New center gives emotional wellness support for Scottville Ele. students.

September 27, 2019

Ann Greiner works with a student in the Spartan Center.

New center gives emotional wellness support for Scottville Ele. students.

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.

SCOTTVILLE — Mason County Central’s Scottville Elementary (grades kindergarten through second grade) has found a way to counter some emotional challenges that some children face during the school day. Beginning this school year, the school opened the Spartan Success Center, a room that allows children an opportunity to diffuse for a short period.

“We’ve noticed the social-emotional needs of our students are increasing at an alarming rate in recent years,” said Principal Chris Etchison. We’re learning that many of our children are coming to us having experienced trauma in their lives and these experiences can significantly impact their ability to perform at their best in the classroom.

“We recognize the importance of making this a top priority because we understand if these needs aren’t met, our children won’t be able to focus on learning in our classrooms and the disruptions that can follow can interrupt learning for all students.”

Etchison said the school’s staff has put new interventions in place into the classrooms and in the building to meet the needs of students so they can be more successful while they’re at school each day.  One of these interventions this year is the Spartan Success Center.

“The Spartan Success Center is designed to support our children with social/emotional needs, those that have experienced trauma, those with sensory needs etc.,” Etchison said. “It can also be used to support our teachers because it is designed to supplement the interventions they have already put in place to help these children within their classrooms.”

The room is staffed by Ann Greiner, student success specialist, along with educational assistants Jessica Perrigan and Mindy Reed.

Etchison said each teacher has two Spartan Center passes. Students can visit the Center as many times as they need to throughout the day. The Center is open from 8:30 a.m. until the end of the day.  It’s only closed during lunch and this is primarily because the children typically use lunch recess as a time to relax, Etchison said. “If a child needs the center during this time, we find an adult to staff the room.

“When children enter the room, they will choose three centers from the seven available, they spend three minutes at each station and the centers are ‘sensory’ related and designed to have a calming effect on the children.  We have an Amazon Echo Dot that plays calming music throughout the day and sets timers for the children during the time they’re at the center so they know when to rotate. The lighting in the room is dim as well. We have essential oils in a diffuser to help them relax.”

The Center also runs a check-in, check-out program in the Center from 8 to 8:30 a.m. and again from 2:30 to 3 p.m. each day. “This is designed to check in with students who need some support in the morning in order to start their day successfully. This can be to help them with responsibilities or to make sure their social-emotional needs are met first thing in the morning. 

“At the end of the day we do the same thing to make sure they have what they need to go home and make sure their needs were met at school for the day. This program is available to all students, but not all students need it.  We identify these students based on teachers and or parent recommendations,” Greiner said.

Etchison said he is already seeing results.

“The idea is to keep that stress down to help with learning,” Etchison said. “This also makes the classroom experience less stressful for the other students. I feel confident that this is going to work. It’s not going to fix everybody but it is going to help. We have already noticed a huge difference in the office.”

This story is copyrighted © 2019, all rights reserved by Media Group 31, LLC, PO Box 21, Scottville, MI 49454. No portion of this story or images may be reproduced in any way, including print or broadcast, without expressed written consent.

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