Special Board of Education Meeting: 11/09/2020

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Special Board of Education Meeting: 11/09/2020

[RACZAK] monday november 9th 2020 jeannie will you please call the roll [JEANNIE] ms grover [GROVER] here [JEANNIE] ms demming [DEMMING] here [JEANNIE] mr rising [RISING] here [JEANNIE] ms piehl [PIEHL] here [JEANNIE] mr raczak [RACZAK] here [JEANNIE] mr karubas [KARUBAS] here [JEANNIE] ms donahue [DONAHUE] here [RACZAK] we have a quorum ms donahue will you lead us in the pledge of allegiance [RACZAK] there is no one signed up for public comment today so we will move right to our discussion item which is a covid-19 update reopening of schools dr talley [TALLEY] thank you mr raczak members of the board of ed and indian prairie community tonight our focus is about covid-19 and how we are supporting our students socially and emotionally before i speak about that i do want to speak a little about a group of our staff who have been supporting all of us through their invaluable services i am speaking about our nurses i speak as someone who oversaw the office of school health for several years with a group of 200 RNs i know the power it is to have medical professionals those trained to know what to do supporting us as we try to work through a pandemic i am an educator they are medical professionals one of the most important jobs they do is contact tracing whenever someone tests positive our nurses spend hours during the school day after the school day is over and over the weekends calling people who have tested positive asking the necessary questions to find out the people they have been around and then calling those people to try to gain an understanding of who has been exposed and sharing with those people what they need to do contact tracing is vital the cdc centers for disease control says quote contact tracing is an effective disease control strategy that involves identifying cases and their contacts then working with them to interrupt disease transmission this includes asking cases to isolate and contacts to quarantine at home voluntarily contact tracing is a key strategy to prevent the further spread of covid-19 end of quote for those who respond openly and quickly to the nurses i thank you for those who see contact tracing as an invasion of your privacy i ask you to rethink your position our nurses are doing their job to help keep our community safe our rise in county positivity can be reduced if we support our nurses in their calls to you we have a group of nurses who are trained in contact tracing through a program designed by johns hopkins university unlike other school districts that are using non-medical professionals to do the contact tracing indian prairie has the medical professionals doing the work we need to support them and cheer them on i want to thank them personally for their work these nurses are miss elizabeth grant miss julianne talacky miss jessica comtaris miss catherine frank miss jamie minot miss tonya smith miss yvette naltsas miss jennifer dillon miss mary noga miss catherine lauzon miss linda weishoffer miss amy cowan and last but not least is our coordinating nurse miss linda herwaldt for our covid update tonight we are focused on social emotional support through emails and comments made during community comments here at the meetings there are some who believe we do not care about children’s mental health all of us who are educators care first about our children’s social emotional needs long before we care about their academic needs we have and continue to be focused on social emotional learning tonight you will hear

about us how as a system we are addressing social emotional learning for our children and then you’ll hear from each of the levels of showing examples of what our staff are doing to support our children and their families each time i visit a school i get to hear about what each school is doing and i’m always impressed and in awe of their actions before i turn it over to mr eccarius i just want to say to families if your child is having some issues please contact the school the schools do want to help and are helping however if you do not tell the school then the school may not know i now turn over to mr eccarious our deputy superintendent [DOUG] all right good evening uh thank you dr talley and board of education for allowing us to present this evening about uh social emotional uh well-being of students and how we support that this relates to board policy 6:65 and board goal number one help all students grow socially emotionally and academically at every presentation we’ve done throughout the return to learn updates during this pandemic um we’ve shown this slide um these three graphics represent our values and goals uh to support goal one don’t know why it’s not coming up on the screen so you’ve seen that graphic many times throughout our presentations it’s portrait of a graduate social emotional learning as well as about equity uh diversity and inclusion i would say during these times we find it even more important that the portrait of a graduate which was a collaborative process uh involving our community on discussing what our graduates of our district are going to need to be successful and um even more so right now when you look at flexibility and adaptability resilience citizenship critical thinking and problem solving creativity and innovation and communication i think we can all understand how important those are at this point in time all right so several years ago our state had come out with social emotional learning standards and those three standards are developed self-awareness and interpersonal i’m sorry develop self-awareness and self-management skills to achieve school and life success use social awareness and interpersonal skills to establish and maintain positive relationships and to demonstrate decision-making skills and responsible behaviors in personal school and community context we’ve had a large number of licensed staff from all levels and positions who have worked with us on this journey and have been part of our social emotional learning committee i mean their vision statement has been working together the community of district 204 will build social emotional competencies in order to develop safe and trusting relationships and a culture of acceptance and resiliency what you see on this slide is a from we work with casel and this group is the it’s the collaborative for academic and social emotional learning so what is social emotional learning it is an integral part of education and human development we also refer to it as sel is the process through which all young people and adults acquire and apply the knowledge skills and attitudes to develop healthy identities manage emotions and achieve personal and collective goals feel and show empathy for others establish and maintain supportive relationships and make responsible and caring decisions and most recently casel did add on to include about equity and so sel advances educational equity and

excellence through authentic school family community partnerships to establish learning environments and experiences that feature trusting and collaborative relationships rigorous and meaningful curriculum instruction and ongoing evaluation sel can help address various forms of inequity and empower young people and adults to co-create thriving schools and contribute to safe healthy and just communities sel social emotional learning has been a very important part of our professional learning in the district there’s been an ongoing commitment to provide sel professional learning via institute days and school improvement days with a focus on adult and social emotional competency skills i really want to thank our sel committee once again for all of their work they worked tirelessly over the summer to ensure that we were going to find ways that we can provide this learning um both to our staff and then through to the students they worked tirelessly out the summer in these uncertain times of not knowing exactly what instruction was going to look like for this semester and they were ready and constantly making adjustments to ensure that this was a key focus in our schools it’s all about making sure that we have an environment and a culture of care several schools continue to use title ii funds that’s federal funding to provide sel trainings related to mindfulness trauma-informed practices and restorative practices staff have access to a number of pd on-demand resources from institute presentations so if they didn’t have the opportunity to see it when it was occurring we have recorded those and they can access those at any time that is best for their learning and other vetted agencies and educational institutions we do often times we work closely with the roe and get resources from them as well as our partnership with casel and then there’s opportunities through northwestern university as well as coursework that they provide professional learning communities or what you might have here is plcs which allow our staff to communicate and problem-solve ways to apply sel strategies across content areas and or embed sel resources into their lessons and this is what you’re going to hear tonight we’re going to have first a group of staff members who are going to focus on what we’ve been doing at the elementary level and then they’ll be up here and they’ll take questions that you have after their presentation and then we’ll bring on middle school so we can talk about what’s happening at the middle schools and then we’ll end the presentation with high school so with that i’m going to go ahead and turn it over to our elementary team [LAURA] thank you so very much good evening board members i know for me and i’m guessing maybe for many of you it already feels like the pandemic has lasted forever it’s really hard to not see an end in sight either we know that many people children and adults are suffering we’re social beings and the significantly reduced in-person social connections we’re able to have with extended family friends fellow congregants and classmates weighs heavily on each one of us we also know students being in school five days a week is ideal until we are able to return to our ideal we want to make every effort to ensure the well-being of our students at all levels tonight we’ll share with you a look inside of our schools to see the extraordinary efforts our staff members are making at the early childhood level elementary middle and high school to teach social emotional learning skills to monitor student well-being and to reach out to students and families for whom remote learning is taking a toll i’m lucky to have joining to me joining me tonight tracy ratner principal of longwood school dawn forkner sel coach at mccarty elementary and rachel witkowski as student services coordinator at peterson school mrs witkowski will lead us off by sharing what social emotional learning looks [RACHEL] good evening as you know in district 204 we have always believed in social emotional learning and how important it is for our students now more than ever we recognize

