September 23, 2019

Hello Parents and Guardians,

We are pleased to inform you that today through this Friday, September 27, the Nutley Public Schools will participate in Start With Hello Week, a project created by Sandy Hook Promise, a national nonprofit organization led by several family members who lost loved ones at the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting on December 14, 2012. This week long event teaches elementary, middle, and high school students the skills they need to reach out and include those who may be dealing with social isolation as well as to create a culture of inclusion and connectedness within their classroom and school.

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Social isolation is the overwhelming feeling of being left out, lonely, or treated like you are invisible. It is a growing epidemic in the United States and within our schools. Young people who are isolated can become victims of bullying, violence and/or depression. Students experiencing this may further pull away from society, struggle with learning and social development and/or choose to hurt themselves or others. The positive news is that there are cures for disconnection and loneliness if we reach out and help one another.

Last year, over 12,000 schools from across the United States participated in Start With Hello Week. The purpose of the week is to highlight and spread the message of the power of Start With Hello’s three simple steps:

1. See Someone Alone

2. Reach Out and Help

3. Simply Start With Hello

Start With Hello initiatives have been planned district wide. All students are encouraged to perform random acts of kindness, ask someone to play or join a group, or to simply sit next to someone at lunch or in class who might seem alone. Our elementary schools have planned a kindness-themed Spirit Week to promote inclusivity, and have designed creative, interactive displays to foster new connections between students. The middle school will kick off their “Week of Respect” with a guest speaker from the Sandy Hook Promise on October 7th. At NHS, students will provide the school community with daily inspirational quotes each morning, and Student Council and CORE Ambassador students have planned to lead social outreach initiatives. We hope to show all students that simple acts of kindness can have a big impact.

We encourage you to talk to your child about the Start With Hello program and ask them to share what they have learned. This will help you learn how to support your child to identify isolation, reach out and connect, and Start With Hello. It also demonstrates to your child that you take this subject seriously and can support them in their actions to create a more connected and inclusive home, school and Nutley community.

Please visit our district website for a complete list of activities. www.nutleyschools.org

Sincerely,

Mrs. Meredith Gerckens

K-12 Coordinator of School Counseling