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 relational skills like empathy, respect, cooperation and how to resolve conflicts peacefully.


“The strategies shown will help with any bullying situation.”

 Students may have been on break, but with PeaceMaker’s help learning continued for 150 staff at three area schools over the summer.

Bus Drivers at Becker Public Schools learned what bullying is, and how to identify, prevent, address, and report it to create a respectful environment on buses. “It was very helpful in understanding different situations and different ways to handle them!” remarked one participant.

Teachers at Highland Catholic School were trained on what bullying behavior is and isn’t and ways to respond. According to one teacher, “The strategies shown will help with any bullying situation.”

Teachers at Monticello Middle School attended a Planning Workshop, designed to help schools assess their current climate, identify goals, and implement best practices for achieving them. As part of the workshop, the 6 key elements of best practices were discussed. “I really liked that we left the workshop with an action plan,” said one participant. Another reflected, “It gives opportunity to look at bullying trends and to make intentional adjustments to our system.”


September 19, 2019







Teacher Team Support and Recognition Services Expand

 Our Teacher Team Support and Recognition Service helped 86 teachers from 7 schools bring bullying prevention education to their students last year -- 4 more than the previous year. The service also awarded funding to 4 schools recognized as Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) Exemplary Schools by the State of Minnesota.

The 86 teachers facilitated the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program or taught the Second Step Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) Program. As evidence-based programs, research indicates that both are effective at reducing bullying and aggressive behaviors in youth

Olweus Program lessons, delivered in classroom meetings, include topics like:

  • What do we do when cliques won’t add new people?
  • What is cyber-bullying?
  • Stepping up and stepping in: bystander behavior
  • Be true to yourself: peer pressure

Second Step Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) Program helps teachers build a safe, supportive learning environment for students by fostering a foundation of empathy. Second Step SEL helps students learn how to manage emotions, make sound decisions, and focus through age appropriate games, activities, and media.

Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) school teams establish outcomes relating to students’ academic and social behavior, systems that support staff efforts, practices that support student success, and data to guide decision-making. PBIS is a state-initiated project, providing districts and individual schools throughout Minnesota with resources to promote improvement in student behavior across the entire school, especially for students with challenging social behaviors. 

We are grateful to Tradition Companies for their support of our Teacher Team Support and Recognition Service. As a lead contributor, they helped to expand participation in the service.  

Our congratulations go out to the schools and teachers implementing bullying prevention programs and to the schools and staff teams for being recognized as PBIS Exemplary Schools by the State of Minnesota.

Castle Elementary School:  Angela Hilpisch, Emily Garry, Emily Toot, Jammie Klingsporn, Kristen Blissenbach, Lynn Berens, Maria Lofstuen, and Susan Rensted

Cowern Elementary: Angela Redman, Debra Biddick, Emily Knudsen, Jennifer Quinn, Julie Swanson, Kari Aase, Kayla Finn, Kelly Marette, Laura Corkish, Lisa Torgerson, Mary Glagavs, Megan de los Reyes, Michelle Schneider, and Sara Buffie

Highland Catholic: Corrie Schmidt, Danny Welle, Katie Gustafson, Ken Backe, Laresa Fitzgerald, Lisa Svoboda, M. Skold, Mlaskoch & Keys, Molly Nelson, Molly Stucker, Rachel Ogard, Sarah Boos, and Sarah Hickel

Little Mountain Elementary: Amy Clark, Amy Meierhofer, Becky Arthur, Brent Rassier, Bri Bigalke, Cathy LaJoie, Deb Patrick, Gail Grieme, Heather Manelli, Jana Cordell, Jen Vogl, Joy White, Kari Hanson, Kim Nygaard, Lee Tracy,  Liz Barnes, Melissa Gaulrapp, Michelle King, Michelle Maynard, Mike Bekius, Nicole Sawatzke, Sarah Vagle, Summer St. George, Tanya Schmitz, and Tracy Voller

Pinewood Elementary: Danielle Smith, Jennifer Sellner, Kelly Braken, Kelsey Johnson, and Marcy Beal

St. Charles Catholic: Anne Flynn, Hannah Meidl, Jennifer Villella, Kristen Noll, Laura Bilski, Marilyn Seashore, Paulette Krawczyk, Mike Hartnett, and Mark Kenney

St. John's Catholic: Bridget Troxel, Diane Ptak, Felicia Villafan, Jeanette Peterson, Jeanne Dompierre, Jennifer Carroll, Maria Koskie, Mary Rose Edholm, Mary Wraneschetzm, Stephen Steffl, and Theresa Harris

