California Educator

November / December 2016

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Great Ideas: Why Your School Needs a 'Buddy Bench' T H E " B U D D Y B E N C H " is a place for students to sit at Promenade Elementar y School in Corona. It 's also a place for students to take a stand against bullying. Two Buddy Benches were built in 2014 at the request of students Darren Dyberg and Dylan Gianella-Tibbets. After seeing a news report about a bench at a Colorado school, they asked for one at their school. Grownups agreed it was a good idea and went to Home Depot, which offered to build two benches — one for little kids and one for big kids. The boys held an assembly to explain that if someone sits on the bench, they are probably feeling lonely and need someone to play with. They asked other students to include them. "Kids need friends," says Darren, 12. "When kids have friends, they can be more joyful." The Buddy Benches are a success, says counselor Yesenia Baker, Alvord Educators Asso- ciation (AEA). "Sometimes students are having a bad day and have nobody to play with. And when kids see someone sitting on the bench by themselves, they walk over and ask them to play. It reinforces social-emotional learning here at Promenade, which teaches empathy and kindness." Focusing on children's emotional needs was strongly encouraged by association members, says AEA President Leigh Hawkinson. They negotiated an increase in elementary counselors at schools to promote the social, personal and academic growth of all students. The wooden Buddy Bench in the big kids' yard was destroyed by vandals a year ago. Parents had a new one built out of metal and iron. "I'm glad they rebuilt it," says Dylan. "I'm glad kids won't have to be lonely." Yesenia Baker, Dylan Gianella- Tibbets and Darren Dyberg. 25 November / December 2016 20062 School of Education Attend an information meeting on January 26 at 6 p.m. at any APU campus location. Register today at Teachers See the Possibilities In Jennifer Swanson's high school English class, seniors master material that prepares them for college and careers, gaining writing and communication skills to benefit them throughout their lives. Azusa Pacific's School of Education prepares educators like Jennifer to see and cultivate the potential in every student. Graduates go on to make a lasting difference as creative, collaborative professionals and dedicated advocates for those they serve. Advance your calling with a master's or doctoral degree, credential, or certificate from a top Christian university and join a mentoring community of educators who will help you make an even greater impact. Programs available online and at locations throughout Southern California 6 Arroyo High School, Expository English Class, Teacher: Jennifer Swanson '96, M.A.Ed. '99

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