WARSAW — Warsaw Community Schools is committed to promoting the well-being of its students and staff. In order to further the district’s SEL initiative, numerous staff members have undergone training in a variety of settings with Dr. Lori Desautels, an expert in neuroscience in education and assistant professor in the College of Education at Butler University, in order to better understand and equip students’ minds.
In order to promote social-emotional learning at each building, WCS created “core teams” consisting of teachers, administrators, mental health therapists and school counselors. These teams champion the SEL initiative within their respective buildings.
Recently, core team members attended a training with Desautels at Grace College to learn more on applied educational neuroscience, child adversity and strategies to meet students’ social-emotional needs. Core team members were able to immediately utilize the strategies provided by Desautels in their classrooms as well as formulate an action plan for the 2018-2019 school year. In order to continue growing SEL, different buildings within WCS will be using morning meetings, parent nights, calming/quiet time after recess and applied neuroscience lessons.
In addition to core team trainings, WCS recently offered an optional afternoon training for classified staff. This included transportation, instructional assistants, food services and volunteers. During this training, Desautels discussed childhood adversities and adverse childhood experiences. Lori also modeled brain-aligned, focused attention practices. In order to highlight the effectiveness of these practices, participants in Desautels’ trainings were asked to take an active part in her presentations.
“A major portion of our Lily Endowment Grant and the generous donations from the Kosciusko County Community Foundation is being used to assist all WCS staff members with training to identify students in crisis,” said WCS Superintendent David Hoffert. “Dr. Lori’s expertise in the field of adolescent neuroscience provides our staff members with the insights on how to identify students in a crisis along with de-escalation strategies. We are extremely thankful for our partnership with her through Butler University.”