Talon News - Good Local News

By Kirk Carpenter
Special to TALON 


Start with Hello


October 5, 2018

Start with Hello

Fall is in the air and we are off to a great school year. As you all know we have started one of the programs that the Sandy Hook Promise programs offer, the “Say Something” Anonymous application. This has been a very beneficial in helping to address student needs. It has already proven itself.

One of the most important and crucial ways of addressing safety, social, violence, mental health and many other issues that schools and communities face is preventing them. One way to do that is by ensuring that all students are connected and that we know their story. The “Start With Hello” program is designed to do just that, make sure we remove student isolation in our schools. Last week was actually the national rollout week, and we had initially planned to roll it out, but were not ready, so we have moved our roll out week back to this week October 1 – 5 in our district.

This program is designed to help children in grades K – 12 learn how to become more socially inclusive and connected to one another. The program focuses on students, educators, parents and the community leaders who interact with our children and teens. This happens by everyone taking steps in class, the lunch room, the bus, the entire campus and throughout our community, to ensure that our students become more connected and inclusive. Sometimes the biggest changes can start with the simplest acts, but these acts must be consistent, authentic and systemic. So what are they? If you see someone alone, reach out and help, and start by saying HELLO. There are many other things that can and will be a part of the program that schools will be doing to remove the isolation and inclusive behavior of students. Simple acts of kindness that do not cost anything, not fancy programs that cost a lot, is what we need to take in order to make systemic and long lasting changes in our community. It has been said that we need to make our students become more human again and develop meaningful relationships. They have a lot of pressures and devices that isolate them, so let’s all do our part to make sure we all connect with all of our students and specifically those that are isolated. The “Start With Hello” program will have immediate benefit and impact to children, teachers, staff, administrators and the community as long as we all do our part to make it happen.

Student and staff culture in a school cannot be created by motivational speeches and statements of values, mission statements posted on the wall etc. The only way you can create a positive culture within every school and the district is through a consistent set of repeated practices and by using every minute of every day to build good habits. The larger and more important contribution of “Start With Hello” will become the culture of a school district and community and will have long lasting benefits for generations to have even greater inclusion and connectedness for children going into the future.

Because we are dealing with our most precious assets, our kids, we cannot do it alone. So will be planning events to get the community, businesses, families, and everyone involved. As we get started, we will be getting things like table tents for restaurants and stickers out to schools and businesses that want to support our efforts. To help us with different activities and sustain the program, we will be looking for some support and welcome anyone and any business that want to participate. In the meantime you can start by increasing the times you say hello to the number of people you see each day.

These are our children and this is our community and we need to be bold for our kids. Change happens one student at a time and it takes all of us. For more information, visit www.sandyhookpromise.org.



Office of the Superintendent

“Building a Foundation of Success”

All In, All the Time


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