Troy’s BRAVE program aims for better school
By Marianne Eisenbrandt Correspondent December 12, 2012 8:06PM
Updated: January 14, 2013 6:04AM
JOLIET — Seventh- and eighth-graders at Troy Middle School attended a recent student assembly on the BRAVE program, which stands for Building Relationships Among Virtually Everyone.
Principal Michael Portwood created the anti-bullying program to promote healthy relationships among students and between teachers and students — believing that can shape who they are and result in a healthy school environment and academic success.
“Last year, a survey of students showed that a significant number of students felt they couldn’t connect with an adult in the building,” Portwood said. “Our mission and vision this year is to have every student feel comfortable connecting with at least one adult in the building.”
He told his students that things will become what they allow them to become.
“We have the power to protect or neglect,” he said.
Portwood said there are many ways for students to be BRAVE at Troy, including something as simple as holding the door for someone or giving a compliment. Students were encouraged to send only positive Facebook messages or tweets, to include rather than exclude and to refuse the temptation to return wrong for wrong.
As part of the program, BRAVE Communication is an extracurricular activity that supports the school’s overall vision of the program. It uses print and broadcast media to communicate to students, staff and the community about the commendable things the kids at Troy are doing.
Students handle various assignments for BRAVE Communication, such as writing, copy editing, desktop publishing, digital photography, digital film editing, news broadcasts, interviews and advertising.
Some members of BRAVE Communication were concerned that some of the students didn’t take the assembly seriously.
“You always have some people who don’t. We need to get on a level with those students and find a way to connect with them,” said Jon-Carlo Manzo, an eighth grader.
Eighth grader Michelle Dana said she has incorporated what she’s learned and applied it to how she reacts to others.
“I try to get to know someone before I judge them,” she said. “You shouldn’t have to change who you are for people to accept you.”
Teachers can recognize a student for following BRAVE’s principles. These students get a BRAVE T-shirt. In addition, on a weekly basis, students nominate other students they see modeling BRAVE characteristics, such as being helpful, patient, cooperative and encouraging.