Start With Hello

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Hola, salut, hallo and ciao are just a few of the greetings that Hampton Bays Middle School students have been learning as part of a new character education program, Start with Hello Week. 

The violence prevention program, instituted by school counselors Josephine Sinkler and Erin DaSilva and social worker Renee Negrin, aims to provide students with skills to identify social isolation and intervene to promote social inclusion. 

The week kicked off on Sept. 23 with pod meetings. Teachers discussed with students the meaning of social isolation and why it is important to include others. All students decorated name tags, which they have been wearing, and took part in activities in which they complimented, encouraged and engaged with each other. 

Additionally, student volunteers are serving as greeters each morning, saying hello to their peers and staff as they enter the building. 

“You never know how much a little kindness can mean to one person,” said Negrin. “To them, you could be considered a hero.”

The school plans to build upon the program, which is modeled after the Sandy Hook Promise, by inspiring students to continue using the skills they learned to promote a positive school culture.