Project PEACE


The Lansing School District received a five year grant from the U.S. Department of Education to implement Project Prevent. The Lansing School District proposed the concept of PEACE.

What is Project PEACE?
Promoting Peace by Expanding Awareness of Culture and Equity

Who Benefits from Project PEACE?
Students, families, staff, and school communities at North, Gardner, Everett, Attwood and Pattengill.

What services does the Project PEACE offer?

  • Peaceful Solutions
  • Conflict Resolution Skills
  • Social-Emotional Intervention Support
  • Mentoring and Afterschool Programming
  • Behavioral Health
  • PEACE Ambassadors

Project PEACE Goal:
To promote peaceful solutions to violence in LSD learning environments that result in happier, healthier students who are engaged in learning and demonstrate achievement.

Project PEACE Objectives:
Objective 1: Increase capacity to implement behavior support framework strategies.
Objective 2: Increase capacity to implement interventions that reduce violent behaviors.
Objective 3: Increase capacity to protect students most vulnerable to pervasive violence.
Objective 4: Increase capacity of out-of-school support networks for vulnerable students.

Project PEACE Community Partners:

Reolution Services CenterCommunity Mental Health Clinton, Eaton, Ingham

Refugee Development CenterIngham ISD, A regional educational service agencyEaton Regional Education Service AgencyChild and Family CharitiesCristo Rey Community Center


Important Facts about Adolescent Mental Health

  • Schools have become “de facto” settings for mental healthcare in the U.S.
  • Teachers say that disruptive behaviors are the most significant mental health problem facing their school
  • School mental health services span a continuum from universal prevention/promotion to intensive therapy
  • Approximately 20% of adolescents have a diagnosable mental health disorder
  • An estimated 67% to 70% of youth in the juvenile justice system have a diagnosable mental health disorder.
  • Between 20% and 30% of adolescents have one major depressive episode before they reach adulthood
  • For a quarter of individuals with mood disorders like depression, these first emerge during adolescence
  • Between 50% and 75% of adolescents with anxiety disorders and impulse control disorders (such as conduct disorder or attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder-ADHD) develop these during adolescence
  • Suicide is the second leading cause of death in adolescents and young adults
  • Suicide affects young people from all ages, races, genders, and socioeconomic status, although some groups seem to have higher rates than others
  • Older adolescents (aged 15-19) are at an increased risk of suicide
  • Between 500,000 and one million young people aged 15-24 attempted suicide last year.



Instructional Strategies and Accommodations

  • Have the student check with the teacher or have the teacher check with the student to make sure they wrote assignment down correctly
  • Consider modifying or adapting the curriculum to better suit the student’s learning style
  • Post daily schedule where it can be seen easily so students know what to expect
  • Reduce school workload when necessary
  • Reduce homework when possible
  • Keep as much of the child’s regular schedule as possible
  • Encourage school attendance- modify if needed
  • Ask parents what works at home
  • Allow students to contract a flexible deadline for worrisome assignments
  • Encourage follow through, yet be flexible on deadlines
  • Consider the use of technology

