HERKIMER — Every time a Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES Special Education student or teacher was “caught” showing kindness or being a good friend during February, a heart was added to a bulletin board in the hallway.
Because students successfully crossed the 200-heart plateau with a total of 213 hearts, they all received certificates, “kindness critter” stuffed animals and friendship bracelets during a March presentation by Herkimer BOCES Special Education Principal Brittany DerCola.
“The benefit is that students get exposure to things they would get in their home district and to character education,” DerCola said in a news release.
DerCola, who became special education principal partway through this school year, wanted to integrate character education for Herkimer BOCES Special Education students, so she asked for volunteers, and a committee of teachers came up with themes for each month, according to the release. February was the first month of the character education program.
For March, the character trait is responsibility, and shamrocks will be added to the bulletin board for acts of responsibility. If more than 200 shamrocks are gathered, students will receive another certificate and prize.
“It’s just a nice, little something,” DerCola said in the release. “We started small, and hopefully we can get to the point where we invite parents to the ceremony and make it bigger.”
Students and teachers for each classroom also decorated their bulletin boards for a contest, and teacher Merisa Muhich’s class won the bulletin board contest for February.
During the event honoring students for February, DerCola read the book “How Do Dinosaurs Play with Their Friends?” She also talked about friendship and kindness and called up all the students one at a time to receive their certificates, prizes and friendship bracelets.
“Everybody will get a friendship bracelet because we’re all friends at Herkimer BOCES,” she said.