Students Come Together During Start With Hello Week

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Students at Lynbrook North and South middle schools participated in Start With Hello Week from Sept. 20-24. Start With Hello was founded by Sandy Hook Promise and is a national movement that is intended to teach students to be more socially inclusive and connected to each other and their community. The goal is to put an end to social isolation in schools.

Throughout the week, the middle schoolers were encouraged to build meaningful connections with their fellow peers and become actively involved in creating a positive school environment where all students feel accepted and included. Students in both schools engaged in a variety of activities throughout the week to promote social inclusion.

At Lynbrook North Middle School, students wore nametags to foster socialization among peers and were encouraged to reach out to a classmate who was sitting alone at lunch or recess. In addition, the students participated in a meaningful discussion centered around understanding and celebrating diverse identities, and contributed to the school’s Wall of Positivity and Inclusion. Students wrote what they can do to help create a school where all students feel accepted and included. Some of the responses were “include new students,” “don’t judge,” “accept others for being themselves,” “play with everyone at recess” and “don’t exclude.”

At Lynbrook South Middle School, students also wore nametags and were challenged to greet five new peers. Throughout the week, sixth graders received a visit from Principal Kaitlin GaNun who popped into classrooms to read “Invisible Boy” by Trudy Ludwig. The book taught students the importance of doing small acts of kindness. In addition, Amanda Cioffi, social worker, facilitated a discussion about social awareness, isolation and the importance of reaching out, and students participated in a photobooth and other activities during the week which encouraged teamwork.

Start With Hello Week empowered Lynbrook middle schoolers to practice empathy and form new friendships along the way.