Tips and Strategies for Parents and Teachers

  • Keep communication open- let them be able to come to you for support, advise, guidance, and counsel. This helps to build safety in the classroom and at home
  • Flexible assignments and/or chores- know the child and their schedule. Don’t slam them with homework or chores every day if it will be impossible to complete.
  • Teach time management- how they manage their time at school and at home. Model as much as possible
  • Grade effort as well as product- some may work for hours and only produce average grades. Incentives for hard work is nice
  • Offer 5 minute meditation- 5 minutes before class and 5 minutes at the end of class. This promotes relaxation of the body and mind. Examples could be deep breathing and/or guided imagery
  • Help them see the bigger picture- offer tales of failures
  • Take the past into account- take into account how a student did in the past even if they just produce a failing score. Everyone deserves a “get out of jail” free card once in a while. To be fair- every time a homework assignment is turned in on time, award the student a point. If they reach 10 points, they are given a free pass if they miss an assignment or fail exam. The same can happen at home- give points for chores/task
  • Keep your student moving- Keep the class moving through assignments, stations and activities. Decreases the likelihood and/or intensity of worried thoughts
  • Let them chew gum- gum and doodling is a way to relieve stress
  • Set time of day for organization of their desks or work areas-once a week give student’s opportunity to clean the desk and/or surrounding areas
  • Offer incentives for healthy choices- healthy food plays a big role in student stress. Healthy food choices can be done in school and at home. Certain foods increase anxiety reactions- high levels of refined sugar, caffeine, food additives (aspartame, high fructose corn syrup, MSG, food dyes), fast food, and  high levels of salt
  • Play music- classical music is helpful during exams, meditations, or silent reading
  • Model how to cope with disappointment
  • Don’t nitpick
  • Be mindful of Ergonomics- comfortable seating and lighting
  • Stay in touch with Parents and vice versa

Source: AccuTrain Corporation, “Critical Mental Health Challenges in Schools”,


Instructional Strategies and Accommodations

  • Reduce classroom pressure
  • Break tasks into smaller parts
  • Reassure students that they can catch up. Show them steeps they need to take and be flexible and realistic about your expectations
  • Help students use realistic and positive statements about their performance and outlook for the future
  • Helps students recognize and acknowledge positive contributions and performance
  • Depressed students may see issues in black and white terms- all bad or all good. It may help to keep a record of their accomplishments to show on occasion
  • Encourage gradual social interaction (small group work)
  • Ask parents what would be helpful and useful in the classroom

Tips and Strategies for Parents

  • Talk to your child about their feelings and thoughts. Provide love and support
  • Tell your child’s doctor and/or get them help
  • Treat thoughts of suicide as an emergency
  • Promote health- healthy diet, enough sleep, exercise and positive connections with others at home and school
  • Limit screen time and encourage physical activity
  • One-on-one time with parents, praise for good behavior, and pointing out strengths build the parent-child bond
  • Provide safety and security
  • Talk with your child about bullying. Being the victim of bullying is a major cause of mental health problems in children
  • Help your child learn thinking and coping skills
  • Help your child relax with physical and creative activities. Focus on the child's strengths
  • Break down problems or tasks into smaller steps so your child can be successful

Source: AccuTrain Corporation, “Critical Mental Health Challenges in Schools” and


Instructional Strategies and Accommodations

  • Help students understand what has happened
  • Invite older students to talk about their loss
  • Allow students to express themselves
  • Give breaks when needed
  • Reach out to the parents/caregivers
  • Provide learning support
  • Provide positive coping strategies

Tips and Strategies for Parents

  • Kids grieve differently- children may regress to earlier stages of development (sucking thumb/baby talk).Boys may cry one minute and then go play outside the next minute. Be understanding.
  • Encourage your child/children to express their feelings
  • Be developmentally appropriate- it is best to let them ask questions. Don’t volunteer too much information.
  • Be direct- When discussing death, never use euphemisms. Kids are extremely literal, and hearing that a loved one “went to sleep” can be scary. Besides making your child afraid of bedtime, euphemisms interfere with his opportunity to develop healthy coping skills that he will need in the future.
  • Attending the funeral- this is personal choice. Understand that your child may react in a way you did not expect.
  • Don’t ignore your own grief
  • Stick to routines- Children find great comfort in routines, so if you need some time alone, try to find relatives or friends who can help keep your child’s life as normal as possible Although it is important to grieve over the death of a loved one, it is also important for your child to understand that life does go on.
  • Specific situations- treat all death with importance, especially pets. Don’t minimize its importance or replace a pet right away. Allow the child to have healthy grieving.
  • Treating it- if your child is having a hard time grieving and it begins to impair daily functioning, you may consider getting your child help with a professional.



