Gratitude for Longtime BrainWise Community PartnersPosted On: October 27, 2021
BrainWise and Denver Mile High Rotary have been community partners for more than fifteen years. We’ve enjoyed a decade-long relationship with Stacey Hervey, a high school criminal justice teacher with the Denver Public Schools. Stacey teaches at the Career Education Center (CEC), where she is the sponsor for the school’s Young Rotary Club. Her leadership has inspired many first-generation high school graduates to pursue post-secondary educations.
Stacey includes BrainWise projects among the community opportunities for these students.
This article highlights her work in elementary schools and includes the exciting expansion of a recent reading project her students helped pilot online with 4th graders in a rural school.
BrainWise School Projects
Teenagers were not expecting the rock star status elementary school children accorded to them when they presented BrainWise reinforcement activities at two elementary schools with high needs. Each month during the school year, CEC students created and presented activities that infused the 10 Wise Ways into topics about nutrition, safety, school, conflict, relationships, physical fitness, mental wellness, and fake news. The children paid rapt attention to the teens and excitedly participated in the sessions.
Stacey guided her students as they developed activities that used games, stories, cartoons, and contests. She contributed her own prototype of a BrainWise Jeopardy game – the game was a big hit and served as a model for creating additional games on a wide range of topics.
One of the projects involved Stacey’s son, Blake. He volunteered during his senior year at CEC and taught classes on the first four Wise Ways with other classmates and Young Rotarians. They engaged the 4th grade participants with several clever and fun lessons that used popular characters from shows like SpongeBob SquarePants.
Stacey’s students also presented a BrainWise exhibit at CEC’s science fair that included a model of the brain and explained the Wizard Brain and Lizard Brain. Additional projects included developing Brain Zones for classrooms.
Reinforcing BrainWise with Reading
BrainWise has a long history of asking students to find the 10 Wise Ways in stories. The BrainWise Zone section of the curriculum includes teaching aids for reading –story examples, checklists, and problem – solving worksheets.
Rotary International recognized these efforts when they awarded BrainWise the “North American Innovative Literacy Project Recognition” for “pioneering work that has changed the Rotary world’s vision regarding the scope of school partnership and the standards used to measure success.” Stacey’s recent BrainWise literacy project continues this focus with a virtual twist.
Her students read stories on Zoom to elementary school students who have learned BrainWise in their classrooms. The teenagers paused in appropriate places and the children held up cards of the Wise Ways that identified behaviors of the characters. Zoom enabled this exchange despite the fact that the teens were in Denver and the class was in Keensburg, a small town in rural Weld County, Colorado. (See Issue #62)
The BrainWise project will be expanded this year. Stacey has recruited a new group of Young Rotarians who will read stories to BrainWise-savvy children. We are working with local and rural schools in Colorado, and plan to add children who are learning BrainWise from police officers in after school programs sponsored by Police Activity League (PAL) chapters in several states.