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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

A School Full of Leaders: A Plan at SI's Petrides

The goal at Staten Island's Petrides (P.S. 80) is to have a school full of leaders. They believe that every student has the potential to be a leader.  It's a priority and they have a plan. It started with an interested parent coordinator, enthusiastic administrators, a handful of student leaders and a big dose of enthusiasm and creativity.

One Can Count, sponsored by NYS Senator Andrew Lanza and based on Kathryn Otoshi's award-winning children's book, One,  is in full swing.   Petrides, a dynamic K-12 school that values respect, is constantly developing ways to get across the point that each child has the ability to become their "best self" and add to the good of the whole.

Lesson #1

Taking the Lead

Student leaders in the 4th and 7th grades got the tangled ball rolling by visiting each and every classroom from K-8th grade to read One.  Think about this.  Seventh graders reading a children's book to the mighty 8th graders.  That takes courage.

Lesson #2

How Am I a One?

Students got involved in simple activities that inspired them to think about themselves as a One.  Using cut outs of the #1, they reflected on how they could be a One.  Then they created shadow cut outs of their profiles with an assignment that asked "How Am I a Leader?" Powerful.

Lesson #3

Appreciating Others for Being a One

Students, administrators and teachers are encouraged to recognize others for being a One.  The hallways are lined with photos of kids and teachers with a brief description of their positive action.

Example:  John Paul was caught being a One when he invited a lonely classmate to play.

Lesson #4

Individual Students as Team Builders

Students will all be contributing to a chain of leadership.  Each paper link represents a student and when each student brings their unique talents and they're connected to each other, the community becomes strong, nurturing and a safe place to learn and enjoy growing up.

Lesson #5

Support is Key

Why is One Can Count such a success at Petrides?  Support.  Parent Coordinator Jami Kilichowski and Elementary School Assistant Principal Danielle Bennett attended the One Can Count workshop in September.  They took a spark ignited from the workshop and created a fire of enthusiasm among school staff and students.  And it doesn't stop this year.  A detailed plan has already been outlined for next year.

It's not just words at Petrides.  It's a plan.  One administrator, one teacher, one parent coordinator, one mentor, one student at a time.

I have complete faith that Petrides will reach their goal.

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