BOCES Bridges program to begin Positivity Project

Published Feb 14, 2018 at 4:00pm

NEW HARTFORD — A pep rally to roll out the Positivity Project for character education to students and staff will be held Friday at 9:30 a.m. by the Oneida-Herkimer-Madison (OHM) BOCES Bridges special education program.

The program, at OHM BOCES on 4747 Middle Settlement Road in New Hartford, will include introducing 24 character strengths and virtues to the school community. Among them are integrity, kindness and humor.

OHM BOCES Bridges is the first school in the Mohawk Valley and the first special education school in the country to participate in the Positivity Project, according to BOCES. The project began with one partner school in Liverpool in 2015 and has grown to more than 180 schools in 13 states.

Co-founded by two West Point graduates who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, it seeks to empower youths to build relationships by seeing the good in others and themselves.

Lisa Rizzo, coordinator of special education at OHM BOCES, said “we felt that the message that ‘Other People Matter’ and the 24 character strengths and virtues that the program is modeled on was so important and something that our students and staff could use in their daily lives. We were looking for a program to help us teach our students empathy....We fully supported training a core group of teachers and social workers.”

OHM BOCES serves these school districts: Brookfield, Clinton, Holland Patent, New Hartford, New York Mills, Oriskany, Remsen, Sauquoit Valley, Utica, Waterville, Westmoreland and Whitesboro.