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Shaw Avenue News

School Community Lifts Each Other Up

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Amid school closures due to COVID-19, students and staff from Shaw Avenue Elementary School continue to spread positivity among their school community. The school started a Positivity Wall in one of its hallways this year to encourage social-emotional learning. Students in grades 3-6 wrote uplifting messages on Post-its, posted it to the wall and could take any messages that inspired or motivated them. During this trying time in the world, everyone could use an extra boost of positivity, so Shaw Avenue transformed its Positivity Wall into a virtual one for students and staff at home. 

The “wall” was created on Padlet, a website that allows the creation of boards and encourages collaboration. Shaw Avenue students in grades 3-6 have access to the virtual wall where they can post positive images, encouraging messages and more. Shaw Avenue faculty members serving grades 3-6 can also contribute to the wall. 

The student and staff response to the new wall was immediate. Together, they have already shared close to 100 positive messages.

“This student-led project of giving and receiving inspirational messages to overcome times of adversity has become a beacon of hope for many,” said Shaw Avenue Assistant Principal Andrew Canlé. “Recreating the wall virtually amid the COVID-19 pandemic and garnering such a hefty amount of participation, immediately proves that our Positivity Wall has transcended being a physical location, and has become a living and breathing mindset amongst our student body that helps them persevere in the face of challenging times.” 

Students Send Love Across the Globe

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Shaw Avenue Elementary School students in Paul Farinacci’s art classes recently embraced Valley Stream District 30’s “Lift Every Voice” theme by participating in creative projects to support the Only Love Foundation. The Only Love Foundation is a non-profit organization that builds schools in underdeveloped countries and provides programs to help communities in impoverished areas around the world.
The students were inspired to help after a visit with Craig Taylor Jr., founder of the Only Love Foundation. Taylor, a native Valley Stream resident and Valley Stream Central High School graduate, visited the school to speak about the work he facilitates across the world. This sparked the idea to raise money and provide gifts to students in need.

With the guidance of Mr. Farinacci, fifth grade students in Allison Hammond’s class handcrafted worry dolls and wrote letters of encouragement to send as gifts to students in Guatemala, where the Only Love Foundation is currently serving. Mr. Farinacci also worked with other classes to design greeting cards as part of a fundraiser and donated the money to the Only Love Foundation. The students drew, painted and used their iPads to create their own unique designs. Once completed, the designs were professionally printed and boxed with envelopes. The cards were sold to families, friends and district staff members. 

“When I learned about the non-profit Only Love Foundation and the amazing work it does with building schools in underdeveloped countries, I knew I wanted to do my part and expand my education focus more globally,” said Mr. Farinacci. “We have been seeking new ways to give back and this seemed like a great way.”