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School Board Recognizes Students for 'Buddy Bench' Project

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School Board Recognizes Students for 'Buddy Bench' Project
Posted on 06/09/2015
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The Portland Board of Public Education recently recognized students from Hall and Riverton elementary schools and Deering High School and the Portland Arts and Technology High School (PATHS) for their work on a community-based “Buddy Bench” project. The project was designed to help foster friendship, kindness and inclusion among students during outdoor play.

The recognition took place during the school board’s June 2 meeting.

Portland Superintendent Emmanuel Caulk explained that the project was a collaboration of all four schools. As a result of the collaboration, Buddy Benches were installed at the schools' playgrounds in May.

PATHS students in the Woodworking and Masonry program, with the aid of material donated by Hancock Lumber, built two Buddy Benches this year, one for Hall and one for Riverton.

The benches at the elementary schools are for children feeling lonely or upset during recess. They can sit on a wooden Buddy Bench for peer support. That signals trained student “buddies” – fourth- and fifth-graders at the two schools – to join the child on the bench to talk and/or engage in productive recess play. The benches allow the older students to become empowered as school leaders and mentors for younger students.

DHS students trained the fourth- and fifth-graders on how to be “buddy” mentors. Training focused on what it feels like to be excluded, how to help other students feel more included, and how to be part of a school culture that supports kindness and friendship as a general practice.

Caulk said, “Tonight, we are pleased to recognize the following  staff, and students who  collaborated to help to create and implement this wonderful project.”

Staff and students involved included:

PATHS instructors Jill Irving and Jim Laverdiere; and PATHS students Matthew Libby, Joshua Seeley, Megan Graffam and Cera Lane

Riverton students Alexis Davis-Jones, Marnath Reath, Jordan Robbins and Grace D'Amour

Hall Students Mac Lowe, Delainey Black, Dominic Moffo, Jack Taylor and Evelyn Fieldroy

DHS Students Divine M'Bambi, Blaize Val, Will Weeks, Melissa Bila, Marshall Abbott, Mason Kaserman, Abby Elowitch, Avery Donovan, Kevin Segal, Neilab Habizai and Nasteho Ahmed