High School Restroom Makeover to Empower Students

Pre-assess - Understand
Strongly Agree
Pre-assess - Inspired
Strongly Agree
Pre-assess - Engaged
Strongly Agree
Pre-assess - Skills
Strongly Agree
Pre-assess - Stand Up
Agree
Pre-assess - Reach Out
Agree
Pre-assess - Others
Agree
Details - Project Image
The painted quotes showcase the vibrancy and positivity that we would like to have in our bathrooms.
Injustice - Importance
The injustice of an unkind and divided student population is important to address because students should feel welcome in the environment they come to every day. All students, no matter how different, should feel included and empowered. Addressing this injustice is significant because we want to boost student morale and comradery.
Injustice - Who Affected
This injustice affects the student body as a whole. Our divided student population affects sports teams who aren't involved in football or basketball. Students who are invested in the fine arts are also affected. The disconnection in our student body has made it challenging for students in the special education program. Our divided student body has also made it difficult for different clubs to collaborate. The unkind school culture also has negatively affected students who are learning how to cope with mental health issues.
Injustice - How Affected
Because of this injustice, there is an uneven distribution of support among our sports teams. My school's football and boys basketball teams consistently have high participation and spirit from the student population, however, there is little to no support for our other sports teams. This condition is also the same for our fine arts programs. Whenever there is a music concert, play, or musical there is a lack of students in the audience supporting them. At my school, students have diverse passions, but they rarely receive the recognition they deserve for their hard work. My school's disconnected student body has also made it difficult for students in the special education program to make friends and to feel included. Also, since our student population feels disconnected, clubs rarely collaborate and invest in the effort to support one another. Our divided student body also has affected how students treat each other every day as well. Instead of encouraging one another, students discouraging their peers has become the norm. This unkind climate has failed to empower and promote positivity which is crucially important for students who are struggling with their mental health.
Injustice - Who Causes
Similar to how this injustice affects our student body as a whole, the students also cause this injustice. How we treat one another reciprocates in an endless cycle of division and cynicism.
Injustice - Why
Students behave this way because there is a lack of role models who extend kindness throughout the school. Since almost every student feels unsupported, they don't feel the need to support others. The school also fails to promote positivity and inclusivity visually. Because of these factors, students have limited resources to break this cycle of division within the student body and discouragement towards one another.
Initial Problem Statement
I would like to solve the injustice of the lack of compassion within my school’s climate and culture. Instead of helping others, students have become accustomed to discouraging one another. My school also has an injustice of a disconnected student body. Most students tend to support their peers only if they are involved with the same interests and extracurriculars as them. This division has caused an uneven distribution of support among all the diverse student groups at my school. The injustices of an uncompassionate atmosphere and a disconnected student body has sacrificed a sense of empowerment within the school community.
Initial Problem Comments
Comment
Hi Rachel,

I was looking at your project, and I am so happy you have decided to take action against this injustice. I also noticed that you are between 13 and 18 years old and you are located in the United States, so I added your project as part of the Power of Youth Challenge because you have the requirements necessary to be part.

This will not change your peacebuilding journey in any way, but I thought I would be cool for you to be part of this challenge.

Please let me know if you have questions.

