The Green Apple Alliance is a safe and caring schools initiative, but with a significantly different approach. It goes beyond simply responding to bullying behavior. The Green Apple Alliance is an initiative aimed at building a supportive and respectful school culture. Its mission is the creation of a culture where respect for self, others and learning is taught, understood and modeled by all members of the school community, and recognized & reinforced when it occurs.
The chief means of assisting community members in recognizing the presence of respectful, positive and supportive initiatives will be MDJH’s Green Peace Apple Logo (above); our brand if you will. All initiatives aimed at positively enhancing school life will, as they occur, display the brand as a visible symbol. Over time we anticipate community members, in particular our students, will become aware of the frequent appearance of the peace apple in association with any positive initiatives that take place. Perhaps they will even ask why this green apple, with the inlaid peace sign and the words “Respect for Self, Others and Learning”, is popping up all the time, all over the place. These become teachable moments! With this awareness of the frequent and consistent presence of our brand logo we believe students will come to associate the brand, the Green Peace Apple, with the initiatives. That is the hook! When that hook happens, the various initiatives are no longer seen as individual activities. They become connected in the students mind through the branding process. It is through
the connecting of various single initiatives that we impart to students that there is a movement afoot, a co-operation and a collaboration of various individuals working, not in isolation, not separately, but together toward a common goal. A goal where respect for self, others and learning is the unifying theme. That is how culture is built. Behavior is influenced by culture. Build a culture where behaviors and activities that focus on respect for self, others and learning are repeatedly modeled and reinforced and the students behaviors will be impacted…and the culture grows and become stronger. There is abundant research to support the effect of cultural expectations on individual and group behavior.
Above we have talked about an alliance and about positive initiatives. Who are the members of the Green Apple Alliance? They include school based groups such as: sports teams, Student Council, Lego Robotics Team, Environmental Group, Social Justice Outreach Group, LGTBQ-mmunity, Comic Book Club, After School Jazz Band & Choir, Breakfast Club, etc…The list is extensive. The Alliance includes those who co-ordinate and participate in school based spirit and academic acknowledgement initiatives. Such initiatives include our Honour Roll for Academic Achievement, Our wall of Celebration to acknowledge all areas of student endeavour, within school or outside it. This ensures every child gets a chance to shine. Our mural initiative is another spirit enhancing activity. Again, the list is lengthy. We have a Green Apple Band who will play peace, respect and acceptance-themed songs during assemblies.
Furthermore, MDJH works closely with outside agencies that are community partners. This collaboration ensures the school is sensitive to supporting the various elements of our diverse community, a community that includes students from 29 different countries, speaking 25 different first languages, other than English. We have students from all provinces and territories in Canada, as well as baymen & townies. We celebrate our beautiful diversity; be it cultural, religious, economic, learning ability, sexual identity, physical ability, mental wellness etc.
The key to building culture and achieving cultural, and subsequent behavioral, change is in the linking of all the initiatives identified above (and several others not referenced). The Green Apple Logo with its inlaid reminder that all these activities, at their “core” are focused on respect…for self, others and learning is that link. The partners of the Green Apple Alliance a joined to surround students, indeed to immerse students, in a positive environment where respect, acceptance, support & caring are the accepted characteristics. As we build student awareness of the environment that surrounds them here at MDJH we believe we’ll see a change in attitudes and then behaviors. They’ll perceive they are in an atmosphere where support and respect is everywhere. As this perception becomes their reality they will behave accordingly.
When we Dream here at MDJH…we Dream Big!