To reinforce the importance of being an upstander rather than a bystander or bully, Manor Oaks School hosted Upstander Appreciation Week from Dec. 6-10.
Organized by school social worker Lori Cohen and Student Council Advisor Christina Sciarrotto, the weeklong event featured various activities and discussions that focused on the positives about being an upstanding student. The week kicked off with students being encouraged to help spread positivity by writing kind messages on Post-It notes to be displayed on the new bulletin board called, “Take What You Need, Give What You Can.” On Tuesday, all classes attended grade-level-appropriate virtual DASA (Dignity for All Students Act) assemblies that featured videos on bullying and provided upstanding tips and strategies. All students received a special upstander sticker on Thursday; and, on Friday, they wore yellow or orange to “be bold like a marigold” to nurture and support others to help one another grow.
Throughout the week, each class also participated in a virtual Google Meet with the school’s Caring Ambassadors, who are sixth graders. All sixth graders had the opportunity to participate as an ambassador, and those interested needed to complete an essay sharing why they would be great in the role. Thirty-six students were chosen as Caring Ambassadors for this school year.
The Caring Ambassadors announced daily Upstander Awards for two students per grade-level during morning announcements. Teachers nominated the students and shared the characteristics and qualities of the student, which were then read aloud during the morning announcements. Each recognized student received a certificate and a stuffed cardinal, which is the school’s mascot, with a citizenship medal. Manor Oaks School provided a collection of books featuring upstanding characters that the students were able to listen to or read during the week, as well.
Upstander Appreciation Week at Manor Oaks School directly aligns with the board of education’s goal to “implement a shared, systematic approach to explicitly teach, integrate, and encourage positive behaviors.”