Twists & Turns

The SMS Counseling Services E-newsletter


"Learn, Laugh, & Let Go! An Interactive Stress Relief Workshop" - Thurs., April 7, 2016

Our presenter, Robert Rivest, will guide parents and students through stress-management strategies and interactive fun activities to help experience immediate stress relief. What a great way to kick off PARCC! This workshop will be held on Thurs., April 7th, from 6:30 - 8 pm. Refreshments will be served at 6:30 pm, and the program will kick off at 7 pm! Parents and students from all three Somerville Schools are welcome, but the program is recommended for middle-school aged students and older. Pre-registration is requested and can be done by emailing Dr. Sroczynski at or calling her at (908) 243-1527.

Promoting Positive Behavior

The Great Kindness Challenge

SMS recently took part in the Great Kindness Challenge! Students and staff were provided with Kindness Challenge Checklists and tracked certain acts of kindness for the week of January 25th through the 29th. Our peer leaders were a great help in giving out the information and encouraging participation, and altogether, we reported 1,409 acts of kindness!! Of course, the checklists didn't reflect ALL of the acts of kindness that are observed daily here at SMS. You can read more about the challenge here.

Character Education Activities

All three of our grade levels have embarked on a new journey in Character Education this year that revolves around student-initiated projects. Classes have been working diligently on designing and delivering projects such as bulletin boards, contests, presentations, and community service activities as part of their monthly Character Education periods. Currently, the 6th grade is focusing on Perseverance and the 7th grade is focusing on Acceptance, while the 8th grade is working on their ongoing service projects for the year. In addition, we have a number of activities school-wide, like monthly Point-Free raffles, "Caught with Character" stars, NJHS and Student Council Service Projects, Hoops for Hearts, and Relay for Life, that promote positive behavior among our students.

What if...

Many times, middle school students still struggle to behave in positive and healthy ways. Along with our school's discipline code (, which outlines consistent expectations and consequences, we offer individual and group counseling, peer mediation and conflict resolution, student-initiated behavior charts, and an interdisciplinary team of faculty to address negative behaviors and restore positive student behavior.
Here's a resource from the American Academy of Pediatrics for parents to help promote positive behavior at home, too!

Understanding the NJ Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights (ABBR)

Legal Definition of Harassment, Intimidation, & Bullying

SMS works hard to promote positive behavior, but we also need to respond to negative behavior appropriately. In cases where there may be a possible incident of harassment, intimidation, or bullying, schools must use the legal definition as provided by the NJ ABBR to confirm or not confirm whether the incident was, in fact, an act of harassment, intimidation, or bullying. Accessing this definition through one of these links, as well as understanding what a school considers during an investigation, may help parents understand if an incident may be considered an act of HIB under the law or understand the results of an investigation that their child may have been involved in.

Theoretical Definition of Bullying

It's also helpful to understand the theory behind bullying behaviors to help prevent these behaviors and respond in situations where you think bullying may be involved. Use these links to learn more about the theory and practices behind understanding and responding to bullying behaviors.

SMS Counseling Services

For access to more information, resources, and current events, please visit the Counseling Services page of the Somerville Middle School website or contact Dr. Sroczynski at or (908) 243-1527.