Peace Begins with a Smile
20 Oct, 2021
At the Dominican Community of Schools, we are committed to the respectful treatment of all people. Justice, Respect and Peace (JRP), our PK2-8 kindness initiative, provides the foundation for our students in their interactions with others.
After Mass on Friday, October 15, our JRP Committee members (Melanie Truitt, ECC; Jamie Lassandrello, SAA; Lauren Harkess, SDS; and Julia Schuster, Junior High), announced the theme for the 2021-2022 school year. “Peace begins with a smile,” was chosen as the theme to reflect a quote from Mother Teresa. Modeling our actions after Mother Teresa, who had a commitment to building peace through daily interaction, is the goal for this year.
“To help celebrate our JRP theme, there will be various activities throughout the year to focus on bringing peace and being peace in our school community,” explained Lauren Harkess, SDS First Grade Teacher and JRP Committee member. For the kick-off, our Junior High students created a banner to remind everyone to “Be the I in smile.” Each class is taking turns decorating the banner with pictures, kind words, and ways to spread peace.
Modeled after the Olweus Bullying Prevention program, the JRP program is our approach to the prevention of behaviors and situations that may lead to bullying instances. The overarching goals of the program are to reduce/prevent the development of negative interactions and to achieve better peer relations at school.
The program's name, Justice, Respect and Peace is based upon our School prayer in which we ask God to, "help us to stand up for the rights of others and to promote justice, respect and peace in our School and world communities."
There are four Guiding Principles for the JRP initiative, displayed on posters throughout the school:
- We are KIND to everyone.
- We STAND UP for others.
- We REACH OUT to those who are left out.
- We find an adult who will HELP if we cannot.
According to Ms. Harkess, “We teach students to resolve normal conflicts using skills such as compromise, active listening, and group problem-solving. Through this, we achieve better peer relations at our school. We guide them to be socially aware and socially responsible members of a community.”
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