2017-06-14 / Front Page

School SOARs with kindness and good behaviors

By NEIL P. ALLEN

Every student and faculty at Chester-Andover Elementary School at the June 6 school-wide assembly got to hold a part of the Chain of Kindness they created during the school year with acts of kindness, which was part of Rachel’s Challenge, a program encouraging the whole school to be more kind. — NEIL P. ALLEN PHOTOEvery student and faculty at Chester-Andover Elementary School at the June 6 school-wide assembly got to hold a part of the Chain of Kindness they created during the school year with acts of kindness, which was part of Rachel’s Challenge, a program encouraging the whole school to be more kind. — NEIL P. ALLEN PHOTOCHESTER — As the school year comes to an end, the students and faculty at Chester-Andover Elementary School (CAES) gathered for their monthly school-wide assembly on Tuesday, June 6 to find out how kind they had been during the school year through the Rachel’s Challenge program. As it turns out, the students and staff were really kind this year, and recorded 856 acts of kindness.

The students at CAES, teachers and other staff members at the school heard about Rachel Joy Scott and the program her family created to help share Rachel’s message of kindness towards others in a presentation given by Chris Mowery last September. At the end of the presentation, everyone there signed their name and made a pledge to be kind for the rest of the school year and start a Chain of Kindness.

Over the course of the school year, everyone in the school had the opportunity to put in a chain that shared something kind they saw someone do. The chain was then hung along the hallway so that everyone could see how kind they were being.

Some of the recent acts of kindness listed off by CAES guidance counselor Nicole Lewis at the assembly included talking to someone who was lonely, a teacher being patient, and a number of people helping others.

In addition to the Chain of Kindness, the fifth- and sixth-grade classes also practiced the concepts with weekly classroom guidance sessions as part of a two-year curriculum.

The number of chains tapered slightly when another program, SOAR, was introduced, which had adults — including teachers, janitors, lunch room staff, bus drivers and guidance counselors — in the school giving students plastic fish when they met the behavior expectations of the program, according to Lewis.

“Early in the program there were a lot of chains as staff and students were putting them in,” said Lewis. “When we introduced SOAR, the adults started giving out fish instead and the chains were then kid-to-kid or kid-to-adult.”

SOAR — Safe, On task, Accountable and Respectful — is part of a program called PBIS, Positive Behavior Intervention Support, which was rolled out this year along with the Rachel’s Challenge. SOAR teaches adults to use all the same vocabulary and how to model the behaviors so that there is continuity and everyone knows what is meant if someone says, “Are you being safe?”

Each day the adults in the school were tasked with giving out 10 fish to students. The fish are given to “nurture” an eagle, which is the school’s mascot. When a class has 50 fish, they could turn them into the office for an eaglet.

When the school collected a certain number of eaglets into the basket during the monthly school-wide assembly, there was a school-wide celebration. They had many over the course of the school year, according to Lewis.

“Both programs were really successful,” said Lewis.

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