NYC chancellor, first lady McCray visit school focusing on mental, social health

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New York City Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza and first lady Chirlane McCray took a visit to a school that is taking the mental and social health of its students very seriously - all while having fun.

Middle School 285 focuses on social and emotional learning, and Wednesday was the one-year anniversary of Town Hall, one of the ways the school unites students and staff together.

During the Town Hall, students' birthdays were recognized There was also singing and dancing, steel pan music. Educators say a special part is a libation ceremony.

The ceremony consists of students getting to say what they are grateful for or happy about, or even why they are sad. After this, they pour water into a plant.

The school says its goal is to get their students in the right frame of mind mentally and socially before class.

Once students interact with each other in this way, the principal says it leads to less bullying, higher attendance and higher grades.

The goal is for everyone to feel like they are part of a group and that no one is isolated. The students also sing three different anthems.

They sing the United States national anthem, the black national anthem and an anthem for South Africa.

The principal says the goal is for them to know all of their history, so they can have pride in who they are.

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