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.

Students LINK Up for New School Year

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Eighth graders from Lynbrook South Middle School are helping their fellow peers adjust to their new school through South’s L.I.N.K. (Lynbrook Students Independently Networking Kids) program. Led by guidance counselor Jennifer Arena, L.I.N.K. is a buddy program that is held each school year to help sixth graders acclimate to middle school.

Prior to the first day of school, several South Middle School eighth graders attended the school’s sixth grade orientation. Here, three eighth grade L.I.N.K. students spoke with sixth graders in the cafeteria about middle school and what to expect. The other eighth grade L.I.N.K. students assisted the incoming sixth graders with their lockers, answered questions and gave them a tour of the building.

With a full week of school under their belts, the sixth graders met with their eighth grade L.I.N.K. buddies on Sept. 17. The students gathered outside on the school track where they formed small groups and played ice breaker games. The sixth graders shared their middle school experience thus far and asked their L.I.N.K. buddy questions. The program has been a successful way for incoming South Middle School students to make new friends, while also providing them with a smooth transition from elementary to middle school.