Educating the Whole Child: Creating an Inclusive and Supportive Environment


On January 4th the Education Committee hosted a First Friday Forum: Educating the Whole Child: Creating an Inclusive and Supportive Environment. Forty people attend the event. Mike Mastrullo, CCHS Principal spoke about Challenge Success a program that questions the definition of success and focuses on student well-being in addition to academic achievement. Justin Cameron, Concord Middle School Principal talked about HOME BASE, a Concord Middle School advisory program. Developed by teachers, the program increases the availability of adults to meet with students throughout the day. Sherree Foye, Alcott Counselor described Open Circle, a social-emotional learning program where teachers are trained to hold sessions with their class to problem-solve and work on community building. Matt Lucey, Willard Principal shared some mindfulness activities meant to provide students with a set of strategies to build a coping toolkit to maintain their own health. Andrew Nyamekye, METCO Director, gave a brief overview of the history and present demographics of the METCO program. Sharon Young, Alcott Principal shared information about the district-wide and school-based professional development training for the faculty and staff in cultural competency, as well as our efforts to hire teachers of diverse backgrounds. Angel Charles, Thoreau Principal provided information relative to new programs in place at Thoreau that allow students with multiple or specific needs to receive service in the local school setting. She also spoke to a renewed commitment to growing and fostering this mindset across the schools. Comments from the audience were thoughtful and pertinent and included a question about how programs are assessed for effectiveness, suggestions for how to inform the population of special education opportunities and praise for creating inclusive classrooms for students with special needs. Special thanks to all the participants, who took time out of their busy schedules to share details of the important work they are doing in the schools. And to Laurie Hunter who assembled the cast and framed the program to address Student Wellness, Cultural Competency and Special Education initiatives. Also, thanks to the members of the education committee who facilitated the Minute Man TV set up, took photos, prepared the programs, publicized the event, brought coffee and provided much-needed support.


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