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Start With Hello Week

START WITH HELLO

This week, schools nationwide, including our middle school students here in Solon, are taking steps to reduce the threat of school violence through improving school culture. Start with Hello Week is a national promotion and education program through Sandy Hook Promise, a not-for-profit organization that helps schools implement programs that support solutions for safer and healthier schools.

The Start with Hello program “enables students to make a difference with their peers in a simple, fun and impactful way by encouraging them to take small but powerful actions to promote connectedness and inclusion, and to identify and help others who are showing signs of social isolation,” according to Sandy Hook Promise.

Students at Solon Middle School and Orchard Middle School will be participating in theme days and activities aimed at promoting a more unified and inclusive school environment. For example, SMS students have been sending Start with Hello Compliment Cards all week that include positive messages to their classmates. During lunch periods, students have used Challenge Cards to meet new students, say hello to someone they have never talked to before, begin conversations with students about out-of-school activities and more. Students also “chalked the school” with messages of kindness. Throughout the year, other Solon students will participate in similar programming to build more connected and inclusive school cultures.

Providing a safe and secure learning environment for students is a priority in our schools every day. The district’s emergency operations plan includes many safety and security measures. One tool we provide to students, parents and the community at large to support our safety and security efforts is the Safe School Helpline.

Students, parents and community members may use the Safe School Helpline to report threats of violence, suicide or self harm, weapons, bullying and illegal activity that could harm children or adults in our schools. By using the Safe School Helpline, students, parents and community members are able to leave a message about something concerning or speak with a crisis counselor for immediate needs. The helpline is administered by an independent, outside company and reports and communications are CONFIDENTIAL and ANONYMOUS.

Safe School Helpline is easy to access – especially with the free Safe School Helpline app available through Apple Store and Google Play. Through the app, reports can be made by texting, making an online report or calling. Texts, calls and online submissions can also always be made directly without using app. Texting is the easiest way to make a report and share screen shots, photos and videos if necessary.

To start a report for Solon:

TEXT: Text 66746 and type TIPS as the message

ONLINE: www.safeschoolhelpline.com

CALL: 800-418-6423, ext. 359

All messages are relayed immediately to the appropriate district staff for investigation and follow up. All information remains anonymous, unless the person making the report elects to share his or her identity. The key is that safety concerns are reported as soon as possible. Anyone reporting a concern through the Helpline receives a case number that can be used later to confirm the report was received and investigated.

Students and family members are urged to contact building principals, counselors or other trusted adults at the school at any time to share concerns.