I’m excited to welcome you all to the 2018-19 school year!
As part of our mission to remain student-centered and offer integrated academic and social-emotional supports to all of the children we serve, Davisville Academy is beginning the 2018-19 school year with a focus on explicitly integrating emotional, and behavioral learning competencies into our academic instructional practices and we have already begun the work of integrating this holistic approach into our practices.
To set the foundation for our work this year, staff received copies of Age of Opportunity: Lessons from the New Science of Adolescence by Dr. Laurence Steinberg to read over the summer. While the title of the book specifically focuses on adolescent children, Lawrence’s findings inform our work with all children: namely, that children who learn and practice self-regulation are more likely to complete more years of school, earn more money, and obtain jobs in competitive fields.
Using the information presented by Steinberg on brain development and the importance of purposefully teaching self-regulation to children, our middle and secondary teachers attended a 3-day training in August to begin to specifically tailor the rigorous North Kingstown academic curriculum to our student population through the meaningful and deliberate alignment of the Rhode Island Social & Emotional Learning (RI SEL) Standards to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). We believe that this skills-based approach to education will not only enhance the quality of the instruction taking place within the classroom, but will enable students to begin to understand themselves as unique and multifaceted individuals with a variety of strengths and skills that can be applied across settings and situations. During the training, teachers collaboratively searched for entry points in their curricula to integrate skills-based lessons into their academic lessons, such as adding explicit instruction on asking meaningful and scientific questions during group discussions or respectfully considering multiple perspectives during an academic debate.
During the last 2 days of our August training, all K-12 DA staff received training from Dr. Robert Miranda, Jr., Director of the Adolescent Co-Occurring Disorders Program at Bradley Hospital and Associate Professor at Brown University, and Dr. Lora Helton, North Kingstown District Clinical Psychologist, on the development and implementation of specific and targeted behavior intervention plans. In addition to this 2-day training opportunity, all DA staff will be receiving coaching and feedback on highly effective implementation strategies and data monitoring from Dr. Miranda and Dr. Helton periodically throughout the school year.
I am very much looking forward to working with all of our students and families and continuing to improve our service delivery model to ensure that each child is receiving a comprehensive education that will prepare them for success in their social, educational, and emotional lives.
Michelle Grimaldi, C.A.G.S.
Davisville Academy Principal