Lakeside Elementary School students in Merrick recently listened to stories...

Lakeside Elementary School students in Merrick recently listened to stories shared by children impacted with craniofacial conditions and discussed books that stress the importance of being kind. Credit: Merrick School District

The importance of kindness is a critical topic in classrooms across Long Island throughout October.

In recognition of National Bullying Prevention Month, dozens of schools have been hosting programs and activities designed to help children look out for one another and reject bullying.

In Garden City, 15 student leaders at the high school paired up with Siena College students for role-playing exercises, peer-to-peer discussions and workshops that trained them to be “upstander ambassadors” as part of the AT&T and Siena Upstander Program. Subsequently, a schoolwide assembly was held to highlight the dangers of cyberbullying and promote an “upstander culture,” program officials said.

“Many students don’t realize certain things are bullying and harassment,” Garden City Principal Nanine McLaughlin said. “The best way to get a message across to kids is from kids.”

In Merrick, Norman J. Levy Lakeside Elementary School students listened to stories from children with craniofacial conditions during an assembly with the nonprofit myFace. They also discussed R.J. Palacio’s children’s book “Wonder,” which is about a 10-year-old boy with a facial deformity, and recorded interviews about bullying and kindness for a video on the nonprofit’s website.

In Franklin Square, John Street Elementary School is hosting an anti-bullying week starting Monday that features a different unifying theme each day, such as a “Hats off to Upstanders Day” when students wear hats to school and a “Put Bullying to Bed Day” when they wear pajamas.

In Hicksville, Lee Avenue Elementary School was visited by Gizmo D. Robot, a 6-foot-tall interactive robot that conveys to students the importance of respect, caring and fairness.


New principals

The Malverne school district has two new principals: Edward Tallon at Maurice W. Downing Primary School and Rachel Gross at Davison Avenue Intermediate School.

Tallon, previously the principal at Davison Avenue, replaced Margaret McDaid, who retired. Gross most recently was the district’s Common Core chairwoman for grades K-6; she joined the system as a special-education teacher at Howard T. Herber Middle School in 2007.

“I am honored by the opportunity and am excited to collaborate with the faculty, staff, students and families of Davison Avenue,” Gross said.


New superintendent

Jennifer Morrison has been appointed superintendent of the New Hyde Park-Garden City Park school district. She replaced Robert Katulak, who retired.

Morrison had served as assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction in the Eastport-South Manor school district since 2008, and before that was assistant director of pupil personnel services and administrator for curriculum for the Comsewogue school district. She began her career as an elementary school teacher in Queens.

“There is no greater honor or responsibility than to be entrusted with the safety and education of the children of this community,” Morrison said.


Broadcom MASTERS

Long Island students Ian Bailey and Austin Crouchley of Garden City Middle School and Michael Jang, David Yang and Chapin Zerner of Commack Middle School were among the top 300 competitors nationally last month in the seventh annual Broadcom MASTERS, a competition for middle schoolers in science, technology, engineering and math.

The contest, which is a program of the Broadcom Foundation and the Society for Science & The Public, received 2,500 applicants from 37 states, Puerto Rico and U.S. Department of Defense overseas sites. To be eligible, students placed in the top 10 percent at affiliated regional and state science fairs.

Crouchley was among 30 students selected as finalists to compete for more than $100,000 in prizes in Washington, D.C. Winners are scheduled to be announced Tuesday.

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