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SEL ‘grows’ NH students’ competencies

SEL ‘grows’ NH students’ competencies SEL ‘grows’ NH students’ competencies
Kaitlyn Clay, Staff Writer, [email protected]

Sitting at the North Harrison Community School Corp. Board of Trustees meeting Thursday evening, an entire year after the first cases of COVID had caused a nationwide shutdown and pandemic, superintendent Dr. Lance Richards was elated to announce North Harrison currently had zero cases they were monitoring in their students as of that day.

“As we have learned this year, anything can change on a moment’s notice,” Richards said. “But if you would have asked me months ago if I thought we would be here at zero, I would have laughed. I can’t even express how proud I am of our staff, students and community for all they have done through this year. We, as a board, are all so deeply appreciative to everyone for following guidelines.”

During the meeting, Lisa Jones, the SEL/testing/dyslexia coordinator for North Harrison schools, gave a presentation about social and emotional learning (SEL) strategies North Harrison uses, as well as an update on state assessments.

SEL was added into the state’s education framework a couple of years ago, according to Jones, and is really starting to take shape through various avenues of learning.

“Through SEL, we are growing our students’ competencies in various areas,” Jones said. “We are teaching them a lot of life skills like critical thinking, collaboration and  regulation of emotions.”

She explained the three distinct tiers for SEL. Tier one strategies are designed for the classroom, where teachers will do training and skill building to help students who may have issues socially and emotionally.

Jones said they have sent packets to teachers to help them learn more about different competencies. Teachers also have access to literature regarding virtual students and how to help them with these skills.

Tier two is with school counselors. This route will be taken if a student needs more individualized attention in the SEL area. Tier three is using outside resources, including referrals to mental health agencies and such.

Jones plans to pursue funding from the state for more training initiatives for teachers and staff to supply more resources.

She also noted, in regard to state assessments, that ILEARN, ISTEP, WIDA and IREAD-3 will all move forward. State education departments agreed that these assessments will also include students participating virtually. This will, however, be the last year for ISTEP to be taken across the board for students. ILEARN will be conducted for students in grades 3 through 8 April 19 to May 14.

In other business, the board unanimously voted to approve the renovation of the North Harrison tennis courts. The base price for the project will be about $144,000.

Richards said the plan is to start that process the first week of June. It will take approximately six weeks to complete the renovation, he said, and the renovated courts should last for about 20 years.

The board also approved a Key5 Coaching Clinic that will take place Aug. 20 and 21. It will be free for all North Harrison participants.

The board is scheduled to meet again Thursday, April 8, at 7 p.m. in the North Harrison Middle School cafeteria in Ramsey.