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Recognizing the importance of respect
"You must give respect in order to get it."
"Be kind, don’t judge, and have respect for others."
"Knowledge will give you power, but good character will give you respect."
These are just some of the quotes that were read during the morning announcements to begin each day of the Week of Respect. During recognition of the Week of Respect, all schools throughout New Jersey provide students with age-appropriate messages that focus on preventing harassment, intimation, bullying, violence, and drug use.
As part of the observance at Tinc Road, school guidance counselor Lisa Barba provided grade level teachers with websites, lessons, and books about respect to read with their students. Teachers also incorporated messages of kindness and respect into their classroom activities.
In addition, Ms. Barba designed a special Spirit Week celebration that encouraged staff members and students to recognize the importance of respect by dressing according to each day's individual theme. For example, there was "Roaring For Respect" Day that encouraged everyone to wear animal print or animal logos to school and "Being Respectful Is No Sweat" Day that encouraged everyone to wear sweatpants or sweatshirts.
"It's so important to be respectful to everyone no matter their age, appearance, and occupation," Ms. Barba said. "I've been discussing with students that this is not only important at their young ages, but also equally important for adults. If people treated others how they would like to be treated, the world would be a much kinder place."
Since Tinc Road highlights a different character trait every month during the school year, Ms. Barba dedicated all of October to respect. She's been visiting each classroom and delivering a special lesson on respect and bullying prevention. She's also been encouraging students to sign character pledges (see below) that commit them to show respect for themselves, others, and the school at all times. Once completed, the pledges will be hung in the hallways for all to see.
A sports and recreation hall of fame
They call it the Hall of Fame but a better term might be the Hall of Fun, Sports, and Games. Physical education teachers Lauren Bretzger and Mike Guli have turned a bulletin board just inside the doors of the gym into a showcase for their students' sporting events and recreational activities. Glance at the board and you'll see photos of kids swimming, practicing martial arts, kayaking, fishing, and playing soccer.
It's a way for students to show off their unique interests and talents beyond the school walls, and to serve as a reminder of an important lesson the two teachers regularly convey.
"Exercise isn't just running around in a gym a few times a week," Mr. Guli said. "It's anything that gets you moving and keeps you moving. We want kids to remember that and see the variety of activities that are out there to have fun and stay physically active."
Teachers have also been encouraged to participate in the Hall. Take a closer look and you'll see first grade teacher Kelli White hiking in Colorado, Mrs. Bretzger walking with her dogs, and Mr. Guli with his family on a bicycle built for five.
"Having teachers on the Hall emphasizes the idea that exercise is a lifelong activity and also helps kids see their teachers as people with outside lives and interests," said Mrs. Bretzger.