Pictured: Staff of Kelley School Preparing Welcoming Signs for Students

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With the reopening of the new school year September 6, students and staff were greeted with inviting and innovative new bulletin boards and other welcoming signs in the hallways, on classroom doors and with colorful balloons inside and out of Newark Schools.

Nearly all of them were made by staff, not to mention how many attractively prepared their classrooms for the new school year. 

Some of the decorations were done in time for the Sixth Grade Orientation August 30th Newark Middle School and for the “Meet and Greet” events for students and parents at Kelley, Perkins and Lincoln Schools September 1st.

Kelley School Principal Jeff Hamelinck asked staff during orientation Sept. 1st to help make the school more welcoming and they happily rose to the challenge. Evidences of their cheery and informative Back-to School displays are seen throughout the school. 

Additionally at Kelley School the Positive Behavioral Intervention Systems of Support (PBIS) team met during the summer and decided it wanted to have tree displays in each of the three grade 3-5 hallways. 

On them each classroom is adding apples with PRIDE ticket totals on them each week to show how many students in each class have demonstrated Newark PRIDE behaviors _ being safe, responsible, respectful and or helping to foster a sense of community in their schools. 

“The leadership from our PBIS Coaches and determined work by our staff continues to positively change Kelley Kids' experiences,” said Kelley School Principal Jeff Hamelinck. “Our school community is grateful for their efforts to create a welcoming space for kids where all belong." 

Shelli Sutton, Kelley Speech Language Pathologist and Tier 1 PBIS Coach at the school said staff helped assemble the displays Sept. 1st. 

At Perkins School, there are many welcoming signs and bulletin boards. 

Principal Peter Czerkas is also delighted to see so much initiative taken by his enthusiastic staff including Marie Colacino, a Teacher Assistant in Cory Schalberg’s Pre-K who designed and assembled three attractive bulletin boards. 

I really wanted our entrance and hallways to be bright and inviting for all of our incoming students,” Colacino said, noting her daughter, Michaela, a 2021 NHS grad and Nazareth College junior helped her assemble two of the boards in mid August. 

Marie Colacino, who has has made Back-to-School-themed bulletin boards at Perkins for several years, said she likes them to be “bright and inviting” for children who might be a little nervous about coming to school for the first time or those not happy about having to return to school after summer vacation. 

“I appreciate Marie and many others who came in throughout the summer and before the school year to create a welcoming environment for our students and families," Czerkas said. 

Perhaps most notable is work done by Newark Middle School secretary Jennifer Michael who not only during the summer took it upon herself to assemble three bulletin boards for the beginning of the school year, made welcoming signs for the office doors, but also painted upbeat messages in the school’s six student bathrooms. 

Twenty years ago when I went to school here, Lisa Stringer, my art teacher, put some of my art up in the display cases,’’ she recalled with a chuckle. “I’m still doing it 20 years later.” 

“Jen Michaels has worked hard to create a welcoming environment for our students, staff, and visitors,” said NMS Principal John Ginter. “We are so thankful for the pride she takes in the building and her caring attitude that supports our students.”