Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, everyone’s lives have been impacted in some way. For our Kearsley students it was a significant adjustment to virtual learning and all the challenges that 20+ months have presented. As students transition back to face-to-face instruction and regular routines, we recognize that students are in need of additional mental health resources. Over the summer, the district took action to put additional supports in place for our students. Two additional counselors were hired, ensuring each building has one full-time counselor readily available. An additional social worker was also added to support students’ needs.
The Positivity Project curriculum was reinstated at Weston, Dowdall & Fiedler to address behavioral and societal issues with students and encourage them to think about how they treat others. The addition of an Advisory Hour at AMS has been another positive development to help better connect students to their teachers and classmates.
Support for no bullying and no name-calling week.
AMS counselors Rebecca Barnes and Taylor Wright have made it their mission to positively impact the student population at AMS this year. In hopes of combating the negative behavior that may be caused by the lack of social interaction and structuralization over the last 2 years due to the pandemic. With the Positivity Project and the newly implemented Advisory Period, it has all made a positive impact this year. During the 7th hour Advisory Period the students have time to express themselves and find comfort and respect for themselves and each other. It is a safe space for students to share about themselves and their experiences in order for everyone to learn and respect each other's differences. Spreading kindness and positivity amongst one another is a major factor and allows students to experience respect for each other.
Pumpkin paintings from Dowdall Elementary.
At Dowdall Elementary the students and staff are very involved in the Positivity Project movement as well. Mrs. Fisher and Mrs. Taylor both talked about the positive impact the PP has had for the students. The project introduces Positive Psychology to the students as well to highlight the concept of “instead of thinking what is wrong with us, what can we do to appreciate everything that is right about us.” We were also able to get the perspective of two Dowdall Students, Peyton and Liam on their feelings toward the Positivity Project so far. Liam says he enjoys the positivity project because it allows him to be creative and express himself. He specifically remarked on the pumpkin painting activity where students were given the freedom to paint their pumpkin however they wanted and he was able to fully express himself through art. Peyton also mentioned that the pumpkin painting activity helped her show off her style and she was able to make her pumpkin representative of her as a person. Peyton also remarked, “It’s good to be yourself.”
Fiedler Elementary students wearing orange to support no bullying.
At Fiedler Elementary, they are also implementing the Positivity Project this year and the students are learning so much. Each teacher is allowed to set different goals to accomplish each week with their students that are focusing on always being kind to others, helping around the classroom, increasing their math and/or reading scores, turning in their homework more consistently, always being positive, having a good attitude, increasing their stamina and working harder, helping to resolve friendship conflicts. Many students have been able to associate many of the characteristics they have learned about in class to their everyday lives. In the height of the pandemic last year, Fiedler began a “Falcon of The Week” program to help recognize students and their positive behaviors throughout the school week. Each teacher selects a student of the week, so there are 16 students each week that are recognized for their positive and impactful behaviors.
A Student Council was created and open for all students to join, focusing on Fiedler students and encouraging other students to be leaders and do the right thing. There were 45 students who signed up and took on the tasks assigned to them (food drives, wrapping presents for classrooms, creating food baskets for families in need, etc…). The students take their jobs seriously as they know they are positively impacting their school community.
Weston Elementary Students wore their Positivity Project T-Shirts for a school photo.
Weston Elementary has also implemented the Positivity Project and its proven successful thus far. Weston spotlights students that go above and beyond to show other people matter. Therefore, each month, teachers choose two students from his/her classroom to be Students of the Month by selecting those who demonstrate the concept of ‘other people matter’. Weston also has school bulletin boards dedicated to The Positivity Project and Other People Matter. Students walk by these bulletin boards on a daily basis and they serve as a great reminder. In addition to the lessons taught by the counselor, teachers use The Positivity Project website to do quick daily lessons using the Google Slides and videos. The core value of Weston is that other people matter.