the need for dedicated daily social emotional instruction it is a priority in our schedules this evening we want you to see what this instruction looks like for our students as well as the outreach work we are doing with our families the foundation for our social emotional learning work at the early childhood level is pats at the elementary level is second step preschool lessons are taught using puppets including twiggle the turtle the focus is on helping our youngest learners identify their own emotions and the emotions of others how to be a good friend and strategies for managing strong emotions at the elementary level our ultimate goal is to increase students school success while decreasing problem behaviors all while promoting social emotional competence and self-regulation pats at the early childhood level and second step at the kindergarten through fifth grade level provide us the tools and strategies to accomplish this goal students learn best when they practice the skills and concepts many times in multiple ways this applies to social emotional skills as well key elements to lessons include big brain builder games story and discussion daily reinforcement of all skills of all skills includes practice activities and home links there are a broad range of skills that are covered to support student social emotional growth as you’ll see kindergarten through third grade is broken down into four units we start with the foundational skills necessary for successful participation in learning and we grow from there ending with friendship skills and problem solving in fourth and fifth grade the units build on from the previous grade levels condensing the units down to three you’ll see that unit one both includes both skills for learning and empathy the entire school works on the same skill for the week recently we taught how to be assertive asking for what you want or need in a respectful way the lesson was directly taught on monday morning by all of our teachers our students talk about the skill during morning announcements and then it’s reinforced throughout the week during class meetings now you’ve heard about second step dawn will share an example kindergarten lesson [DAWN] thank  you as we all know remote learning can look different than the traditional classroom and this includes our social emotional learning what we’d like to do is show you an example of a remote kindergarten second step lesson that was taught recently as a part of our emotion management unit the objective of this lesson is for students to be able to identify the emotion of anger and use an appropriate calming strategy each lesson begins by reinforcing the skills for learning to immediately engage students we sing what we call our whole body listening song and the graphics on the screen are just to remind students what each part of the song is moving into the targeted lesson students will look at the facial expressions to identify how angry looks second step encourages the use of visuals to make learning more concrete the students also had the opportunity to then show their own angry faces next the students listened to a story about managing anger and discuss the strategies that were presented then they made a connection to the lesson by sharing personal experiences of a time that they felt angry this slide is an example of the card provided by second step so the students listen to a sample story and then apply the strategies that they had just learned and have been talking about to that story finally the students are taught and practice a simple anger management strategy in this case it’s the stop count in and out strategy teachers are then encouraged to reinforce the strategy when students are experiencing challenging emotions the zones of regulation is another curriculum used in our elementary buildings zones teaches students how to categorize their feelings by the level of intensity so blue green yellow and red and

then choose an appropriate tool to help return to the green zone recently a parent reached out to me because his first great son was struggling with frustration with remote learning and his frustration was escalating into anger since zones of regulation is a curriculum that his son was familiar with i shared the foundations of it with the parents the student and i met in a breakout room to create a personalized zones toolbox which is the slide that we’re seeing the student was able to identify what he looked like in each zone and share which tools work best for him for example when the student is feeling frustrated holding and cuddling a favorite stuffed animal helps him feel calmer by sharing this toolbox with the parents they are now better equipped and feel more empowered to help their son during these difficult moments to further explain sel in action mccarty elementary teacher miss laura liforth will share how she uses second step in her third grade classroom [VIDEO] hi my name is laura leapforth and i am a third grade teacher at mccarty elementary school our sel second step has been very successful so far especially during our remote learning um it is something that we do first thing in the morning we usually start our day with a a poll of how we’re feeling where sometimes we’ll just talk about how we’re feeling what zone we’re in if we’re in the blue green yellow or red and then we talk about our feelings as a collaborative effort talking about how we’re feeling why we’re feeling that way and maybe some solutions of how we can maybe get ourselves into the green zone one of the things we’re working on this week for second step is accepting differences uh one of the projects we’re doing is we’re going to take the scenario that we have here for accepting differences in lesson eight and talk about um if you are olivia in the pink how could you help yasmin um show empathy about how she is feeling in this particular situation so students will be able to draw a picture and also write with a sentence frame what uh what she is what what they’re feeling or what they are doing and then the students are going to go on to flip grid and describe their picture in more detail and also tell us what they wrote about how yazmin and olivia are accepting each other’s differences and similarities at that point the students will be able to go on to flip grid and listen to each other’s flip grids and comment and make some observations as well so second step has been doing wonderful so far great successes in 3l so i i just can’t speak more highly of it thank you [DAWN] so during these times remote learning it is especially important for students to feel connected to their teacher and peers as well as feels that they’re an important part of their classroom community as a result in addition to second step and zones of regulation the dedicated sel time can be used for other activities for example building classroom community this is done through playing games and we know elementary students enjoy playing games with one another doing show and tells doing class scavenger hunts which are very popular i’ve seen several teachers do a meet my pet where the students are able to introduce their pet to the class and doing things like setting classroom goals to work towards to earn a class reward in addition our teachers are all doing morning meetings and closings one thing that they often do is share a high and a low so something very good that’s happened and maybe something not so great in a classroom i visited today the student shared a high for the weekend when everyone had finished sharing the teacher chose two mystery students using popsicle sticks as a way to reinforce listening if the chosen students were able to remember another student’s high the whole class earned a point toward their classroom reward and it was great to see the way that they were all encouraging each other and hoping that the person remembered they also do recognizing birthdays one fun way i’ve seen is that there’s a teacher who will sing happy birthday in polish because polish is her native language and then encourage other students to sing happy birthday in their native languages to the student not only do the students enjoy it it’s a great way to recognize and celebrate our diverse classrooms and of course morning meetings can also be used to reinforce classroom behavior expectations finally and importantly we do regular check-ins with our students as ms leforth mentioned we do emotional check-ins often times using the zones of regulation this can either be done privately on a google doc that they can submit to their teacher or publicly and informally by just raising your hand when the teacher asks who is in the blue green yellow or red zones the teacher is then able to check in with a student in a breakout room or ask for a practitioner like myself to do so teachers have also requested at times that i step into their classroom and monitor their classrooms so that they can have that connection with their

