Project Cornerstone

"By volunteering just 2 to 3 hours per month, our Asset Building Champions build relationships with young people by reading selected books and leading classroom activities and discussions with a focus on empathy, tolerance, peaceful conflict resolution, resiliency, caring and friendship. Children learn what to do if they encounter bully behaviors and how to become an UPstander.”

----Project Cornerstone, YMCA

September 2020 Update:

This month, we kicked off our Project Cornerstone year with readings of Have You Filled a Bucket Today? by Carol McCloud and The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig. Following the readings, our parent volunteer Readers led class discussions and extension activities. Our hope is that you will continue these conversations at home with your children. Below are some talking points from this month’s books. A complete list of the 2020/2021 Project Cornerstone books is also below.

Have You Filled A Bucket Today? uses the image of a bucket to represent our need to be filled with positive, caring words every day. When we are kind to each other, we create warm fuzzies that fill our friends’ and classmates’ buckets. The book also discusses bucket dippers, whose negative behavior removes warm fuzzies from other people’s buckets and makes them feel sad.

The lesson’s goal is to help students intentionally choose to fill their classmates’ buckets with acts of kindness.

Ask your child to tell you more about:

• Warm fuzzies - What are they?

• Bucket fillers - How can you fill your bucket and the bucket of others?

• Bucket dippers - How can you keep a lid on your bucket and how can you help bucket dippers fill their bucket?

The Invisible Boy encourages students to show empathy. Most of us can relate to feeling invisible at one time or another. Sometimes, we may inadvertently cause someone around us to feel invisible. Our discussions focused on how to help everyone feel welcome and accepted.

Ask your children what does empathy mean to them? What does empathy sound and look like?

Empathy is the ability to understand what someone is feeling. But it is more. Empathy is at the heart of what it means to be human. It’s a foundation for acting ethically, for good relationships, problem solving, and it’s key to preventing bully behaviors.

Reinforcing this lesson and modeling empathy at home will help your child practice how to create a positive, caring school climate where students treat each other respectfully.

If you would like more information about the ABC program, please contact us at: To learn more, visit the Project Cornerstone web site at

2020/2021 Project Cornerstone books:

Have You Filled A Bucket Today? by Carol McCloud (for Kindergarten)

The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig

Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae

BIG by Coleen Paratore

When Sophie Gets Angry - Really, Really Angry by Molly Bang

Through My Eyes by Ruby Bridges

How Do I Stand in Your Shoes? By Susan DeBell, Ph.D

The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds

Thank you, Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco

Who Moved My Cheese? For Kids by Spencer Johnson (for 5th Graders)

Thank you,

Melissa Lin, Anna Goldberg

SES Project Cornerstone Leads - 2020-2021

What is Project Cornerstone?

At Saratoga Elementary School, we are Asset Builders!

Project Cornerstone was founded in 1999 after a survey showed that most youth in Santa Clara County are missing the positive relationships, opportunities, values, and skills— known collectively as “developmental assets”—that provide the foundation for a healthy, successful future. In general, the more developmental assets that young people possess, the more likely they are to avoid risky behaviors and engage in positive, healthy activities. At Saratoga Elementary School, we are Asset Builders -- which means we are constantly looking for ways to provide meaningful learning experiences for our students where they feel safe, have a sense of community and belonging, and have a rich network of trusted adult role models with whom they can interact and rely on. For more information about Project Cornerstone:

The Asset Building Champions Program

ABC is Project Cornerstone’s effective parent engagement program. It is composed of a preschool and elementary school strand, with more than 2,900 adults reading to 38,000+ kids in 127 schools. Volunteers have training in the developmental assets model for positive youth development. They are prepared to read a specially selected children’s book and lead related activities and discussions in classrooms each month.

The program’s goal is to help school communities achieve the following:

  • Create a common language and vocabulary about student respect and behavior expectations among all members of the school community — students, parents and caregivers, teachers and staff.

  • Help students develop skills to handle physical, verbal, relational and digital bullying and to STAND UP when they see bullying.

  • Increase the number of caring adults on campus so that all students feel that there is at least one adult they can turn to if they have a problem.

  • Contribute to a positive school climate where every student feels valued and supported to achieve and thrive.

Visit the Project Cornerstone website to learn more.