Instructional Strategies and Accommodations

  • Maintain usual routines. A return to “normalcy” will communicate the message that the student is safe and life will go on.
  • Give student choices. Often traumatic events involve loss of control and/or chaos, so you can help children feel safe by providing them with some choices or control when appropriate.
  • Increase the level of support and encouragement given to the traumatized student. Designate an adult who can provide additional support if needed.
  • Set clear, firm limits for inappropriate behavior and develop logical—rather than punitive— consequences.
  • Recognize that behavioral problems may be transient and related to trauma. Remember that even the most disruptive behaviors can be driven by trauma-related anxiety.
  • Provide a safe place for the student to talk about what happened. Set aside a designated time and place for sharing to help the student know it is okay to talk about what happened.
  • Give simple and realistic answers to the student’s questions about traumatic events. Clarify distortions and misconceptions. If it isn’t an appropriate time, be sure to give the student a time and place to talk and ask questions.
  • Be sensitive to the cues in the environment that may cause a reaction in the traumatized student. For example, victims of natural storm-related disasters might react very badly to threatening weather or storm warnings. Children may increase problem behaviors near an anniversary of a traumatic event.
  • Anticipate difficult times and provide additional support. Many kinds of situations may be reminders. If you are able to identify reminders, you can help by preparing the student for the situation. For instance, for the student who doesn’t like being alone, provide a partner to accompany him or her to the restroom.
  • Warn children if you will be doing something out of the ordinary, such as turning off the lights or making a sudden loud noise.
  • Be aware of other student’s reactions to the traumatized student and to the information they share. Protect the traumatized student from peers’ curiosity and protect classmates from the details of the student’s trauma.
  • Understand that children cope by re-enacting trauma through play or through their interactions with others. Resist their efforts to draw you into a negative repetition of the trauma. For instance, some children will provoke teachers in order to replay abusive situations at home.
  • Although not all children have religious beliefs, be attentive if the student experiences severe feelings of anger, guilt, shame, or punishment attributed to a higher power. Do not engage in theological discussion. Rather, refer the student to appropriate support. What can be done at school to help a traumatized child? Child Trauma Toolkit for Educators | October 2008 The National Child Traumatic Stress Network 7 Child Trauma Toolkit for Educators | October 2008 The National Child Traumatic Stress Network 2
  • While a traumatized child might not meet eligibility criteria for special education, consider making accommodations and modifications to academic work for a short time, even including these in a 504 plan. You might:
  • Shorten assignments
  • Allow additional time to complete assignments
  • Give permission to leave class to go to a designated adult (such as a counselor or school nurse) if feelings become overwhelming

     Source: Child Trauma Toolkit for Educators”, NCTSN (2008)

Tips and Strategies for Parents

  • Learn about the common reactions that children have to traumatic events.
  • Consult a qualified mental health professional if your child’s distress continues for several weeks.
  • Ask your child’s school for an appropriate referral
  • Assure your child of his or her safety at home and at school. Talk with him or her about what you’ve done to make him or her safe at home and what the school is doing to keep students safe.
  • Reassure your child that he or she is not responsible. Children may blame themselves for events, even those completely out of their control.
  • Allow your child to express his or her fears and fantasies verbally or through play. That is a normal part of the recovery process.
  • Maintain regular home and school routines to support the process of recovery, but make sure your child continues going to school and stays in school.
  • Be patient. There is no correct timetable for healing. Some children will recover quickly. Other children recover more slowly. Try not to push him or her to “just get over it,” and let him or her know that he or she should not feel guilty or bad about any of his or her

       Source: Understanding Child Traumatic Stress; A Guide for Parents. NCTSN (2008)


Instructional Strategies and Accommodations

  • Provide the student with recorded books as an alternative to self-reading when the student’s concentration level is low
  • Break assigned reading into manageable segments and monitor the student’s progress. Checking comprehension periodically
  • Devise a flexible curriculum that accommodates the sometimes rapid changes in the ability to perform consistency in school
  • When energy is low, reduce academic demands; when energy is high, increase opportunities for achievement
  • Identify a place a student can go for privacy until he/she has regained self-control