student in the breakout room to do the check-in this is a great example of why using sel time to develop community is so important without a safe and trusting classroom environment students may be reluctant to share and we as educators may miss out on opportunities to help and support [TRACY] aside from dedicated sel time our english language arts curriculum has social emotional learning embedded in it which has continued to be a focus area for our teachers here you can see two books that help build social emotional skills called you matter and where are you from it is important to note that our ela curriculum does a wonderful job celebrating differences and uniqueness in our ever-growing diverse body of students this is an example of sel learning within our ela curriculum in this example first graders listened to a story and had to respond to the prompt what can you do when you feel angry this is also a perfect tie-in to zones of regulation the first grader shared they could take deep breaths talk about their feelings or take a minute to themselves this also illustrated how students are submitting work using their chromebook camera sel is also intertwined with writing practice in this example students are responding about what makes them unique as you can see our literacy text selections focus on emotions diversity inclusiveness and on building relationships it is never more important than now to teach students how to be good digital citizens online our lmc directors have been working with students weekly in eight of these areas that you see on the slide and teachers have been reinforcing this in their daily work with students we are also doing school-wide activities to engage students and to support their social emotional needs as a principals group we have talked about peak moments meaning moments students will be excited about and remember for years to come one example is that many schools have been hosting drive through celebrations the picture on the slide is an example from longwood where we celebrated our longwood leaders who consistently demonstrate our traits of being respectful responsible and safe students drove by were given a goodie bag and were celebrated and cheered on by our staff of course while socially distancing the smiles on their faces were priceless our elementary schools are also spotlighting students regularly we have been honoring students on the morning announcements for receiving positive referrals and achieving academic success while also helping to celebrate student birthdays holidays and traditions speaking of traditions schools are regularly keeping up important parts of the school day such as announcements our school song the pledge of allegiance often in multiple languages and more this helps maintain a strong sense of community and belonging even when we are remote pbis positive behavior interventions and supports has been a strong overarching program in our schools for years we have worked to adjust pbis to fit the remote environment for example many of our schools are still utilizing our seco check-in checkout program students are having the opportunity to check in throughout the day with a staff member who serves as their cheerleader while gently continuing to build on their practice of school-wide expectations one of my favorite memories is when we had our pilot students in and one of our students had an amazing day the teacher was so proud and showing his point sheet to everyone as he walked through the building and out the front door he is continuing on this program remotely many schools have taken it a step further and are utilizing small groups to teach social emotional skills as students in classes work on building pbis expectations students still have the opportunity to celebrate their success whether it be with a pajama party a tie-dye day bring your favorite stuffed animal to zoom or more we know that during this time our families and students may be struggling we want to help and make a difference so therefore we have been putting systems in place to help we have problem-solving teams ready and available to assist with academics attendance and participation and social emotional needs teachers parents or any staff member can request additional support and receive that support quickly along with ideas from a team of professionals in order to assist any student many different ideas come out of these teams and the supports are then individualized for the student one example of support from our attendance and participation team has been working with students and families to increase student engagement with one student a trusted staff member logged into the classroom zooms to work with the student send them positive individual messages throughout the class and then pull them in a breakout room to review what was taught as you can see listed we offer many different supports to families i will highlight just a few for you in early childhood preschool

staff classroom teachers and related services connect virtually with families every week one teacher said that being right there in their house with parents and students was a different connection than the typical face-to-face email or phone connections more than one parent asked if they would continue to get the weekly zoom connections if they chose in person another example is upon conducting a home visit we realized a family was struggling with technology two staff members went on the home visit and remained outside of the home socially distant while communicating with the family we were able to immediately provide hot spots to this family and then the student was engaged in learning the very next day we have also worked with daycares to help shape a student’s learning environment and prep the daycare with the exact schedule a student should be following many teachers across the district are conducting individual check-ins with students to help boost their confidence and practice essential skills especially at the kindergarten and first grade levels one kindergarten student exclaimed that meeting one-on-one with their teacher was the highlight of his week this one-on-one time gives teachers a chance to check in on students from the sel lens last one of the most powerful supports has been partnering with parents to create support plans last week our staff had a meeting with a family and all of the staff who support the student via zoom staff were able to offer tips tricks and management ideas to the family they even had the student join in to ensure everyone was on the same page and to show the student how invested everyone is in his success i am very proud of the social emotional work that all of our schools are doing to ensure the success and well-being of each and every student thank you for the opportunity to talk about them with you this evening our [LAURA] final part tonight is just to share some feedback that we received from a parent this was the email my daughter charlotte is in kindergarten this past weekend she was downstairs drawing by herself and she came upstairs with the attached she’d written it all by herself of course we framed it and it sits behind her school workspace the parent continued i want to say thank you to the teacher and all the great staff charlotte couldn’t have written this by herself before september so the teachers in remote learning are definitely teaching her good stuff despite all odds what i love about charlotte writing i can do this is that it’s evidence that we’re making a difference for students academically and socially emotionally charlotte’s growth mindset and her optimism is so evident in her writing i can do this we hope to continue to help all students have this same mindset to sustain them whether they encounter tough times due to academic rigor or a pandemic we will do everything we can to make a difference for all of our students what questions do you have for us at this time [RISING] so i just wanted to thank you again at the elementary level because in some ways i’m sure you’ll agree with me or may disagree with me in some ways you know that social emotional piece at the elementary level is equally and one can make the argument even greater than the academic piece at the elementary school level so i thank you for everything you do um i think the zones is wonderful i love that um that they’re able to identify without that fear of being judged um or being ashamed and there’s that accepting being built first you know the and this is a question but not necessarily something i need an answer to so it’s just kind of something i’m throwing out there i i hope um and and i have the confidence that our teachers our student service coordinators but specifically our teachers are being hyper aware of those social emotional warning signs and those and those red flags and you know that it’s we all know it’s a lot harder because we aren’t face to face um as we all like to be um so i i just encourage you to um you know check in on those things and and be aware of those things and i’m sure you are and i know no doubt you are but that’s i’m sure my fear and your biggest fear as well that um we want to make sure we catch some of those things and they don’t kind of fly under the radar so thank you so much

[LAURA] thank you and if i may just respond you’re right we do worry about that all the time and work very hard to ensure it doesn’t happen but i know each of them could share with you that we’re very lucky because we have parents that also want to partner with us and i would just encourage any families that are seeing their child struggle and maybe we missed it to please reach out right away to the teacher or to the principal because they really are there to help [GROVER] sure thank you for all that you’re doing for those elementary school students and part of it is i think the parents don’t know what is available um i was a parent of an elementary school student last year and like you said the parents can have the home link for second steps so i encourage the parents to go on second step um you are sent the home link you can have the discussions with your student as well so i just want to mention that um the other thing i wanted to ask is second step it’s not building wide it’s district-wide and that’s the other thing i wanted to say to the parents so whatever is happening in every it’s happening in every building um mental health is very important to the district and last year we have we put a counselor in every school and i just want to mention that as well [KARUBAS] i’ve lived in this district my whole life i am amazed at the things i continue to learn about the things that happened i the wow for me were the home visits i think we try to be as safe and remote as we can to try to minimize impact from the virus but you can see in many ways where we try to reach out and yes you need the parent to reach out as well but learning about some of the examples and lists of supports was was very impressive to me in the home visits wow thank you [DONAHUE] so um we did consciously i know there were lots of emails and you know there’s continuous concern about the welfare of our children from a sel perspective and um we did and this is a little bit visionary if i want to give us a little credit we did change our board goals over a year ago and made the conscious effort our decision to move social emotional learning in front of academics and our first goal of our board and uh you know i just want to emphasize how important that is to us as a district and i am completely impressed with your comprehensive set of activities and actions that you can take to help support our students and encourage you to continue with your effort and your creativity for this very critical piece for our students so thank you [DEMMING] um obviously echoing just the appreciation and the consideration creativity that you’ve given to our elementary school students and i really appreciate the graphics the the colors those things they may seem subtle to some people but that really helps engage our students so much at that level so thank you for that that concern and that creativity um can just very briefly because this is so uh new from a standpoint of our teachers having to ascertain some subtleties with our students uh you know remotely and i know we spent so much time in helping prepare our teachers and continue to provide um assistance to them can you just very briefly just indicate so our parents are aware just some of the things that we provided to our teachers to help them be prepared in identifying things that might raise concerns as far as social emotional [LAURA] so as um mr eccarius mentioned earlier we did start obviously we started years ago with the sel and i do want to say we are really grateful for the additional mental health providers in our buildings and you’re right for the emphasis on social emotional learning but we did even start early in the summer knowing that we were going to potentially be remote for

