- By Dan Veaner
- Around Town
Have you had someone that you connected with and made a real difference in your life? It seems obvious, but not everyone does. On February 11th meeting Superintendent Chris Pettograsso updated the Lansing Board Of Education on how the district is implementing the county-wide 'Be The One' campaign.
"We looked at the student data and brainstormed ideas," Pettograsso said. "We'll be meeting after our February break to see what our next steps for the 'Be The one' campaign will be. We've taken a different approach from some other school districts. We've started with the students to see if it resonates with them and if it is important. They seem to really enjoy the time together. We heard from many of the students that it was nice just to come together and talk."
Imagine a world where every single person knows that they have a group of people that really care about them! We invite children, youth, adults and elders in our region to Be the One for others and to share stories about the people in their lives who have inspired them and made a difference. Pettograsso said the message is succinct. The campaign web site sums it up, saying, "Imagine a world where every single person knows that they have a group of people that really care about them! We invite children, youth, adults and elders in our region to Be the One for others and to share stories about the people in their lives who have inspired them and made a difference."
Pettograsso said that last year TST BOCES, working with the curriculum directors and superintendents and principals decided last year that mental health and Social Emotional Learning was going to be a priority. They partnered with Tompkins County to come up with a way to make sure that every person in the county has someone they have a stable relationship with.
'Be The One' was created last May, and in December about a hundred 'Be the One' ambassadors met to come up with ideas for the program. The group received a New York State Office of Mental Health grant to help promote the program.
"The more people that share stories, it starts to resonate," Pettograsso said. "Mayor Svante Myrick declared 2019 as 'Be The one' year, so it's really taking on a life of its own. Pretty much every district has signed on. So we're inclined to do it individually so it means something to us, and then also as a district."
The Lansing school community has already met to come up with ideas about integrating it in all three Lansing schools. 'Be The One' leaders joined with Lansing students, teachers, and administrators to talk about what it was to 'be the one' and have a nurturing relationship.
"We brainstormed some examples of how they were the one or had somebody else who was the one," Pettograsso said. "It's not just teachers... it's coaches... whoever in your life is important to you. They went further to brainstorm how, in Lansing, this message could come alive."
The county-wide group is targeting both schools and religious organizations. Their Web site suggests ways the idea can be incorporated into each organization's culture and programming. There is also a section on the 'Be The One' website that encourages people to share their stories about someone in their lives who made a significant difference to them.
Pettograsso said that future planning meetings will be held, and that there is interest in holding a multi-school-district event.
"It's really taking on a life of its own," she said. "Pretty much every district has signed on. So we're inclined to do it individually so it means something to us, and then also as a district. It's going to be 'Be The One' and 'See Something, Say Something', those simple messages. But it's not just the message. It's the work that happens in between to get them to understand what that means and how that happens."