WOODLAND PARK, NJ -  Week of Respect is a week to educate the students about the importance of showing respect to themselves and others. To help teach the values of this very important week, students in all three Woodland Park schools worked on activities and lessons regarding the value of respect in their classrooms and during recess.

At Charles Olbon, there have been daily announcements regarding how the students can respect themselves, places, things and others, according to guidance counselor Miss Indri. During recess, Indri has been working with kids on coloring pictures for Omegaman, a superhero that teaches about respect and bullying, who will be visiting the school on Oct 23. The pictures will be turned into a poster that will be hung up to welcome him.

In addition, teachers have been teaching lessons about respect in the classrooms. Indri has also been teaching a specific lesson on being upstanders to the 1st graders and creating class books for them to reference when needed.

Sign Up for E-News

Beatrice Gilmore School guidance counselor Mrs. Farraye notes that in surveys, students across the country have identified the cafeteria as the place where divisions are most clearly drawn. On Thursday, students were moved out of their comfort zones to connect with someone new as part of a national campaign by Teaching Tolerance (www.tolerance.org) called Mix It Up at Lunch Day.

It’s a simple act with profound implications. Studies have shown that interactions across group lines can help reduce prejudice. When students interact with those who are different from them, biases and misperceptions can fall away.

At BG, students also received daily “Respect Missions.” Monday: Respect Yourself (eat healthy, rest, pick good friends, do your homework). Tuesday: Respect Others (say please and thank you, listen when someone speaks, apologize when necessary, don't gossip). Wednesday: Respect Our Building (throw out your trash, keep our bathrooms clean, push your chairs in, clean up after lunch). Thursday: Respect Our Environment (don't litter, don't kill flowers/trees/grass). Friday: Putting them all into practice together.

Students at BG and fifth graders at Memorial also drew chalk pictures on the blacktop about respect. Some of the fifth grade drawings are shown with this story.

At Memorial School, guidance counselor Kerry Mc Glame said that teachers have been infusing various lessons and activities into their classes related to respect; harassment, intimidation and bullying; kindness; and diversity. Students have been working on a Week of Respect Flag, which will be like a Tibetan flag with each student making a square that states or show with art work how they can show respect. They also are participating in a “Week of Respect” poster creation contest.

Next week Memorial students will be treated to an assembly with JLine Dance Crew, an interactive choreography that involves entertaining students while conveying a positive message. Mc Glame said that there is a follow up discussion regarding the negative effects of bullying, how we can learn to respect each other inside and outside of the classroom, thoughtful decision making and why it is everyone's responsibility to take care of themselves and those around them. Setting clear life goals and overcoming obstacles is also heavily emphasized.

The week concluded at all three buildings with a School Spirit Day where all students and staff were encouraged to wear spirit wear or school colors of blue and gold to show unity in the common goal of being respectful to everyone and making our school and community the best it can possibly be.