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An Upstanding Start to the New School Year

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August 30, 2013

Green Chimneys is committed to fostering a safe, supportive learning environment. We're starting the new school year off on the right foot thanks to a great program which launched over the summer and will be a key part of the 2013-14 curriculum.

NEWS_UpstanderStudents_August20131.jpgFrom New York State to the Federal Government, more and more offices and agencies are pushing for schools to take an active role in preventing bullying, especially bullying of children with special needs. Over the summer, Green Chimneys School launched the Upstander initiative to help students identify unacceptable behaviors and learn ways to address bullying. Not only are students empowered, they're rewarded too. Through a system designed to reinforce positive actions, students earn one coin each time they address bullying. Coins aren't cashed in for stuffed animals or school supplies, instead students are rewarded with the opportunity to select a staff member and an activity of their choosing. Some students have already spent extra time in the wood shop with their favorite teacher or opted to have extra time with animals with their social worker, and others have even gone fishing with executive director Joe Whalen.

NEWS_UpstanderQuilt_August20131.jpgWe're not only teaching students how to stand up for themselves and be more caring toward fellow classmates, we're reinforcing the Green Chimneys community and positive interactions with adults. And the results are incredible; students are already adopting the Upstander philosophy and are gaining confidence.

In accordance with New York State's Dignity for All Students Act (DASA), the Green Chimneys Upstander Committee (made up of teachers, social workers and staff) has developed a year-long curriculum which focuses on social skill development and practical applications to manage bullies. As the curriculum rolls out in the new school year, we look forward to sharing more information about what's happening. 

Join us in celebrating, see photo highlights from this summer>

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