June 27, 2016
TO HELP EVERYONE feel they are part of a supportive community, Brookville Public School created an ‘ally’ room, held a December kindness campaign and promoted mental health wellness.
In recognition of these and other initiatives, the Campbellville school is one of only 10 Ontario recipients of the 2015-16 Premier's Awards for Accepting Schools.
The Premier's Awards for Accepting Schools recognize those teams across the province that have done exceptional and innovative work in creating a safe, inclusive and accepting school environment. These schools have demonstrated initiative, creativity and leadership in promoting a safe, inclusive and accepting school climate.
Understanding the importance of a safe and inclusive school environment, Brookville trained students to recognize and report bullying, and empowered them with a deeper understanding of what kindness looks like through various initiatives including:
- A group of Grade 6-8 students trained to recognize bullying behaviours and take action around prevention and intervention. ‘Allies’ provide peer support for conflict resolution and bullying prevention in the schoolyard and in a designated safe space called the ‘ally’ room. During Bullying Awareness and Prevention Week, the Allies visited every Brookville classroom to facilitate student discussions and activities on positive student behaviour.
- A December kindness campaign with a reading of How to Fill a Bucket in all classes. Students coordinated a food drive, a warm clothing collection, and a toy drive to benefit the community. The events also included participation in the Campbellville Santa Claus parade, where students handed out kindness quotations to spectators.
- Mental health and wellness fairs featuring community exhibitors, student projects, and presentations on topics such as mindful parenting, student resilience and managing emotions. Brookville has used Kelso's Choices and the bucket-filling model, and has partnered with Girls Inc. and its child and youth counsellor, to help students develop their social-emotional competence.
According to the government of Ontario website, these initiatives have created and fostered an inclusive place in which all students feel they have a voice.
“Brookville's emphasis on kindness and service has helped create a positive environment where students strive to work hard, be nice, and make a difference,” the website stated.
Principal Laura DiMatteo said she and her staff are so proud of the accomplishment and especially of the work done by students to make help Brookville a great place to learn.
“We are very proud of our students, staff and parent community for all the work they have done to support our many initiatives with a focus on creating a positive school culture, marked by kindness and empathy,” she said. “With one word, one action and one smile students can make a difference in someone's life.”
Vice-principal Mercedes Carli said she hopes students will be inspired by what they’ve achieved and will keep exhibiting leadership throughout their lives.
“Our hope is our students will be inspired to continue to do the great work they do to create a safe, caring and inclusive school through their leadership, engagement and acts of kindness,” Carli said. “They have the power to make a difference in our school and in the community at large.”
Brookville students say they have enjoyed taking a proactive role in making their school a positive place.
Elise, in Grade 7, said: “In a safe environment, everyone can enjoy a better education.”
“It helps us learn if we feel accepted and we feel happy at school,” stated Grade 7 student Sara.