November 2021

The Social Work Corner

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Dear Families

Thanksgiving is a time to focus on and celebrate our gratitude for all that we have.

Gratitude is a mindfulness practice that allows us to draw our attention to both the big events that we are grateful for, and the daily small things that color our day to day experiences. Research suggests, that people who take the time to notice and reflect upon the things they are thankful for experience more positive emotions, feel more alive, sleep better, and express more compassion and kindness!

We are grateful for all of our wonderful families and students that we have the pleasure of working with each day!

Wishing you all a safe, healthy and happy Thanksgiving!

Mrs. Vincent, Mrs. Martinez, and Ms. DeMartinis

Practicing Gratitude

Practicing Gratitude (and 10 things I'm grateful for)

Mindful Moment

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What's Happening at Stewart School?

This month, I was able to visit our third grade classrooms and facilitated a lesson on "Conflict Resolution" We sharpened our skills and learned how to work out problems collaboratively, using three tools: Talk it Out, Get the Facts, and Listen. We also created a book of problem solving keys to help us resolve future conflicts.

Unity Day was a huge success. In addition to classroom activities and a school wide assembly held by Mrs. Vincent, Mrs. Pashayan worked with each class to create this beautiful mural, entitled "Individually We Are Unique But Together We Are Beautiful"!

On November 3rd, all students will participate in a school wide assembly that will review our Stewart rules and expectations to making the school year a success!

I look forward to working with our fourth graders this month!

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Stewart School's Odd Bird Mural

Inspired by the book "Odd Bird", by Derek Desierto, students worked with Mrs. Pashayan to create their own unique feathers. The feathers were then used to create a mural of the character Odd Bird. The mural reflects the theme "Individually We are Unique But Together We are Beautiful".
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What's Happening at Stratford?

Throughout the month of October, 4th and 5th grade students focused on learning about RESPECT and EMPATHY. In our lessons, we discussed why it is important to understand other people’s feelings and points of view. While playing Sanford & Harmony's Commonalities Game and Empathy Game, students were able develop empathy and respect for those who are both similar and different from them.

Unity was a great day for the Stratford community to come together and stand up against bullying. Mr. Hartigan, Mrs. Kaufman, and I presented at a virtual assembly. We talked about the 4 Pillars of Good Character and how they relate to Unity Day. We also read "Odd Bird" by Derek Desierto. Students then completed a worksheet that highlighted their unique qualities.

In mid-November, I will start supporting 2nd and 3rd grade classes by providing social-emotional lessons while highlighting Stratford’s 4 Pillars; Responsibility, Citizenship, Respect and Perseverance. I look forward to working with our 2nd and 3rd graders next month!

Coming Soon... Beautiful Me (Elementary School Program)

Our 4th grade female students will be provided with an opportunity to participate in the Hance Foundation Beautiful Me Program in both Stewart and Stratford.

What is Beautiful Me? It’s an educational self-esteem program for females of all ages! The program is designed to educate females by promoting appreciation for their genuine qualities, accurate self-awareness, and the satisfaction of helping others.

The program will be held during three lunch/recess sessions on an individual class basis. There will be no mixing of classes due to COVID restrictions. An invitation will be sent to parents when your child's class is scheduled to participate.

What's Happening in the Primaries with SEL

This past month we focused on Kindness, Acceptance and Inclusion. I was able to push into each classroom for an interactive read aloud of the book "Different, A Great Thing to Be," by Heather Avis. We engaged in a discussion about our differences making us unique and special, and how being ourselves makes our community even stronger. Children thoughtfully answered questions and role-played scenarios to demonstrate ways to include others, how to respond to witnessing unkind acts, and how to ask to join others to play.

We continued this discussion with our Unity Day event, which included a reading of the book "Ricky the Rock that Couldn't Roll" and the creation of Kindness Rocks, which remain in our courtyards to remind us of the importance of being kind and inclusive always.

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Director's Corner

Dear Garden City Community,

Over the past two months, our mental health team in Garden City has been present in our classrooms and buildings providing general support and proactive strategies to assist our students in areas related to social and emotional well-being. Our social workers have provided lessons targeting coping skills and conflict resolution.

As we enter into November, they will provide an opportunity for or 4th grade female students to participate in the “beautiful me” program. It is so important for us to explicitly teach these skills and to provide our students with tools they may need. While Garden City seeks to provide a strong academic experience for our students, we cannot overlook the importance of building a strong foundation through mental health and wellness.

We look forward to continuing to establish a partnership with our families as we navigate these unsure times. To assist us in building upon our communication with our school community, the District has created an area within our website dedicated to student well-being resources.

As always, thank you for your support and for entrusting us with your children. Wishing you a happy and healthy Thanksgiving!


Janine Villez

Director or Pupil Personnel Services

Northwell News and Information for Families

Please check out the latest newsletter from our partner, Northwell Health.

District News and Announcements

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Tracy Martinez

Primary School Social Worker

Kristyn DeMartinis

Stratford Social Worker