North Hills School District News Article

Kindness, social inclusion events planned for Start with Hello Week

Posted Tuesday, September 10, 2019
Start with Hello Post-it wall and students at McIntyre Elementary

PITTSBURGH -- At the North Hills School District, safety and security is always top of mind. We’re committed to improving upon our district’s safety and security initiatives, emergency response drills and safety plans, and safety-related resources for our school community, and have several events planned this month focused on the safety and security of our students and staff.

Last year, we unveiled two Sandy Hook Promise school violence prevention programs: Start with Hello and Say Something. The programs highlight the importance of a student's social and emotional health and how it impacts all facets of a student's life, including school safety.

Research consistently states that students learn best when their physical, emotional, academic and social school climate is safe, friendly and student-centered. Our implementation of the Sandy Hook Promise is an additional step in our ongoing, evolving commitment to educating the "whole child."

Designed to bring individuals and communities together, Start with Hello proactively promotes kindness to others while teaching us to be more socially-inclusive.

Several events are planned in our buildings for Start with Hello Week from September 23-27.

In our elementary schools, students and staff members will: 

  • Be greeted daily with announcements conveying messages of kindness and social inclusion
  • Take part in engaging icebreakers and classroom-level lessons to get to better know their classmates
  • Perform random acts of kindness for friends, students, teachers and staff
  • Partner with their buddies from other classrooms to complete projects promoting kindness and inclusion
  • Say “hello,” introduce themselves to new people and make new friends
  • Make notes and cards to thank someone who’s helped them at school
  • Create “Start with Hello” Post-it walls, bulletin boards and murals with positive messages to serve as daily reminders about the importance of being kind to others and including new friends who may be sitting, eating, walking or playing alone
  • Wear green to show their support and that they are a student who supports friendships and connecting with others

At North Hills Middle School, our counselors will be teaching lessons promoting kindness and social inclusion during all social studies classes. Special morning and afternoon announcements are also planned for everyday during the week.

At North Hills High School, Student Council has organized a school wide “Say Hello” initiative designed to encourage students to introduce themselves to someone they typically do not interact with.  Student “Hello Tickets” can be exchanged and submitted for a small raffle.  

In addition, members of the high school’s Stand Together club will visit ninth and tenth grade English classrooms to facilitate healthy discussions with peers about inclusion, kindness, discrimination and mental health awareness. The student-led discussions will be monitored by staff and adults but serve as a means to help reduce the stigma surrounding mental health. Culminating the discussions, students will complete a reflection piece assigned by their English teacher. 

Eleventh and twelfth grade English teachers will facilitate mini-lessons and activities within their classroom to heighten student awareness around these powerful topics. The overarching goal is to provide every student with an opportunity to grow his/her understanding and reflect on how we interact and treat each other.

Sandy Hook Promise is a national non-profit organization founded and led by several family members whose loved ones were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012.

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