Goodyear Elementary School is trying something new this year.
Every teacher at Goodyear underwent training last week focused on addressing the social and emotional needs of the school’s students.
“We’re changing the odds for students,” said Oatanisha Dawson, principal at Goodyear. “That’s my total focus.”
Dawson brought in Rhonda Vincent, from the Momentous Institute in Texas, to spend the day training Goodyear’s teachers in a program that helps students maintain their emotional health and helps teachers form relationships with each student.
“It puts more focus on what we try to do anyways,” said Amy Hawkins, who has taught at Goodyear for 16 years. “It does make us aware of where the kids are coming from.”
The training raised teachers’ awareness, Hawkins said, and will influence teaching styles and lesson planning.
“(Vincent) talked about the different parts of the brain and how we use those parts of the brain, what they’re for and some strategies to help kids work through emotional response,” Hawkins said. “What it centers around is forming relationships with your children, instead of it being ‘us’ against ‘them.’ We do it together.”
Vincent coached the teachers on strategies to teach students, such as breathing techniques and movements to release tension.
“A lot of times, as teachers, we kind of lose sight of the whole student,” said Tommy Beck, the physical education teacher at Goodyear. “It just helped me to understand sometimes the baggage students bring to our school, and that will help me as a teacher to better educate the students.”
Every school’s student body has its own specific needs, said Lorna Hurley, a kindergarten teacher at Goodyear. And this training program will help Goodyear’s students.
“Because of our population, we have to address more than…