With the understanding that bully prevention is an essential skills students should learn, Dr. Rochelle Brand, principal of the Hebrew Academy of the Five Towns and Rockaway (HAFTR) Middle School, sought a teachable program.
Yali Werzberger, the school’s psychologist and director of student services, found the Olweus Bully Prevention Program. The has embraced the program and has witnessed the students actively work to shift the culture of the school by identifying bullying as “uncool.”
HAFTR Middle School has advanced beyond bullying and is now implementing a social and emotional learning curriculum, which began by conducting a mandatory teachers’ workshop on social and emotional learning. Concepts such as establishing and maintaining friendships, calming oneself in stressful situations, and acting in an assertive manner are continuously emphasized.
The sixth grade boys have benefitted from class meetings with Rabbi Simcha Loiterman and the school’s social worker Yehuda Klinkowitz, while the sixth grade girls engage in discussions with teacher Alyson Jacobs. The seventh grade meets with Rebecca Zweibon and school psychologist Leora Tanzman, Miriam Shteingart, a science instructor, and Klinkowitz. The eighth grade students are building upon classroom meetings with Sori Teitelbaum, Rabbi Simcha Loiterman, and Yeshaya Libere to facilitate a real sense of cohesion and community.