By Peter Ginsberg

There are plenty of anti-bullying programs out there. But what if there was a program to change the very nature of classroom culture?

That’s what Positive Classrooms is.

It’s a 30 day educational program developed by singer/songwriter Glenn Marais and social worker Lynette Rumble, and it is available to both high schools and elementary schools.
They start by meeting with teachers and principals to better understand the prevailing schools culture, and to identify areas that need focus.

The next step is a one hour Give to Live themed keynote concert and assembly. Immediately following the concert, the Positive Classrooms team goes to each classroom, engaging students and educators in conversations about the messages introduced in the assembly.

The entire school then begins a 30 Days of Change journey where students are invited to create change by intentionally doing daily acts of giving. Students are asked to keep track of their acts of giving over the 30 days.

At the end of the 30 Day program, the team returns to the school to lead a music based celebration and presentation. This is an opportunity for the students to showcase their 30 Days of Change experience.

Parents are invited and encouraged to attend both the launch and celebration assemblies, and to talk with their children about their experiences during the 30 Days of Change program.

Participating schools also receive an educators guide of 11 classroom based activities, each tied to the Ontario Curriculum and supported Ministry of Education research and a song and activity kit that teachers character to younger students. These guides are designed to maintain the momentum and engagement created during the Positive Classrooms 30 Days of Change program.

This program falls under two Rotary areas of focus: Education, and Peace and Conflict Resolution.

The Rotary Club of Newmarket is in the process of developing a District Grant Proposal to expand the program by providing partial funding to participating schools.
The full cost of the program depends on the size of schools and the grades involved, as illustrated in the table below:
School Below 400 Above 400
Elementary $2,400 $2,599
Secondary $3,000 $3,500

We believe that it is essential for schools to buy into the program by funding part of the cost. It is therefore our intention to offer a maximum grant of $1,000 per school, with participating schools providing the rest.
If your club is interested in participating, and if you would like to meet members of the Positive Classrooms team, contact us and we will arrange it.

Past President: Wayne Bulger [email protected]
President Elect: Peter Ginsberg [email protected]

What do educators think about the program?

Positive Classrooms has already been presented in several York Region schools. Here are some reactions to the program.

“Positive Classrooms has challenged us to change, provided us with a common language and urgency to work together to make it happen! Our school participated in the closing celebration and shared our collective accomplishment of 12,142 acts of giving logged! We are now transitioning into the classrooms with activities, school announcements and class meetings! We are dedicated to keeping the momentum going!” Stuart Scott P.S. Principal, Tracy Norman

“As Principal of Kettleby Public School I was looking for a program that would inspire our students. I felt we had exhausted the traditional bullying programs, of “…don’t do this and don’t do that” We were searching for something different that would inspire our students to responsible, kind citizens of our community and to be able to use those skills in their everyday life. The response was overwhelming. Students were responding with pride as they travelled through their 21 day challenge finding unique ways to “give” through small acts of kindness. Their journey touched all grades and students and this positive wave continued and this has made a difference for our school. Thank you for showing us the path that has allowed our journey of change and growth.”

Kettleby P.S. Principal, Karen Goan