WARSAW — The Warsaw Community Schools Board of Trustees heard an update from a pair of educators on Monday, April 22, on a program in the district designed to help students and faculty cope with the emotional side of learning and teaching.
Through a program called Social and Emotional Learning, WCS has, for the past 18 months, began creating strategies for giving both students and educators the tools they need to be mentally healthy in the classroom.
The board heard from Krista Polston and Gina Courtois, who discussed the process, which has been financed through grant funding.
“The last time I was updating on SEL, we had just received our Lilly Endowment grant and were excited to see it move forward,” said Polston. “It’s crazy to see now, a year and half later, how far we’ve come and how quickly it’s picked up speed.”
Polston said the program included surveys of teachers and students, which determined that depression and anxiety among students had increased in recent years and revealed that only 38 percent of teachers surveyed feel equipped to handle the needs of students.”
“We definitely see that there’s a need for SEL,” Polston added.
SEL is a process that helps both students and educators comprehend and help manage goals, as well as giving them the power to set and and achieve worthwhile goals.
“We really want to find a way to integrate it (SEL) into everything we’re doing,” said Courtois. “We want it to be sustainable.”
Board member Randy Polston applauded the efforts of the teachers and the process.
“This is huge,” he said. “The world continues to change and this is the type of support for our teachers that we need.”
In other news, Superintendent Dr. David Hoffert updated the board on the future of education and the effects that are felt by state legislation. He pointed toward teacher salaries and teacher shortages, along with reductions in benefits such as tenure as being significant in creating new challenges in the education profession.