Del Sur School and the City of Lancaster join forces to ignite activism against bullying. | Not in Our Town

Del Sur School and the City of Lancaster join forces to ignite activism against bullying.

Del Sur Middle School
9023 W. Ave. H.
93536 Lancaster , CA
United States
California US


Del Sur Middle School
9023 W. Ave. H.
93536 Lancaster , CA
United States
34° 43' 6.3228" N, 118° 17' 23.4528" W
California US


Del Sur Middle School True Leaders

Who We Are
At Del Sur School, the word education is synonymous with change, possibility, and hope. We believe you should look for the good and make it even better. Del Sur Middle School True Leaders is a student service organization beginning the third year in its mission to transform the social climate on our K-8 grade campus.  True Leaders design grass roots projects in the dramatic arts intended to inspire positive relationships on campus. Our primary focus is to improve school climate and safety. Through the ingenuity of its student leaders, in partnership with dedicated mentor teachers and community sponsors, Del Sur True Leaders have touched the lives of thousands of students in our community. The True Leaders message of“ peer power” has spread to neighboring schools who have taken up the True Leaders torch. Our activities have captured the attention of our city leaders, winning local and state commendations. With a thriving community of support, True Leaders is well on its way to changing our school, our city, and our world.
Our Mentor Teachers
At the heart of True Leaders is its unique mentor teacher support system. Each middle school teacher elects one student as a True Leader and serves as that student’s sponsor for the year. Because mentors are encouraged to sponsor students who represent the diversity of all groups on campus, the face of True Leaders is an authentic reflection of our student body. Mentors are encouraged to tap leaders who might be overlooked by traditional leadership opportunities but who may demonstrate an innate charisma. Mentors provide guidance for True Leaders as each student’s journey to leadership is often filled with challenges. As transformational leaders emerge, they become shining examples for others by creating the True Leaders Peer Power phenomenon.
Peer Power
“ Rarely do schools acknowledge the power of peer culture in defining standards, and rarely do they take advantage of this power as an engine for quality. When students themselves are in charge of projects they care about, peer pressure can become a powerful force for high standards (R. BERGER, Harvard Education Letter)”. Vital to True Leaders Peer Power is peer instruction. True Leaders teach character and anti bullying lessons while serving as Class Coach for their assigned classes. Over the course of a year, True Leaders teach the specific ways in which every student is responsible for making our campus a safe and nurturing place to learn. True Leaders set the bar high for what has become the new social standard at Del Sur School. To view our Class Coach program in action, please visit the News link on the Del Sur School website.   
Listening to the Needs of our School and Community
"Schools should be sanctuaries of hope and learning where students can learn, challenge themselves and expand their potential, free from fear," U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings said. "All of our goals for student achievement start with safe, healthy and orderly learning environments.” According to The California Healthy Kids Survey, 37% of 7th graders in our district reported being harassed at school. As documented in our Del Sur Middle School Support Personnel Accountability Report Card (SPARC), only 62% of Del Sur middle school students reported feeling safe at school ( Of additional concern was a tragedy occurring just a few miles down the road at neighboring Vasquez High School, when we learned of the bullycide of Jeremiah Lassiter. At the request of our principal, our True Leaders accepted the challenge to lead our efforts in the direction of anti-bullying. What we learned from Jeremiah and others has become a catalyst for our school, district, and community-wide anti-bullying campaign, our hallmark project.
True Leaders Hallmark Project: From Darkness to Light
While True Leaders have created a long and varied list of original programs and activities in its three years of service, our most powerful project has become our community-wide anti-bullying program. Seeking an innovative way to create a lasting impression, True Leaders authored and produced our “Darkness to Light Anti-Bullying Memorial Service”, a poignant musical production which we copyrighted and published in 2009. This artistic work honors the lives of seven students who committed suicide as a result of school bullying. Our Darkness to Light Memorial Service is now available to secondary schools across the country seeking a creative venue for raising awareness of the devastation of bullying.  To view a performance of the memorial service, please visit the City of Lancaster website using the 12/9/09 web archive link.
Expanding Our Territory: True Leaders Student Ambassador Partners
 “May This One Light Illuminate Your Entire School”(passage from Darkness to Light Memorial)
On November 19, 2009, we created and hosted a Community Awareness Anti-Bullying Event called “Not In Our Schools”. True Leaders joined the national “Not In Our Schools” movement. True Leaders invited 100 Student Ambassadors from 10 surrounding schools to experience our Darkness to Light Memorial Service. Student Ambassadors attended the event with the commitment to bring the “Not In Our Schools” anti-bulling message back to their campuses. There were 400 educators, parents, and community leaders in attendance who stood together to take the “Not In Our Schools” pledge, rallying the community into action. Due to the success of that event, True Leaders were invited to perform the memorial at a City of Lancaster Crime Commission meeting on December 9, 2009 and to the Lancaster City Council on March 9, 2010. Mayor R. Rex Parris was quoted in the local paper as saying, “This is precisely the type of program that needs to be implemented in every school facing challenges with bullying”. (AV Press, March 9, 2010). Our memorial was televised on the Channel 9 (greater L.A. area) and local Channel 28 News and is currently running repeatedly in its entirety on local Channel 3. Our activism also made the front page of the local paper on two occasions. To view the CBS newscasts please visit the Del Sur School website using the News link.  
The Mayor Picks Up the Torch
Responding to the need in our community for the anti-bullying message to be brought to light at every level, the Del Sur Middle School True Leaders have been commissioned by Mayor Parris to host a “Not In Our Town” movement to take place in November of 2010. The True Leaders will present the Darkness to Light Memorial Service and will invite the participation of 23 area middle and high schools. Schools will be sponsored by area businesses committed to funding anti- bullying programs on each participating campus. This endeavor has inspired the collaboration of the Lancaster City Council, the Lancaster Crime Commission, the Los Angeles County Sheriff, the Antelope Valley Human Relations Task Force, and four neighboring school districts. Over 350 students will take part as Student Ambassadors. The potential influence of these Student Ambassadors as they become anti-bullying activists on their own campuses is exponential into the many thousands. 
True Leaders Program Is Slated for Reproduction In Neighboring District
After attending the Community Awareness Anti-Bullying event, counselors and teachers from Eastside School District’s Cole Middle School have been granted permission to initiate a Cole Middle School True Leaders program for the 2010-2011 school year. Cole administrators have designated a True Leaders elective course. We look forward to welcoming our first True Leaders satellite program and to supporting the expansion of our territory and influence.
Del Sur School Sees Results
On our own campus, the results of our efforts have been significant. As published in our Del Sur Middle School SPARC, there has been a gain of 30% in the number of students feeling safe on campus since the True Leaders have initiated the anti-bullying campaign. Student suspensions have decreased by 17% and the number of students with perfect attendance has increased from 3% to 10%, all reflections of improved campus safety. The efficacy of our program has earned the True Leaders a California Teachers Association Peace and Justice Award, a City of Lancaster Community Service Award, and is an integral piece to our Academy Award Winning SPARC.
The positive impact we have seen since incorporating the True Leaders program strengthens our resolve to work passionately toward our district’s Governance Team’s Core Beliefs to “Provide a safe and distinguished learning environment that ensures excellence and achievement for all students”. With financial contributions of the South Antelope Valley Education Foundation, who awarded the True Leaders program with a generous grant, and the revenue we have created in the performance and publication of our Darkness to Light Memorial Service, our plans moving forward are fully funded. With the Lancaster City Council and Mayor committed to our program, we’ve created a momentum that we believe is here to stay as long as there is a need for improved campus safety. For a video summary of our programs, we invite you to visit our Del Sur School website using the News link.


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