Elementary School

Everything We Needed And More

By Erin Waer & Lisa Vuola

Here at Virginia R. Boris Elementary, we are still a relatively new school as our doors have only been open for five years.  When we began creating school culture, we knew we needed to find a way to connect a variety of programs and practices that are common at the elementary level, such as: 

  • Character education
  • Diversity
  • Communication
  • Parent committees
  • School-wide discipline programs 

But, we also understood for these to have a lasting impact, we needed something that would be sustainable, relevant, and resonate deeply with everyone within our school community. 

We found all of this and more in The Positivity Project (P2). 

We believe that The Positivity Project is a necessary investment not only for our students but also for ourselves as educators and leaders in our community.  More than ever, it is critical that we teach students that they hold within themselves all 24-character strengths.  This helps our students, staff, and parent community build positive relationships while maintaining their social-emotional well-being.  

Regardless of the different backgrounds and beliefs within our school community, these character strengths and the focus on other people supersedes all perceived boundaries and cultures. When we create an environment for our students, with this consistent message and common language, students naturally begin to celebrate others’ success and the strengths they see amongst their peers. The Positivity Project has united us as more than just a school but as a community.

We have seen firsthand the impact this invaluable partnership has had and continues to have for our school during both in-person and virtual learning. 

Daily, we hear our students have conversations using the vocabulary taught in the P2 lessons and how it has helped them strengthen relationships with their peers, teachers, and parents/caretakers.  Our teachers have found creative ways to weave character strengths into all aspects of the curriculum, which expands the character education outside of the 15-min daily lessons. We have seen our students create flip grids discussing the benefits of a flexible learning environment, creating Positivity Project-based art projects, and penning essays in which they explain their own character strengths.  

In the virtual learning environment, our students and parents have persevered through new technology and focused on building relationships, maintaining friendships, and finding new ways to collaborate all in a virtual world. They have learned that teamwork comes in many forms and that they can work together no matter where they are. Our students understand that no matter what happens, having a positive attitude, and looking for the strengths in others is the cornerstone of building positive relationships and having a happy life. 

Our school vision states, “Virginia R. Boris Elementary will become a model of excellence in 21st-century learning, global citizenship, innovation, and shared leadership.” The Positivity Project has given us the tools, a common language, and a shared commitment to making our vision become a reality. 

We believe we are preparing our students to be global citizens in America’s ever-changing future. School-wide we have cultivated the Other People Mindset, and it is undoubtedly, helping us develop empathetic and compassionate leaders.  We are proud to partner with The Positivity Project and will continue to be a part of this nationwide movement as it cultivates a school-wide culture of #PositivityInAction*.

*search this hashtag on social media to see The Positivity Project at work in schools across the country.

Erin Waer & Lisa Vuola

Erin Waer is the principal at Virginia R. Boris Elementary, one of the newest elementary schools in the Clovis Unified School District. With a total of 21 years in education and 10 years as an elementary school principal, Mrs. Waer believes that being a part of The Positivity Project has been one of the most powerful character education partnerships she has seen in a school and community during her career. As a former elementary and high school teacher, she is dedicated to creating and maintaining a 21st Century Learning Environment with a focus on teamwork, building positive relationships, and innovative instructional practices.     Lisa Vuola is the Vice Principal at Virginia R. Boris Elementary. Prior to becoming an administrator in the Clovis Unified School District, she taught 2nd, 3rd and 6th grades in the same district. Lisa is passionate about creating a learning environment in which children not only receive a quality education but are nurtured and develop into kind, well-rounded people. She believes that The Positivity Project creates a community in which students thrive.