Grant Elementary celebrates third year with No Place For Hate designation


Efforts that began three school years ago at Grant Elementary to create a positive and inclusive school climate continued this past Friday with a visit from Red Grammer, described by Parent’s Magazine as “the best voice in children’s music.”

We’ve reported in the past about Grant’s partnership with the Anti-Defamation League on a No Place for Hate campaign focused on preventing racial bias and bullying in schools. In conjunction with Grammer’s visit, the school celebrated its third straight year being designated a “No Place for Hate” from the Anti-Defamation League. 

Grant Principal Farnaz Heydari launched the efforts to make the school a safe haven for one and all. With help from the No Place for Hate Program, which passes along the messages of acceptance and equality through art projects, assembly halls and other learning tools, the Downer Avenue elementary school managed to reduce bullying episodes from 153 in the 2014-15 school year to 53 her first year as principal and the following school year, and subsequently down to 13 school officials say.

And Grammer’s visit last week was ideal timing, Heydari said.

“Our community has gone through so much in the last few months, so we need positive news to come out of our neighborhood,” she said, adding, “Our priority is to serve the whole child, ensuring that their social and emotional needs are met as well as academics.”

On Friday, Grammer performed uplifting, educational music in three performances with students in front of two separate groups of students and also before parents and community members. Grant’s teachers and students contributed lesson plans in anticipation of Grammer’s visit to the theme, “The Power to Change the World” — curricula that will be reinforced beyond his visit.

“Red’s music embodies all that we are striving towards with families, community and much more,” Heydari said.

Along with the Anti Defamation League, the school has been working with the Mindful Life Project and the Seneca Family of Agencies to provide its school children “mindfulness and other transformative skills to gain self-awareness, confidence, self-regulation and resilience, leading to lifelong success,” according to school officials. 

“Each and every day we let our students know that they have the power to change the world with their daily actions and by fulfilling their aspirations through education,” Heydari said.