Washington Discovery AcademyWashington Discovery Academy has been named a New Tech Network spotlight school for social-emotional learning. During the Plymouth School Board meeting on Tuesday, WDA Principal Lauren Cooper shared a video highlighting the process for receiving the award and comments from WDA staff who helped with the application to New Tech. Cooper said, “It was a long application process. We worked as a team to really reflect and grow on our practices.”

Copper said, “This is a huge honor to be one of the first spotlight schools for New Tech Network.”

Brenda Lewis, social worker, said, “It was so important for us to be addressing that side of student learning-not just academic, but you know we are addressing the whole student.” ”We implemented community circles and that went so well that we kind of kept adding on and are implementing in our staff meetings.”

Cooper said they have included all of the school’s staff as they are learning to support each other. She said, “Our office staff and everybody went through our training and support…all of our support teachers, instructional aides, cafeteria (staff), recess helpers, and all our classroom teachers.”

Kendall Hoover is a facilitator at the school. She said, “We each get a chance to say where we are for the day as far as our social-emotional well being. She added, “We are seeing more and more kids come to school without the skills they need socially to work problems out on their own. In order to have them do that, we had to work with our staff first so that we understood how to work on problems that would arise in the workplace and talk about it with each other without getting offended.”

The students are given an opportunity to express their feeling as well.

Nikki Tredway serves as a second grade facilitator. “Allowing students to support each other as they are learning about each other, but learning also their social skills is important. We are modeling all those things as well.” Tredway said.

Lewis feels that there should be a focus on social-emotional areas. “It’s okay to talk about this and actually your mental health is just as important to your physical health and just as important as academics.”

Carol Anders Correspondent