As part of the RPS Mission statement, the district commits to partnering with the community to “build an inclusive climate of trust, safety, and respect.”

This commitment is demonstrated in the schools at all levels, in multiple ways, such as building specific programming, student clubs and classroom approaches.

Examples of some recent school initiatives are: Ben’s Bells Intentional Kindness program (Scotland); Differences Day (Ridgebury); Collaborative Weaving project (Barlow); visits to the Prospector Theater to learn more about disabilities and compassion (Farmingville); “Look for the Good” multi-event program (VP); “Choose Kind” (Branchville); creation of an all-school kindness mosaic encouraging everyone to “Work Hard and Be Kind.” (VP); special project with an orphanage in Columbia (ERMS); Names Day (RHS).

Students clubs can also contribute to a culture of kindness and compassion. For example: the ERMS Friends Club invites students to play games with students with disabilities after school, and last spring the RHS Unity Club organized an annual day of Kindness.

Throughout the year, teachers and staff use classroom approaches such as Responsive Classroom, PBIS, RULER, and Restorative Practices to create a positive school community and learning environment and help students develop their social and emotional skills including those of empathy and responsibility.

Find out more about some of this ongoing work on the district website under District Newsletter Archives, ridgefield.org/Newsletter Archives.

Margaret Stamatis