some or part of the year or all of the year and so we wanted to make sure teachers had what they needed so there has been a lot of professional development offered but i think what’s really continued to be important is the conversations that are being had at the building those problem solving teams are essential and that really is those professional learning communities the group coming together and saying wow what’s going on for this family and how can we help or what’s going on for this student and it really is the generation of ideas and trying things and then learning how it works and then trying it for other students that i think has made all the difference is there anything else you want to add that’s been helpful for staff [TRACY] the only thing that i will add is that i think one of the key pieces has been and i know we we haven’t really talked about this presentation but supporting our staff’s mental health as well as a huge piece and as school leaders and people that really care about mental health we’ve been talking as principals about what we can do to support our staff’s mental health so they’re healthy and so that they can recognize those things in children and so they come each day prepared and so they can build relationships with students and families because that is one of the best ways that they’re going to recognize if a family is struggling [PIEHL] um yeah thank you guys for everything you’ve done um i am really impressed with the problem solving in process being incorporated so quickly within a pandemic remote fashion that that’s pretty incredible um i know one of the things that i’ve wondered about is one how i mean is this the second year that we are using second step and the teachers have had the second step as a program for them or third year what what year are we in with the teachers using that as a curriculum [DAWN] this is our third year for the majority of our schools this is our second year and for a handful first year [PIEHL] wow wow okay so this that was quite a jump for some of them um because it does take a little while to incorporate it and and be able to blend it in with um english literature and everything so um but kudos to you guys um so what do you feel are some of our students biggest struggles like what behaviors are you seeing that you guys are trying to help the students and support the parents with [RACHEL] i would say one of the greatest struggles our students are having is the ability to stay focused for long periods of time in some ways we see an improvement behavior because they’re not being distracted as much but at the same time some of our students are really struggling missing out on the socialization piece missing out and having their teacher in front of them and they’re becoming very frustrated easily they’re losing their focus very easily or they’re disengaging altogether and those are oftentimes those students that are brought to the problem solving process or like the example with the zones toolbox the parents are reaching out to us and saying we’re not sure what to do please help us what’s the next step and then we’re building in those supports at home for them [RACZAK] thank you so much i really appreciate the individual outreach support as dr talley said please reach out to us i encourage our teachers to continue to identify those students who need may be more important than the rigorous curriculum is to care for each other during this very difficult time so i really appreciate all the efforts and especially the individual efforts please reach out to us thank you [BRAD] good evening members of the board and dr talley it is my pleasure to be here this evening to talk about the wonderful and amazing things that happen on a regular and consistent basis at our middle schools one of the things that makes my job awesome i tell everybody that i can that i

have the best job in the entire district is that i get to work with seven building principals who take a great deal of pride and in the efforts that their buildings take on meeting all of the needs that we can of our students both the social emotional needs but also their educational needs and tonight i’ve brought three of them with me i have mrs melissa couch she’s the building principal at crone and she’ll be speaking to you about some of the efforts that we make with inside of our curriculum i brought mrs leslie mitchell the building principal at gregory and she’ll be talking about second step in our advisory program and i’ve also brought with mr al davenport and he’ll be talking about some of the efforts that we’ve been making recently in light of the pandemic and at this time i’d like to turn it over to the building principles [MELISSA] social emotional learning and the five core competencies are the anchor of the middle school philosophy and the model that district 204 has consistently committed to providing to our students addressing the needs of the whole child fortifying their social skills and building a strong emotional foundation is especially important at the middle school as students are making the transition into young adulthood over the over time the curriculum department has revised and updated the core curriculum they have they have continued to strengthen the social emotional thread throughout by incorporating unit themes that foster the growth of empathy understanding others points of view and adolescent connection some of these themes in english language arts are charting a new course every perspective tells a story and the masks we wear diverse texts have been selected to complement the themes and essential outcomes these texts are have broadened perspectives by including videos podcasts ted talks and other styles of written word additionally student voice choice and inquiry play a role in their connection to the curriculum we often refer to this connection as doors and mirrors when students can select books and novels that mirror their own voice and image or opens a door to understanding others experiences in the world staff consistently finds themselves building relationships and student with students through book talks or individual discussions about literature this fall especially teachers are using literature as a way to connect to their students literature opens doors and often validates our students attitudes and emotions many of the social skills that are derived from the core competencies and also align with the learning that is included in our portrait of the graduate and needed to become future ready adults are skills that can be found throughout our core and encore curriculums some of these that are taught by all of our teachers are goal setting and progress and measuring progress collaboration skills building relationships regulating emotions and many others included in this slide [LESLIE] like our elementary schools our middle schools used second step to meet the social emotional needs of students we began implementing this tier one sel program about five years ago at that time we were all in different phases of implementation today all seven middle schools are on the same page and delivering this curriculum to all students the second step curriculum for middle school students teaches essential skills such as emotion recognition and management empathy problem solving bullying prevention and goal setting the program is divided into four very middle school relevant units and these next slides provide a brief overview of each of them unit topic one is mindset and goals which helps students develop a growth mindset by learning and growing from mistakes and certain students learn how to apply goal-setting strategies to their social and academic lives unit two is recognizing bullying and harassment students learn how to identify these they learn strategies for safely standing up to bullying and responding appropriately to harassment also i should say that the unit topics are the same for sixth through eighth grade but the lessons within the topics are different for for each grade level

and the lessons are age appropriate and build upon each other year after year next slide please the unit 3 topic is thoughts emotions and decisions students learn how to recognize strong emotions and unhelpful thoughts and they learn strategies for managing these and reducing stress the final unit is managing relationships and social conflict students learn how to develop and maintain healthy relationships they learn perspective taking and how to productively deal with conflict and these units also i want to just mention the connection that they have to the way that our um that the core competencies are already embedded into our curriculum and so there are connections between these second step lessons that are taught in isolation and what these students are learning in their core academic classes next slide please and my final slide is i’ve listed casdl’s five core competencies and again the reason why i wanted to highlight these here is because i wanted to show the connection between the second step lessons and these five core competencies the second step lessons these aren’t the topics within the second step lessons but they are these are skills that our teachers have been modeling and teaching for the about the past five years and they are easily able to reinforce them through these second step lessons [AL] all right thank you board for the opportunity to talk to you tonight um this quote was used um by our colleague mr dutdut at hill middle school um a few weeks ago and it said a tree with strong roots laughs at storms and we are in somewhat of a storm right now in education um given the pandemic and so we wanted to talk to you a little bit about what we are doing and how we are keeping our kids rooted go ahead so never before have uh you know you’ve heard the saying it takes a village right well never before has that been more true and so we want to talk to you about what our schools have done and how quickly they have come together to develop just robust creative strategies to help our students and our families so we’re going to share a few of those with you tonight go ahead so what have we always done now we’re just doing them a little different so this list of things are things that all of our middle schools across the board have always done positive referrals students of the week gold and crone are like gold and champion breakfasts um and celebrations different clubs daily announcements team and counselor check-ins good news notes clubs and other special events spirit weeks and our youth 360 sel support and student services these are all things that we have traditionally done in a face-to-face environment and we’re really happy to say that these are all things that we’re doing now in a remote environment they may look a little different as far as how we are recognizing kids um but all of these things are happening so whether it’s virtual clubs daily announcements where we still do the pledge to kind of create that normalcy um and then there you’ll see an example at granger of what we’re going to do for our our granger gold breakfast instead of having a breakfast like we traditionally will have our teachers are excited to get together and surprise their students with these signs in the yards recognizing them as a granger gold student and i know each of my colleagues here are doing something similar in a way of recognizing and just keeping those positive opportunities available for our kids so these are things again we’ve always done at middle school and we’re still doing them just a little differently now go ahead i heard this said the other day it says we can’t do school like we did before it has to be different and at first i was like yeah that’s true and then i thought well yeah that’s true we do that every year we continually look at how can we do school better and how can we do it different and so i want to talk to you a little bit about some of the things that we are doing a little different this year some of them new and some of them are things that we’ve kind of just innovated a little bit so many of our schools this year we asked ourselves how can students get help during the school day if they need that teacher or that adult to help them in real time and so many of our schools have live help desks that are staffed by teachers or teaching assistants and so students have a way during the school day that if they need to talk to somebody whether it be academic support social emotional support they have that way that they can get in touch with an adult real time during the school day um and that’s something new that we’ve we’ve all done this year and and has been super helpful um targeted home visits to help problem solve either technology academic situations even helping parents and kids develop routines at home for how to do remote learning i can tell you for example and just talking to my colleagues we are

