Nurturing civility in daily life | November 12, 2010 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - November 12, 2010

Nurturing civility in daily life

Elementary school students claim their 'core values' by painting them

by Chris Kenrick

Protected by a plastic trash-bag smock and a painter's hat, fifth-grader Phoebe James confidently wielded her paintbrush this week to outline a flower on a wall at her school.

This story contains 733 words.

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Staff Writer Chris Kenrick can be e-mailed at


Posted by Ray Bacchetti, a resident of University South
on Nov 15, 2010 at 10:39 am

What a great project--exemplary of a school system willing to acknowledge the significance of core values and of social and emotional learning as vital complements to academic achievement. Indeed, without them, academic learning can be rudderless.A2

Posted by Former WH parent, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Nov 15, 2010 at 10:42 am

Great job, Mary and WH parents and staff! This sort of thing needs to be carried into the middle schools where bullying intensifies.

Posted by Jane, a resident of University South
on Nov 15, 2010 at 11:10 am

Wonderful story; wonderful project

Posted by Ohlone Alumni Parents, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Nov 15, 2010 at 11:20 am

Great job WH parents and kids! Now, the trick is that you must be willing to adhere to these core values. That is the hard part and particularly in a town like Palo Alto where many of these core values have not been addressed much. Ohlone School has always payed attention to such values and that is why I opted out of WH and Duveneck (my children's neighborhood school). That was the best decision we ever made for our children.

Posted by Garden Gnome, a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 15, 2010 at 11:26 am

Isn't there anything productive these children can learn during their limited hours at school (examples: reading, writing, artithmetic, science art), and shouldn't it be the parents' responsibility to teach them their "core" values?

Sad that we have to start indoctrinating these youngsters so early. I was hoping middle school was sufficiently early.

Posted by Dee, a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 15, 2010 at 12:10 pm

So.... Really wonderful "civics" project, not so unlike the topics we studied in school back in the day ALONG WITH the reading, writing, arithmatic, science, remember!

But, back to the article... 9 core values - menitoned a couple of times - and these would be...? (Could somebody please list what the children chose as their core values.)

Posted by Chris Kenrick, Palo Alto Weekly staff writer, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 15, 2010 at 1:52 pm


They are integrity, initiative, empathy, respect, resilience, cooperation, inclusion, responsibility and perseverance (listed in the story, though they don't necessarily pop out!)

Posted by anonymous, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 16, 2010 at 3:11 pm

Compliments to Walter Hays administration for this project. Entirely appropriate and showing initiative to help youth and community. I am not familiar with the school, though it is clear this sets a positive, community-minded tone at this school. That makes for a safer school community.
Reminds me that there was a teacher at Nixon Elementary several yrs ago who got her students involved in a worthwhile charitable project featuring genuine student contributions, empathy, action (as opposed to select highhanded mommies managing/doing such a project as is often the case around here)

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