Dear NHS Community,
Of the many acronyms you may hear in the school setting, one is applicable to everyone: SEL. It stands for Social Emotional Learning. As you know, the school day has academic components and social components. People used to think about social times as only being during lunch or recess or less structured times of the day. Now, we recognize that social interactions are part of all learning and it is so important to be sure our students develop the necessary skills to succeed in school and beyond. They need to be able to express their thoughts AND listen to the thoughts and ideas of others. They need to be able to respond respectfully and thoughtfully to the ideas of others. They don’t have to always agree, but do need to learn to disagree respectfully. Students need to feel the emotional safety that a strong school and classroom can offer in order to be ready to learn academics. At NHS, our teachers work to create this environment. We strive to make it one where it is OK to make a mistake, where it is OK to be yourself, and where we support one another. We recognize that we are not perfect, nor are our students. When mistakes happen--both social and academic--we try to provide a context for learning to do better.
Our SEL curriculum in the elementary grades is called “Open Circle.” During an Open Circle meeting, there is a seat that is left empty intentionally. This is to illustrate that all are welcome and there is always a seat for you here. Elementary parents may hear their children mention learning about shared vocabulary like, ‘school listening look’ or how to respond to ‘annoying behavior.’ They learn to identify emotions and ‘dangerous and destructive’ (D & D) behaviors. They learn strategies to manage emotions and can refer to classroom posters about things like “Positive Self Talk.” It is our hope that Open Circle time in the classroom is a time students look forward to. Teachers can also call a ‘problem solving’ meeting if the need arises. Research has shown that Open Circle unites schools with common language, increases students’ use of prosocial and critical thinking skills, strengthens educators’ SEL skills, and reduces negative behaviors in school.
In the Middle School grades, SEL and Health content are taught in grades 6-8 using a connected curricular model. Middle School students begin by setting goals. Sixth graders participate in weekly check in sessions and are encouraged to advocate for themselves. The middle school teachers provide opportunities and requirements for students to work together in pairs and teams regularly.
In all grades, Ms. Vas and Mr. Guidi lead many lessons in either Open Circle, SEL, Health, or Outdoor Education that support the development and practice of socials skills. Classroom teachers support the development and practice of SEL on a daily basis. Skills and attributes that make up SEL (social emotional learning) can be seen in the categories on the graphic below.
We hope our work in this area is evident and meaningful to you and your family. It is our hope that our students feel a strong sense of belonging at NHS. As a staff, we are appreciative of the support from families, the community, and our school board. They say ‘it takes a village,’ and North Hampton’s support of our school is felt each day. Thank you.
Please see two attached flyers. One is for the school Spelling Bee and the other is for a PAL sponsored event in January.
Winter Parent-Teacher Conferences
We will be scheduling Parent-Teacher Conferences during the week of Feb. 3, 2020. We will be offering extended hours on Wednesday, Feb. 5th. This is an early release day so conferences will be available beginning at 12:45 that day. Your child’s teacher will contact you to schedule a time.
Please see the website that Mrs. Zavez has created for information about the Middle School Spring Musical, “The Little Mermaid.”
It’s already time to think about kindergarten registration for the 2020-2021 school year. We are busy putting together information for incoming parents and families. Kelly Ford has drafted a press announcement that will go to local newspapers this month. We hope to connect with families and provide the registration information during the month of February. We will have our Kindergarten Registration and Parent Information Night on March 12 from 6:00-7:00 PM. Kelly will be there to collect forms and the teachers will be presenting information about school experiences at NHS. We will have an orientation day for students on June 5. Students will come by appointment to see the school, meet the teachers, and take a tour. We look forward to welcoming the next group of NHS kindergartners!
Dates to remember
Jan. 16: Gr. 4 Play “Geology Rocks” at 5:30 PM
Jan. 16: PAL meeting at 6 PM
Jan. 20: No school--Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Jan. 23: Spelling Bee at 5:30 PM
Jan. 30: Grade 5 Musical at 6 PM
Jan. 31: Winter Wonderland Grade 7 & 8 Middle School Dance 7-9 PM
Feb. 3-7: Parent Conferences scheduled by appointment during this week
Feb. 5: Early Release Day--12:00 dismissal
Feb. 6: North Hampton School Board meeting at 6:30 PM
Feb. 11: No school: NH Primary Election Day and Staff Development Day
March 12: Kindergarten Registration and Parent Information Night 6-7 PM