Hope springs eternal and is alive and well at PS 8. In mid January, a Wish Tree took root on the first floor bulletin board. The tree is the first of three projects planned, as part of the Anti Defamation League’s No Place for Hate initiative launched this year. Guidance Counselor and former fourth grade teacher, Stephanie Zeidner, spearheads the program. As a teacher she “always wanted to let students know to view others based on their character.” Now as Guidance Counselor, she has “the ability to reach all classes.”
Inspiration for the tree and timing of the project came from the teachings and leadership of Martin Luther King, Jr and as a response to the divisiveness of the recent election. Each classroom read an age-appropriate book based on kindness. For example, Kindergartners read “Ish,” first graders “One” and fourth “Mean Jean and the Fourth Grade Recess Queen.” Teachers then engaged in deeper discussion afterwards. Students were asked, “What is your hope for your community?” Their responses are the “leaves” of the tree drawn or written on large card stock tags.
No Place for Hate is “designed to create inclusive school communities by promoting unity and respect, and empowering schools to reduce bullying, name-calling and other expressions of bias.” To participate each member of the school community makes the “No Place for Hate Promise.” The school must hold a kick off assembly and complete three activities across all grades. Mrs. Zeidner manages three committees of student ambassadors, teachers and parents/community to execute each project.
Thank you to our No Place for Hate committees of teachers, parents and students who continue to work together to develop the program. The next project is aiming for a February launch. Very special thanks to Art teacher Miss Mack for her design and execution of the Wish Tree. Shout outs to our fifth grade ambassadors who helped install the exhibit!