Promoting a Culture of Kindness


As a means of spreading kindness throughout the district, staff and students of the district recently participated in DASA/Dignity Week.

The initiative, which was coordinated by Director of Pupil Personnel Services Gail Santo and the district’s youth and family service coordinators, included a number of engaging and interactive activities designated to promote acceptance, kindness and unity for all. 

Cherokee Street Elementary School recently welcomed Girl Scout Cadet Troop 1241, who are current Ronkonkoma Middle School students and Cherokee Street alumnae, for a very special presentation. Joined by Suffolk County Legislator Tom Cilmi, the girls donated two “buddy benches” to the school for the school’s playground and performed innovative skits to demonstrate the value of the new benches. Additionally, the school’s Youth and Family Services Coordinator Nicole Coogan recently hosted yoga and mindfulness sessions during DASA week in order to create a stress-free environment for the students to enjoy. During their sessions, the students cleared their minds as they were introduced to poses such as “tree,” “mountain” and “downward dog.”

John Pearl Elementary School’s fifth-grade peer mediators and volunteers developed an idea for showing dignity in the community by including their “Grandfriends” at the Arbors Assisted Living Facility of Bohemia. The students created a “Post-It Positivity Board,” filled with inspirational messages for residents in an effort to spread kindness on a daily basis. The students also created a personal poster for “Grandfriends” to remind them how special they are to the John Pearl community.

Multitalented singer-songwriter Jared Campbell visited Bosti Elementary School during DASA week to spread his important message of reinforcing positive character building messages. Mr. Campbell had the students singing along to his catchy songs such as “Change the World,” which told the tales of perseverance and successes from important individuals such as Rosa Parks and Michael Jordan. Additionally, Mr. Campbell wrote a song specifically geared toward the “Leader In Me” initiative, and had the entire school engaged toward the powerful message it contained. 

Ronkonkoma Middle School staff members rewarded students throughout the school with “hearts for dignity” after witnessing them acting kindly toward their peers. Throughout the course of the day, the recognized students’ names were taped to the wall of the guidance office for all to see. Additionally, a “Positive Affirmation Wall” was featured outside the school cafeteria, and students were invited to share uplifting messages. 

Idle Hour Elementary School kicked off DASA week with a schoolwide assembly. The students were joined by their friends from the Arbors Assisted Living Facility of Bohemia as they took part in singalongs, a PowerPoint presentation featuring photos of the students with their “Grandfriends” and an introduction to the Kindness Rock Project with the reading of the book "Ishi.” Additionally, the fifth-grade girls were recently visited by Counseling and Psychological Services representative Vickie Moskowitz for a brainstorming session about the importance of maintaining healthy friendships, entitled “Friendship Matters.” 

Staff and students at Duffield Elementary School created a large poster filled with music notes representing each Duffield family in coordination with their theme of “Music Connects Us All.” The poster visually demonstrated how each individual is like a single note, but when strung together a musical masterpiece is created. 

Duffield’s Anti-Bullying Club members and Peer Mediators visited all classrooms to present a lesson on Mindfulness. Students were trained by YFS Coordinator Joanne Pisani on how to use breathing and guided visualizations as a tool to help them respond to stress and conflicts. 

“Our goal is to teach students to manage their emotions during stressful situations by taking a deep breath and/or utilizing the ‘take five’ activity,” said Mrs. Pisani.

Every student was given a mindful book mark to use at home to practice the skills they were taught by their peers.

Additionally, elementary schools throughout the district were recently visited by Serge, Amanda and DJ Danny of ‘KerboomKidz,’ as they provided a fun and energetic dance program especially designed for students in grades K - 12. Faculty and staff joined the students as they danced their way through the exciting dance routines, gleefully moving to the rhythm of the music and exercises while DJ Danny pumped up the music for all involved.