Here are a few more resources and tools to help make Project Wisdom a success on your campus and in your classroom. If you have a best practice to share, or some advice for others who are implementing Project Wisdom, we would love to hear from you. You can contact us on our Share Your Thoughts page or submit a Teacher's Story.
"I send my gratitude and support for your continuing effort to make the world a better place - one message at a time."
Dr. Rosen, Principal – California
> User Guide
> Best Practices
> Ten Wise Choices
> Wise Choices for a Comprehensive Character Education Initiative
> More from Your Peers …
Your guide for achieving the greatest success with Project Wisdom.
Each lesson plan uses a broadcast message as a springboard. Consider setting aside time one day per week to both broadcast this message and implement the corresponding lesson plan.These tools work really well for weekly advisory, character education, extended homerooms, life skills, or enrichment classes.
"Over the years, I instituted and promoted Project Wisdom in various schools from inner city to private with wonderful, heartening, positive effects — even with middle schoolers who were members of neighborhood gangs. I believe Project Wisdom changed the lives of many a student and adult in those schools."
Mr. Fox, Principal – New Jersey
Ten Wise Choices
Rules for living as a positive and productive citizen.
Wise Choices for a Comprehensive Character Education Initiative
A mini-guide for creating a comprehensive character education initiative on your campus. Our daily messages provide an effective springboard for such an initiative. This guide provides suggestions for creating a pool of support and resources that will greatly improve results.
More from Your Peers …
How other educators have been impacted by Project Wisdom.
From: Dr. Rosen, Principal, California
I have served as a teacher and an Elementary Principal for nearly 30 years. On June 30, I will retire. It will be very strange to wake up each morning without a dose of the Daily Words of Wisdom I have read to students and staff for almost every one of the 15 years I've been a Principal.
I send my gratitude and support for your continuing effort to make the world a better place - one message at a time. A catch phrase at our school is always, "the choice is yours," and from students to teachers, our hallways and classrooms echo with these words. This phrase gives our students an opportunity to reflect on just what they are doing, about to do, or did do and it has started and ended many a principal-student conversation.
As I leave my school, I leave with the hope that our 3 Rs - Respect, Responsibility, and Right Choices - along with "the choice is yours" will continue to guide my students today and tomorrow.
From: Benjamin Fox, Principal, New Jersey
A February 2017 headline from New Jersey: "One hurt when elementary school student brings knife on bus". Such news gains national attention. The questions are numerous and the reasons are complicated. Was it a "show and tell" prop? Did the child mean to hurt someone? What should the consequence be to the owner of the knife? And of course — the most important question — "Why"? Administrators, teachers, and parents agonize over those questions throughout the country. Almost 20 years ago, when I was an administrator in a rural school district, a 7th-grade girl came into the office and told me that another 7th-grader had a butcher knife in her backpack. The student reporting was one of our most behaviorally-challenging students — one who was constantly receiving consequences for her behaviors. The other student was a quiet girl who was not on my radar for behaviors.
My secretary accompanied me to speak with the girl. Under my direction, she looked through the backpack. Sure enough, she was carrying a large heavy handled butcher knife. She broke down immediately and said that she only showed it to scare the other girls because they had been teasing and bullying her since the 4th grade. Hearing that truly hurt my heart, but I had to investigate and there had to be consequences.
After an extensive enquiry into her allegations, I determined that the allegations were founded. A small clique of students, with whom she had grown up, had been involved in various types of bullying behaviors in and out of school for many years. The girl's seemingly quiet attitude — she was shy — left her vulnerable to these more "street-wise" girls. They threatened her because she told them she was going to report them. So, this shy young girl, who never had a behavior problem since I had arrived, decided to take the matter into her own hands — literally — and she got into trouble.
The state troopers came and arrested her, taking her out in handcuffs. She was suspended for the rest of the school year and entered an intensive treatment alternative school. When she returned, she was shunned by the other students and became a behavior problem herself. She barely made it through the 8th grade. In high school, with the same group of girls, (it was a small town), she continued to decline academically and socially. I lost track of her when I moved on, but I have never forgotten her. As for the clique of bullying girls — they continued with unacceptable behaviors throughout 7th and 8th grades, resulting in consequences, interventions, and personal attention. A few did progress, a few seemed incorrigible. Parents? The parents blamed the school and each other's girls for creating an atmosphere conducive to bullying. None blamed their own child.
This is just one of many cases I have been involved with. I once attended a seminar given by an "expert" in the field of student discipline. I asked what happens to children who continue to defy rules no matter what a school does. His response — get rid of them (expel them) — send them to a special education school. In some of the schools I have been in, that would have meant close to 25% of the student population.
This has been, and continues to be, a reality in our times. We each have an opinion as to why. Most are stock answers about society, family life, poverty, racism, etc. This is something that cannot be sanitized. We must discuss how to deal with these situations in a way that is open, honest, practical, and beneficial. The questions are many. How do you reach these troubled children in your schools? Whose responsibility is it to reach them? The answers?
One program I have utilized, which I consider powerful, is Project Wisdom — the Words of Wisdom program. Over the years, I instituted and promoted Project Wisdom in various schools from inner city to private with wonderful, heartening, positive effects — even with middle schoolers who were members of neighborhood gangs. I believe Project Wisdom changed the lives of many a student and adult in those schools. I cannot praise Project Wisdom enough — it needs to be a part of every school system in this country.
Benjamin Fox worked for more than 45 years with children of all ages in public and private schools. Since retiring from the New York and New Jersey public school systems, he has worked at the Center for Education, a school for children with disabilities in Lakewood, New Jersey. He believes that mutual respect and understanding can change the climate of every school.