Tips and Strategies for Parents

  • Maintain structure and regularity in activities. As with adults, children with bipolar disorder are vulnerable to disruptions in their schedules. They may benefit from a predictable schedule of activities that is not too hectic but avoids long periods of downtime. This can be particularly important during the weekends or vacation. Relaxing or soothing activities can also help a child during stressful periods or during particularly difficult times of day
  • Keep a mood log. A mood log or brief journal will help you identify patterns in your child’s moods, identify potential triggers, and become aware of early warning signs of mood episodes
  • Plan ahead. As much as possible, avoid unnecessary situations that are likely to trigger meltdowns. If a difficult situation is unavoidable, prepare for it in advance (in collaboration with your child if they are old enough to do so)
  • Decrease family conflict. It is important to decrease overall family conflict and stress because these can destabilize the moods of both children and adults with bipolar disorder. Pick and choose your battles carefully before imposing a limit. Be consistent in the limits you set, and enforce them in a firm but non-aggressive and non-confrontational manner.
    • If possible, involve your child in solving issues to teach him or her problem-solving skills. Remember that parents serve as models for child behavior, so, as much as possible, work to provide your child with frequent examples of step-by-step problem solving and conflict resolution (family therapy may help to a great degree here).
    • If arguments become aggressive, implement strategies to de-escalate tension (e.g., a family time-out until all parties have calmed down). If parents disagree about how to handle a problem, avoid arguing or discussing this in front of your child.
  • Remember your child’s strengths. Encourage your child to channel their energies into appropriate tasks and activities. Remember to praise appropriate behaviors, and point out talents and positive traits
  • Be aware of stressful events outside the home. Stay in close contact with the school because stressors at school or with peers can lead to meltdowns at home. Talk with your child about these stressful events and ways of managing them
  • Facilitate transitions. Because transitions (including daily transitions) can be particularly difficult, provide plenty of warning for upcoming transitions (ranging from larger transitions such as school onset and off set and vacations to nightly bedtime) provide sufficient time for the child to transition at their speed, limit the number of unnecessary steps during transitions, and try to keep routines as consistent as possible
  • Monitor your teenager’s behavior. Because teens with bipolar disorder are especially vulnerable to alcohol or drug abuse, as well as other risky behaviors, it is important that parents be aware of their peer relationships and behaviors outside the home. Also keep close tabs on internet, instant messenger (IM), and cell phone use because impulsive behaviors can get your teen into trouble.
    Have a crisis plan in place. If your child can become violent or suicidal, develop an emergency plan ahead of time (be sure to include his or her treatment providers in this plan). Know which hospital you may want to use for an inpatient stay for you child, and know the steps needed for admission (see Chapter 8). At crisis times, make sure that dangerous items (e.g., knives and medications) are out of the reach of children. Maintain the safety of siblings and pets. Avoid confrontations in potentially dangerous situations (such as while driving in the car).
  • Be aware of unrealistic expectations. It may be tempting to compare your child to other children (or his or her siblings). However, remember that just because you or others feel that a child should be able to do something does not mean that they can. Understand your child’s special needs and work with them to achieve what they can at their own pace. Set intermediate goals that the child can work towards, step-by-step.
  • Take care of yourself. Parenting a bipolar child or adolescent can be exhausting, stressful, and isolating. It is crucial that parents take time out for themselves to “recharge their batteries.”

