Lakewood Elementary School is off to an impressive start having launched the Project Cornerstone program this January. For details on Project Cornerstone, please see:
The all-around program at Lakewood includes parent volunteers who read to students in all classes once a month. The books are part of Project Cornerstone’s ABC Reader program, which helps teach students how to solve common playground conflicts such as bullying and teasing by letting students know what they can do in challenging situations. One of the features that makes Project Cornerstone so effective at schools is that the program provides a common language for everyone to use. Each month, volunteers read the same book and conduct reinforcing activities based upon it, so students may all make the same references to the characters in the book and how they deal with difficult social situations.
To take this a step further, Lakewood’s noon aides and KLAS after-school program staff have also received Project Cornerstone training so they are familiar with the tools and language shared with the children in Project Cornerstone lessons. Every Monday, Pam Cheng, principal at Lakewood School, broadcasts a reminder of the trait of the month over the school’s PA system, giving specific examples of what the students can do to exemplify that trait. Each week, she selects three teachers to choose students who have demonstrated that particular trait.
In a recent Monday announcement, Ms. Cheng encouraged students to find new ways to show someone that they care. She shared that giving someone a compliment such as, “You’re nice” is a great way to demonstrate caring. In her Friday celebration announcement, Ms. Cheng, congratulated the teacher and student by name, sharing that the student exemplified caring when he noticed a sad classmate and went over to comfort him just by standing close to him and being there.
Lakewood also offers Project Cornerstone’s ‘Take It Personally’ class, a six-week course for parents to help Project Cornerstone lessons to be reinforced at home. Ms. Cheng and her team are looking into offering the course in Spanish as well.
With this multi-faceted approach to deploying the program, Ms. Cheng has noticed changes at Lakewood already. There have been fewer recess conflicts and serious behavioral issues since the program started. Noon aides and KLAS staff help support this change across the day by building positive relationships with students and redirecting behaviors before they escalate.
For more information on Project Cornerstone, visit their website at http://www.projectcornerstone.org/.
Article by Nina Wong-Dobkin