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South School Climate Update 2018

South School Climate Update: 2018

 

At South we are committed to being sure that every student feels safe, engaged, and included at school. These are the essential features of a positive school climate. South has had a school goal this year of improving empathy, increasing emotional intelligence, and increasing stress management and movement breaks in the classrooms. Below are a number of school climate initiatives that have been put into place this year in order to meet our goals.

 

Emotional Intelligence

In November of 2017, Marc Brackett, Ph.D., the Director of Emotional Intelligence at Yale University came to speak to the NCPS faculty and parents. Dr. Brackett’s presentation focused on the importance of teaching students the basic skills of Emotional Intelligence- the ability to Recognize, Understand, Label, Express and Regulate (RULER) emotion. Throughout the year the teachers and staff are learning more about the RULER approach and the ways that emotional intelligence positively affects performance, decision making, relationships and well-being.

 

Building Resilience

In November, due to generous contributions of the PFA and the PTC, the district was able to bring Dr. Robert Brooks to speak to both parents and teachers on building resilience in our children.

 

Teaching Empathy

In addition to raising the Emotional Intelligence of staff, another one of South School’s School Climate Goals this year was to increase student empathy and understanding of difference. Experts agree that one of the best ways to increase students’ empathy is to involve them in service learning. South has offered students numerous opportunities to help others:

  • The Special Education Team sponsored a Thanksgiving food drive for Kids in Crisis in Stamford.
  • The first grade completed the Scholastic Pajama drive and collected 50 pairs of new pajamas.
  • The 2nd grade classes take turns collecting food for the New Canaan Food Pantry.
  • The third grade team is working with the Marti Family and Make-a-Wish Foundation to help bring awareness to the program and to contribute to someone’s wish.
  • And finally, every class in the 4th grade has chosen their own project- including food drives, raising money for “Cancer Couch” and projects for our Veterans for Veterans Day.

 

Teaching Stress Management and Giving Movement Breaks in the Classrooms

South’s other important school climate goal this year was to incorporate movement and relaxation techniques into the classroom to reduce stress, improve focus and increase student engagement. Research has clearly indicated that students learn better when they are not overly stressed, and when they have the opportunities to periodically move. This year, South School taught brief stress reduction exercises to staff and students. In addition, to promote more movement in the classroom, teachers introduced kinetic furniture for students and the “Go-Noodle” videos which allow children a “brain break” when needed to re-energize and re-focus.

 

School Climate Committee

South has a School Climate Committee which meets periodically to discuss school climate issues and assist with implementing school climate initiatives. The committee members include: Joanne Rocco, Matt Kascak, Kim Staiti, Jenn Pritt, Bobby Rushton, Linda Montanaro, Marianne Bacheldor, and Sara Paine.

 

School Climate Survey

As you know, we are committed to making our schools safe, welcoming and engaging places for our students to learn. Parent feedback about our schools is essential to our continued ability to provide the best possible educational experience for your children. With this in mind- we are asking if you would take the time to complete our School Climate Survey. This survey asks about many aspects of your experience at our schools including School Safety, Personalized Learning, and Respectful Relationships. The survey is state mandated, and your feedback is used to directly help us to target areas for continual quality improvement. You have received the survey in a link and we hope you will fill it out. The last day to complete the survey is 4/23.