Source: Helpful Parenting Strategies for your Bipolar Child


Instructional Strategies and Accommodations

  • Seat the student with ADD/ADHD away from windows and away from the door.
  • Put the student with ADD/ADHD right in front of your desk unless that would be a 
    distraction for the student.
  • Seats in rows, with focus on the teacher, usually work better than having students seated around tables or facing one another in other arrangements.
  • Give instructions one at a time and repeat as necessary.
  • If possible, work on the most difficult material early in the day.
  • Use visuals: charts, pictures, color coding.
  • Create outlines for note-taking that organize the information as you deliver it.
  • Create a quiet area free of distractions for test-taking and quiet study.
  • Create worksheets and tests with fewer items; give frequent short quizzes rather than long tests.
  • Reduce the number of timed tests.
  • Test the student with ADD/ADHD in the way he or she does best, such as orally or filling in blanks.
  • Show the student how to use a pointer or bookmark to track written words on a page.
  • Divide long-term projects into segments and assign a completion goal for each segment.
  • Let the student do as much work as possible on computer.
  • Accept late work and give partial credit for partial work.
  • Have the student keep a master notebook, a three-ring binder with a separate section for each subject, and make sure everything that goes into the notebook has holes punched and is put on the rings in the correct section.
  • Provide a three-pocket notebook insert for homework assignments, completed 
    homework, and “mail” to parents (permission slips, PTA flyers).
  • Color-code materials for each subject.
  • Allow time for student to organize materials and assignments for home. Post steps for 
    getting ready to go home
  • Make sure the student with ADD/ADHD has a system for writing down assignments and important dates and uses it

Starting a lesson

  • Signal the start of a lesson with an aural cue, such as an egg timer, a cowbell or a horn. (You can use subsequent cues to show much time remains in a lesson.)
  • List the activities of the lesson on the board.
  • In opening the lesson, tell students what they’re going to learn and what your expectations are. Tell students exactly what materials they’ll need.
  • Establish eye contact with any student who has ADD/ADHD.

Conducting the lesson

  • Keep instructions simple and structured.
  • Vary the pace and include different kinds of activities. Many students with ADD do well 
    with competitive games or other activities that are rapid and intense.
  • Use props, charts, and other visual aids.
  • Have an unobtrusive cue set up with the student who has ADD/ADHD, such as a touch 
    on the shoulder or placing a sticky note on the student’s desk, to remind the student to stay on task.
  • Allow a student with ADD/ADHD frequent breaks.
  • Let the student with ADHD squeeze a rubber ball or tap something that doesn’t make 
    noise as a physical outlet.
  • Try not to ask a student with ADD/ADHD perform a task or answer a question publicly 
    that might be too difficult.

Ending the lesson

  • Summarize key points.
  • If you give an assignment, have three different students repeat it, then have the class say it in unison, and put it on the board.
  • Be specific about what to take home.


Tips and Strategies for Parents/Teachers to Improve the Child’s Brain Physiology (ADHD, Sensory, Autism, Asperger’s)

Perfect Stress Coping:

  • Hobbies that are expressive and self-satisfying
  • Exercise, swimming, dancing, hiking or other vigorous expressive activity
  • Deep pressure experiences such as being squished between pillows or push/pull activities
  • Relaxing music
  • Positive imagery while relaxing
  • Breathing techniques
  • CD that guides muscle relaxation techniques
  • Sensory experiences- bathing, rocking, sucking on ice
  • Playing instrument
  • Create a Stress Coping List (Social… Physical… Expressive…)

Perfect Digestion

  • Looking for the “Brown Banana”

Avoid Allergens

  • Food allergies
  • Helpful resource-

Avoid Toxins/Poisons

  • Toxic-ites and –ates: In cured meats- nitrates, nitrites, sulfites, sulfates
  • Aromatic Phenols
    • Whiteboard markers
    • Freshly applied wood coatings
    • Manufactured perfumes and fragrances
    • Naturally occurring fragrances from “essential oils”
    • Smoke and Smoke flavoring
    • Gymnasium coatings
    • Swimming pool chemicals
    • Scented household cleaning agents, laundry detergents
    • Pine-scented cleaning products or live Christmas trees in the home
  • Carcinogens and neurotoxins
    • MSG and aspartame
    • Average brand of cigarettes
    • E cigarettes
    • Second hand smoke
  • Toxic Metals
    • Mercury, lead, aluminum, cadmium, nickel and manganese
  • Petrochemicals
    • Gasoline, kerosene, solvents
    • Pesticides- most contaminated are apples, carrots, celery, cherries, grapes, nectarines, peaches, pears and strawberries. When possible, buy organic or local. Example- Average peach shipped from Georgia has been sprayed 17 times with pesticides. This is so it will last.
  • Plastics
    • Flame retardants in mattress, bedding and PJ’s
    • Plastics with 3 (PVC), 6 (styrene), and 7 (BPA)
    • Toxic toys including phthalates
    • Plastic or Styrofoam containers being heated in microwave
    • Replace plastic storage containers with wire mesh bins
  • Use all natural cleaning products
  • Avoid vinyl mini-blinds manufactured outside of the US

