Title

Developing/Implementing Active Learning for At-Risk Middle School Students

Location

Percival

Strand #1

Social & Emotional Skills

Relevance

This proposal relates to the development of social & emotional skills while creating a positive school culture for at risk students from low socio-economic backgrounds.

Brief Program Description

Objectives:

  1. Attendees will learn how students with a history of school failure have been impacted by a program that combines individual attention and academic support with a philosophy that prioritizes social and emotional well-being.
  2. Attendees will become familiar with several adventure/experiential activities used in middle school to promote the following core beliefs: safety, trust, empowerment, challenge, enjoyment, belonging and connection, and effective communication.
  3. Attendees will become knowledgeable about facilitating and supporting teachers in leading experiential activities in the school setting, by modeling the process of setting up expectations and norms, paying attention to student engagement and participation, and leading discussions that promote connections between adventure activities and students’ educational goals and experiences.

Audience: Teachers, Parents, Psychologists, Social Workers, Administrators and Special Education Staff

Summary

Staff at Dearborn Public Schools in Michigan faced a dilemma many school districts face- how to support students who were failing and at risk for retention and/or drop-out. The Academic Center of Excellence (ACE) is a two year academy, designed to help 30 students selected from middle schools across the district find academic success in a program infused with opportunities for evidence based socio-emotional interventions. ACE has an ethnically diverse population who are of low socio-economic status and are eligible for Title I funding. ACE contracted with the University of Michigan’s behavioral consultant who is knowledgeable in adventure/experiential programming.

This workshop will describe the program and all its essential components; present data gathered from students, parents and staff; share activities offered to students and parents, and provide training given to teachers and staff. The preliminary data yielded multiple benefits such as significant increases in GPA. The average GPA increased from 1.5 to 2.9 during the 2014-2015 academic year. Frequency of behavior infractions decreased by 86% and attendance improved. Furthermore, support staff incorporated explicit interventions such as integrating self-awareness, responsibility and social awareness in the daily curriculum. Besides enhancing social and emotional assets, ACE’s success may be attributed to the caring, supportive and safe environment created by a forward thinking Principal. The unique features of this school are that it shares a campus with special education students who have severe disabilities. Special education staff provides sensitivity training followed by community service designed to promote tolerance and empathy. Students experience caring and meaningful relationships that foster emotional literacy and individual growth.

Evidence

Experiential education and social emotional learning has its theoretical underpinnings in John Dewey’s seminal text believing that school is a social institution and education is a social process of community life. The ability to use adventure based learning within the curriculum has been supported by research and promising practices (Cindy Simpson, Adventure Based Counseling with low level juvenile offenders, Georgia). Research has repeatedly shown that adolescents who exhibit multiple problem behaviors require education that integrates Behavior Management Through Adventure (BMTA) with therapeutic counseling. (Walsh & Aubry. (2007) Reclaiming Children and Youth).

Format

Individual Presentation

Biographical Sketch

Dr. deSouza has been a practicing psychologist for more than 20 years. She has worked for the Michigan Center for Behavior and Medicine, The Michigan Bureau of Forensic Mental Health, and is currently employed with Dearborn Public Schools. Dr. deSouza has also been an adjunct professor of Psychology at The University of Michigan. She has played an integral part in the development of Response to Intervention, piloting of The Woodcock Johnson Cognitive Test-3 and the creation of 504 eligibility criteria under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Dr. deSouza has been the author of many scholarly publications and the recipient of awards from the University of Michigan, Wayne State University .

Mr. Madding is a fifth year Speech-Language Pathologist based out of Detroit, Michigan. He is employed by Dearborn Public Schools, Hawthorn Center Children’s Psychiatric Hospital, and the Building Bridges Therapy Clinic. Mr. Madding has extensive experience servicing the emotionally impaired, ASD, cognitively impaired, severely multiply impaired, and hearing impaired populations. Mr. Madding received his undergraduate degree at New York University and studied at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, England. His graduate degree in Speech-Language Pathology was completed at Eastern Michigan University in 2010.

Nicole Chubb has been a school social worker for over 14 years. She is currently employed with Dearborn Public Schools, near Detroit, Mi, as a behavioral specialist and Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports district coach. Ms. Chubb has extensive experience servicing students with emotional impairments, cognitive disabilities and autism spectrum disorder. She also specializes in working with at-risk students who have been exposed to trauma and other factors that impact their education and well-being. Ms. Chubb received her undergraduate degree and Master of Social Work graduate degree at Wayne State University. She recently completed her Educational Leadership certification at Grand Valley State University.

Keyword Descriptors

Poverty, Retention, Experiential, Social-Emotional, School, Urban, Multicultural, Communication

Presentation Year

2016

Start Date

3-7-2016 1:15 PM

End Date

3-7-2016 2:30 PM

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Mar 7th, 1:15 PM Mar 7th, 2:30 PM

Developing/Implementing Active Learning for At-Risk Middle School Students

Percival

Objectives:

  1. Attendees will learn how students with a history of school failure have been impacted by a program that combines individual attention and academic support with a philosophy that prioritizes social and emotional well-being.
  2. Attendees will become familiar with several adventure/experiential activities used in middle school to promote the following core beliefs: safety, trust, empowerment, challenge, enjoyment, belonging and connection, and effective communication.
  3. Attendees will become knowledgeable about facilitating and supporting teachers in leading experiential activities in the school setting, by modeling the process of setting up expectations and norms, paying attention to student engagement and participation, and leading discussions that promote connections between adventure activities and students’ educational goals and experiences.

Audience: Teachers, Parents, Psychologists, Social Workers, Administrators and Special Education Staff