Start With Hello

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September 13th, 2022

Emily Schiavoni
(413) 412-1106

North Adams Public Schools Empowers Young People to Start With Hello and Build a Connected and Inclusive Community 

North Adams Public Schools Promotes Start With Hello Week 

North Adams Public Schools will Start with Hello September 19th - 23rd, 2022. Start with Hello Week is a nationwide initiative to build empathy and inclusivity in PreK-12 schools. Each year thousands of schools and youth organizations partner with Sandy Hook Promise,  a national nonprofit organization led by several family members whose loved ones were killed in the tragic mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Start with Hello Week is a call to action to combat social isolation that can lead to violent behavior and self-harm. 

“When we talk about youth violence prevention, we often end up talking about big social and political issues that can feel overwhelming and disempowering. However, we really can initiate action with something as simple as ending social isolation by starting with hello. The initiative gives us the opportunity to encourage our learners, including adults from our community, that we can take action, even by a simple small act of reaching out, to put a stop to youth violence. When we create a welcoming community there is a positive outcome for everyone” remarked Superintendent, Dr. Barbara Malkas.

Start With Hello Week brings attention to the growing epidemic of social isolation in our schools and communities and empowers young people to create a culture of inclusion and connectedness within their school or youth organization. The initiative raises awareness and educates students and the community through a variety of opportunities, including: Start With Hello trainings, advertising, activities, public proclamations, media events, student contests, and school awards. 

In North Adams Public Schools, students in PreK-12 will partake in a week-long awareness and social media campaign aligned to the Sandy Hook Promise mission. Students promote the importance of the week by wearing green on Wear Green Day (the Sandy Hook Promise color), greet each other on their Walk to School Day, promote positivity on Compliment Day, engage in conversation at lunch with someone new on Nobody Eats Alone Day/Mix Your Clique, and feel the support of our community on Community Welcome Day. 

Additionally, Drury High School will be hosting their second annual Day of Service that promotes acts of kindness to culminate the week. After students are welcomed by community leaders, they will begin the day with a keynote address from local civic leader Michael Obasahan who serves as both a North Adams City Council member and Chief Diversity Officer for the City of Pittsfield. Students will then participate in blocks of service located out in the North Adams community and on Drury’s campus. Students have the option to partake in town beautifying efforts, to send Boxes of Love to veterans, to learn about and work in the community gardens, to connect with elementary students in the district, to learn life-saving techniques with Stop the Bleed training, among many other community-oriented services. The Day of Service connects students with their school and local community and provides a sense of inclusivity and action. At Drury’s 2022 opening assembly, students talked about the impact of the 2021 Day of Service and how they felt it was an important aspect of community-building that all students find a way to engage in. If you’re interested in learning more about the events throughout the week or would like to participate in Community Welcome Day, please contact Emily Schiavoni at

North Adams Public Schools and Sandy Hook Promise are asking schools, student clubs, parents and community leaders to visit to learn how to begin using the Start With Hello program resources in their classrooms, schools, communities and homes. 

For further information or questions, please contact Emily Schiavoni at  

About North Adams Public Schools The mission of the North Adams Public Schools is to help every child learn every day and empower all students to recognize and optimize their full potential.  Our district consists of approximately 1460 students and 360 staff members. There are three elementary schools (Brayton, Colegrove Park, Greylock) consisting of grades PreK to 6, and one high school (Drury) consisting of grades 7-12 with a middle grades team academy for 7th and 8th grade.  For more information, visit,  

About Sandy Hook Promise Sandy Hook Promise (SHP) is a national, nonprofit organization based in Newtown, Connecticut. We are led by several family members whose loved ones were killed in the tragic mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012 that claimed the lives of 20 first-graders and 6 educators. SHP is focused on preventing gun violence (and other forms of violence and victimization) BEFORE it happens by educating and mobilizing youth and adults on mental health and wellness programs that identify, intervene and help at-risk individuals. SHP is a moderate, above-the-politics organization that supports sensible non-policy and policy solutions that protect children and prevent gun violence. Our intent is to honor all victims of gun violence by turning our tragedy 25 into a moment of transformation. For more information, visit