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Senators Observe SEL in Action at Merrick Schools

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Students, staff and administrators met with New York State Senator and Education Committee Chair Shelley B. Mayer, as well as Sen. John Liu, the chairman of New York City Education Committee and Sen. Steve Rhoads on Dec. 1.

Guests observed four lessons/activities relating mental health and social-emotional learning.

From whole class instruction that explicitly teaches SEL skills to small groups run by school social workers that allows students to practice those skills before generalizing them, Merrick has created its own blended program that fits various pupil needs while creating an inclusive environment that encourages a sense of belonging in every classroom.

“Every employee in this school district has an impact on how we function,” noted Dr. Dominick Palma, superintendent of schools.

Regular classroom lessons and activities also foster these skills, and guests were able to view the district’s continuum of SEL work in action.

Visitors sat in on a morning meeting – the way each class in the district from pre-K through sixth starts their day, as well as an optimistic closure – the way classrooms close the day.

“It’s a way that our students and teachers are able to reflect on their school day and set up learning for the next day,”

Dr. Salvatore Dossena, the Assistant Superintendent for Student Services and Technology said. “No matter what happens during the school day, we find a way to reflect on our learning and social interactions,  so we can set goals for the following day.”

Second grade teacher Lindsay Struss said this has been a new addition to her classroom routine over the last few years.
“It has proven to be quite effective,” she added.

During a push in with district school counselor, Karen Alaimo, students worked on the executive functioning ability, flexible thinking. Given a paper bag containing everyday items, students were tasked to think of other uses for each item.

“You are able to look at something one way,” Alaimo addressed the class of fourth graders. “But you could also look at it in another way. These are some of the tools we need to be successful during the day.”

Over the last few years, Merrick pulled together a team of 40 school community members to develop the best practices to support students and their families. 

“You have small enough classes that you can really feel the difference,” noted Sen. Mayer at the end of the visit “You are doing fascinating work and I’m sure it will show longitudinally.”

“The foundation you’re laying here can really relate to the middle and high school level,” added Rhoads.

Chatterton Birthday Celebration Continues

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Friday, Dec. 1was Chatterton's School Spirit Day.

As another tribute to Chatterton’s birthday students and staff wore 2023 necklaces and had a Disney Dance Party for the 100thanniversary of Disney.

Date Added: 12/1/2023

Chatterton Sixth Graders Visit Portraits of Survivors?Exhibit

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Chatterton sixthgraders visited thePortraits of Survivorsexhibit at the Merrick Library.

Students have been studying the Holocaust during library with Mrs. Widawsky.

“Attending the exhibit was a very meaningful continuum of our study,” Widawsky noted. “Students were able to reflect on the image, what it made them think about, and how it made them feel.”

Date Added: 11/17/2023

Chatterton Kinders Learn About Gratitude Through Art

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As part of Chatterton's Kindergarten Buddy Club at Chatterton School, Mr. Keenan’s class is working on a lesson about gratitude. In preparation, Ms. Helbock helped by having the students paint the base of their rock.

Later this month, sixth graders will visit classrooms to read a book about being thankful and work with the students to identify something that they are thankful for and write it on their special rock. Sixth graders and kindergarteners will surely show that kindness rocks!

Date Added: 11/16/2023

Chatterton Honors Veterans Day

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The Chatterton School community commemorated Veterans Day by donning red, white and blue to display their patriotic pride and gratitude.

Additionally, students from Linda Learned's class worked to decode secret messages about Veterans Day in Spy Club.

“We would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank all the Veterans who have served our country,” said Principal Dana Bermas.

“We greatly appreciate all you do and all you have done for our nation,” added Assistant Principal Chris Hoisik.

Click here to view the photo slideshow.

Date Added: 11/9/2023