Best,
Andrea
Commentor
Comment Date
Thu, 01/24/2019 - 13:51
Interview - Who
Members of marching band, choir, soccer, softball, volleyball, FBLA, teachers, NHS, theater
Interview - How They Feel
Since the student body as a whole, both causes and is affected by this injustice, I decided to interview students from all parts of the school. Members from our fine arts programs agreed and resonated with our school’s divided student body. A percussionist from the marching band felt that the lack of positivity in the school intertwines with the disconnection within the student population. A student involved in volleyball and Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) also recognized that the division within her team and club was also contributing to the lack of an encouraging environment. A member from NHS also expressed that there is an imbalance between positivity and negativity at the school. I also interviewed some teachers who are apart of our school’s Renaissance program. Renaissance works to promote student and staff recognition as well a positive school climate and culture. The teachers I talked to felt strongly about this injustice; they commented that the injustice is seen in both students and staff.
Interview - How Affected
The percussionist from the marching band remarked on how at football games, there is a lack of support from the student section. During halftime, many students leave for concessions instead of staying to watch the marching band’s performance. The percussionist also added on that even when students do stay to watch the performance many students criticize small details of the performance rather than cheering the band on. Athletes from the girls' soccer and softball team also commented on how football and basketball games have a significantly larger student turn out than their own games. Members from the choir and theater club also commented on the lack of student turnout at their events. The theater club president elaborated by explaining how the student body often is disappointed in their productions because they don’t have the funding for popular shows and intricate and detailed set designs. A volleyball player also discussed how there is division found within her team. She said that players stick to only bonding with their perspective team (Varsity, JV, and C Squad). She also said that when a player swings up a team to play, there is a lack of a welcoming feeling from the original team. Members from FBLA and National Honor Society (NHS) said that the lack of positivity and encouragement from the student body heavily affects how successful their fundraisers are. The teachers involved with Renaissance also related to the divided student population to the division within the staff. They said that even though there are teachers who are enthusiastic and invest in a ton of effort into student and staff recognition, they felt that there are some teachers who could care less. This division affects their mission to promote positivity because it creates an obstacle to truly promote a welcoming and positive school climate and culture.
Interview - Why They Feel That Way
Overall most students feel discouraged due to the lack of a positive and connected student body. The percussionist said she feels underappreciated because fine art students who work just as hard as football and basketball athletes aren’t receiving the same amount of recognition. Athletes from the softball and soccer team had similar feelings as the percussionist. They resonated with this injustice because they feel that their sport is unimportant to the school. NHS and FBLA also commented that they feel their clubs are almost invisible to the student body because they feel as if there is a complex obstacle stopping them from consolidating student engagement. Another student commented that the lack of positivity is because students add on to the negativity presented by teachers initially. Many students also felt since the student body doesn’t engage or support in their activity, they don’t feel motivated to support others. Teachers apart of the Renaissance program also felt that they could create a more of a positive impact on the school’s climate and culture if every staff member was on board with their mission.
Interview - How Involved
By interviewing teachers and students from various activities, I’ve learned that this injustice of a lack of a positive climate and culture as well as a divided student body is incredibly complex. This injustice must be approached from multiple angles with creativity. Many of the students said that although they want the student body to engage in their activity, they don’t feel motivated to support other activities other than their own. One way we could solve this injustice is to create a specific place where student activities are advertised. This could be a spot where students of different activities can connect. Another way we could approach this injustice is events planning that don’t cater to just one or two groups of the student body. These events could be a movie or game night where student bonding is encouraged. To approach the lack of a positive climate and culture of the school, we can approach how the school looks visually. There could be more murals or paintings that represent the diversity of the student body. This approach would allow students to feel included and to take ownership of something physical in the school. Approaching this injustice from a visual approach also gives students a creative ability to express messages of positivity.
Root Cause
The root causes that contribute to this injustice are, a visually dull school that does not promote positivity, uneven distribution of advertising of club and sport events, lack of events that bond the student body as a whole, and the lack of recognition individual students receive for their hard work. As I interviewed my peers and developed the root causes of this injustice, I learned how complex it is. I realized to solve this injustice of a lack of a positive climate and culture and a divided student body, there had to be multiple ways to approach this injustice. To combat the division of the student body, there could be more events that encourage bonding such as a movie night, a tutoring afternoon, and a mix it up day. To approach the imbalance of advertising, we could write in chalk of all the events happening during the week in front of the main entrance. To create a more visually welcoming and empowering environment, we could renovate the bathrooms to look more appealing with inspirational quotes. To ensure that students are recognized for their hard work, we could have a shout-out bulletin board where students and teachers can personally write about a specific student.
Compassionate Insight - Injustice
a lack of positivity within the school’s climate and culture
Compassionate Insight - Address
the absence of a visually engaging and empowering environment
Compassionate Insight - Action
renovating our school’s restrooms with inspirational quotes that promote positivity, kindness, and teamwork.
Compassionate Insight - Comments
Comment
Hey Rachel! SO awesome to see that you've brought your Lab project to the Challenge - and we are excited to support you. Let us know how we can help.

I'm here to give you feedback on your Compassionate Insight - and move you forward to the plan stage!

I think your Compassionate Insight is brilliant - and in particular I think you do a great job of connecting the lack of positivity in your school's climate and culture with the harm this causes. I'd be really interested to know more about this - especially how the lack of a compassionate atmosphere leads to an uneven distribution of support, which I think is a serious injustice.

We know from research - and experience - that environments matter, so I think your root cause is sound. I'd encourage you to share other things you think might be root causes as well - there may be ways for you to address multiple of these with one project (if you like). And your solution perfectly addresses it (and, again, I think there's room for you to think about broader solutions, if you like!).

I'm really excited that you're on this journey - and that you're bringing others along with you. I'm looking forward to showing your insight to other students across Colorado as an example of what a good one looks like. Your next step is to build a plan - and then you can apply for a mini-grant! You should have everything you need to do this from the Lab.

