It was the spring of 2007 and we were moving in the right direction as a school. Our discipline referrals had dropped slightly and our State test scores were once again high enough to earn us Exemplary status on our State assessment. But something was still missing. Feedback from a National School of Character application challenged us to show how we prevent peer cruelty and solve conflict peacefully, so we started our search for such a strategy. And then it found us. A prospective kindergarten teacher came to an interview and there it was – Kelso’s Choice – in her portfolio. As she was explaining how she empowers her little leaders to become problem solvers and discern between small problems and big problems, we knew we’d found not only our new hire, but also the missing peace.
|We have a Kelso's Choice bulletin board available to our kids in the cafeteria.|
I know, I know, it should be piece, but peace also works in our story. We met for that summer retreat day at a local restaurant for brunch, after which we introduced Kelso’s Choices as part of our team-building workday. We broke the faculty up into groups of six and asked each team to read one of the stories and share with the whole group what they’d learned. There was so much excitement about Kelso and his friends on the lily pad in the pond and voila, Kelso was launched. Each teacher received a poster and was encouraged to make a Kelso’s Corner. We even added the cute Kelso puppet to our library collection so that our faculty and staff could make Kelso come alive in their classrooms.
|Let's let Kelso help us work it out.|
At Family Character Night that year, we showcased Kelso so that the parents could become more familiar with the idea and use it at home. Our principals did some role-playing as themselves by acting out some familiar scenarios from the classroom, the playground, and even with siblings, after which we offered solutions based on the Kelso’s Choices Wheel. We sent the wheels home printed on a green handout so that parents could practice this concept with their children. We also keep extra copies available in our Parent Resource Center. We’re told over and over again that our students even use it in their neighborhoods to resolve conflict as they’re playing outside. This summer, a principal up in Wisconsin told me that he has the students wear the Kelso’s Choice wheel on their lanyards so that problem-solving solutions are always at their fingertips. Isn’t that a great idea! At school, we have Kelso’s Corners in all of the classrooms, in the gym as well as in the cafeteria so students always have the wheel as an option when conflict arises.
In my guidance lessons, Kelso’s Choice comes up as a possible solution to every small, annoying problem I throw their way. Time and time again, I hear students say that they could take care of that themselves with Kelso’s help. Now that’s empowerment! Kelso’s Choice Conflict Management system is a terrific tool that helps make for a peaceful place and a critical component in the success we’ve enjoyed in our character building.
Need help explaining Conflict? Check out this cool clip, brought to us by our friends
at Sesame Street:
at Sesame Street: