NIOS Mini-Grants: Inspirational Ideas from Across the United States | Not in Our Town

NIOS Mini-Grants: Inspirational Ideas from Across the United States

Competition was stiff for the 48 grant proposals. Proposals came from elementary, middle and high schools, not to mention a Catholic Diocese and a Jewish Yeshiva. Schools from the Northeast, South, Midwest, Southwest and Western United States all proposed impressive activities to make their schools more inclusive.

And here are the NIOS Mini-Grantees:
Kara Clayton: Thurston High School, Redford, MI
Thurston High School’s enthusiastic Not in Our Town student group and the school’s media studies program will unite to create 20 short documentaries, music videos, public service announcements and news stories. Their multi-media messages will be shared online and exhibited at a local film festival open to all community members. The films will also be broadcasted to neighboring middle and elementary schools.
Shannon Rossall: Anaverde Hills Elementary, Lancaster, CA
After years of constructing new buildings, it was time to renovate the school’s social atmosphere by implementing the Raise the Roof, Set the Foundation program. At a school where socioeconomically disadvantaged students comprise over half of the student body, Rossall hopes that Raise the Roof will aid students in cultivating leadership skills and self-esteem by electing responsible Peer Assistance Leaders who will be coached to lead class discussions, prevent or intervene in bullying situations, and teach others about the importance of respect.
Alexis Sanchez: King Chavez High School, San Diego, CA
A team of NIOS-trained teachers is leading an initiative to sponsor the Not In Our School Anti-Bullying Conference 2012 for the larger community. Moreover, this impressive effort will be arranged almost entirely by a group of King Chavez High’s most inspiring student leaders. These students will create lesson plans, posters and presentations to be shared with peers and parents. Students will participate in all aspects of the event, including translating presentations for Spanish-speaking parents.
Maria Stefanova: Taylor Middle School, Albuquerque, NM
Music teachers will use their Not In Our School grant to fund the exciting Musical Bridge to Unity program. Two groups of students will come together over the next year to create and perform orchestral music and skits, inspired by films in the NIOS Video Action Kit, in order to highlight the school’s diversity and encourage acceptance. This musical features music from a variety of cultures and will be performed for local schools, culminating in three performances at the local community center.
Richard Rosenberg: Whittier Union High Career Connection, Whittier, CA
The Not In Our Community: Bullying Awareness and Prevention for Persons with Disabilities project begins with lessons using NIOS videos along with role-playing activities, art projects and poetry. This project aims to build awareness of the consequences of schoolyard harassment and exclusion for persons with disabilities. After six weeks, Whittier Union High School will host a Community Summit with students, parents and community members to work together to end the bullying of youth and young adults with disabilities.
Steve Van Driest: John Overton High School, Nashville, TN              
Not In O-Town will use Not In Our School videos and lesson plans to engage incoming freshmen and teach them effective methods for identifying bullying, speaking up and taking action at John Overton High School. By teaching their peers to be upstanders, service learners and other freshmen will create a safe and cooperative learning environment as they go forward into their next three years of high school.
Gina Cooperman: Ardsley High School, Ardsley, NY
After a series of bullying incidents at Ardsley High, 9th grade English classes will read The Bully Society by Jessie Klein and Queen Bees and Wannabees by Rosalind Wiseman to make connections to real examples that threaten their school environment. After gaining a better understanding of bullying through the varied perspectives of bullies, teachers, parents and victims, students will make a documentary that will be screened during the school’s annual Day of Silence assembly. They will also create their own Handbook for Handling Bullies, a constructive guide for students, parents and teachers.
Maria Herrera: Torch Middle School, La Puente, CA
Torch Middle School will receive three of our Video Action Kits to assist their innovative Undercover Teams program. Teachers will show NIOS videos in class, following with guidance lessons and peer-to-peer discussions on how to prevent bullying. After educating students on the causes and effects of bullying, counselors will form teams of seven students that will unknowingly include one student who has reported being bullied, one student who has been accused of bullying, and five students not involved in the situation. These teams will brainstorm bi-weekly on how to end a bullying situation like the one reported by their anonymous team member. When the group’s bullying incident stops, the team will receive a reward. This innovative research-based model has been used successfully in New Zealand.
Alicia Taadema: Scio High School, Scio, OR
The Scio High Loggers of rural Oregon will receive a Not In Our School Video Action Kit to fight student harassment with their Logger Pride Week, creating opportunities for student leadership and self-sufficiency. Using the Video Action Kit, teachers will help create a NIOS student-led club and trained peer-helper group to conduct anti-bullying lunch activities and work with fellow students to intervene in situations of teasing or discrimination. With the help of NIOS classroom lesson plans and student feedback, Scio High hopes to improve their school’s policy rules and make Scio High a better place to learn.
Tosha Tilotsen: Sacramento Archdiocese, Sacramento, CA
St. Patrick’s Academy will utilize one of our Video Action Kits to train teachers and students throughout the Sacramento Diocese to Be the SEED of Change: Stop, Examine, Evaluate, Do Something to Stop Bullying. Peer-to-peer mediators will deal with issues specific to their individual schools, like gender discrimination or racially-targeted teasing, and will collaborate with other campuses to eliminate instances of bullying. The Diocese serves 46 Catholic schools in the Sacramento area.

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