School news

Shadow Oaks Elementary students ‘leaf’ kindness on Wisdom Tree, build Core Characteristics



At Shadow Oaks Elementary, Aurelia Guzman is dedicated to helping students develop the Core Characteristics of a T-2-4 Ready Graduate

As a first-year counselor, Guzman was seeking out ways to connect students and show them the importance of developing the characteristics that will ensure their future success. That’s when it came to her, she would build a Wisdom Tree!

Guzman collaborated with her peers to construct a colorful tree in the hallway. She gave leaves to more than 500 students across Shadow Oaks and gave them a prompt: how can you be more empathetic and respectful? 

This season’s theme was respect and focused on becoming more Empathetic and Self-Aware

Student answers included, share with your classmates, don’t laugh at your friends and think before you speak, among others. 

The tree will focus on distinct Core Characteristics each season. Guzman anticipates filling the tree with snowflakes in December and focusing on how students can be Ethical and Service-Minded throughout the holiday season.  



“The activity helped students reflect on their actions and how they can practice self-care, adjust their behavior and emotions and take their classmates’ feelings into consideration,” said Guzman. “They enjoyed it and are looking forward to further exploring their emotions.”

The students will also be drawing on rocks the activities that they would like to partake in with their friends, such as watching movies or playing together. Guzman notes that the activity will help develop them as Communicators and Collaborators. The rocks will be placed in the school garden and students will have the chance to visit them. 

During parent-teacher conferences, parents saw the Wisdom Tree. Their students guided them through the tree and pointed out their very own leaves. Families were excited to know their students were engaging in such inclusive activities. 

“The tree looks so cool!” said Trajan, a participating student. “I like to read the quotes every time I pass by.” 

Guzman says that the tree has been a success and will become a tradition at Shadow Oaks.  

“We want our scholars to learn to build positive relationships with their peers and teachers,” said Mandy Antolini, Shadow Oaks principal. “By creating the Shadow Oaks’ Wisdom Tree, we are providing an opportunity for our scholars to think and process during Community Time on what our Core Characteristics look like in and out of school.”