, if you know who your audience, is one of the fastest and most effective ways to build highly relevant, quality links.

Brands that understand their audience and take appropriate social stances will increase not only their search engine presence, but engender brand loyalty and see increased in the bottom line.

Image Credits

Featured Image: Paulo Bobita

How To Bypass Reddit Private Community?

People are making Reddit private to join the Reddit blackout, one of the largest user-driven protests against the company’s new policy.

They show their dissatisfaction and solidarity with the protestors by making their subreddits private.

However, what if you are curious about bypassing Reddit private community and discovering what happens in those private subreddits?

Bypassing Reddit private is not simple and ethical. However, Reddit may warn you about your violation, temporary or permanent account suspension or take legal action against you.

In this article, we will explore some genuine and proven tricks to bypass Reddit private community with their legal and ethical implications.

What Is Reddit Private Community?

Many subreddit have gone private recently due to the protest against Reddit’s plan to raise its API pricing. 

Thousands of Reddit forums have shut themselves down in a protest called Reddit blackout.

It involves charging millions of dollars for third-party apps to continue accessing Reddit’s data via its API.

Users and developers are unhappy with this change. As a result, they are making their subreddit private.

A Reddit private community is a subreddit that is not open to the public.

It is usually created for specific purposes such as testing, moderation, invitation-only discussion, etc.

Only the moderators and approved community members can view and post content there.

You can find if a subreddit is private by the lock icon next to its name.

You will also get the message that you must be invited to visit this community when you try to access the private subreddit.

Some private subreddit is only accessible to users who participate in Reddit’s annual gift exchange, such as r/secretSanta.

Note: The Reddit blackout was initially planned to last 48 hours, starting Monday, June 13, 2023. However, it is unclear when the blackout will end or how it will affect users or Reddit’s revenue.

How To Bypass Reddit Private Community?

A private subreddit is accessible only by those communities’ moderators and approved members.

Bypassing a private Reddit community is not an easy and ethical way. 

If you want to join a private subreddit, you will need to message the moderators of that community and request an invitation.

However,  if you are a new or inactive user, they may not respond or accept your request.

Some subreddits may have specific criteria or rules for accepting new members.

Therefore, you must check the About Community and Rules tabs on the subreddit before sending the request.

Alternatively, you can try finding Reddit alternatives that cover similar topics and are open to the public.

Disclaimer: Bypassing the Reddit private community is considered unethical and illegal as it violates the terms of the services of Reddit. You might face legal action from Reddit or the moderators of the private subreddit.

Is It Safe To Bypass Reddit Private Community?

It is unsafe to bypass Reddit private community as it violates the terms of service and content policy.

Bypassing the Reddit private community is considered malicious or fraudulent.

You could risk getting your account suspended, banned, or legal action from Reddit.

Moreover, bypassing Reddit private community would also infringe on the privacy of the other users who have chosen to participate in a restricted community.

The Bottom Line

Hopefully, this article helps you understand everything about Reddit private and its bypassing tips to access the content.

You should always respect the privacy of other users and not try to access or use Reddit private community without their approval.

Reddit is what you make of it, so make it awesome.

Read and explore why your Reddit app might not work with its fixes.

Why Does Your Nose Run When You’re Sick?

At this time of year, it can feel like everyone around you has a head cold. Decongestant medicine, tissues, and runny noses close in on all sides. But why does your nose run in the first place?

The answer lies in the way your nose combats disease. The nose is a complex organ—it warms and modifies air as it comes into your body, and acts as a gatekeeper against the external environment, says Stella Lee, a professor of otolaryngology at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. That means it’s a major battleground for the immune system as it works to protect your body from invading disease.

Even when you’re not sick, your nose is lined with mucus. It traps disease-causing bacteria and viruses that might infect you if they reach more vulnerable body tissues. A layer of cilia—those hair-like structures that cover the interior of your nose—moves that mucus from the front of your nasal passages towards the back and down your throat.

When you’re sick, it’s because pathogens have gotten past the mucus lining. To protect your body, the immune system kicks into action. Small proteins called cytokines deploy T cells and B cells to seek out and destroy the pathogens. Those same protein messengers instruct cells in the nose to generate more mucus in order to clear the cell lining of other potentially harmful bacteria or viruses. As mucus goes into overdrive, your mucus lining swells and your nasal cavity fills with excess fluid. This can drip out of the nose itself—a medical condition known as rhinorrhea, which the rest of us call a runny nose. Once your body clears the pathogens, your immune system will decrease its panic signals and your mucus lining returns to its usual level.

Generally, Lee says, the immune system in your nose is very adept at identifying cells that the body makes to create your tissues and fluids (those are usually safe) from foreign cells that that need to be attacked. Sometimes, however, that system is not so great at knowing when to shut off its response, or at identifying which cells it should be attacking. Over-active or misdirected immune responses cause conditions like allergies or asthma–the body launches a full-scale attack at something that wouldn’t really harm it, which causes damage to the body’s own tissues.

Be careful with your nose!

Even when your body has discharged its invaders, the mucus carrying them is highly contagious. In other words, it can still transmit disease to others. You already know that frequently washing your hands is a great way to avoid getting sick, but Lee is emphatic about it: Touching your nose, mouth, or eyes without washing your hands can mean that disease-causing bacteria and viruses can infect (or re-infect) you more easily. “As a doctor I see sick patients all the time, but I wash my hands constantly so that I don’t get sick,” Lee says.

