School administrators recognize need for social-emotional learning

Published: Jun. 9, 2022 at 6:39 PM CDT
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CARTHAGE, Ill. (WGEM) - Ahead of the 2022-2023 school year, school administrators are recognizing the need for social-emotional learning.

In April, Regional Office of Education No. 26 (serving McDonough, Hancock, Fulton and Schuyler counties) received a $635,000 grant from the Illinois State Board of Education.

ROE26 is using the grant to provide more resources for students and families.

Carthage Elementary School District 317 Superintendent Dustin Day said that there is a need for social-emotional learning and support now more than ever.

“I think it’s really important to take care of the child first before you take care of the education,” Day said.

“I think we’re asking too much to have a kid work on homework when something is going on with them, so maybe we can step in and help out.”

Day said he has a personal connection with student’s needs as he’s experienced tragedies.

Next school year, Carthage Elementary is employing a full-time social worker to assist students.

Former Bushnell-Prairie City Jr. High-School and Carthage Primary School Principal Mike Snowden retired from the education field last year.

Snowden said that in his time as principal, he had students who suffered from various forms of trauma.

He said that the grant will help alleviate some of the behind-the-scenes problems that become a distraction in the classroom.

“Your class room teachers are supposed to be there to teach and provide the academic instruction, but often times they get bogged down with the extra baggage that the students have brought to the room,” Snowden said.

The grant will be dispersed over the next two years ($323,529 in 2022, $311,471 in 2023)

ROE26 Social-Emotional Learning Coordinator Kate Mallory said that the grant will serve students who have little to no access to supportive resources.

“We are rural but we are very fortunate to have some wonderful agencies,” Mallory said.

“There’s so many hidden treasure of resources that sometimes schools don’t know about so I will be that link.”

Grant funds are going towards the Region’s Family Support program.

Some of these programs include:

  • Student Support during/after the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Culturally Responsive Practices
  • Trauma-Informed Educational Practices
  • Using Mindfulness Practice Strategies to Improve Learning
  • Vicarious Trauma
  • Family Engagement Through a Trauma-Responsive Lens
  • Youth Mental Health First Aid
  • Teen Mental Health First Aid

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