To help create a more peaceful world, the mission of PeaceMaker Minnesota is to help schools be safer places, free from bullying and harassment, and to help youth  learn positive relation skills like empathy, respect, cooperation and how to resolve conflicts peacefully.

 

Making Schools Safer by Identifying Key Issues

By Bridget Castaneda

A key component that sets PeaceMaker Minnesota apart from the rest is our Continuous Improvement and Planning service. The cornerstone of the service is helping schools to cover the cost of administering the Olweus Bullying Questionnaire to their students. At $1/per student, it can get expensive but there is no better evaluation system for bullying in schools.

The Olweus Bullying Questionnaire gives schools a starting point of what to focus on. It also is evaluating the effectiveness of violence prevention programs that are implemented because the questionnaire is done yearly.

PeaceMaker Minnesota then brings in The Improve Group, an evaluation company based in St. Paul, that uses data from the Olweus Questionnaire to create a user friendly report of the results for each PeaceMaker partner school. It’s important that the results are easy for the schools to discern.

 

The Olweus Bullying Questionnaire has so many benefits; we can’t seem to decide which one is most valuable. It helps the schools to know the perspective of the students they serve. It gives students a voice. It conveys an important message to students that bullying and violence are important issues. And the one that might be the most obvious, it helps schools to better understand what their school climate is and what may need to be improved.

The Olweus Bullying Questionnaire helps show our schools that what they are doing is working. When they are able to see a reduction in the number of students who are being bullied they can feel good knowing that they achieved that. We believe that the Questionnaire truly helps our schools. How can you make a change when you don’t even know what you need to change?

Here is a comment that one of partner schools sent us regarding the value of the student survey.

We have all of our students take the survey.  The survey is a wonderful tool for students to express their concerns and thoughts surrounding bullying.  Our staff is going to look over the data from the Olweus survey this summer and come up with a plan to present the information to our staff during our fall workshop.

 

After our most recent administration of the Olweus survey, a group of girls and I had a very lengthy and heavy conversation about bullying and harassment in schools.  The conversation was very impactful to both myself and the girls.  They gave me very unfiltered information about the school climate and their ideas about what would help.  This particular information is so helpful as it’s coming right from the students. 

 

Schools that have received funding as of April 12 to administer the Olweus Bullying Questionnaire include:

Monticello Middle School

Highland Catholic School

Cowern Elementary

Schoolcraft Learning Community

Deephaven Elementary

Excelsior Elementary

Minnewashta Elementary

Clear Springs Elementary

Groveland Elementary

Glacier Hills School of Arts and Science

Little Mountain Elementary

Scenic Heights Elementary

S.G. Reinertsen Elementary

Additional information