Routinize Sleep

  • Upgrade air quality in room
  • Make bed and bedding more sensory friendlyMaintain reasonable bedtime
  • Bed is used for sleeping no homework
  • Establish regular time for going to bed
  • Aim for 9-10 hours of sleep per night
  • Plan for harmonious arising in the morning
  • Plan for regular time to wake up

Routinize Exercise

  • Regular vigorous activity is helpful for ADHD
  • No longer than 45 minutes and compensate with protein snacks

Take In Nutrients

  • Proteins- vegetables, yogurt, cheese, milk, meat, nuts, poultry, fish, eggs and nut butters
  • Vitamins- every vitamin every day
  • Minerals- Chelated- brain needs 40 daily
  • Natural Fats and oils- avoid hydrogenated oils and trans-fats. Omega 3 fatty acids is excellent
  • Water- 8 ounces every 2 hours for children, 12 ounces every 2 hours after puberty

Take In Pharmaceuticals

  • Invite co-participation
  • show the benefits to the child
  • Instruct in medication etiquette
  • Be careful about off medication periods

      Source: Complementary Interventions for Autism, Asperger’s, Sensory and ADHD in Children and

        Adolescents, Summit Professional Education, John F. Taylor.

Emotional/Behavioral Indicators

  • Overly withdrawn, quiet or doesn’t engage
  • Low self-esteem, feelings of failure or worthlessness
  • Increased irritability, which can appear as disobedience or aggression
  • Feeling hopeless or overwhelmed
  • Unstable moods, such that the teachers, parents, students and others don’t know what to expect from them
  • A short fuse and lashes out when frustrated
  • Extreme worries or fears that interfere with friendships, school work, or play
  • Severe mood swings affecting relationships with others
  • Drastic change in personality or behavior
  • Extreme sadness lasting 2 weeks or more
  • Refusal to go to school on a regular basis

Academic Indicators

  • Fidgets, is constantly moving around or seems “always on the go”
  • Poor grades in school despite trying very hard or a noticeable decline in classroom presentation
  • Poor attention to detail and makes careless mistakes on work
  • Does not appear to listen when spoken to directly
  • Is easily distracted
  • Is forgetful in daily activities
  • Has hard time staying focused on one thing
  • Becomes bored easily
  • Loses or forgets things often
  • Difficulty attending to individual work or class activity
  • Dreamy or unable to pay attention
  • Afraid to participate in class
  • Difficulty managing at recess, free time, unsupervised, in larger groups

Communication/Social Skills Indicators

  • Spends most of their time alone
  • Goes on and on about a subject and takes over a conversation
  • Acts silly in a group to get attention but doesn’t fit in
  • Plays to roughly and hurts others
  • Has poor motor skills (can’t catch or throw a ball)
  • Others may view as being too rough or bossy
  • Damages toys, objects, property
  • Speaks without thinking and barges into games

Important to know the Frequency, Duration, Intensity, Latency and Appropriate Affect when recognizing warning signs

  • Frequency- The number of time a behavior occurs during a particular time period
  • Duration- How long a particular behavior lasts
  • Intensity- The force in which a behavior occurs
  • Latency- How much time passes between a prompt of some kind and the behavior’s occurrence
  • Appropriate Affect- The ability to show expected emotional states in situations that would normally warrant them