North Merrick Everyday Health

February 2021

Reimagining and Reinventing the School Year

Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Cynthia Seniuk, continues to praise the North Merrick school community for their resilience and creativity in reimagining and reinventing this school year. To date, the district has remained open for in-person instruction as well as maintained a robust remote learning experience for families who requested it. The central administrative team meets with members of the North Merrick Mental Health and Wellness Coalition on a periodic basis to ensure the district is addressing the social-emotional needs of students and staff during the ongoing pandemic.

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Social-Emotional Learning Survey Results

Todd Benjamin, licensed social worker and chairperson of the Mental Health and Wellness Coalition, shared results from the recent survey sent to all parents in the district to assess students' social-emotional learning (SEL) during this unprecedented time. Mr. Benjamin was pleased to report that the results were extremely positive, with 70% of responses noting an excellent academic transition for students and 83% of responses noting a thriving or stable social-emotional transition. The survey revealed that 22% of students have verbalized feelings of worry, 16% have exhibited sleep issues, and 13% have experienced stomach upset or headaches. The survey informs the solution-focused framework in place to support students by emphasizing active listening, conversation, and setting a climate of trust.
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North Merrick Guidance Counselor Explores Self-Esteem with Sixth Graders

Guidance Counselor Jacqueline Sekunda continues to interact with K-6 classes on a rotating basis. While each lesson differs by grade level, she has introduced the core ideas of identifying feelings, coping skills, empathy, having a positive attitude, and self-esteem to all classes. Ms. Sekunda more deeply explored the lesson on self-esteem with the sixth grade classes. She discussed how self-esteem is developed and impacts how we feel about ourselves, our willingness to try new things, and be confident. The sixth graders filled out a survey so they could gauge their own level of self-esteem and connect with areas they felt were high or low. They discussed ways to raise self-esteem and focused on positive affirmations by creating fortune tellers displaying the personal affirmations students chose for themselves. They also partnered with other students to share these positive affirmations. Discussion has ensued on communications skills and being assertive, especially important traits for the sixth graders as they soon transition to middle school.

Parent Resource: Help Support Your Child's Self-Esteem

This article in the Kids Health archive from the Nemours Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to children's health, provides tips for parents to help support their child's self-esteem.
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Culturally Responsive Education Task Force Centers on the Concept of Dignity

The North Merrick Culturally Responsive Education Task Force, composed of district faculty and administrators, has met virtually with Dr. Wafa Deeb-Westervelt, a BOCES consultant with extensive experience in culturally responsive education and consensus building. Dr. Deeb-Westervelt started with a theoretical discussion on dignity as a driving force in educational equity, identifying the essential elements of dignity, and how to make dignity actionable in the classroom. She then asked the task force to examine attributes that make a teacher culturally responsive. The task force members later reconvened virtually to establish a mission statement, goals, objectives, activities and a timeline, which will be further developed and made public on the district website. Stay tuned!

Parent University: Family Fun Night

Thursday, Feb. 11th, 6:30pm

This is an online event.

Dance and sing along with Squeaky Clean! Participate in rounds of Family Feud! And create a Valentine's Day craft that weaves in the themes of acceptance and kindness! See the flyer, attached below, for more details and registration information.