How else can we help? :)
Commentor
Comment Date
Thu, 01/03/2019 - 10:11
Plan - Goals
To renovate our school’s restrooms with the intent of incorporating messages that will promote positivity, kindness, and collaboration within the student body
Students will have access to a place every day where they can feel valued and inspired.
To model to students what an encouraging atmosphere values.
The student body as a whole will start to adopt a mindset of wanting to help and extend kindness to others.
Plan - Compassion
To ensure renovating the school’s bathrooms is approached with sensitivity towards solving the injustice of a lack of a positive climate and culture, I will design the bathrooms with the intent of catering to the entire student body, not just student groups that I am involved with. I will show that I am compassionate about the inclusivity of the entire student body by creating a way for students of all different backgrounds to be involved in the design process of the bathrooms. This can be done through online surveys.
Plan - Courage
The obstacle I fear the most for this project is having approval from my school’s administrators. I will show courage by presenting to admin how renovating the bathrooms will have a positive long-term impact on the school’s atmosphere. I will also continue to show courage by developing solutions to solve any risks or issues that may arise.
Plan - Collaborate
To ensure that the makeover of the bathrooms includes student insight, I will ask students to suggest quotes. I will also have the student body vote on potential designs. I will also collaborate with the school’s art students by asking them to draw an illustration of an image they could paint on the stall doors. I will also continue to communicate with the school’s administrators by providing them with updates. Also, along with my Student Council advisors, together we will create a budget that uses the funds for the project efficiently.
Plan - Direction
To measure the growth of student perception towards the school, a scale can be used. Open-ended questions can be asked after students rate their perception to analyze qualitative trends. When this project is successful, there would also be a decrease in vandalism in the bathrooms.
Plan - Steps
Research prices of paint, vinyl, and other supplies needed to renovate the restrooms.
Create a budget with the help and guidance of my Student Council advisors.
Present the idea and budget plan to admin for approval.
Find ways to fund the renovation.
Ask students for suggestions for quotes, themes, and input on potential designs.
Create an online survey for the student body to vote on potential designs.
Present the selected designs to admin with a timeline of when each bathroom will be renovated.
Buy supplies needed.
Start the renovation process by cutting out the quoted designs on vinyl.
Plan - Comments
Comment
Hi Rachel! Fish again. As before - this is an incredibly well thought-out plan. I admire the care and energy you put into it!

Some things from your plan that I really love - your commitment to engaging everyone in this process and listening to others' suggestions, your interest in evaluation (I would love to see you do that survey before and after and share the results in your reflection!), and the way you connect this work to the all-important idea of school culture. I know this exists as part of a larger piece of work around creating kind schools that you do - I think the community would have a lot to learn from you (you should write a story on the 'stories' section of our site!).

One thing to think about - I know you had a conversation with another member of our team about using this as an opportunity to make sure that bathrooms are accessible to all, including trans folks. If you want to amend your project plan to share more about how you're thinking about this - sounded like you had some good ideas for how to incorporate that piece of the work - I think it would be an incredible example for others.

I'm approving your plan and moving you on to the next stage. Remember to take some pictures for us!
Commentor
Comment Date
Fri, 01/11/2019 - 19:14
Details - Country
United States
Details - Location
Sand Creek High School, Colorado Springs, Colorado
Grant - Resource
Resource
White Paint
Cost
60.00
Resource
Cardinal Paint
Cost
40.00
Resource
Navy Paint
Cost
40.00
Resource
Paint Primer
Cost
30.00
Resource
Variety Pack of Paint Brushes
Cost
30.00
Resource
Gray Paint
Cost
40.00
Resource
Pencil Lettering Stencils
Cost
10.00
Grant - Confirm Age
Yes
Grant - Confirm Use
Yes
Grant - Confirm Start
Yes
Grant - Confirm End
Yes
Grant - Confirm Report
Yes
Grant - Comments
Comment
Hi Rachel,

Congratulations! Your mini-grant has been approved! We’re excited to support your project with a grant. Once you add your payment details we will work to get your grant to you over the next two weeks.

