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Fridley Public Schools

An International Baccalaureate (IB) World School, R. L. Stevenson Elementary has now officially become a designated International Peace Site led by a school-wide action project. As an International Peace Site, all Stevenson students have pledged to live out the five peace actions which include: seek peace within yourself and others; reach out in service; protect the environment; respect diversity; and be a responsible citizen of the world. Stevenson Elementary is authorized as an International Peace Site by the nonprofit organization World Citizen Peace, proudly displaying its peace action pole in front of the school.

Each year, Stevenson Elementary hosts a school-wide action project in June, with the annual topic selected by the graduating 4th grade students. After studying the United Nations Global Goals in media class, 4th graders chose to pursue “Peace and Justice” as this year’s theme and decided to create several school-wide art pieces on Action Day. The action team, which is comprised of several Stevenson staff members, then plans the activities and lessons as it relates to the theme. According to instructional leader Phil Boyd, the idea of becoming an International Peace Site was raised during a committee meeting.

“Becoming an International Peace Site was the perfect fit for our action project,” said Boyd. “Along with the strong connections with our IB philosophy, we thought this would resonate with students and represent an ongoing commitment to our core beliefs.”

“At Stevenson, we dedicate a lot of time teaching students about the importance of integrity,” added principal Veronica Mathison. “The peace actions directly align with our integrity work, as well as our core values as an IB World School. It all works hand-in-hand as we provide a welcoming and inclusive school community, while preparing our scholars to be responsible global citizens.”

Over the past few months leading up to Action Day, Stevenson students have been learning about what it means to be a member of an International Peace Site through the weekly school-wide news broadcast.

On June 2, Stevenson’s Action Day was filled with excitement and school community. Working together to create the art pieces, each student painted a rock that represented their individual interpretation of peace. Collectively, students placed the rocks into the new painted rock peace path in a garden area in front of the school. In addition, students created a word-cloud poster, which was filled with words that represented what peace and justice personally means to them. The poster will be printed on canvas and displayed at the school. Students also learned about “Art in Action” from Fridley Public Schools’ culture and climate coordinator Christopheraaron Deanes, who taught them about his work in promoting peace and justice through visual art in the surrounding community.