CISD’s Take-A-Stand Promotes Important Values
Submitted By Jason Gordon
All 28 campuses in Comal ISD will “Take-A-Stand” this school year and beyond. Take-A-Stand actively provides resources and opportunities to grow in the areas of resiliency and empathy.
The “Comal Challenge” and the “STOP!T” app are two key facets of Take-A-Stand. The Comal Challenge gives not only students, but their parents and the community, the chance to promote the following values throughout Comal ISD: sportsmanship and teamwork; respect and courtesy; empathy and resiliency; judgment; perseverance and confidence; responsibility; and honesty and integrity.
Comal ISD has also recently launched the STOP!T app, which allows students and parents to anonymously report anything of concern to school officials – from cyber-bullying to threats of violence or self-harm.
“I will be the first to let you know that there are challenges in these areas that we face,” said Andrew Kim, Superintendent. “The great news is that we can work together as a community to identify solutions. One area in particular that has us concerned is our students’ social emotional learning. Comal Challenge addresses this directly.”
At every one of Comal ISD’s elementary, middle school and high school campuses, the district’s curriculum writers wrote lesson plans on the Comal Challenge topics each month.
“Every student in Comal ISD is involved in the Comal Challenge,” said Karen Stevens, Director of Student Support Services. “We send every family a shout out to brief them on what that month’s topic is. For example, October’s topic is sportsmanship and teamwork, and it gives them questions they can share with their kids.”
Teamwork refers to a cooperative effort on the part of people acting together for a common goal.
Stevens said the ultimate goal is to not only get students involved in the Comal Challenge at school and at home, but also in the community.
“One of the teamwork questions is – what would have happened if the first responders had not worked as a team during the Hurricane Harvey floods?,” Stevens said. “We want to see the Comal Challenge values on posters in businesses, on the scoreboards at our football games and we’re even working with Creekside Cinemas to see if we can get them on the pre-movie slides.”
Stevens added that although a different value would be stressed each month, empathy would be a focus year-round.
“Instead of telling kids don’t do the wrong things, we want to show them examples of the right things to do,” Stevens said. “This gives students the opportunity to set a strong foundation of values than can last a lifetime. We want to build resiliency in our students and we feel Comal Challenge will do exactly that should any hard times occur. Comal Challenge helps us create healthy kids.”
Stevens pointed to a recent example when the Comal ISD community rallied together during the “Flood Bucket Challenge.”
“Although the Flood Bucket Challenge wasn’t linked to Comal Challenge, it was similar, because it took the teamwork of all 28 campuses to help come to the aid of those in need,” she said. “Within two weeks after the challenge went out we were taking more than 500 buckets filled with cleaning supplies on a district band 18-wheeler down to Rockport and Houston and we couldn’t have done that without the teamwork of students, parents, faculty and the community. That’s what the Comal Challenge is all about.”
Stevens said she ultimately wants Comal Challenge to become student led.
“We’re building student ambassadors,” she said. “We want this to be a student led initiative that they believe in. They are creating a culture of caring for one another.”