Photo courtesy Christy Bowne, Bowne Photography

Mantua – On a perfect sunny day earlier this week, students at Crestwood Primary and Crestwood Intermediate Schools celebrated the 6th annual International Day of Peace by making and planting pinwheels for peace at their combined campus.  Crestwood Primary Principal Cindy Ducca shared, “Pinwheels for Peace is an art installation project started in 2005 by teachers in Coconut Creek, Florida, as a way for their students to express their feelings about what’s going on in the world and in their lives.  The project was quickly embraced by their students and the entire school community and by millions of art teachers, teachers, parents, children and adults who desire peace in our world.”

Crestwood Intermediate Principal Michelle Gerbrick added, “The first Pinwheels for Peace were installed on Sept. 21, 2005. Since then, we have grown from 500,000 pinwheels planted the first year, to four million pinwheels in 2014! You created pinwheels of all shapes and sizes. Today, you will plant these pinwheels on the International Day of Peace as a public statement and art exhibit/installation.” Pinwheels For Peace has expanded to over 3,500 locations across the United States, Europe, Asia, Australia, Canada, the Middle East, Africa and South America.

The event culminated as 900 students gathered on the playground, forming a giant peace sign that stretched 100 feet in diameter, while a helicopter circled overhead capturing the event on video. Afterward, students each planted their handmade pinwheels around the campus, while “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by Izzy Kamakawiwo’ole played in the background. At this event, students were introduced to several new programs that will be unveiled thanks to a generous grant from the US Department of Education (DOE).

Earlier this month, it was announced that the District had been selected to receive a three-year, $900,000 US DOE Elementary and Secondary School Counseling Grant. The focus of the awarded program, in addition to providing four new full-time counselors to the staff at CPS and CIS, is to utilize 21st century innovation to boost Crestwood students’ social skills, fitness levels, self-expression and academic performance. These new tools were introduced during the Pinwheels program.

“The goal of the staff at Crestwood Schools is to meet the needs of every child every day. We strive to meet this goal, not only in curriculum and instruction, but in the use of technology.”  Crestwood Local Schools Superintendent David M. Toth said. “The new curriculum from HOPSports, Polar Heart Rate Monitors and BrainRush not only meets our student’s curriculum and technology needs, but also assists them in their mental and physical wellness. Kimochis and Remo Drums HealthRHYTHMS will help to develop social and emotional skills needed to foster better students, and eventually better adults”.

The implementation of the Kimochis® social emotional learning curriculum will give teachers and students Kimochis® Keys to Communication tools to practice identifying and communicating feelings in positive ways to manage challenging social situations; HOPSports will give students a personalized fitness experience while students monitor their heart rates and activity levels with Polar GoFit; Remo Drums HealthRHYTHMS will help students discover and express their own rhythm and stories to reduce stress in the classroom, improve mood, and provide students with tools to improve their social and emotional skills.

All Crestwood students will have access to BrainRush and HOPSports Brain Breaks. BrainRush’s software allows teachers and students to create their own adaptive games across all subjects for personalized learning. HOPSports Brain Breaks provide two to five minute web-based classroom physical activities for stronger bodies and minds. Improvements will be measured over time using GoFit devices.

The grant also included funding for four additional councilors, who joined Crestwood at the start of the 2015-2016 school year.  US DOE Elementary and Secondary School Counseling Grants were awarded to four Ohio Districts and 67 School Districts nationwide in 2015. For more information, contact Counselor Gary Traveny, (330) 357-8203 x3009 or Superintendent David Toth at (330) 357-8206 x5006.