Published in the June 7, 2018 edition

NORTH READING — On Monday, June 11 at 2 p.m., the students and staff of the J. Turner Hood Elementary School will conduct a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the school’s new Buddy Bench. The bench is donated in memory of Patricia Parrott.

Patricia Parrott was a teacher in North Reading for nearly 40 years, 1956-1993. Most of those years were at the J. Turner Hood Elementary School, where she also served as assistant principal.

Thanks to many donations organized by our Parents’ Association and Mr. Barry Kipnes, retired teacher who was her colleague, the school has a new resource for promoting friendships on the playground. It’s called the “Buddy Bench,” and will give students a way to see when a classmate is feeling left out or isolated.

The Buddy Bench program gives the Hood School students and staff a mechanism to build empathy and teach inclusiveness. It also acts as a physical reminder to the students to be kind to one another.

The buddy bench will be located adjacent to the play structure in close proximity to the student play area. When Hood School students see a lonely classmate using the bench, they are encouraged to ask that child to play. If no one approaches a student on the bench, an adult will help that student find a “buddy.”

Please feel free to come and join the students and staff of the J. Turner Hood School when they officially dedicate the buddy bench in memory of an amazing teacher and administrator.