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School Spotlight - North Branch Middle School - Episode 7

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5:14 minSchool Spotlight - North Branch Middle School - Episode 7

School Spotlight - North Branch Middle School - Episode 7

How are you celebrating UNITY DAY in your school or community? This week on PACERTalks About Bullying, we are talking with Pam Newbauer from North Branch Middle School in Minnesota, as she shares how her students celebrate Unity Day. Go orange, be creative! We can’t wait to see how you celebrate!

  • Author: NBPC
  • Duration: 5:14 minutes
  • Date Posted: 10/18/2017

Series: PACERTalks About Bullying - Season 1

We are so excited to be launching our brand new series, PACERTalks About Bullying, where each week we will be talking about all things bullying. In our first episode, we’ll share more about PACER Center and what we do.


Hey, welcome back to PACERTalks about bullying. I'm Bailey. We're glad you're here.

This month, we're talking all about National Bullying Prevention Month. We are so excited this week to be at North Branch Middle School for a very special interview with Pam Neubauer, who is a middle school teacher. She's going to share with you all about their amazing Unity Day Efforts and all things Bullying Prevention. Let's get into it. Okay, and I am here again with Pam, who is a middle school teacher at North Branch Middle School. So, my first question for you is when did your school start first celebrating Unity Day and why did you decide to do it?

We first started, I would say about 2013, 2014. Our entire staff and our entire school body gets involved in Unity Day. An example would be last year in October, we all signed a pledge about being more proactive, and trying to prevent bullying, and not being a bystander but being a -- somebody that supports kids and taking action. And the staff signed a pledge, all the students signed a pledge, and then we went outside on that day and took kind of like a victory walk around the track and had a huge color cloud at the end -- a big orange color cloud.

Oh, cool.

The kids -- most of the kids dressed in orange and we were chanting, make it orange, make it end, and the kids felt really empowered after that day. They started realizing that they could make a difference.

Yeah, I love that. And you guys kind of continue your efforts throughout the whole year. You do the end of the year celebration as well?

Yeah, throughout the year, we have a bulletin board in the main hallway where kids give shout outs to each other and that's coordinated through our student council. And also, the kids to do shout outs to the staff whenever they see things that, you know, they really appreciate but I think more meaningful are the shout outs that the kids do for each other and we post them on the bulletin board so everybody can see them.

So, as you guys have been doing Unity Day for a few years, what's maybe one of your favorite stories?

I think it was last year the thing that kind of moved me the most was that the kids -- you know, we made a big deal about it and the kids had a great time. And then we posted a whole lot of pictures up on the on the shout out board. And the local paper came and covered it, and our mayor came, our superintendent came, and we had a lot of real great positive reinforcement and support. But I saw a couple of kids at the board when I was taking some of the pictures down and replacing them with other things and they said wow, I didn't realize that that's what we did. I feel so proud of myself and that's why we did it so that was -- I think that's probably like one of the best moments I've ever had.

Yeah. Oh, cool I love that. So, what type of impact do you think that Unity Day and all of your bullying prevention efforts have had both on your student body and kind of your school?

I've seen a remarkable impact on our morale, not just the kids but the adults, the -- you know all the staff, every kind of staff. It has made everybody feel like this is a better place to work than it ever has been before, whether you're doing school work or you work here. And people give each other the expectation of and the benefit of a doubt, the expectation that they're going to do the right thing. It has really done a lot to kind of cement our beliefs are we are RED, respectful, enthusiastic, determined. And it makes everybody aware of the impact that their choices and, you know, and what -- and their words and everything that they do has on everybody around them and how it reflects on their character.

Yeah, and so for any school that's looking to get involved with Unity Day, what kind of benefits would you say there are for really embracing the day and bullying prevention?

I would say -- I can't think of anything that has happened because of what we've done that hasn't been a benefit. No effort has been wasted. We get a payback all the time in everyday little things and the rising of the expectations and the -- you know, subsequent rising of what we get behavior-wise and climate-wise. If you think it's possible, then you got to try it. You know, nobody should tell you that it's not going to work until after you realize that you did it wrong. So, give it a shot, you know? Dip a toe in but then get ready to jump all the way in because the benefits that you're going to reap from making the kids feel like they have a say in how the school works, and how it feels, and how it sounds, and how it is -- you like to be here, it's tremendous and gosh, if we can seize on there, you know, empowering them, there's not a whole lot you can't do. Yeah. Yeah. They're why we're here.

And that wraps up this episode of PACERTalks about bullying. Thanks again so much to Pam for this amazing interview. We'll see you right back here next week and remember; when we stand together, no one stands alone. See you.