all making home visits at a at a pretty significant rate and it’s been super helpful and super powerful to meet our kids where they’re at and help them through these things pack groups positively actively caring for kid teams some of our schools have developed these pack groups which is kind of what it is it’s one teacher connected to a small group of 10 to 12 kids that kind of form a pack and that teacher or that adult in the building is in charge of keeping track of those kids checking in with those kids making sure they’re doing okay um and so pack groups are something that we’ve kind of done variations of over the years but are really more intensive this year academic engagement response teams these are teams at schools that monitor how students are doing both socially and emotionally as well as academically and then respond as needed to make sure that the kids and the families are getting what they need so that the students can be successful another version of that is called the reaps team remote engagement assistance planning for students and a very similar idea where these teams get together they respond quickly to support students that have a need and again whether that’s a social emotional need or an academic need and then again our teachers are offering office hours we have either the phantom lunch or the unlunch we’ve called it that’s that scheduled lunch period where teachers and students have an additional time to connect and for us to really reach out and support students and then again all the principals have been doing crazy amazing things to help engage our kids we know at middle school you just have to be a little goofy to keep them connected and so whether that’s decorating pumpkins and submitting pictures of that having students participate in the announcements and an idea that we did this summer at granger was principals and popsicles where we just drove around to the community and passed out freeze pops to our kids just to kind of get them excited but that’s just one example of the many things that our principals are doing to just keep their kids feeling normal keep them connected to our schools um and again we’re here to connect and to support them whether that’s academic or social emotional thank you [RACZAK] thank you questions comments [PIEHL] i i love the the home visits i love that you’re surprising the kids with things in their front yard i mean you guys have come up with so many creative ways to to get the students engaged it’s it’s amazing i just kudos to you guys [DEMMING] very impressed and uh thank you so much for all you’re doing thank you so much for the creativity because middle school students it it’s hard to kind of figure out you know how you pull them in so hopefully some of these are working just kind of wondered um on some of the things that you had on slide 34 some of the celebrations clubs you mentioned daily announcements what type of um on the clubs and things where students can be participatory do you have any idea how many what percentages were being able to kind of pull kids in i just wondered [AL] um i don’t know if we’ve looked so much at how many students are participating in each of our clubs it’s something that we usually kind of do at the end of the quarter and we just finished first quarter but i know for example at granger and you guys feel free to jump in we just did our one book one school which is something we would normally have done but we just did it a lot sooner in the year and then as we’ve done that we’re going to have a trivia night related to our one book one school coming up and that’s a way to engage both our parents and our kids um we’ve had trivia clubs we are even doing our virtual cricket club in hopes that we could do cricket in the spring which we normally have about 115 kids participate in but even virtually our teachers are trying to replicate and provide opportunities for kids to to do some of those things [LESLIE] we recently began our gsa club our black student alliance club and we also have a which is getting a lot of attention um and then we also have an e-gaming club that um had the last time i checked there was 170 students in that club so um it’s going that’s we didn’t expect to have that many students participating in it it was a student that brought it to us that asked if we could run that club and i know there’s a couple of other buildings that are also doing that esports [MELISSA] and we’re continuing with some of our clubs like art club that have you know that have typically met in person they had a really great turnout we’ve also continued with our gsa and our multicultural clubs as well as we have started some new things like juggling club and biking clubs and things that were a little bit more timely and in the early fall

so we’re just trying to grab a few kids here and there and target some interests and just try to keep as many kids engaged as possible [DONAHUE] so i was um kind of fascinated on page 26 if you go back there there was something that just totally intrigued me and we don’t need to talk about it here but i just found this very interesting it was regulation of emotions through competitive play like my history of competitive play with my children where that competitive play brings out the worst like you know if they lose or if they’re a winner so i i’m very um very interested in what that piece was about but it’s probably for an um off-site discussion [MELISSA] i would just quickly answer that these are skills that all of our teachers felt like they were teaching in their classes so in through physical education they feel like that they are not only teaching our kids the skills of competitive play but also the emotions that go along with that and what it means to be a good winner and a gracious loser but you know still have still be able to express that competitive edge [DONAHUE] yeah well i i’m also going to borrow from cathy’s question to the elementary teachers and representatives so what are you finding as the biggest issue at the middle school level with our students with respect to social emotional learning [LESLIE] i i think they’re they’re missing that that interaction um a lot of them they’re missing that human interaction they’re missing um seeing their friends every day you know some some students that were that just thrive off physical activity and in team sports and things like that they’re missing that um i think they’re doing well in the remote setting but you can’t replace that human connection with remote setting within a remote setting so i at least i’m speaking for my own building it’s that personal connection that they’re missing [MELISSA] i agree i think our teachers are doing a phenomenal job and trying to give them those opportunities for connection whether it’s in breakout rooms whether it’s working through through their class to have an individual discussion with each of their students to try to foster that connection between teacher and student but it’s it is difficult to give those opportunities for the student to student social interactions and some of the skills that we learn from working together and it’s it’s really hard to replicate [AL] i’d say that i said one of the things i’ve noticed that is a benefit is i have seen kids really advocate for themselves at a rate at a level that i’ve never seen before i mean i have students email me every day to ask me questions or to just give me ideas and i think with some of the clubs that we’ve had and things like that it’s it’s forced kids to become a little bit more self-advocates which is i know something we’ve continued to work on so they do definitely miss that that socialization but at the same time it’s taught a different skill in a different way which i think has also been super helpful [KARUBAS] i am not a teacher i’m just a board member but i do appreciate when you do presentations that bring the board members to classrooms um so one of the things i really appreciate about the slides is seeing some of the videos and so i might have blacked out a little bit there but have we shown the video on slide 32 [BRAD] that video is a remnant that was left in from a previous presentation when we thought that potentially we were going to be showing the building the building principals by video as opposed to having them live and in person so instead of getting a great video of mr davenport uh being all excited and passionate about everything that’s happening you got him um live and in person today [LESLIE] i will invite you to um watch any of our announcements each morning and you know we’re getting the kids the kids send us video clips and we get them involved in the announcements and that’s been a really fun evolution of our announcement so if you if you would like to see a video then check out one of

