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Turlock school goes behind the camera to promote anti-bullying efforts, welcoming atmosphere
Cunningham video pic
Cunningham Elementary School Principal Tami Truax and students end the "My School" music video, an adaptation of Flo Rida's "My House," with a joyous jump. The video produced by and starring Cunningham faculty, staff and students promotes school attendance and pride. - photo by Photo Contributed

Cunningham Elementary School is going above and beyond to create a safe and welcoming environment for students and their families with catchy videos that promote the campus’ bullying prevention efforts and daily attendance.


“The students love the videos,” said Assistant Principal Joaquin Galvan. “They enjoy singing along to the song and seeing themselves, their friends, and teachers in the video. Families have also responded positively — they enjoy seeing the staff reach out to their children, which makes us more approachable.”


Galvan said since bullying is becoming more and more frequent among today’s youth in locations like school and online, he decided to make the “Stop, Walk and Talk Gangham Style” video to reach out to students and address bullying by enlisting a dozen staff members and 100 students at Cunningham.


“The goal was to empower students by teaching students how to stand up to behavior that they feel is offensive or not wanted,” said Galvan.


Set to Flo Rida’s “My House” song, the “My School” video was created to promote a positive and welcoming school climate in an effort to improve attendance rates at Cunningham, said Galvan. Each grade level was represented in the video by both teachers, staff and roughly over 600 students.


“By using a popular song known to students, not only did we connect with them, but we also demonstrated that we are a fun and caring staff,” said Galvan. “If school is fun and engaging, then students will be excited to attend school.”


Galvan said that Cunningham’s efforts to incorporate families don't begin and end with the videos as the school also sends out monthly newsletters from both administration and teachers to inform and invite them to upcoming family nights or activities going on at the school site.


“We have frequent communication with families to attend curriculum nights, concerts, PIQUE, assemblies, family night, school carnivals and other activities at the site,” said Galvan.


The school also promotes Turlock Unified School District’s “Stop, Walk, Talk” initiative with the “Eagle Squadron,” a safety patrol that assists yard duties at recess in seeking positive behaviors and alerting Cunningham staff of any bullying or dangerous behaviors, as well as putting on school plays and assemblies to address bullying.


“In addition, I personally visit each classroom and present a 30-minute presentation that includes role plays and puppets to reinforce the Stop, Walk, and Talk skills for anti-bullying,” added Galvan.


Galvan said Cunningham is already planning on making more videos with the next project slated to showcase the importance of the California State Tests, which students take in the spring.


“It is important to show our students and families that we care about them,” said Galvan. “We want to offer additional resources for learning about various topics that they can relate to.”