Three Best Practices Awards were given out at the 2014 CTAUN Conference, each for a project inspired by a previous CTAUN conference.

Best Practices Awardees
Best Practices Award winners at the 2014 CTAUN Conference flanked by CTAUN Best Practices Coordinator Joan Goldstein (far right) and CTAUN member Mary Metzger (far left)


Julia Roche, Teacher – Year 5 Students, St Edmund’s College, Canberra, Australia

The project, United We Stand, reflects the basic understanding that Education is a human right and it is our responsibility to stand up for others. These themes and ideas were promoted and inspired through the CTAUN – UN–New York Conference 2012.


Hands-on activities engaged students in Model UN General Assemblies and Security Council meetings. Student ambassadors represented their country and discussed issues of human rights, education and peace. The theme of the UN Peacekeepers and their role as Soldiers of Peace was highlighted. Topics discussed in the class General Assembly, formed the basis of students creating and designing their own UN agencies and emblems. These emblems were displayed at the United Nations Day exhibition in Canberra.  


We celebrated UN day with a UN birthday party, coupled with pledging our commitment to stand up and be a voice, for the voiceless in our world. By attending and participating in the UN Day ceremony students were encouraged to imagine that they were the Secretary -General and had to write and deliver their own UN Day address. By flying the UN Flag and addressing the school assembly, it proves that each of us can be pro-active in educating others, about the role of the United Nations, in our world today.


The annual class visit by the Director of the United Nations Information Centre for Australia, Mr. Christopher Woodthorpe, has been a significant component of this project.




Katherine Makela, Principal – The Lillian M. Dunfee Elementary School, Barnegat, New Jersey

– Inspired by the CTAUN Conference 2012 in Austin “Promoting Tolerance: Solutions for Change” as our goal is for our students to be respectful of one another.

The Lillian M. Dunfee Elementary School, home of the dragons, has implemented a school-wide initiative to foster school connectedness by building consistent behavior expectations for all students in all school settings as part of the Positive Behavior Support in Schools program.  A group of staff members met to create the school theme and logo; hence Celebrating Excellence: Dunfee Dragon R.O.A.R. was born.  From this overarching theme, behavior expectations were created for all school settings and shared and taught to students.  In September, and periodically throughout the year, students and staff participate in activities to learn and review what R.O.A.R. looks like and what Be Respectful, Optimistic, Awesome Achievers, and Responsible means, and how they should behave in all school settings. Posters are displayed throughout the building that outline expectations for behavior in the lunchroom, hallways, classroom, playground, assemblies, as well as arrival and dismissal.  In addition, a Dunfee Dragon’s R.O.A.R. Post Office has been created, consisting of grade level mailboxes, and hallways throughout the school have been decorated with street signs: Responsibility Way, Awesome Achievers Avenue, Respectful Road, Optimistic Lane and R.O.A.R. Boulevard.


This is how it works:  Staff members are always on the lookout for students displaying the R.O.A.R. attributes.  When they catch a student following R.O.A.R., he/she may receive a R.O.A.R. ticket to place in the grade level mailbox.  Every Friday, three names are drawn from each grade level box and read over the P.A. system.   The winners get to select  R.O.A.R. prizes.  In addition to the weekly drawings, a monthly drawing is held where students can win a Drake the Dragon stuffed animal (the school mascot), a Frisbee, pennant or tee-shirt, all inscribed with the R.O.A.R. acronym.    A Golden R.O.A.R. mailbox has been added to the post office for teachers and other staff members where they can place the “Golden R.O.A.R. tickets” they receive from their colleagues, students, and parents.    At the end of each month, the tickets are then put in a large student designed container displayed in the school foyer for all to see, and students vote on school-wide fun activities as incremental goals are met.   At the end of the year, students who receive a R.O.A.R. ticket during the year are invited to an End-of-Year celebration.  Last year, all students met this criteria and were treated to an ice cream sundae party, courtesy of the PTA.  Needless to say, students and staff members at the Dunfee School feel valued and understand they are integral members of the Dunfee School family.  The positive climate that has been created through the consistent implementation of this program allows our students to achieve their goals in a safe, peaceful school setting.  



BRIDGING THE GAP: the HIV/AIDS Initiative of UNAI ASPIRE of East Stroudsburg South High School

Michael Healey, Social Studies Teacher – East Stroudsburg South High School, Pennsylvania and Michele Vella , Counseling Psychology Doctoral Student – Lehigh University, Pennsylvania

Inspired by the CTAUN Conference 2013 at the UN  “Advancing Social Justice:  The Role of Educators”

During a World History class discussion on challenges facing the global community, a 14-year-old student presented teacher Mr. Michael Healey with misinformation regarding HIV/AIDS transmission risk. Michael immediately called on his wife Michele Vella, a counseling psychology doctoral student and therapist working with individuals living with HIV/AIDS, to place a social justice and public health curriculum into action with their global citizenship student group UNAI ASPIRE of East Stroudsburg South High School. Both Michael and Michele realized that bridging the gaps between myth and fact around infectious disease could reduce stigma, health inequities, and foster community relationships based on the unlearning of intolerance instead of fear. Collaborating with HIV+ activists, advocates, and public health workers, students engaged in a yearlong initiative marked by roundtable discussions, a World Café event at World AIDS Day, and discussions on the history of HIV/AIDS. Many of the students had false stereotypes of persons living with HIV/AIDS and the impact was profound.

The students volunteered at a community food bank which services individuals living with HIV/AIDS.  Students hosted a World Cafe discussion at the Drexel School of Medicine World AIDS Day where they educated the experts on what youth know and how they made a change.  Throughout the initiative, students collected personal items/cleaning supplies for the food bank. This was presented in a final discussion with Tony Strobel, AIDS Activities Office Lehigh Valley Hospital.  ASPIRE students continue this initiative through collecting personal items for the food bank and utilizing social networking to disseminate correct information and combat misinformation as well as hosting public health experts in interactive roundtable discussions. UNAI ASPIRE students are currently developing a Community Walk to raise awareness and funding for the AIDS Activities Office of the Lehigh Valley Health Network.