If you do get sick—and it’s unavoidable for many of us, Lee acknowledges—it’s important to be careful with your nose. Blowing your nose too hard can damage the delicate cilia. It can even propel pathogens deeper into the nasal cavity, where they can further infect the body. Lee suggests treating a stuffed or runny nose by moistening the nasal lining with saline solution (through nasal sprays or irrigation tools like neti pots). This will help loosen the mucus and help bring it back to normal more quickly. You can also use a nasal decongestant drug. But don’t be surprised if your doctor doesn’t prescribe antibiotics—the majority of colds are caused by some form of virus, which the body can get rid of in less than two weeks. If your symptoms get worse after that time, then maybe a bacterial infection has taken hold, in which case you would require antibiotics, Lee says.

All in all, having a runny nose might be annoying, but it’s a good sign. It means your immune system is doing its job. You’re welcome.

6 Ways To Create And Sustain Community

Interviews with teachers reveal the importance of relationship-building and student voice and choice. Here’s how to incorporate these in classroom routines.

“I learned very quickly that kids don’t learn from adults they don’t like or respect or adults who don’t respect them. That mutual respect is really important to me…. For instance, I might have a student who yells at me when he gets angry. And my first response is always, ‘OK, well, I’m not yelling at you, and I don’t yell at you. So therefore my body doesn’t like it when you yell at me.’ And they seem to understand that a lot better than yelling back at them. I’m showing them that I care about their needs and their well-being first before academics.” —Emma (pseudonym), first-grade teacher 

As an elementary school teacher, I was taught that before any learning could happen, I needed to create a classroom community where students felt safe, cared for, and purposeful. Sustaining this community was a yearlong endeavor demanding energy and revision.

In my research, I interview teachers about the ethical values that guide them and how these values live in daily practice. A consistent refrain in these interviews has been the value of classroom community, with teachers talking about “voice and choice,” “citizenship,” “relationship building,” and “community.” Working toward these values, six tangible, adaptable, and overlapping practices emerged.

1. Civic Responsibility

For example, one first-grade teacher described how the class creates their own rules at the beginning of the year and then revisits them regularly. She found that this helped kids feel ownership for the rules throughout the year. Related to the sense of ownership and responsibility, she added how when a lesson took too long because of frequent interruptions, the children lost a period of free choice that they enjoyed at the end of the day. She presented this as a logical consequence—they had simply run out of time—and she assured the students that they could try again the following day. 

When issues and conflicts arose, teachers facilitated problem-solving discussions with the children. For example, a fourth-grade teacher described how her students struggled with group work because they so rarely got to work together in previous grades. Instead of stopping the projects whenever a conflict arose, she had students meet together with her to problem-solve how to resolve the issue and then implement their plan. A fifth-grade teacher frequently brought in read-alouds that paralleled issues emerging in the classroom and used them to facilitate conversations.  

2. I Need a Break

Telling students to take a time-out often escalates conflict by embarrassing them and leading to power struggles. In contrast, teachers described how they gave children autonomy to choose when they needed a break and when they were ready to return.

Some teachers described actual “break” spots in the classroom that they made cozy and comfortable with rugs, motivational posters, fidgets, and small toys so that children felt revitalized and not punished. For others, a break was something they could take anywhere in the classroom.

The key features of ensuring that breaks were supportive and effective were:

Children took them by choice.

Frequent class and individual conversations with teachers reviewed how breaks would work.

The break space and/or activity was set up to be appealing and comforting to the children.

3. Companionship

Teachers described how they helped the children feel like they were in it together and cared for when they had to do something they found unpleasant. As one fourth-grade teacher noted, before having her students take standardized tests, she acknowledged how unpleasant the task was and then assured the children that she was right there with them and they would all be OK.

A preschool teacher related how she would hold the hand of a child who had trouble sitting during circle time; she found that this gentle presence helped children stay present and calm. 

4. Meaningful Curriculum

A pre-K teacher described becoming aware that her rural students were confused by the classic Make Way for Ducklings, which centers on ducks crossing a busy street, so she took her students out to cross the school parking lot to better understand. Instead of asking for permission, she simply created this tangible and additional activity for her students that deviated from the script and noted that while she worried about repercussions, ultimately there were none. Another pre-K teacher created a curriculum around the laundromat to honor and acknowledge an important place in children’s daily lives. 

5. Attentiveness

Teachers paid attention to children by listening, watching, and creating spaces for children to explore. This included pausing before intervening to resolve a child’s academic or social problem, planning time to sit next to and listen to a child for a few minutes each day, and committing to simply observe without a particular agenda.

One first-grade teacher described sitting with a child who was new to the class and engaging in conversation for at least two minutes each day. Another first-grade teacher with a scripted curriculum set up regular lunch groups that included each student to create a space to get to know them. 

6. Family engagement

Teachers involved families in ways that were affirming and conversational: class newsletters with pictures of children that they often co-wrote with students, daily individual positive updates with pictures and work samples, and making time for parents to meet with them. 

An important element of meetings was an exchange of ideas and taking time to listen to a family’s needs and interests. A first-grade teacher struggling with student behaviors asked families to share language that worked with their children at home so that she could replicate these familiar approaches in school. 

Reflecting on their own values, settings, and students, teachers can adapt and apply these practices to create caring and productive communities and sustain the community as issues arise.

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