Mills Lawn School
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At an assembly on Thrusday, Mills Lawn guidance counselor John Gudgel introduced students to "Project Peace," a school-wide initiative to create a more inclusive, conflict-free climate.

Mills Lawn’s “Project Peace” to curtail conflict

“Project Peace” is not your typical school anti-bullying campaign.

Instead, school leaders at Mills Lawn Elementary School hope the monthlong school-wide initiative to change the school climate by helping students develop inclusion and empathy skills and learn to navigate conflict.

“Project Peace — it’s not just about the words. It’s about what you do with the information,” said Mills Lawn Principal Matt Housh at an assembly on Thursday kicking off the project.

In its second year, Project Peace is a homegrown project with a strong project-based learning component. Making new friends, avoiding gossip, preventing teasing and bullying and accepting one another are other lessons teachers hope to instill in students throughout the month, project leaders said recently. But its students that will take the lead, they emphasized,

“We’re engaging our community members in looking at a real need and empowering them to be the problem solvers,” Housh said.

At the assembly, teacher Dan West told students that a “good peacemaker is not afraid to speak their mind and stand up for something that they see as necessary,” while fellow teacher Fran Reichert led students in a “Bulldog Brave” cheer capturing the essence of the project:

I am a peacemaker
I am not a bystander
I am an up-stander
I am a fearless thinker
I am Bulldog brave

Last year’s “Project Peace: Confronting Bullying Through Art,” was accomplished using artist-in-residence program and ended with students creating a triptych of Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi. Read more about Project Peace 2013:

 http://ysnews.com/news/2013/03/mills-lawn-schools-project-peace-kids-learn-to-make-art-not-war

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