Superintendent Winfried Feneberg
114 Cougar Court
New London, NH 03257
For Immediate Release
Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2018
Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Kearsarge Schools Enhance Focus on Students’ Social and Emotional Well-being
NEW LONDON — As a new school year begins, the Kearsarge Regional School District’s teachers and administrators are working to adopt a new curriculum that emphasizes students’ social emotional learning and overall well-being.
Kearsarge Schools have adopted the Caring School Community curriculum model, which offers a timely and practical focus on student backgrounds and experiences that shape their behavior and emotional health.
Caring School Community helps foster relationships among students, school staff and parents. The program empowers students and adults to spend time getting to know and appreciate one another and learn about their interests, opinions and ideas.
Kearsarge’s investment in the program marks a district-wide commitment to a consistent approach to student behavior and well-being. It is built upon the understanding that each child brings with them their own unique background and experiences that drive their individual perspectives.
“This approach gives our teachers and staff a starting point to introduce common experiences and values, and expectations for civility, kindness and compassion that will serve students both at school and at home,” Assistant Superintendent Michael Bessette said. “How kids behave is generally driven by their life experiences, so it’s important the we understand those experiences and work directly with them, and in direct partnership with parents, family members and the community at-large to model good behavior and social skills.”
The program is designed to help students become caring, responsible members of their school communities and, ultimately, to grow into humane, principled and skilled citizens of a democratic society.
The Caring School Community curriculum utilizes a variety of strategies to help teachers and staff work with their students to build upon social and emotional lessons:
- Daily morning and closing circle activities in which students practice social skills and get to know one another.
- Weekly class meetings in which students address common concerns and current issues.
- Cross-age buddy activities in which students work together with older or younger students in other grades.
- Weekly home connection activities that help students talk with family members about the social development focus of the week
Kearsarge administrators and staff underwent training on the new model over the summer, and elementary teachers were trained on the curriculum at the outset of the school year. The program will expand throughout the district over the course of the year.
Fostering students’ social and emotional growth is a statewide priority established by the New Hampshire School Safety Preparedness Taskforce.
“Many schools have SEL programs in place, but these programs may not be robust enough to be effective in these challenging times. Programs have emerged that can be a tool for prevention not only for violence, but for addiction, suicide, and the toxic anxiety that has plagued our school children for too long,” Gov. Chris Sununu said. “Like all good programs, the research can only take us so far. We need our amazing teachers and administrators to galvanize behind the concept of social-emotional learning so that New Hampshire can be a leader in prevention services for our kids.”