Message from the Superintendent, Marygrace Mazzullo:
The Whole Child Approach
In Williamson, we are dedicated to a "Whole Child" approach to learning. This means we attend to the health and wellbeing of all of our students.
There is no doubt that healthy children learn better. The pandemic has definitely impacted our students in many ways. Academically, we see some students who are behind what we would consider typical benchmarks for their grade level or age. We have plans in place to close those gaps over time and ensure students meet age appropriate benchmarks. It is important to note that this will not happen in a week or a month. It will take some time, but those gaps will close with targeted instruction and attention.
The same is true with some social skills and development. When we think about it, we have third graders who attended school in person full time as Kindergarteners, were interrupted in March of their first grade year with fully remote instruction, attended most of their second grade year in a hybrid model (or fully remote) and are now all of our grade levels in all of our buildings. In the same way we pay attention to providing academic support to close learning gaps, we must do the same for our students in the social and emotional realms.
Specifically, when we talk about social emotional learning we are referencing the following competencies: Self-awareness, Self-management, Responsible decision-making, Relationship skills and Social awareness.
The district approaches all of these competencies in a developmentally appropriate way. For example, a child in Kindergarten will be able to identify main emotions and how they are feeling. A child in middle school will begin to understand that they can have multiple emotions at one time about a topic or situation. Helping our students navigate this awareness and learn to monitor and manage their emotions in appropriate ways is essential. When students are angry, it is not okay for them to throw things, but it is okay for them to express that emotion in other ways. We work with students to help them find those appropriate ways to express themselves and advocate for their needs.
We have some students who need more targeted social or emotional support. We have systems in place to recognize when this is the case and deliver those interventions. If you think your child is in need of extra support, please don't hesitate to reach out to the building administrators to let them know.
As we navigate these gaps and barriers, it is important that we choose our words wisely. When we talk about where our children are academically and socially/emotionally - we need to be cognizant of the fact that they are exactly where they should be given the circumstances. We will continue to give them opportunities to learn, grow and develop the skills they need to be successful.
What can you do at home to help? Continue to give your children rich experiences, talk to them, ask about what they are learning, stay connected with teachers and school support staff. The number one way you can support your child's growth READ TOGETHER and then spend some time talking about what you read!! This is true for both young childrenread to them) and older children (read alongside them).
Wherever our children are, we will meet them there and provide learning, support and guidance to move them forward. They will grow and learn and thrive. We will continue to all work together to find the best ways to be successful and ensure bright futures ahead for all of our Marauders!
With Marauder Pride,