Crisis Counselor from the Full Circle High School Program Elizabeth Doneghey was awarded a grant to offer students an elective at the Strongwater Farm Therapeutic Equestrian Center in Tewksbury this past spring. In this elective and their work with the horses, students delved into concepts relating to mindfulness, nonverbal communication, and attunement. Doneghey reported that “the students loved the elective and interacting with the horses”. If you are interested in finding out more about the Strongwater Farm Therapeutic Equestrian Center, please visit http://strongwaterfarm.org.
Photos Courtesy of Strongwater Therapeutic Equestrian Center
Julie Allen, first grade teacher at East Somerville Community Schools in Unidos Program, was awarded a grant for her books and book bags program to encourage her students to read at home and empower parents to effectively support their children's reading development. The program was initiated with a well attended kick off party in which parents were shown various reading strategies that they could use at home with their children. Students decorated tote bags that they would use to transport packs of books to be read at home each week. Students also decorated bookmarks to remind them and their family members of strategies they could use when they encountered unfamiliar words. After that, students then were given tote book bags with literacy materials as well as books in English and Spanish to read with their families at home. Ms. Allen reports that students having the students reading at home with their families helped these young scholars make significant growth and progress in their reading skills throughout the year.
Dr. Maureen Hughes, Unidos Specialist at the East Somerville Community School, used her mini-grant money to buy a set of 48 books for the kindergarten and 3 sets of books which provided over 50 books for students in grade 5 to provide "just right" Spanish texts to Spanish speaking students. Students in kindergarten used the books in their book bag program and independent choice time. Students in fifth grade read these texts during class time. Using these books, they wrote about their analysis of plot and character development. Fifth grade students were also able to read these books outside of school time over the weekend and school vacations.
Zanny Alter, Redirect Counselor from Somerville High School, was awarded a Duhamel mini grant to support the use of the redirect room as a place where students can engage in activities that help them to self regulate, study, and receive help from caring adults. Fidget toys, thera-putty, and art supplies were purchased to support regular engagement with team building, self-regulation and cooperative activities. On Fridays, the redirect program ran expressive art groups. During these sessions, students were able to use the art supplies funded by the DEI grant to express their feelings and process them in a constructive way. Students also appreciated being able to have access to the thera-putty and fidget toys and used them during their academic classes to help them focus on their studies.
Nichole Artavia, redirect counselor from West Somerville Community School, was awarded a Duhamel Grant to fund an after school board games club. Ms. Artavia ran the club on Thursdays from January until the end of the school year. The Board Games Club provided students with a relaxed setting to create positive relationships with fellow classmates and cross-graded school mates. Ms. Artavia stated that the many of the participating students felt an increased connection to their school and made new friends.