Best,
Andrea
Commentor
Comment Date
Tue, 04/23/2019 - 19:48
Payment - PF Affiliated
No
Payment - Bank Account
Yes
Payment - E-Check
Yes
Payment - Agree to Terms
Yes
Grant - Total
250.00
Updates
Starting to Paint!
Starting to Paint!
Tue, 07/23/2019 - 12:48
Yesterday, we outlined our designs on our bathroom walls in chalk. Today, Sand Creek High School StuCo is helping to the designs.
The quotes that were chosen:
"You will never regret being kind."
"Take the risk or lose the chance!"
"Be the reason someone smiles today."
"Successful people never worry about what others are doing."
Finished Painting
Finished Painting
Sun, 08/04/2019 - 15:19
Last week, we finished painting all 4 quote designs. We will be painting 4 more bathrooms over fall break. Here is one of the quotes we painted in the girl's bathroom!
Painting Bathrooms at the Elementary School
Painting Bathrooms at the Elementary School
Sun, 10/13/2019 - 16:59
I am super excited to announce that the elementary school I attended reached out to have their bathrooms painted as well. A couple days, my friend and I chalked out the quote designs and we will be painting them soon!
Post-assess - Engaged
Agree
Post-assess - Understand
Strongly Agree
Post-assess - Inspired
Strongly Agree
Post-assess - Skills
Agree
Post-assess - Stand Up
Agree
Post-assess - Reach Out
Agree
Post-assess - Others
Agree
Reflect - Deepen
After painting the quotes to solve our injustice of a lack of positivity in our school’s climate and culture, I finally realized how much our school truly lacked positive and motivational quotes. Although adding motivational quotes into our school is relatively a simple idea, I finally understood that students are always looking for something to inspire them for their own self-growth. By painting the walls with positive quotes, I realized that our injustice could be solved by people who want to empower and inspire others. Simply, that positivity is shared as a ripple effect when students feel like someone believes that they are capable of accomplishing great things.

Reflect - Change
Students felt that they were being cared for. For the past few years, it had become evident that our school’s bathrooms have been overlooked. There was trash in sinks, half the locks were broken, and overall, the bathrooms looked bland. Now, with the newly painted quotes on the walls, students could see that the school does care about a facility that they use every day.
Reflect - How Many
998
Reflect - How Many Explained
My school has roughly about 1300 students. Many of these students use the bathroom daily. Every day, they are supplied with a quote to think about.
Reflect - People Affected
I learned that students really do appreciate a simple “face-lift.” I learned that students feel a lack of positivity in their school culture when the school doesn’t seem like it is in a state of change. When students came back on the first day of school, students were excited to see something new and fresh in what was originally just a boring wall. The new change made students feel inspired.
Reflect - Learn
My team consisted of other members in student council as well as my student council advisors. One thing we learned was how to design the quotes so that everyone would like them. We learned that we had to balance out different colors and fonts to please a wide range audience. We didn’t want the quotes to resonate with only the sports or musicians students; we wanted to be inclusive of everyone. We wanted to choose and design quotes that could be applied to every unique student’s life.
Reflect - Challenges
We had to overcome the challenge of communication with our school’s administration and our custodians. When I initially presented this idea to our school’s principal, I was hoping she would talk to the custodians about the approval of the idea. I learned that I had to talk to the custodians myself to ask about our restrict actions when painting the bathrooms. I also was conflicted when my school’s principal wanted us to paint the quotes, while the custodians wanted us to use vinyl. It became harder to communicate with both admin and custodians when the school year ended. Luckily, my advisors were able to set up a meeting with both the custodians and admin at the same time and place which would, in the end, help us finalize what we were allowed to do.
Reflect - Others
I asked other members of my student council to help me with painting the quotes. My council has a large variety of students, so I asked them to help out designing the quotes. Since we have students of all different backgrounds, I depended on the opinions of the other student representatives in my council to share if they felt that the designs we chose would appeal to everyone. The custodians also helped us out with supplying us with tarps, paint, and rags. They also painted a wall with fresh paint for a blank canvas for us. My student council advisors also helped me coordinate times where we could come in and paint over the summer.
Reflect - Future Hopes
In my school, we painted 4 out of 10 student bathrooms over the summer. This coming fall break, I am hoping to paint 4 more bathrooms with positive quotes. For more long-term visions, I would like to bring remodeling the bathrooms to our district’s middle schools.
Reflect - Future Support
I will need support from my school’s administration for approval of new designs. I will also have to coordinate with our school’s custodians for supplies. Most importantly, I will need the support of my peers and advisors in Student Council to help with the painting process.
Reflect - Accelerator
No
Reflect - Advice
My project needed to be approved by my school’s administration. Our principal at first didn’t like the initial designs I presented and suggested some of her own quotes and preferred style. I found myself conflicted because I needed approval from admin for the designs, but I wanted to keep ownership of my vision for the project. My advice for anyone whose project requires approval from an administrator is to make sure your visions align without feeling like you lost ownership of your project. Luckily, we were able to come together to make designs that we both liked.
Details - Public
Yes
Project Comments
Comment
One more thing to think about - how can you use this as an opportunity to get students involved who may not currently be taking a leadership role at your school, but are really into art?
Commentor
Comment Date
Fri, 01/11/2019 - 19:16
Comment
Hi Rachel,

