Turning Point School Blog

Creating Curriculum: Proactive Partners for Peace
Posted 08/08/2017 03:36PM

The post below was written by Grade 1 Head Teacher, Ms. Tessa Short. We are looking forward to working with Tessa to incorporate her new skills and ideas into our programs this school year.

In July, I was lucky enough to be one of seven teachers selected nationwide to be a part of a Design Camp with the Buck Institute of Education (BIE) to create a project based learning unit (PBL) for the next Students Rebuild Challenge. I attended a two-day Design Camp, along with the other elected teachers, BIE staff and their national faculty. Our task was to generate ideas for the PBL unit based around the Challenge theme of peace, creating curriculum that is appropriate for students of all ages.

During the camp, we delved into the different elements of BIE’s Gold Standard PBL, and then began to focus on the goals of the Students Rebuild Challenge. We discussed elements of conflict and peace, and the ways in which we could introduce and research these concepts in age-appropriate ways.

This year, the Students Rebuild Challenge has a focus on three global conflicts, in Sri Lanka, Nigeria, and the Southern Caucasus. Students, particularly those in upper elementary and middle school, will be able to look at these conflicts and assess why peace is important and how they can play a part in being peace makers. For the first time, Students Rebuild are partnering with a number of organizations to support this year’s Challenge, including Search for Common Ground, Care, and Global Nomads Group. 

Our PBL unit is called Proactive Partners for Peace, aiming to answer the essential question: How can we as student leaders advocate for peace? At the end of the two days, we had laid down the framework for two curricula, one for elementary and one for high school students. We are still working together to build this unit, ready to be implemented at the beginning of the school year.

The Students Rebuild Challenge allows for different grades to focus on age-appropriate objectives. For example, Lower Elementary students can become peace builders by being examples of good citizens and members of their community. Upper Elementary students are able to focus more on conflict and peace throughout history, and the key figures that have emerged from peace-building efforts. As for our Middle School students, they will be able to dive deeper into the reasons for conflict and the peace-building efforts of the past and present.

Overall, this Students Rebuild Challenge in collaboration with BIE aligns perfectly with our Turning Point values of respect, responsibility, and global awareness. I am looking forward to implementing the PBL unit this year and to facilitating additional high-quality learning experiences for our global citizens at Turning Point. 

Ms. Tessa Short
Grade 1 Head Teacher | Grades K-2 Community Service Coordinator


8780 National Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232


Turning Point School is an independent, coeducational school providing a premiere education to students in the greater Los Angeles area. For over 45 years, we have educated confident, curious, and globally-aware preschool, kindergarten, elementary school, and middle school students.

Located in the heart of Culver City, we enroll students from the west side of Los Angeles including Beverly Hills, Venice, Pacific Palisades, Marina del Rey, Hancock Park, Cheviot Hills, and Playa del Rey.


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