Peace means living in a state of calm, inward rest. It also means existing in a state of freedom that is undisturbed by noise, worries, troubles or fears. Hmong American Peace Academy aims to create a peaceful environment for learning. The school promotes peaceful living between scholars and teachers, scholars and their peers, staff members and the families as well as scholars, staff members, and the community. It is the goal of the programming to provide scholars with skills for resolving conflicts in a way that brings about good in themselves, their families, their neighbors, and the greater community. Through relationship building, setting fair expectations, and treating each other with honor, the scholars enjoy a consistent atmosphere of peace that even outside visitors come to enjoy.
Capturing Kids’ Hearts (CKH) is a program which promotes and sustains the social-building of relationships between teachers and scholars. CKH believes if educators reach a scholar’s heart, the educator also has his head. Creating positive relationships make a difference in scholar achievement. One step in creating such relationships is to view the learner as an equal part in developing the classroom social contract. Through the social contract scholars take ownership for their learning and when expectations aren’t met, consequences aren’t surprises since they helped create them. When the social contract is infringed, four questions are asked: What are you doing? What should you be doing? Were you doing it? What are you going to do about it?
Another essential component of CKH is greeting and shaking each scholar’s hand at the doorway each morning. Through handshakes and greetings each morning, HAPA teachers demonstrate they care about scholars’ daily attendance and how scholars perform in and outside of school. We cannot change the scholars’ home environment, but we can make the learning classroom a positive, engaging, and nurturing environment where scholars are socially and academically challenged to maximize their full potential.
Each month, the scholars are working on being PeaceBuilders, along with a character trait that correlates with our monthly PeaceBuilder trait. The scholar who practices and displays the quality of the trait will be chosen by his/her teacher. We then celebrate their success with a school-wide celebration and a luncheon with their parent(s)/guardian(s). We believe that, in order to be successful, scholars must go after their education and build strong characters. Scholars’ experiences, failure or successful, will help guide and mold each scholar to be a lifelong learner, professional, citizen and community partner. Each child is born with a gift; thus, through education and character building is where the scholars will learn to ILLUMINATE from the inside out.
Congratulations to all scholars!