Project Cornerstone utilizes the developmental assets model to empower youth, parents, and school staff to improve school climate, reduce bullying, and create vibrant, caring communities of learners. Our programs include youth, parent, and staff engagement. Our parent engagement curriculum develops Social Emotional Learning (SEL) skills in youth including focus on inclusion, diversity, tolerance, problem solving, respect, and conflict resolution. It promotes a common language to be used throughout the school by staff, youth, and parents.
- What is the Project Cornerstone ABC Program?
- ABC Program at JAMM
- ABC Program Books
- How to get involved
- Become a Volunteer Reader!
- November/December 2019 Book: The Day You Begin
- October 2019 Book: My Secret Bully
- September 2019 Book: Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon
What is the Project Cornerstone ABC Program?
ABC is Project Cornerstone’s most popular program, with more than 2,900 adults reading to 49,000 kids in 135 schools. The ABC Program is a literature-based program addressing important issues like respect, tolerance, honesty, peaceful conflict resolution, taking a stand against bullying behaviors, and refusing to participate in gossip. Volunteers read specially selected books then lead discussions and activities that help teach valuable lessons related to these issues.
The program’s goal is to help school communities achieve the following:
- Create a common language and vocabulary about student respect and behavior expectations among all members of the school community — students, parents and caregivers, teachers and staff.
- Help students develop skills to handle physical, verbal, relational and digital bullying and to STAND UP if they see someone else being bullied.
- Increase the number of caring adults on campus so that all students feel that there is at least one adult they can turn to if they have a problem.
- Contribute to a positive school climate where every student feels valued and supported to achieve and thrive.
ABC Program at JAMM
In the 2015-2016 school year, the ABC program is continuing at JAMM. This will be our fourth year participating in the program. The goal is to have volunteer readers in each classroom in grades K-6 and lead the activities. This program is an integral part of making Jamm an even more successful school environment. Patrick Buchser, our principal, fully supports and is excited about the ABC program at Jamm.
Here are some of the comments from staff, students, and volunteer readers from current programs:
“We all are using a common language and can work on dealing with teasing and problems in the same way”
“The books were fun and the activities really helped hammer the lesson home”
“It is nice to have parents involved and reading in the classroom. The kids love that.”
ABC Program Books
The ABC program is a cumulative program spanning 3 years. We will start with ‘Asset Year 1’ booksand each year new books and concepts are introduced. The Asset Year 1 includes 8 books, with one book being read per month (skipping December and June). We will start with “Have you Filled a Bucket Today” and “Simon’s Hook”. These are the base books and all others build upon the concepts. More information on the books can be found on www.projectcornerstone.org
How to get involved
- Spending an hour in your child’s class can make a world of difference
- It’s a great opportunity for Moms, Dads, Grandparents and Family Friends to support children in a meaningful way
- Training, books, discussion topics, and classroom activities provided
- Volunteer commitment is approximately 2 – 3 hours/month for the eight months. All volunteers must:
- attend a one-time Assets 101 training session (1.5 hours scheduled at JAMM or at the YMCA in SJ)
- complete a Project Cornerstone/YCMA volunteer application (3 minutes, online)
- attend monthly book training (1 hour on the first Monday of the month, 8:00-9:00 a.m., at JAMM)
- prepare for their lessons in their private time (~1 hour)
- hold a classroom reading, discussion, and activity (30-45 minutes)
Become a Volunteer Reader!
November/December 2019 Book: The Day You Begin
In the month of November/December, we read the book The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson. This book provides opportunities for conversations around tolerance and acceptance of others. It also makes us aware about the importance of creating a caring school climate where everyone feels they belong. The goal was to help the students embrace and nurture each individual for who they are and to practice inclusive behaviors to create a caring school climate where every voice feels heard.
We discussed these inclusive behaviors:
Greet each other authentically
Don’t make fun of others
Resolve misunderstandings and disagreements immediately
Listen, listen, listen
Speak clearly, directly, and honestly
Use your voice
Understand that we all have a contribution, so make sure all voices are heard
Ask others to share their ideas, thoughts, and experiences
We hope you will talk with your child about The Day You Begin. To reinforce the message at home:
- Brainstorm ideas to do intentional acts of caring for family, friends, and neighbors. Choose one or two to do together.
Give positive reinforcement to your child for actions and remarks that show empathy and compassion for others.
By teaching our children the importance of accepting others and sharing intentional acts of caring, we create a stronger school community where all students feel safe and know that they belong.
October 2019 Book: My Secret Bully
During the month of October in your child’s classroom, we read the book My Secret Bully by Trudy
Ludwig. My Secret Bully is a story of how a girl named Katie bullies her close friend Monica making her
feel unwelcome and isolated from her friends. Monica’s mom notices Monica’s sudden stomachaches
and asks if something is going on at school. Her mom listens to Monica, which leaves Monica feeling
loved, appreciated and accepted. With the support and advice of her mother, Monica learns to reclaim
her personal power.
The term for what Monica experiences is relational bullying: subtle emotional bullying including “under the
radar” actions like spreading rumors, intimidating and humiliating, excluding and ignoring. These behaviors
are often devastating to a child’s self-esteem and their sense of social belonging.
Whether your child is a target, a bystander or the instigator of relational aggression, you can help.
Help them bring secrets of peer abuse into the open. Let your child know they are not alone.
Be a thoughtful listener. Listen without interrupting. Afterwards, ask what kind of help your
child needs. Sometimes, just sharing the problem helps them figure out what to do.
If they need help, offer suggestions about how to respond to bullying and role-play their
Brainstorm positive self-talk words and phrases that will empower your child.
Continue to practice the ABC tools.
Enlist other family members and caring adults to support your child.
Open a conversation about bullying issues with your child’s teacher. Arrange a conference to
discuss your concerns. Help your child create a plan for safety and support at school.
After reading the book we discussed what happened in the story, whether anyone had experienced
anything like what happened to Monica, and what to do if it did happen. We talked about positive self-
talk, messages you say to yourself to keep you strong, qualities to look for in a friend and ways to be a
good friend to others.
Please ask your children about the story and about their ideas. They were wonderful active participants
in this lesson and had a lot to say. Thank you so much for your support and for helping create a
positive environment for our children.
September 2019 Book: Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon
During the month of September in your child’s classroom, we read the book Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lowell. The main character is empowered by a caring adult, her grandmother. As her grandmother fills her bucket, Molly Lou gains self-confidence, which empowers her to stand up to bullying behaviors. Molly Lou models positive self-talk to the other students in the class and shows how positive energy can change negative behavior.
After the story, we discussed some ways that children can use their lid to respond to bucket dippers and make positive changes in daily social interactions:
Find a caring adult. Who are the caring adults in your children’s lives? To whom would they turn for help at home, at school and in the neighborhood? If they have trouble identifying a caring adult in each of these environments, tell them who you think they can trust, and let those adults know that your child may turn to them for help.
Develop and use “personal power”. Developing personal power helps children understand that they have control over situations. One way to stand tall like Molly Lou is to use body language to show confidence. At home, have your child look in the mirror and practice standing tall, making eye contact, walking with shoulders back, and using a firm voice to communicate. Have your child practice their positive self-talk to build their positive energy.
Use self-esteem to become resilient. One way to help children develop self-esteem is to help them recognize their many skills and talents. You can reinforce this by telling your children why they make you proud, and asking what makes them feel proud of themselves. Provide them with lots of specific examples of their fine qualities and skills. Place positive notes that celebrate their accomplishments in their lunchboxes, on the bathroom mirror, on doors and on their desks.
Reinforcing this lesson at home will help your child practice how to create a positive, caring school climate where students treat each other respectfully.