our morning announcements that are linked to our website [RISING] thank you guys and thanks to all the middle school principals i have seen quite a few of al’s morning announcements and they are awesome um you know just i’m just blown away because the way our middle schools are reinventing things in a new way um and taking it to a whole new level is just so impressive um you know just when i thought i knew it all or hoped to know it all i i see even new things that you guys are doing so this is so exciting and i’m extremely passionate about middle school kids because i’ve been mentoring them for like nine years and you know i have a love for them because they’re in that transition stage right and that’s that kind of awkward stage and they’re learning about themselves and um you know this what you guys are doing is so important um so thank you because it’s kind of helping them keep on track and motivated and i’m sure there are struggles you know but um what you guys are doing thank you so that’s all i have to say [ROVER] slide 36 please and all i want to say is thank you for the slide because it shows all that you are doing and how committed you are that’s all [RACZAK] thank you so much again i appreciate the individual support that are being offered really appreciated the comment in terms of self advocacy and spending a better part of my lifetime with middle school students i know it’s really hard to say i need help it’s really hard for a middle school student in particular to say i need help and i just wanted to throughout these presentations i just want to encourage people to say that it’s okay we’re in a pandemic i have found myself at the age of 68 keeping it in and it’s important to say i need help i finally did it i’m better for that so i encourage our parents i encourage our students it’s okay if they need some help it’s being offered reach out to those principals reach out to your teachers we do need to help again as i said before maybe caring is the most important thing that we can do at this point so just keep that self-advocacy up anyone else thank you guys great job [LINDA] good evening everyone we’re very excited to be here tonight to be able to talk about this very important topic with you i have three high school leaders with me montrin johnson who’s assistant principal at waubonsie and also a member of our district sel committee dr darrell echols from metea valley high school and dr lance fuhrer from neuqua valley high school and we’re excited to be able to share some of the wonderful things that are happening in the buildings at the high school level [MONTRINE] good evening thank you for having me school board and uh dr talley so appreciate being here this evening and i’m just really i’m excited to share what we’ve been doing at the high school level in regards to social emotional learning as you know our portrait of a portrait of a graduate those skills that we guarantee commit to when students graduate are really important but the social emotional learning competencies they’re interconnected and so that’s where you

see the casel wheel and those five competencies that are really important and they’re embedded in our classes and in what we do we presented or i presented here in january and now it’s in you know exciting to be able to present about the implementation efforts that we’ve made thus far i am here to represent waubonsie valley but i’m also here to represent our high school social emotional learning committee and i do want to acknowledge their efforts we met over the summer and they worked tirelessly and we knew that as a result of the spring with the pandemic and just the social and racial injustice in society and the amount of grief and loss that we would really need to rethink our efforts and our approach to implementing social emotional learning so we went and we worked tirelessly over the summer to develop curriculum that we felt would best help students persevere during this difficult challenging time so i just want to acknowledge their efforts and their hard work and we’re really just proud of the work that we’ve done so far i also just want to acknowledge our physical education department chairs and our physical education teachers and our health teachers who really stepped up and they offered to implement that tier one curriculum for us this year originally we planned eight lessons and we were going to teach it every single teacher every and have an alternating class period but we knew with all of the challenges that we were going to be faced with with academics and just making sure that students were prepared academically that we needed to really rethink and revise our approach so i just really want to thank those teachers they made it a priority our physical education teachers to ensure that all students would receive this curriculum across all of our schools and that that high school social emotional learning committee is comprised of staff members from waubonsie neuqua metea wheatland and steps so we just have that equal representation and we just worked so well as a team and really a lot of sel is about improving that mental health for all students making sure that they have this positive mental health approach to life so that they can be happy productive citizens and if you recall in january i think uh president raczak said it best we know that academics is important it’s important but students are more than a score and we also recognize that we need to be empathetic and to make sure that all students have these skills and we were really focused on creating that culture of care and that culture of kindness so we really went into this school year with that thought in mind um and that sel committee they worked collaborate collaboratively to design those lessons and activities that are embedded in that pe and health curriculum and our teachers i just want to thank them for reinforcing those skills in their classes and we also have last we adopted a curriculum that aligns with second step you heard about that earlier so we use school connect we don’t teach it to fidelity but we do use it as a resource to really frame our lessons so that’s just been really helpful and when we were at the table this summer we decided as an sel committee that we had certain lessons that students had to focus on of next slide please um and so we’ll show that there so that’s the school connect that we use and that’s the focus next slide and those were our monthly areas of focus so we felt like building relationships and establishing that community would be really important in order for students to persevere and to be successful we’ll acknowledge it’s been a challenge in this remote setting but our teachers they work tirelessly to make sure that they’re connecting with students october november was stress management our stress lesson that the schools implemented went over really well students we’ve heard from them that they are stressed you know parents are stressed staff they’re all stressed and so we really made it a priority to talk to students about how to cope with stress and the ways in which they could use mindfulness and other stress management techniques and then the other lessons that we’ll have this year in january we’re going to revisit that building community with the switch or the change of the semester we felt like that was really important and we’re constantly working on that and then empathy perspective taking equity and then closing out the year with gratitude and then our committees will come back together and the committee will come back together in this summer to really look at what do we need to roll out next year again no one anticipated in the summer that we would still be remote and so we are going to go back and and evaluate what we need

to do to make sure that our students are able to persevere through some of these challenges [DARRELL] all right thank you montrine i appreciate that you can go back to the other slide if you would for just a moment just want to kind of talk about some of the people behind coming up with these topics as she said over the summer the committee’s met but each building each high school has an sel leadership team and those teams are led by our mental health coordinators there’s casey willem at neuqua valley there’s kelly zeely at waubonsie valley and at metea valley we have jeannine wage we have 10 people on our committee here at metea valley and they work very closely with our staff and in particular as montrin said our pe department chair craig tomzack and our pe department which is really kind of taking the reins here and they’re doing the heavy lifting in particular we have some teachers meredith jordan and amanda briggs who have really taken on uh this effort with a lot of zeal and they’ve been getting after it and that’s kind of what you’re seeing up there as a result of a lot of hard work and i want to share with you that as montrine said our teachers and our counselors are really the boots on the ground to make this thing go and so we’re very appreciative of their work next slide please and so each school this is waubonsies social emotional learning website each school has one ours is found in the counselors section on our webpage and each school has these resources that can help teachers kind of reinforce the lessons that are going on either in pe or health classes at this time and also help our teachers if they have any questions or concerns they can also go to any member of the sel leadership team in each building uh and they’re ready to assist and help as needed one of the things that we’ve been focusing on as well is is making sure that our staff is taken care of i can share with you that the mental health coordinators in each building have created some avenues for staff to kind of reach out and get some support as they’re wrestling with stress and wrestling with coping with the pandemic as well i can share with you that at metea valley we have uh something that we call the um remote rescue which was kind of a open zoom for teachers to pop into and talk with either a social worker or a mental health coordinator and that’s been ongoing we’ve been having that uh just for those teachers that may not feel comfortable sharing with a colleague but may feel comfortable coming into the zoom and just sharing what’s going on in their lives as well and so we’re really trying to meet the needs of not only our students but our staff that may be struggling as we go through this uh next slide uh and i think at this particular point uh we just need to focus on the lessons that give us the opportunity to work with kids either in small groups or in larger groups there’s questions that are raised that promote student reflection their reaction and their response and it also helps teachers uh as they’re trying to find out what’s going on uh with students beyond what they see on the on the camera okay or what they don’t see on the camera and so they’ve been real good with the probing questions to find out what’s what’s really going on with kids and how we can be of support and once again strategies once we find out that some kids are struggling what kinds of strategies can we put in place to support those kids in some cases we utilize youth 360 services in some cases our social workers are doing home visits kind of like all the other levels mentioned earlier the home visit has been huge when we sit down with a family sometimes at the kitchen table and talk about what’s going on with the youngster and how we can be of support and help that youngster understand that hey we’re we want to be a part of the solution we don’t want to be part of the problem so those have been very productive as well and finally student voice and choice at the high school level our students are very vocal and we appreciate that we listen to that all three high schools have principal advisory committees we also have very strong student government groups and those groups kind of do intermittent surveys in which they kind of share with us what’s going on in the building from a student’s perspective and that’s perspective is so important to all the people on the support team as we reach out to provide students with what they need to be successful and i’ll turn it over right now [LANCE] thank you i appreciate that uh some of the work that our professional groups have been doing particularly when the needs of students ascend to the level where involvement of a smaller team needs to be involved besides the things that were mentioned here regarding classroom approach and the role of teachers our professional school counselors social workers school psychologists mental health coordinators we have a number of

