Cuba Rushford Elementary School has moved into the second year of the HERO program to help fulfill the Dignity For All Students Act. The school was looking for a way to address the anti bullying act and this project just grew as it came to fruition. Kevin Erickson, the principal, states, “We were looking for something practical and hands on so it really meant something to the kids."
HERO is an acronym that stands for Help, Encourage, and Respect Others. Through this school wide program, students are encouraged to take a stand against bullying. The goal is to teach students to treat each other with dignity and respect, to be proactive, and to help each other. Students follow the Rebel Rules in the Cuba Rushford Code of Conduct, which outline the expectations for the school to be a safe and orderly place for students. To introduce the program each year, class discussions are held on what it means to be a hero and the expectations to be considered for a hero award. This year, a school wide kick off assembly was held early in the year and all students signed an anti-bullying banner that hangs across from the main entrance to the school. The halls, as well as classrooms, are decorated with HERO posters. Students received dog tags and teachers have bracelets and t-shirts to support the program. There are daily hero alerts during the morning announcements and a monthly assembly is held to honor those students who have achieved a hero award.
What started out as a school wide program to help students build character and treat each other as they would like to be treated, has branched out into the community. Local businesses are partaking in the project by hanging posters in their stores and community members are asking how they can help. Sue Giardini, the elementary guidance counselor, states,” We can do a lot here, but it’s also important for the students to be a nice person all the time.” Involving the community reinforces that fact. Wyatt Willamson, a Cuba Rushford student, believes, “If the posters are all over town, it encourages people to become heroes, even adults.”
Through school and community member participation, the HERO program has grown. As the word spreads, and more people get involved, we encourage everyone to live by the HERO acronym: Help, Encourage, and Respect Others.
by Gina Palermo, Curriculum Integrator Cuba-Rushford Central School District