Superintendent's Corner

October 2021

Each October, Bullying Prevention Month is recognized by schools nationwide as a way to bring awareness to bullying. Our District acknowledges this important effort by providing lessons and programs aimed at helping students to recognize what is bullying and what is not. We are teaching strategies to "refuse" bullying, and to learn how and when to report it.

At Oak Ridge Elementary, the "Hoots" program is in place, where students acting kind are recognized weekly by their peers. At E.M.C. Elementary, students have written down the things they can do to help make their school a better place and are creating a paper chain out of them. School Counselor Kristen Brubaker says the activity is designed to show that, while one person can speak out against bullying, the message is stronger when we come together.

At West Broad Street Elementary, students in fifth grade have been focusing on cyberbullying, and students across all grades have weekly themes to focus on, such as making friends with someone they may not know, inviting someone new to join, or including others who may feel left out. Students at Franconia Elementary are participating in a free program created by Sandy Hook Promise called Start with Hello, which is aimed at teaching empathy and a sense of belonging. The program has three simple steps: See someone alone? Reach out and try to help. Start with Hello. Salford Hills Elementary and Vernfield Elementary are also engaging students in a robust schedule of age-appropriate activities.

Our anti-bullying programming continues in our middle and high schools, where it takes on a more sophisticated tone and focuses on cyberbullying. As social media and other cyber spaces have become ubiquitous, the importance of digital citizenship is being taught and encouraged. The high school is offering a volunteer student education program called QPR - Question, Persuade, and Refer - the three simple steps anyone can learn to help a student who may be struggling with destructive thoughts.

We also celebrated Character Counts! Week in our schools during October. Souderton Area School District strives to be a place where Character Counts, and our commitment to the six pillars of Trustworthiness, Citizenship, Responsibility, Respect, Fairness, and Caring is reflective of our desire to prevent bullying everywhere.  

Sincerely,

Frank Gallagher

Frank T. Gallagher, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools