Deanna Greenstein wasn’t surprised when students treated each other better after her children’s school brought in the Choose To Be Nice program, but she didn’t expect the impact that it would have outside of the school walls. The Brookfield Elementary School in Brockton, MA started with a rally to talk about how students have a choice about how they treat each other and to encourage them to make the Choose To Be Nice promise and sign a large banner. Staff and parents were invited to sign as well. Then, the banner was hung on the wall where everyone would see it when they first walked into school.
As hoped, there was a difference in how students behaved in the hallways and the classrooms. They were more polite and willing to be helpful.
Interestingly, however, things also got better in the parking lot, Deanna said. It’s a typical, hectic drop off and pick up zone filled with busy, often stressed and frustrated parents. But it became a friendlier place after the banner went up.
“It created a far better culture, not only with the children but with the parents as well,” Deanna said. “It’s a simple message, but once people hear it, they think about the fact that they have a choice in how they respond.”
I'm happy to announce that the experience moved Deanna to join us as a School Liaison, connecting administrators and teachers with our comprehensive schools program.
She said she is motivated by the changes she saw around the school as well as in her own home with her five children ranging in age from one to ten.
“Like any kids, they have conflicts, but when they are reminded that they have a choice about how to treat their brother or sister, they think more about what they’re going to do," Deanna said.
Children respond well because it shows them how they have control over their own lives, she explained. She said she is excited about bringing the Choose To Be Nice program to more schools.“The world is so busy that we don’t think about how we actually do have a choice,” she said. “I’m looking forward to spreading this message.”
And we're so excited to have her on board. Deanna has a keen understanding of the needs of students and schools. She is the president of Brookfield Parent Teacher Association and director of Education at the Unitarian Universalist Church in her town. She also has experience as a teacher.