different support teams that often work together it’s not always possible that an academic problem and a mental health challenge are separate they often come together so some of the topics that they either present on or are resources for anxiety and depression grief and loss mindfulness suicide prevention probably one of the most significant is just dealing with general anxieties of the world we live in in addition to you know what school presents to them how do you connect with nature how do you connect with i would say also add to that physical exercise you’ve heard a lot about what our physical educators have done in terms of their contributions to sel all three schools are involved in some form another in health moves minds to connect a healthy mind to a healthy body reducing stress as we’re all trying to do and then trying to express kindness any time that we’re given that opportunity i want to talk briefly about outreach uh just in some of the things that we’re doing many of what you’ve heard already here tonight you know it’s very important that when we get to the point where a number of people are involved a number of adults trying to work with a family that we’re making more direct school initiated contacts personal phone calls setting up zoom meetings um you know emails are one way but they often serve as a preface to something more significant more personal uh more conversational the importance of home visits whether that be something that where you are kind of sitting in the front yard the kitchen table or you’re also just rewarding and checking in on students for various things i think we’ve all tried to do that and then we’re going to briefly show here in a moment here just some targeted student activities i think sometimes we need to understand ourselves the limits for a young adult of a programmed curriculum and know that some smaller gestures at least they appear so where there’s not a guidebook on how to do it is how can we get creative with different car parades that the high schools did different virtual performances recording those and sharing those in particular i remember talking with our our cheerleading coach just uh her athletes just said we just want to perform in some way somehow for someone and if that meant taping it putting it on youtube and sharing it during some kind of an event uh i think we fulfill a lot of the promises that we’re talking about here it’s not limited to that but it has to be a part of what our high schools do because that’s the experience that that high school-aged students are used to and it’s the one thing they often will first talk about in terms of what they miss we’re all doing any number of types of student recognitions honoring kids whether they’re whether they’re showing pride in their school uh any number of devils and then extracurriculars lots of chances for different involvement i’ll echo a little bit of what our middle school colleagues shared about student involvement the bar is very low it’s very accessible for a student and many of our student sponsors or our faculty sponsors have found that there are a number of different students that they’ve never seen who are sophomores who are jumping in because they can take part and they’re able to do that and and other parts of their life have slowed down a little bit to give them that opportunity um at each of the schools i think we have 40 to 50 if not more activities running concurrently all the time those those continue so let’s take a a little maybe well deserve break and watch one of our car videos all three schools did one um and uh they were wonderful experiences for all of us we didn’t last more than 15 minutes their expectations are typically at the homecoming

dance and the friday night football game level um and so it was a real a joy for us to do that uh just in conclusion before questions a little bit um you know again i spoke earlier about just the limits of a of a program in a specific curriculum we know that that has a lot of value for our school but we also know that much of the social emotional health of our students is established at a very local level a teacher and student interaction that can also be teacher-to-teacher interaction for our own well-being student-to-student interaction is there working in our virtual classrooms and we also just need to remind ourselves that sel can have many different meanings so we’ve tried to practice the best we can and remind our faculty how important it is to be sincere whenever we’re communicating uh to give empathy in our responses to what everyone’s experiencing and then often what people need most is to be heard and so to listen really intentionally with our students with our parents and with each other and if we’ve got a culture of care we [GROVER] elementary school middle school and high school and we have so many mental health services that the school district is able to provide as well as resources like 360 um i know we’re going to be having a parent universities coming up next week on community resources i think for the community as well as teachers and students if we could perhaps go to one place to look at the to find these resources it would be easier like i because of the presentation i found out i went to the metea website and i found out they have great videos i went to the waubonsie website but if there is some place central people can go to that would be helpful [TALLEY] so i am working with our communications office to see what we can put together also working with our coordinator for social worker and coordinator for school psychologists to see how we can put this information where we might be able to put it on our website so we’re in the process of trying to see what we can do [RISING] yeah i guess that was somewhat similar to my same question because dr echols had mentioned how um you know staff has an opportunity to go somewhere that maybe you know that is more confidential that um you know if they’re struggling emotionally and they don’t want necessarily their peers to know um and i i think actually dr echols you and i were talking about this last year about having a place for kids to go that they know that they can reach out to where they’ll remain confidential um because you know i always try to i try to teach my growing up have you know at least two to three but maybe five adults that you trust other than mom and dad right and and so that they can reach out to them and those certain so you know i’m sure you guys have talked about that or we’re putting something together so um you know i don’t know if you want to do it just address it quickly but as long as i hear we’re putting something together i’m happy with that [TALLEY] i think whatever we put together we have to be very careful not to publicize one organization over another because it looks like we are supporting one over another so we have to examine um what this will look like feel like having this resource page if you will or resource um sort of gps if you will that will help our parents but we know we want to have something available that will support them as if they need to know where to go [RISING] and i’ll kind of echo what mr raczak said earlier is it’s it’s it’s okay that we’re telling our kids listen if you’re struggling you know reach out to me as a teacher reach out to me as a principal you know it’s okay that we are building administration but also to those counselors and social workers and school psychologists and sel teams um because all of us are going through

a little bit of frustration anxiety and stress and depression and you know i fear our high school kids are going through that most frequently and you know it it doesn’t necessarily help that um you know some of our social workers and psychologists have high case loads and i’m i’m hoping through these sel teams you guys are dividing and conquering as best as possible um and splitting up some of those responsibilities so i say keep going don’t give up and thank you [DARRELL] you mentioned something where do kids go if they don’t have that trusted adult our hope is that all of our teachers are establishing quality relationships with our students so that they feel comfortable sharing if they’re feeling uneasy or feeling unsure about themselves the tip line has been huge for us at the high school level i think all three of us across the board have gotten anonymous tips about students that are struggling maybe a student that’s put something on social media and immediately our support teams get to work in the middle of the night we’ve gotten to word and we’ve reached out to families and we’ve found support for kids that were in trouble and so i would encourage anyone who’s struggling please utilize that tip line if you don’t have a trusted adult but you could send an email to sometimes i get emails from students hey dr echols can you look into so-and-so and we’re here to help we’re here to be a resource as i said earlier we want to be part of the solution so and i i want to thank the board for allowing us to have the mental health coordinator position that position has been critical in helping us meet those needs and they’ve been kind of the quarterbacks in the effort [RACZAK] is that tip line on each website [DARRELL] yes sir [MONTRINE] if i could also just add i just want to um today at waubonsie just share a little bit when you talk about asking for help and students having resources we we have to rethink the way that we approach school because school looks different and although we’re not in the same you know in the building the brick and mortar we’re a community that cares and so we had lessons that were taught every single period mini lessons that our sel team delivered and it really focused on how do you approach school in this remote setting and how do you be successful um and it talked about asking for help and how there’s no shame in asking for help and how it’s actually a sign of strength and so we had that these seven mini lessons that were like you know less than seven minutes but delivered really important messages and then teachers are able to reinforce that so we’re really trying to find ways to reinforce um those relationships and that connection in this remote way so we’re always trying different things but recognizing that remote learning does pose some challenges and we’re trying to rethink how we connect with everyone since we can’t see them you know in person all the time so a [LANCE[ that reluctance whether it’s the general hot topic of how am i doing or something more specific that you might see in a friend those are still significant challenges absolutely because i think it’s very very hard for adults let alone young adults to distinguish between when something is really not your business or it’s this is actually in your best interest to share with an adult that line is not clear for kids it’s not always clear for us as we try to navigate that so you know getting down to the level where the things that kids are having to process and and work through and make decisions is extraordinarily difficult when the issues can become at a high school level i wouldn’t call it severe i’d call it profound because they they just require so much attention and so much thought [KARUBAS] one of the big takeaways i had during the presentation at all levels really was for example on slide 44 the direct parent contact i think in a lot of what we’re doing in moving from in-person instruction to remote is we built a pipe from the teachers to the students but we don’t have as much opportunity to introduce the teachers to this is my class this is my environment and so in order to support the students we need to have that relationship with the parent and as mrs grover said the parent needs to know where the resources are but if they don’t have that relationship it doesn’t matter that if it’s on a website they they don’t know where to look so when i saw direct parent contact i was very excited about that and i think it’s something we can all work on as parents and people involved in the education

