Dear Maple Hill Families, 

On Wednesday, January 5, Maple Hill Jr./Sr. High School is kicking off the New Year with a new student program for grades 7-12!

As part of the NY State Mental Health and Wellness educational guidelines, we have partnered with CharacterStrong – an organization that provides social & emotional learning curriculum for students. At Maple Hill, we believe in the importance of character development and social-emotional learning to ensure a focus on the whole child. The main outcomes of the program are to increase a sense of belonging for all students, improve skills that support student well-being, and deepen students’ engagement in their academics, in their school, and in their community. 

The CharacterStrong curriculum is built around “Eight Essential” character traits (Patience, Kindness, Humility, Respect, Selflessness, Forgiveness, Commitment and Honesty) and the CASEL social-emotional skills (Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Social Awareness, Relationship Skills, and Responsible Decision-Making) that have been proven to help students be productive, empathetic, successful people.  We all will be working together to build a kinder school culture and, ultimately, a kinder world.  

This curriculum was created to support school communities as they engage in the work of preparing young people to thrive in the 21st century. The research supports the effectiveness of social & emotional learning in schools to increase student academic success and college & career readiness. The lessons focus on developing skills and mindsets around building positive habits and relationships, understanding our emotions, teaching stress and coping techniques, and increasing empathy.

During their Advisory class, on a bi-weekly basis, students and staff will work together through sessions that equip them with ways to understand, practice, or reflect on one of the eight essential character traits.  One of the key parts of nearly every session is the “CharacterDare” for Middle School students and the “To Be List” for High School students. In each session, students will be given a new challenge that helps them to practice one of the eight character traits in their daily lives. In the following session, they are given an opportunity to reflect on their experience, either by trying the Dare or by sharing what they think or believe about that week’s CharacterDare.  If you ever want to play an active role in the CharacterStrong curricula, simply ask your child about the most recent CharacterDare or To Be List challenge. 

Maple Hill is excited to be taking on the important work of character development and social-emotional learning. We believe in the power of this work and we have no doubt that with this common goal in mind students will feel more connected, build relationships, and it will have a positive impact on our school community.

To learn more about CharacterStrong, check out Please reach out to me, Jennifer Delaney (School Psychologist, or Jacqueline Hill (Principal, with any questions.

Jennifer Delaney
School Psychologist
Maple Hill Jr./Sr. High School