North Merrick Everyday Health

October 2020

Road to Resiliency: Assess, Adapt, Adjust

As Dr. Cynthia Seniuk, Superintendent of Schools, has stated, North Merrick School District is reimagining this school year thanks to the resilience of our students, parents, faculty and staff.

During the Superintendent's Conference Days, curriculum from the "First Aid for Feelings" workbook, geared to help K-2 students cope with COViD-19, was modified in a virtual presentation for faculty in grades 3-6 so that all K-6 classes are supported. The teachers received this original and unique professional development directly from the author Denise Daniels as well as Karen Baicker, Executive Director of the Yale Child Study Center and Scholastic Collaborative for Child and Family Resilience.

The North Merrick Mental Health and Wellness Coalition continues to meet regularly and work closely with central administration to ensure the well-being of everyone in the school community. The coalition provides ongoing guidance using social-emotional learning and a solution-focused mindset. In particular, the coalition is assisting the district in following the theme of Assess (what we see), Adapt (how we feel), and Adjust (how we recalibrate) in order to navigate necessary changes throughout the school year.

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North Merrick Starts Every Day with Morning Meetings

In partnership with the Mental Health and Wellness Coalition, North Merrick schools have incorporated the Responsive Classroom Morning Meeting concept into the school day, every day. This is a student-centered, evidence-based approach to teaching and learning. The objective is to gauge students' social and emotional well-being when they arrive at school. Students greet one another, gather, listen and share, and then participate in a group activity to set a positive tone for the school day. They are encouraged to give "voice" to their feelings, and teachers help students recognize, understand and manage their feelings in a healthy, age-appropriate way. The three schools also continue their commitment to mindfulness, meditation, and gratitude journal writing across the grades.

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No Place for Hate!

Every year, North Merrick schools actively participate in the national Red Ribbon Week (anti-drug) and Unity Day (anti-bullying) programs during the third week of October. So it was fitting that Kellianne Holland, a representative from the Anti-Defamation League Anti-Bias unit, visited North Merrick on October 20 to discuss the "No Place for Hate" program. North Merrick joins thousands of districts across the country in this initiative to make schools "no place for hate." The program includes signing a "Resolution of Respect," setting clear expectations for behavior, and focusing on anti-bias and anti-bullying activities to improve and maintain a school climate in which all students thrive. Each school building has created a team to implement the program this year.
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Parent Resource: Coping Skills for Kids

Janine Halloran, licensed mental health counselor and mom to two elementary school-age children, has created a website with resources for adults at

In dealing with the ongoing stress of COVID-19, she suggests that parents help their children to:

  • Label their feelings to recognize and manage emotions.
  • Acknowledge what they can and cannot control, and focus on YOU - how you behave and respond.
  • Make a plan by identifying a problem and generating a variety of ideas to solve it.
  • Do something fun - play is a natural stress reliever and an important distraction skill.

Parent University: Parenting in the Pandemic

Monday, Nov. 16th, 6:30pm

This is an online event.

Save the Date! More details will follow about the upcoming fall Parent University.