The Dysart Unified School District is committed to providing our students a safe, supportive learning environment that prepares students to be future leaders and supports the District vision, 'Power in the Preparation, Excellence in the Journey, Success for a Lifetime'. To support the District's vision, Dysart implemented the Rachels Challenge program in all 23 schools, as well as in the preschool and alternative education programs. Rachels Challenge is a program designed to inspire, equip, and empower people to create a positive culture change in their school and community by starting a chain reaction of respect, kindness and compassion. The objectives of the program include:
- Create a safe and productive learning environment by delivering proactive antidotes to violence and bullying
- Stimulate real culture change by actively involving the entire community in the process
- Change lives by providing culturally relevant social/emotional training
- Improve achievement and ensure results by engaging the participants heart, head, and hands
Data collected indicate this program is having an impact. Each year:
- More than 1.8 million people are involved in Rachels Challenge programs
- More than 1,800 schools and businesses are affected
- More than 425 suicides are averted because students send unsolicited emails thanking Rachels Challenge
- Bullying and violence decrease, while community service and acts of kindness increase
An additional phase of implementation for this valuable program will be to support the Friends of Rachel (FOR) groups at each Dysart school. The goal is to establish a before/after-school activity period when students who are FOR leaders in the K-8 schools or Chain Reaction Committee (CRC) leaders in the high schools (up to 100 students per school were trained in 2012-2013) can meet to work on the planning and implementation of activities, projects, and events. Additionally, representatives from each FOR/CRC group will meet
regularly as part of a district-wide FOR/CRC Council to help coordinate district-wide recognitions or events.
Surprise Sundancers donate to Rachel's Challenge!
The critical financial support from the Dysart Education Foundation and the Sundancer organization, which operates to support spring training activities in the City of Surprise, will ensure almost every K-8 building can establish a FOR group before or after school. Dysart continues to pursue additional partnerships to support the efforts of Rachels Challenge in every school and school community. The Dysart School District is seeking additional donations from community businesses to make this program possible.
Dysarts Rachels Challenge Heartbeats Program
Through its Rachels Challenge initiative, the Dysart Unified School District is committed to building a culture of respect, kindness and compassion
within the district and across the communities Dysart serves. Building on the initiatives already in place to support this program, this year Dysart will add the Dysart Heartbeats recognition program. This is designed to celebrate individuals in the Dysart schools, departments and the community at large who deserve recognition for modeling how to start a chain reaction of kindness. Each month the Dysart schools and departments will be asked to nominate a person whose words and actions are an example of how to show respect, kindness and compassion for others. These Heartbeats will be recognized at a Board Meeting and have their name displayed in the Board Room. This initiative will be spearheaded by the Rachels Challenge Facilitators Team which includes representatives from each school as well as representatives from the community, district volunteers and faith based organizations.