In a Nov. 27 blog post, Newtown High School principal Charles Dumais said the school would begin the day by congregating in the auditorium for a brief moment of silence.
"Take this moment to re-envision the future that you wish to see, reflect on the amazing demonstrations of hope and compassion that our staff, students, and families have made this past year," Dumais told members of the Newtown High School community. "Through tolerance, kindness, respect, and the initial assumption of positive intentions, we have helped each other, in many small steps, to get to a better place.
"Isolation is still the enemy. Isolation is the engine of all of the destructive consequences of the pain that we continue to feel. Isolation feeds fear and anger. But you can fight isolation. The response that is healthy and helpful is to weave some recognition of a good quality into every conversation with friends, colleagues, and loved ones. It helps to create a sense of safety and value that supports long-term personal and organizational health. Through this sharing you will see the AMAZING that I continue to see among us."
He said students and teachers would have a chance to reconnect at the end of the school day and celebrate the "tremendous strength and resilience" of the Newtown community.Superintendent John Reed said he's seen demonstrations of courage every day in schools across Newtown.
"When you go into education, whether a paraprofessional or teacher, you’ve made a commitment to be around others. And your natural inclination is to be around kids because you want to help," he said. "That has continued."
In the past year, Newtown schools have provided extensive counseling, including hiring additional support staff provided by a School Emergency Response to Violence grant the district received in May. But more than that, Reed says schools have made continuous progress
"I've been in the hallway from the day Sandy Hook reopened, and I've observed these people," he said. "I’m in awe of the day-to-day courage, responsibility and kindness. When you have the chance to be in a cafeteria and see kids in January — then February — then March — then April, you can see little changes in some kids. And you really are taken back by the complexity of the human spirit."