I am Andrea from Peace First :) How was your Monday? Mine was quite inspiring. Actually, you inspired me! I read the projects we have received from the Colorado challenge (yours and the young people that participated in the lab!). I am so inspired by your work and your determination to solve this injustice.

I think you should check the other projects, and share your ideas and suggestions by leaving a comment. Remember that we are a community and we all love to get feedback from our peers :)

Find here the links to the other projects:
Find Your Voice (Greeley, CO): https://www.peacefirst.org/project/find-your-voice-greeley-co
Project We Care Colorado: https://www.peacefirst.org/project/project-we-care-colorado
Day Without Hate: https://www.peacefirst.org/project/day-without-hate

As always, let me know if you have any question. I’ll be more than happy to answer.

Best,
Andrea
Commentor
Comment Date
Mon, 01/14/2019 - 17:09
Comment
Hi Rachel,

How are you? Just one more step to get a mini-grant for up to $250! You are so close to implement your project and address the injustices in your community! :)

I noticed you hadn’t made any updates lately and I wonder if you have any question on how to fill out the mini-grant application. I am here to help you! I am hoping to hear from you soon so I can process your mini-grant and send the check your way.

Best,
Andrea
Commentor
Comment Date
Thu, 01/31/2019 - 16:02
Comment
Hi Rachel! Ready to submit your mini-grant? Your plan is approved and we're excited to help you bring it to life.
Commentor
Comment Date
Wed, 03/06/2019 - 14:28
Comment
Hey Rachel! I noticed you hadn't submitted your mini-grant application yet and wanted to check in. We really believe on what you're working on, we think your plan is great, and we're ready to support it with a grant of up to $250 -- so send in your mini-grant application as soon as you can!
Commentor
Comment Date
Sat, 04/13/2019 - 20:29
Comment
I am trying to get this going at my school. My principal asked me to give him the pricing for paint. What type of paint did you guys use???
Commentor
Comment Date
Fri, 09/27/2019 - 14:31
Comment
I am trying to get this going at my school. My principal asked me to give him the pricing for paint. What type of paint did you guys use???
Commentor
Comment Date
Fri, 09/27/2019 - 14:31
Comment
Hi Carol!

I would first ask what type of paint is best to use from your school's custodians, especially if you are already painting on paint. For my school, we used satin.

Hope it works out! :)
Commentor
Comment Date
Mon, 09/30/2019 - 18:58
Parent Comment
13522
Slug
high-school-restroom-makeover-empower-students
Details - Video
Previous Changed
Step
14.00
Reflect - Comments
Comment
Hi Rachel,

My name is Brennan and I'm a Fellow-in-Residence here at Peace First. I wanted to celebrate your project's successes and provide some thoughts on your reflection.

Congratulations on finishing this stage of your project, and thank you for taking the time to share about the outcomes of your project and what you’ve learned with us! Below you will find some feedback based on your Reflection, which we hope will help you to celebrate your incredible accomplishment and reflect on how to grow and develop your project in the future.

One thing that I think is really powerful about your project is how you've designed a thoughtful, simple solution to address such a big problem. I especially love how you focused on incorporating the ideas of other members of your student council, student council advisors, other students at your school, and administrators. It seems that logistical challenges about working with so many different stakeholders were the most significant barriers along the way, and you've done a great job of finding solutions by getting everyone in the room together to share ideas and making decisions collaboratively. In fact, collaboration seems to be the guiding value of your project -- from bringing students together to paint the walls to working with the school custodians to find the right kind of materials. Amazing work!

As you move forward, I encourage you to consider how you can continue building space for collaboration in this initiative. How can you incorporate the voices of students outside of student council? Can you involve other young people in this process? Can you spark conversations about building positivity in your school and taking care of community spaces together? I'm curious what this project might look like expanded to other schools.

I hope you'll stay in touch about future project updates. It's been so great to follow your progress -- best of luck for your future work on this initiative! Please let me know if there's anything else that we can do to support you.

Best,
Brennan
Commentor
Comment Date
Tue, 10/15/2019 - 16:11