Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
Washington schools newsletter
Social-Emotional Learning is an essential part of education and development. At WMS, we strive to provide opportunities for our students to learn and apply skills such as self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, positive decision making, and healthy relationships. To do this, all students participate in Social Emotional Learning (SEL) lessons every Monday during Demon Time. The lessons are taught by classroom teachers and follow the Capturing Kids’ Hearts curriculum, which is implemented districtwide. Our teachers also strive to provide classroom environments that implement Capturing Kids’ Hearts (CKH) processes which foster relationships, create accountability, and improve academic performance.
Meeting the social-emotional needs of our students takes a village. We love having community partnerships to help guide and invest in our students. Transportation and financial burdens are a few factors that prevent students from getting the support they truly need. A few years ago, our district received a grant where we are able to partner with Grace C. Mae Advocate Center to allow therapists and Behavioral Health Intervention Services (BHIS) to work with students at no cost to the family. Many students are able to be seen at school when it works best in their schedule, limiting the amount of educational time lost. If a student is seen at the Grace C. Mae clinic, the district is able to cover the cost for transportation through the Mini Bus. We have been able to serve many students through this program!
WMS recently partnered with Iowa State Extension to provide a new outreach program called “The Mindful Teen: From Surviving to Thriving.” This curriculum will be taught to all 8th grade students during their Health class. The Mindful Teen empowers youth and equips them with practical strategies to manage stress, difficult emotions, and improve their overall well-being. A big “thank you” to ISU Extension, Mental Health Coalition, and many other community members.
Washington Middle School’s NESTT Center provides an additional layer of support for any student needing an opportunity to develop and practice social, emotional, and behavioral health skills. The NESTT acronym stands for Navigating Emotions and Stress Through Teaching. Our NESTT Center provides students multiple opportunities to learn and practice new ways of communicating needs, emotional regulation techniques, and social skills. By providing these services, NESTT enhances the student's sense of safety and regulatory ability, both of which contribute to enhancing their overall academic achievement.
To support students' academic success and overall well-being, WMS staff work hard to teach social, emotional, behavioral, and mental health skills throughout their academic lessons. The social emotional supports provided to WMS students help to break down the barriers and stigma associated with mental health and allows students a safe opportunity to explore their emotions. Students are encouraged to continue practicing and developing these skills so that they are confidently able to handle everyday stressors.