Start With Hello Week 2020
During the week of January 27–31, Landmark Elementary•Middle School students and faculty are participating in Start With Hello Week, part of the Sandy Hook Promise organization’s initiative to decrease social isolation and promote inclusion. It’s an event-packed week, with students engaging in a variety of activities that foster a sense of connectedness and display kindness and empathy.
On Tuesday, January 28, enthusiastic faculty and administrators greeted students with an exuberant "warm welcome" as they arrived at school. Landmark's Viking mascot made a guest appearance and high-fived students as they passed under the archway. Mr. Kahn, clad in a Viking hat, multi-tasked, operating a noisemaker while shaking hands and giving students fist-bumps. Several teachers donned enormous masks of EMS teachers and adminstrators.
"It was surprising and funny," observed Sydney '25. "It was a fun way to start the day."
At EMS, Start With Hello week focuses on building an inclusive community that decreases social isolation by "saying hello," making friends, and reaching out to support each other with kindness in actions and words.
In observance of Start With Hello Week, EMS students are participating in a Student Voices Showcase, in which they use a variety of mediums to answer the question, "What does the Landmark community mean to you?"; performing acts of kindness; saying hello to students and teachers they may not know; taking part in “Mix it Up” lunches; and enjoying various dining hall treats. Teachers wrote postcards to students with personalized messages that illustrate a connection between teachers and students.
Gun violence, school shootings, and self-harm will not be part of the conversation.
"Start with Hello week is an outgrowth of the Sandy Hook Promise Foundation and ties in with our emphasis on community and culture." said Rob Kahn, EMS head of school. "With students ages 7 to 15 and as a school with a specific mission for a specific population, Landmark EMS benefits in so many ways from a culture that emphasizes inclusion, kindness, and responsibility for everyone's positive experience. We want all our students to feel EMS is a place they have an ongoing responsibility for maintaining.”
Sarah Turnbull, administrative assistant at EMS, organized Start With Hello Week with the help of many members of the EMS faculty.