Great Path Academy Students Move from “Bystanders to Allies”

SPOTLIGHT on EXCELLENCE     October 2014

Great Path Academy Students Move from “Bystanders to Allies”

Nataly D'Oleo, Madison Baranoski and Javante Danvers share their artistic interpretation of an "Ally".
    Partnering with the Anti-Defamation League, Great Path Academy students and staff begin the school year with participation in trainings for "Names Can Really Hurt Us"  in order to continue to support the growth of a positive school culture.  As the Anti-Defamation League website states, “It is a call to action for everyone. Together our goal is to inform students, families, educators and the public on what can be done about bullying and cyberbullying.”   The Great Path Academy Allies are a group of 18 students, grades 10-12, who underwent a vigorous acceptance process in order to become an Ally.  Once interviews were completed in the spring of last year and six hours of training were completed, Great Path Academy students received their Ally blazers in a Blazer Ceremony which honored their choice to always stand up for the target of any negative behavior.  
    This September, during two afternoon three-hour long trainings entitled "Names Can Really Hurt Us", 18 Great Path Academy Allies, 27 additional student volunteers (including freshmen) and 32 staff members participated in activities, which included designing their own "Ally", naming them and giving them words to use when facing challenges.  Stories were shared of experiences, both negative and positive and the group bonded with the unifying goal to send the message to all Great Path Academy students that school is a safe place and someone will always support you.  The culminating event will be a student-run, whole-school assembly on October 3rd, in which the students will share out their experiences and stories, then break out into their Advisory groups in order to turnkey the activities that they completed during training to their classes.  
The “From Bystanders to Allies” and "Names Can Really Hurt Us" programs are two pieces to the overarching focus on a positive school climate that is taking place at Great Path Academy.  As a Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) school, Great Path Academy has made great strides in making it “cool” to do the right thing in the past three years.

The Great Path Academy Allies and Staff Advisors attend afternoon trainings from the Anti-Defamation League in order to solidify the Ally culture within the school community. 

Submitted by,
Anastasia DiFedele-Dutton
Magnet Theme Coach
Great Path Academy @ Manchester Community College

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