Respect – You Learn It……You Earn it!!! Hopatcong School District is more than prepared to educate their students academically, but socially and emotionally as well. Some researchers state the social-emotional side of child development is paramount before any other learning can take place. K-12 anti-bullying specialists consisting of guidance counselors, student assistance coordinator, crisis counselor, and administrators, met in September to brainstorm and create comprehensive prevention programs and events for each school in preparation for October events.
Across the state, public schools will be observing the Week of Respect beginning October 7 – 11. This is a time when public schools will teach about preventing harassment, intimidation and bullying. The state’s anti-bullying law is considered the toughest in the country and New Jersey requires public schools have anti-bullying policies in place.
Hopatcong is more than equipped with the staff, resources, and inspirational programs to meet these requirements. Gina Cinotti, K-12 Director of Guidance and District Anti-Bullying Coordinator, has brought all stakeholders together to ensure Hopatcong schools are not just meeting the requirement, but going above and beyond to meet the needs of all learners. Student input is also a large part of the implementation process. Programs and messages at the elementary, middle and secondary levels are age-appropriate and are executed by the counseling staff in fun and exciting ways. Programs, events, and topics included but are not limited to: Acts of Kindness, Rainbow Express, C.U.R.E. (Children United to Respect Everyone), Spirit Days, Diversity Day, Mix It UP Day, ice breaker lessons, respect yourself, staff, school, etc. Messages of tolerance are not just implemented this week, but throughout the school year.
Hopatcong Schools show evidence that they are sensitive, supportive, and respect all.
Durban Avenue School
Hudson Maxim School
Hudson Maxim scheduled an anti-bullying assembly and conducts acts of kindness each week. Students complete a coloring booklet “Following the Rules: Learning About Respect” and read the story Spaghetti on a Hot Dog Bun.
Tulsa Trail School
Tulsa Trail students kicked off the Week of Respect with a dedication ceremony of Respect Avenue. Mr. Byrne led the ceremony, involving all the students in the school. The students were dressed in their rainbow t-shirts to celebrate the rainbow colors of the six pillars in the Character Counts Program. Mrs. Lisa Schuffenhauer received grant funding from the Hopatcong Education Association to purchase the rainbow t-shirts for all classes. Mrs. Britt Huss helped the students design and decorate their shirts during art classes. Dr. Donna-Jean Lynott initiated and designed the idea of “All Aboard the Rainbow Express” with brainstorming ideas for teachers.
Hopatcong Middle School
During Hopatcong Middle School’s Week of Respect celebration, students took it upon themselves to
perform scores of random acts of kindness toward classmates and teachers alike. Here, students Kylie
Budich, Daniel Ahuatzi, Lukas Liloia, Nick DiLeo and Ronnie Schult help HMS Cafeteria Manager Shirley
Mitchel carry valuable merchandise – ingredients for lunch – into the building. Week of Respect activities
at the Middle School included student readings, teacher-directed classroom activities promoting tolerance,
anti-bullying exercises, and student theme days promoting ethnicity, diversity, school spirit, the Golden Rule and, of course, Random Acts of Kindness.
Hopatcong High School
High School students distributed words of kindness, presented inspiring stories on the morning
announcements, and posted signs throughout the school promoting Week of Respect.
If you would like more information on this topic, or to schedule an interview with Cynthia Randina, please call JoAnne Murray at 973-398-8801 or email JoAnne at firstname.lastname@example.org.