South Orangetown Central School District

This year, South Orangetown Middle School is introducing monthly, grade-wide assemblies to enhance its character education programming.

“The goal is to build culture by creating a strong connection among students and staff,” explained Assistant Principal Joseph Onativia. “The assemblies are an opportunity to expose students to monthly themes together so that they can continue the conversation in their classrooms.”

“We’ll preview the monthly social emotional learning (SEL) lessons at the start of each month and talk about celebrations and events that are important to acknowledge,” Principal Chad Corey, Ed.D., added. “SEL is a way for people to learn about and manage their emotions, feel and express empathy for others, develop healthy relationships, set and achieve positive goals and make responsible decisions. These are important life skills that our students began building in elementary school. We’ll continue to reinforce and expand on these skills through their middle school years.”

Grade-wide assemblies kicked off last Friday with a focus on charters, norms and Start With Hello, a program that promotes social inclusion and empathy. (All South Orangetown schools are participating in Start With Hello Week, September 20-24)

Administrators are looking at ways to incorporate more student voice in school activities and intend to engage students in assembly planning in the months ahead. In the meantime, they’ll be providing a monthly recap for SOMS parents with resources and tips for starting conversations with their children about monthly topics.

SOMS Principal Chad Corey and AP Joseph Onativia