Page 14 - FIS World November 2021
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 Social Emotional Learning
Why it matters now more than ever
In the middle school years, students are busy tackling some big questions: Who are they? How do they fit into this world? How do they build healthy
relationships? These questions are constantly whirling around in their heads at an increasingly higher speed until they reach their final upper school years when they also throw into the mix questions about their future once they graduate.
Even in normal times, middle school and all the changes that come with these years can be a bumpy ride for students, but the pandemic has made it especially tricky as many are struggling with new stressors, more anxiety, depression, feelings of isolation, uncertainty, and loneliness. COVID-19 has also removed comforting connections and routines in the lives of children, teens, and adults alike.These emotions can pose an obstacle to student learning and their ability to receive, process, retain and apply new information and skills needed to succeed in their future academic and professional lives.
To support students as they resume activities and events on campus, FIS has prioritized well-being. Jaia Masterson, FIS Grade 6-8 Principal, has been largely responsible for spear-heading and implementing
a program that revolves around students’ social- emotional needs. The establishment of an Advisory Program for students in Grades 6 and 7, as well as Community Time during which student achievements are celebrated, is well under way and receiving positive reactions.
Ms. Masterson shared, “More than ever, and growing from the experiences we have had over the pandemic years, we are able to see how critical and necessary it is to build strong relationships and connections with our students for their learning. Not knowing what the consequences of the pandemic will be on student wellness, we have intentionally built structures to support student-teacher relationships and positively impact students’ lives and futures.”
How does it work?
Advisors in the Middle School are a part of grade- level teams who work together to create a consistent, responsive, equitable, empowering, and engaging grade-level Advisory Program. Currently, there are 12 advisory teachers per grade level, which allows to maintain the number of “advisees” approximately at a 1:11 ratio. This low advisor to student ratio ensures that every student is well-connected to at least one
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