Lake Park Audobon Elementary School PBIS Team: Craig Bahr, Nicole Perman, and Rebecca Rood

Cambridge Isanti Schools PBIS Team: Ann Landwehr, Cindy Paulson, Kate Goebel, Krisanne Wessel, Malissa Zabel, Margaret Boege, Mark Ziebarth, Natalie Miller, Rachel Olson, Sara Edwards, Sonia Utzman, and Trisha Roiger

Chanhassen High School PBIS Team: Amy Eidelbes, Angie Kissock, Brie NelsonChad Mattson, Chris Gallagher, Chris Nett, Erin Swoboda, and Teresa Anderson

S.G. Reinertsen Elementary School: Christina Stoa, John St. Louis, Karen Gebhart, Lindsey Ferguson,  Mary Beth Almer, Nancy Halvorson, Rachel Gladue, Shari GustafsonTara Lindberg, and Tiffany Nagel


September 19, 2019

Collaboration Between PeaceMaker Minnesota and Other Community Partners Benefits Students and Facilitators  

“I saw different people with different needs, and we should all respect that.”     

“I was truly inspired to be kind and make a difference.”            

“The speakers were amazing and helped me feel better about myself.”   

This is what fourth grade students had to say following Ambassadors for Respect workshops. The workshops, conducted during a classroom period, are led by individuals with developmental disabilities, otherwise known as “Ambassadors.”

They help students learn the importance of including others, using kind, people-first language, and being an advocate for themselves and others.  Evaluation responses illustrate that the program’s intended outcomes for students are being realized: 

  • 95% (707/748) promised to include others.
  • 94% (701/748) promised to use kind, people-first language.
  • 93% (696/748) promised to advocate for oneself and others.

Program impacts go beyond fourth-grade classrooms, reaching intended outcomes for facilitators as well, as reflected in their responses on the Independence, Productivity, Self- Determination, Integration & Inclusion (IPSII) Survey:

  • 83% (19/23) responded “I have experienced more community integration and inclusion” (since participating in this self-advocacy training session.)
  • 78% (18/23) responded “my self-determination has increased” (since participating in this self-advocacy training session.)
  • 74% (17/23) responded “I have become more independent” at work, home, or school (since participating in this self-advocacy training session.)

PeaceMaker Minnesota partnered with and supported staff at Merrick, Inc., Next Step Transition Program (Independent School District 622) and Transition Plus, part of the Minneapolis Public Schools, to prepare 25 ambassadors. Ambassadors delivered workshops to 991 fourth-graders at 14 schools, including Castle Elementary, Cowern Elementary, Dowling Elementary, Folwell School, Hale Elementary, Kenwood Elementary, Little Canada Elementary, Lyndale Elementary, Northrup Elementary, Otter Lake Elementary, Richardson Elementary, Vadnais Heights Elementary, Weaver Elementary, and Willow Lane Elementary. Funding comes from the Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities, the Bieber Family Foundation, and donors like you. Thank you.   


September 19, 2019      


Violence Prevention Efforts Recognized

Though our beloved Twins couldn’t pull off a win on September 8th, Lake Park Audubon Elementary and High Schools, and St. Charles Borromeo Catholic School in St. Anthony sure did!

Honored for exemplary results on the Olweus Bullying Questionnaire (OBQ), a national survey, they received these PeaceMaker awards:

Achieving Excellence: given to St. Charles Borromeo Catholic School for eliciting student responses better than the national average on 10 of 10 OBQ indicators – the only school to achieve this of the 28 administering the survey!  

Change Maker: given to Lake Park Audubon Elementary and High Schools for achieving the largest reduction in the number of students who reported being bullied. Twenty fewer students at each school reported being bullied compared to the previous year.

Commitment to Excellence: given to Lake Park Audubon Elementary and High Schools for improving their responses on 9 of 10 indicators compared to the previous year.

Pat Duerr, a founding contributor to PeaceMaker, presented the awards along with Executive Director, Dan McNeil. “These schools showed that stopping bullying and teaching positive relational skills is possible,” said Dan. It’s a possibility echoed by students. Young people at 10 PeaceMaker schools reported decreased bullying in the spring of 2019 compared to the spring of 2018. Combining results for all 15 schools, 81 fewer students reported being bullied.

Our congratulations to all of the honorees and our thanks to the Minnesota Twins for donating 400 tickets, so teachers, parents, and students could attend the presentation!


September 19, 2019