community that we have to make sure we need to build another bridge whether it’s directly to the parent or through the student to the parent so that we can provide that support so thank you [DONAHUE] so um prior to the pandemic were we doing home visits ever so i um again think it’s a comprehensive set of activities and uh agree with some of the other comments it’s like we need to make sure that the parents and the students are very aware of where to look to get help or where to reach out to because i agree i imagine that there’s great sensitivity to you know admitting you’re having an issue and not wanting to share that with people so we need to make sure that that’s uh obvious for them i did um a i did listen to the spooktacular concert the other night and uh it made me very happy so thank you for that uh dr fuhrer and uh keep looking for those uh ideas to keep these uh students connected because i i know they’re missing a lot of things that they normally would have expected in a high school situation and uh want to see what we can do to create like a connection for the for them uh in this crazy environment so thank you [DEMMING] thank you so much for all that you’re doing all that your staffs are doing to bring any semblance of normalcy to our students and dr fuhrer you refer to it you know we’re all all of us are challenged and struggling for me one of the slides that was really important or that really just spoke to me was slide 40 in some of your months areas of focus that building community and relationship and that empathy perspective equity and gratitude thank you so much for doing those because these are the characteristics and skill sets that colleges want to hear about and i don’t just mean it from a college standpoint i appreciate it from from for a student’s standpoint but you know as we as parents have been very very concerned about you know academics and what this means for um higher ed and as their students look to you know apply for schools these are these are some of the things that we all need to that we’re all grappling with and any time that our students can be introspective and self-reflective on these types of characteristics it’s so important and it’s it’s being recognized not only you know with us but you know at the higher education level and some of the questions that they’re they want to know how what are students how are you feeling about you know how are you helping your community during this particular time what were some of the things you did that you’ve done and so helping us helping our students be self-reflective and then potentially think about ways that they can help others just makes just such a world of difference so um you know it’s so wrapped up helping others is so wrapped up in sel so thank you so much for those focuses uh for them i really really appreciate that and um just thank your staff for and you as leaders for doing all that you’re doing for our students and families [PIEHL] um yes thank you guys a good presentation and um one of the things that’s been standing out for me personally is that that mindfulness of how are we interacting with one another i you know when you get busy and you’re trying to get uh something done and you want to shoot somebody an email real quick and tell them yeah that’s done and you don’t say hey how are you hope you’re doing well and we’ll see you later you know it it matters those those words matter and i appreciated you guys mentioning that that mindfulness of how are we interacting with everyone not just our students but with our staff with each other so i really appreciated that the home visits i do have one question so are we going into the homes and um how are we handling that if we are [DARRELL] i can share with you that i’ve been in both situations sometimes on the front steps having a conversation with a parent or a student there are some cases in which i have been invited into the home everyone is masked everyone is social distance so we’ve done it both ways and it

really depends on the comfort level of the family that we’re working with and also the staff that’s with us uh but for the most part our goal is just to to provide service and to find out where we can support [PIEHL] great and and then i did lost a lot of the connection that you’re saying you’re using zoom to connect with the families and it’s like you’re in their home a very effective way of connecting with families i’ve found the connection with families has just gone like this uh this year just because we we need each other in order to help our students so it’s one of the benefits of the pandemic has been that relationship building now here’s the question if you’re talking about targeted student activities to keep the kids having those fun times in their high school career we’re coming up to winter what are you going to do [LANCE] there are a lot of challenges and absolutely that is something we’re talking about uh pretty frequently um i think some of the uh you know homecoming videos that a lot of us did in terms of showcasing different performances where we can have small groups of students masked inside and capture some of those things certainly a lot of programs such as drama and theater really it was a shock to the system to have what you had already planned for an entire year to be turned upside down and so it’s trying to get those things turned to a radio show or a table read which are becoming very popular for celebrities to do uh we don’t quite have that star power but uh i think we’re just certainly trying to be um very creative and i think you know we met today to do some longer term planning to talk even about the spring um and you know that’s a season where we recognize kids exhaustively almost every single day for the month of april in different ways and how are we going to meet all those things certainly topics such as graduation are of intense interest but a lot of families also want a more local intimate recognition that something as simple as a black and gold breakfast or a green and gold dinner or a wild cat pride that is going to be somewhat smaller in scale and more comfortable for some kids so those are all things that we’re going to continue but i would say a car parade is probably off the table but and we also need to be creative they want us to they want us to continue to think of new things so we’ll do that [DARRELL] i can also share with you that veterans day is wednesday and so each school i know is putting something out that’s student directed and student-led in a lot of ways our staff has been working with students in the zoom environment the virtual environment to to come up with some ways to honor our veterans and get our students involved once again we think that’s the most important thing as dr fuhrer said earlier getting kids involved even if it’s just involved in the virtual environment so i would look for what the high schools are putting out on wednesday or for veterans day as just one of many things we’re trying to do in the virtual environment to keep kids involved and to keep them paying attention to what’s important in our communities [PIEHL] thank you have you ever thought about like a bubble like they did for the bulls and you know the basketball teams where they stayed together for a while and they’re that and that they can actually do a performance in person [LANCE] we’re getting to the point where we could this is the time of year where you’re thinking about musicals and you’re thinking about lots of things uh and those are all topics that we want to keep a part of our conversations uh because those are you know i think we’re all trying to emphasize that sense of community those build community it’s not just an identity with you know a school necessarily but with a cast with a group you know this week is national french week those kids are getting a chance at building a better sense of community through those small efforts than anything we could really do in a programmed way in any curriculum because those kids can drive what they do and how that looks more so in a student activity than they could a traditional classroom so a lot of those types of efforts will continue some of our bigger moments whether it’s music fine arts performing arts athletics and so forth uh dance with orchesis and the tremendous things that are done across the district uh we’re in the early planning stages of what those look like many of them take place in the late winter and spring anyway so there’s not a sense of urgency that it needs to be done now but i think we we do know that we need to start thinking because the planning will take that much more yeah [PIEHL] thank you a lot of planning going on [RACZAK] this district has set the bar pretty high prior to the pandemic with its mission statement

which is to inspire all students to achieve their greatest potential was pretty difficult and we had to work really hard to try to even achieve that and clearly we’re continuing a self-improvement it’s continuous improvement in order to achieve that goal gets even more difficult with the worldwide pandemic and clearly we heard today some of those challenges and some of those difficulties especially for a high school student you know prior to the pandemic we had presentations and discussed the stresses that our students feel in terms of earning grades and getting to their colleges and they had issues and we were continuing to work for self-reliance and self-advocacy to help them manage that and i just really appreciate the concentration on working on self-reliance and self-advocacy continue to do this those students need it more than ever the grades and colleges are still there in a pandemic without their friends so on behalf of the board appreciate all the efforts of early childhood elementary middle school high school to try to address these as you can tell we still have work to do and as i said last time we’ll get better and i think today went a long way to get an understanding of what we’re doing and how we can improve and how we can get better so thank you so much [LINDA] we appreciate the opportunity to share all these good things thank you