ARIZONA NEWS

Gilbert elementary school using graffiti to spread positive messages

Jun 28, 2018, 4:53 AM | Updated: 6:34 am

PHOENIX — An elementary school in Gilbert is spreading positive messages on its bathroom stalls — using graffiti.

Tamey Zollner, a fifth-grade teacher at Finley Farms Elementary School, decided to transform her school’s ordinary bathrooms into what she named “inspiration stalls.”

Zollner said she got the idea after she saw a post on Facebook from other schools who had created similar inspiring artwork in the bathrooms.

“We just wanted to make sure that we gave our students a place to feel empowered and valued,” Zollner told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Wednesday.

Zollner and one of her colleagues, Kathy Roy, were at a conference together when the idea surfaced.

Shortly after, ideas started to flow from the teachers’ creative mindsets and then they got the principal on board.

Donations were given and plenty of teachers and staff came together to help, bringing needed items from their classrooms and putting all hands on deck.

Eight different bathrooms — four boys’ and four girls’ — throughout the Gilbert campus have been painted to reflect positive messages and images for students.

“We themed each one based on the age of the students who typically frequent that bathroom, as well as gender,” Zollner said.

“One bathroom has a big rainbow across five stall bathroom doors and then also says ‘Be a rainbow’ in someone else’s cloud.”

Zollner said the messages tie in lessons learned from the classroom, but the main focus is proving that a students’ intelligence is not fixed and can be grown and developed.

“Our ‘why’ everyday is our kids, so we figured if we are teaching this in the classroom on a daily basis, why not remind them all over the place?” Zollner said.

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Gilbert elementary school using graffiti to spread positive messages