How Dr. Jerry Jellig Responded to Bullying

While there has been some progress on anti-bullying efforts, millions of students every year encounter bullying that could affect their performance in school, cause mental anguish, and more. School administrators and teachers must take a proactive step to mitigate bullying in their schools and ensure students have a safe place to learn.

When Dr. Jerry Jellig was appointed to lead Shaw Campus for KIPP DC, Will Academy, he had a few tough issues at hand. First and foremost, the academic scores weren’t good, so students were not getting the education they needed to succeed at the next level. Additionally, student behaviors weren’t good, and disciplinary actions were up in the charter school in Washington D.C..

However, what was probably most problematic was the fact that Dr. Gerard Jellig inherited a school with the highest number of bullying investigations and incidents. Dr. Gerard Jellig had a problem on his hand, and he needed to act quick. His ultimate goal was to get each and every one of his students who wanted to go to college to go. But that was the ultimate goal. Before that, he had to address the bullying issue and make his school safe again.

The first thing he and his team did was look at the prior year and determine whether there were any identifiable trends. They noticed that the same peer relationships that were poor would reappear in many different settings, creating the dangerous power imbalance that often results in bullying. In addition to that, they identified trigger children, catalyst children, and vulnerable children so they could provide individual help and support.

For example, they appointed catalyst children into their own branch of student government, so they could make decisions and lead. Vulnerable children, on the other hand, were assigned a strong peer and faculty member who would check in on their daily progress. Finally, Dr. Jerry Jellig staffed spaces of high frequency and known power imbalance differently and trained facutly members on peer relationships and consultations.

The end result was a 60% reduction in bullying claims and 75% reduction in bullying incidents. The story of Dr. Jellig and hte Shaw Campus for KIPP DC, Will Academy is not new or unique and could be done anywhere. Faculty members and administrators need to develop their own strategy to mitigate bullying and ensure students have a safe place to learn.


Dr. Gerard Jellig Offers Tips for Improving Test Scores

From his work turning around WILL Academy in KIPP DC, a renowned national Charter School Network, Dr. Gerard Jellig certainly knows a thing or two about improving a school’s success rate.

As principal of WILL Academy KIPP DC, Jerry Jellig took the school from one that had the highest suspension rate and lowest achievement data in the network to one that has the lowest suspension rate, highest GPA, and strong academic data, not just within KIPP DC, but across the city.

Improving students’ test scores played a huge role in helping Jerry Jellig turn WILL Academy KIPP DC around, and now Dr. Gerard Jellig is here to share some of his secrets to success with other educators. Without further ado, here are some tips for improving your students’ test scores from Jerry Jellig.

Teach Study Strategies

One effective thing you can do to improve your students’ test scores is to teach learning/study strategies that can be implemented by the students when they’re preparing for assessments. Metacognition is not solely for suburban schools, as urban schools can also focus on help children understand how they think, process, and learn.

Daily Homework

Not every teacher is a proponent of homework, but even just assigning five to 15 minutes of reviewing what you did in class that day can make a world of difference, especially when you’re trying to close gaps. Reviewing and practicing what you learn each day- which can begin in school- is a great way to reinforce all of the information you’ve gathered. Even computer-based interventions/blended learning  tools could be considered effective homework that will help prepare students better for the assessments and skill applications that will follow.

Brain Breaks

Many studies show that children need short mental breaks throughout the school day, and only enhance learning. It can takes as little as 90 seconds minutes of movement to refocus children and bring levity to the difficult.  Playing music in the classroom for relaxation, and even letting your students dance, qualify as great brain breaks.  Playing a game of “Simon Says,” or taking part in some classroom yoga can all be effective brain breaks for students.

Parental Involvement

Regular and efficient communication between a teacher and parents of students is crucial to a child’s success in the classroom. When parents or guardians are involved more, test scores typically go up. By letting parents volunteer and/or creating an open-door policy for your classroom when it comes to parents are great ways to keep them involved.  This almost never takes one form.  From social media to push notifications through aps like Remind, to email blasts, phone calls and old school mailings, there is a road into every home, and a partnership that can follow.

About Dr. Gerard Jellig


As principal, Jerry Jellig helped the school go from having the highest suspension rate and lower achievement data in the network to having the lowest suspension rate, highest GPA and best academic data in the National Charter School Network.

Dr. Gerard Jellig used the knowledge and experienced he gained over an eventful and distinguished career as an education, administrator and decorated veteran of the United States Army, to turn this charter school around, but that’s not all he has done for the academic community.

As a super intendant and board member in the South Brunswick School District, Jerry Jellig helps improve the educational experience of 9,000 students and 1,300 staff members across 12 schools. Dr. Gerard Jellig also manages a $150 million budget for this district and has done so successfully through two consecutive audits. His work with South Brunswick School District led to one of the district’s schools being removed from state monitoring.

Jerry Jellig also shares his knowledge and expertise at the collegiate level. He is an adjunct professor of organizational theory at the University Pennsylvania and a member of the university’s Alumni GSE Board of Trustees, where he serves as the Chair of Communications, helping organize and lead urban partnerships with Philadelphia Public Schools.

In his adjunct faculty role at Penn, Dr. Gerard Jellig teaches Organizational Theory courses in the Mid-Career Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership. He also serves as an adjunct professor at Rowan University, where he teaches multiple master’s-level courses in school leadership, including “School Law” and “School Leadership.”

Dr. Jellig is able to deliver such high-quality educational advice because of the strength of his own educational background.

After becoming a decorated veteran of 82nd Airborne Division after his service in the U.S. Army from 1986-88, Dr. Jellig’s education started with a double bachelor’s degree in history and secondary education from Providence College in Rhode Island. He then earned 33 graduate credits in history from the University of Maryland  before eventually receiving his master’s from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. He earned a dual master’s in School Administration and Literacy Practice.

Finally, Jerry Jellig rounded off his education and earned the title of Doctor by earning his educational doctorate in Organizational and Educational Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania. He graduated from Penn in 2009 and finished with a dissertation titled “How do Experienced vs. Transitioning Principals Employ Behavioral Emotional Intelligence in Leading Schools”—very fitting for someone with his background.