In the past two weeks, Sherman High School students brought the nationally recognized and award-winning 3D program to students at Piner Middle School and Dillingham Intermediate School. Sherman ISD students and staff took some time to share their experiences in the district’s 3D program.

In the past two weeks, Sherman High School students brought the nationally recognized and award-winning 3D program to students at Piner Middle School and Dillingham Intermediate School. Sherman ISD students and staff took some time to share their experiences in the district’s 3D program.


"Our students have more opportunities and challenges than when I started in education 35 years ago," said SISD Superintendent Al Hambrick. "But our commitment to providing the best educational experience possible is still the same."


‘I won’t be silent’


"If there’s one thing we want people to know, it’s that we’re not being silent," said Haleigh Arnold, Sherman High School senior and co-president of the 3D Teen Board of Directors.


3D the anti-bullying created by SHS teachers and students. The program is currently in its third year at SHS, third year at Dillingham Intermediate School, first year at Piner Middle School, as well as being implemented in other districts and schools including S&S High School and the Juvenile Detention Center of Grayson, Fannin and Cooke counties.


"We want people to know that we aren’t just sitting here watching that video and not doing anything about it; we’re not just going to do nothing when we see things happen in our community," said Taylor Hart, also a senior at SHS and 3D co-president along with Haleigh. "I want parents to know that the school district is not just standing by. They’re taking action, and we (students) want to help the district and to take action."


Trey Holtzclaw, an eighth grader at Piner who participated in the 3D program there last month, kept reality in check by saying, "It’s going to happen everywhere and it happens at Piner, too. We may not think that could happen here because we go here, and we want ourselves to look good, but it happens here and it happens everywhere."


Trey explained that even though kids might have negative experiences, students and staff must stay committed.


Compassion


The 3D program isn’t just program against bullying; it’s about fostering a culture of tolerance and identifying with your fellow man. Hannah Moseley, an eighth grader at Piner, believes that was an important lesson in 3D and should be fostered at school and at home.


"During 3D, people put themselves out there and they (3D leaders) made us tell the truth about ourselves," Hannah said. "In some shape or form, you’ve been bullied and you’ve probably bullied someone else. A lot of people tend to say stuff that they don’t mean — maybe they’re even joking around — but the person they were saying it to takes it personally and might not know that you’re joking. You always need to watch what you say and think about how it’s going to affect someone else."


Hannah said it’s important for students to reach out to teachers when they need help. "Teachers are supportive of students and they will help you through anything. If you ask them politely, they’ll help you – but you just have to ask," she said.


Teresa Banks, eighth grade counselor at Piner Middle School, said the school offers a number of programs to provide support and encourage positive choices.


"We have enrichment classes that the whole school participates in," Banks said. "We also have the PAWSITIVE behavior program, which is Piner’s system for a Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports program. Every school in the district uses PBIS, which has become a consistent way of recognizing and rewarding positive behavior in our schools and classrooms."


The first year Piner implemented PBIS, discipline referrals were cut in half, district officials said. The Piner PBIS leadership team received the SISD Team of the Year Award after showing such success.


"We have held parent meetings to solicit feedback and suggestions on anything we can do to improve our students’ experiences," said Clinton Petty, principal of Piner. "We are here to educate, and we have a very caring staff. We are always looking for ways to connect with our students and families."


Commitment


Fostering a safe school environment to promote learning takes commitment from staff, students and parents.


"We try to make ourselves visible," Banks said. "We stand in the hallways during passing periods; we walk around in the cafeteria; counselors and administrators go into the classrooms sometimes; we participate in the PBIS rewards parties. We are as visible in the school as we can possibly be so that our students feel comfortable coming to us when they have a concern."


"We try to use as much common language as we can with our PBIS system so our students clearly understand our expectations," Banks said. "We try to focus on positive rewards for the kids and recognize their positive behavior. We want to be a constant source of support for them."


After their 3D experience, Hannah noted that students will need to remember what they learned in order to hold themselves accountable for their behavior.


Resilience


"We’ve been able to see the whole 3D program really grow," Taylor said. "Everybody really does care about each other and their actions, especially at the high school. They mature so much, and they think about their future. Our students want to know what’s going on in all our schools and we want to make Sherman an even better place."


David Sosa, a Piner seventh grader, didn’t know what to expect of 3D, but he said he loved the experience and it has motivated him in ways he didn’t expect.


"I was very surprised, scared, and sad to find out what all our students go through in their lives. I really learned that it can happen to anybody," David said. "I really liked the program, and I didn’t expect all the information and how much I learned. I feel that if I was being bullied, I’d know where to go and my teachers would help me through it."


David recently moved to Sherman from another country, and did not speak any English upon his arrival. He has felt supported by his teachers from the beginning, but it was a little different with his classmates.


"A lot of students were welcoming and friendly, but there were other students that were not," David said. "I could understand a little bit of English, and there were some kids who would say bad things in English about me so I wouldn’t understand. I made a friend who could speak both English and Spanish, so he could tell me what they said."


"We want kids to look forward to coming to Sherman schools," Haleigh said. "This is a prestigious district, and students deserve the chance to come here and have an amazing experience."