Middle Schoolers will “Act with Respect, Always”

Photo Gallery of the presentation (Facebook)

The Canajoharie Middle School became part of the, “Act With Respect Always,” team on Friday.

Assemblies of sixth, seventh and eighth graders gathered to listen to 38-year veteran Saratoga Spring elementary and middle school teacher Rich Johns who started the “pay it forward” movement in 2009.

The school will hang a signed banner to remind students of what they heard and all of them will also receive an “Act With Respect Always” awareness bracelet.

“I think the biggest take away of Coach John’s “Act with Respect Always” philosophy is the importance of character and acting with our “99.” If students and staff constantly strive to achieve their highest ‘score’ you can make a huge difference in your classroom, school, community and world,” said Canajoharie Middle School Principal Chris DePaolo.

“It is our hope that the “The Act with Respect Always” program is something that we can incorporate into our PAWS program and model in our daily lives at CMS. Coach John’s discuses the importance of every persons’ story or what we keep in our respective “bags,” DePaolo said. “If students and staff continue to focus on the importance of building positive relationships through acts kindness, respect and empathy; we can all strive for our “99” and continue to strengthen our school community.”

The program stresses the importance of personal character. It is based on eight basic character education traits: responsibility, honesty and fairness, civility, self-discipline, no excuses (do the hard work), persistence, courage, and respect.

“[Act With Respect Always] is designed to build respect and leadership, teach positive and constructive behavior, and help stop bullying before it starts, both on campus and off,” according to actwithrespectalways.com. “Looking at each person as a leader and stressing teamwork, kindness, empathy, courage and honesty, amongst other key traits, [Johns] strives to make everyone aware of their daily actions.”

Beyond the classroom, John also coached tennis at Saratoga Springs leading the Blue Streaks to an 85-match win streak in Section II Class AA play at one point.

Joining the program is just the latest step that the school district is taking to weave social and emotional education into traditional academics, athletics, and arts.

Teachers from across the district met with motivational speakers and Conscious Discipline advocates Donna Porter and DJ Batiste earlier this month for professional development on Superintendent’s Conference day. East Hill Elementary has a variety of aspects of “conscious discipline,” integrated with traditional instruction and the high school is launching a, “What you think about, you bring about,” campaign this academic year.