They say it takes a village to raise a child, and these words couldn't ring more true in this hectic world we live in.
Los Altos District schools do more than teach academics; educators rely on specialty programs and the assistance of parents and caregivers to help teach the whole child and build self-esteem and awareness. One program that has had a huge impact on the district and has worked to build tolerance and responsibility in students is Project Cornerstone.
According to the district website, Project Cornerstone's School Partnerships program empowers all members of the school community—students, parents and caregivers, teachers and staff—to reduce bullying, promote achievement and help all students feel valued and respected.
All seven LASD elementary schools have adopted the Project Cornerstone, which utilizes programs such as Expect Respect, ABC Readers and Take It Personally Asset Champion Training. Schools that participate in the YMCA Initiative program show improved academic achievement, fewer behavior referrals and more students reporting a positive and caring school climate.
To empower students to combat bullying and peer abuse, Project Cornerstone developed the Expect Respect program. Expect Respect helps students from different social groups work together to find common ground and create a “new normal” for their school where all students are accepted and supported by their peers.
In Expect Respect, a group of students learn about bullying’s serious consequences, how to identify bullying behavior and how to effectively STAND UP to bullies. Then, the team identifies the kinds of bullying that take place at their school and creates an action plan to stop bullying and improve the overall school climate. Project Cornerstone provides follow-up support and coaching throughout the year to students and faculty advisors to help ensure that the school's action plan is fully implemented.
ABC is Project Cornerstone’s parent volunteer program whereby adults come read relevant texts to students so they can recognize bullying behavior and identify social issues they may come across at school. Throughout the year, more than 2,900 adults read to 38,000+ kids in 127 schools. Volunteers promote positive youth development by reading a specially selected children’s book each month and leading related activities and discussions in classrooms. The program’s goal is to help school communities create a common language about student respect and behavior expectations among all members of the school community.
Educators and volunteers are trained in workshops on best ways to create a positive school climate in which every student feels valued. Participants are encouraged to continue meeting after the formal sessions end to support each other’s efforts and work together to create new opportunities in their schools, neighborhoods, organizations or communities.
Project Cornerstone is like our modern-day village and thanks to the YMCA Initiative, parent volunteers and educators alike are helping our children learn that every person has a voice, every person has value, and that