We All Want To Close The Chapter
By Hallandale Beach Mayor Joy Cooper
December 13, 2023
Above: Is A Kindness Room, the goal is to have the room filled with toys, small giveaways, treats and hopefully larger items like game stations, a foosball table, ping pong and other age-appropriate games. The school and teachers locally need everyone’s help. To offer any assistance to the school and teachers, call: (754) 323-5958. Or email: Tiana.email@example.com.
As we are celebrating Hanukkah and getting ready for Christmas, Kwanzaa and then New Year it cannot be said enough that we need more kindness in the world. The COVID-19 Pandemic began three years ago in December 2019. We all want to close the chapter on the COVID-19 Pandemic but with continued strains it is still a threat. For many of us that lost loved ones, The COVID-19 Pandemic has created lasting PTSD far above the grieving process. For our children, the COVID-19 Pandemic also has been life altering.
For centuries there have been plagues and diseases that have killed many. In 1918 the Spanish Flu resulted in 20-100 million deaths globally. The ability to accurately capture the death tolls have improved but globally the numbers are not always documented. The percentage of reporting from 131 countries ranges between 98% to 10%. COVID-19 Pandemic according to the World Health Organization, took the lives of over 3.4 million. I am sharing this not to diminish the impacts of COVID-19, rather to highlight that these events have created changes in society and generations.
During the COVID-19 Pandemic, I witnessed my grandson, 12 and niece, 15 dealing with isolation and trying to adapt to online schooling. I would often speak with my Mom during this period about her early childhood watching her aunt die of Influenza at their home. Just like that generation who not only survived a Pandemic and World Wars, our younger generation will forever be impacted. I would tell my daughter; this will be a defining moment where some children will be stronger by learning to adapt and others that will not.
As we are all trying to get back to the new normal our teachers are working hard to get our children back to their new normal. Many students are having setbacks with their academics. These setbacks are compounded by social developmental and mental health issues. In our Gulfstream Academy of Hallandale Beach our teachers are hard at work addressing student needs.
This school is a K-8 and serves over 1,000 students. Some are thriving and others are struggling. In order to motivate the students to achieve academic success and learn social skills they have created Kindness Rooms at both campuses. Students that are seen performing acts of kindness are given tokens that they can use to visit the kindness room. The Colts Campus Kindness Room opened last week and the Stallion Camps Room is in the works.
Their goal is to have the room filled with toys, small giveaways, treats and hopefully larger items like game stations, a foosball table, ping pong and other age-appropriate games. Some items have been donated but they are still in need of donations. The teacher in charge of the room has set up an Amazon wish list where caring partners are able to donate. Currently, the Stallion Room is simply seeking donations suitable for 6th - 8th graders. You can go to Amazon Registry Gulfstream Academy of Halladale K-8 Donations.
So, while teaching kindness and focusing on social skills the room is also being utilized for tutoring and testing. Students that perform well will be rewarded at the Kindness Store. Starting this year there has been the implementation of Florida Assessment of Student Thinking FAST which includes benchmark assessments called Benchmarks for Excellent Student Thinking BEST. This test impacts students from VPK to 10th grade. They are for: Reading, Writing and Math.
Testing is critical and every parent should support them to be able to see where their child needs help. There have always been issues around testing due to the State tying it to funding. Lower performing schools would be penalized with reductions in funding. That policy has changed and now schools that have improved their school grades from C to B for example and A schools get rewarded. Ironically a kinder approach. Not that it creates equity, that is another issue.
Our school and teachers locally need everyone’s help. Our teachers are all working hard and often go into their own pockets. This Holiday Season, think about supporting their efforts to promote kindness. With all the Antisemitism and continued wars we all need to do our part. Our children need to be taught kindness in their homes and schools. To offer any assistance to the school and teachers, call: (754) 323-5958. Or email: Tiana.firstname.lastname@example.org.
As always please feel free to contact me anytime with your questions, concerns, and ideas to make our city a better place. I am available at: email@example.com. Or: firstname.lastname@example.org. On my Office Number at: (954) 457-1318. Or on my Cell/Text at: (954) 632-5700. You can always visit my Facebook and follow me at Mayor Joy Cooper.