/Delta elementary school first in nation to pilot online program with emphasis on compassion

Delta elementary school first in nation to pilot online program with emphasis on compassion

Nonprofit Mississippi News CLARKSDALE – Mrs. Leigh Frazier’s fourth-grade class from Kirkpatrick Health & Medical Science Magnet School walked in to the gym at 8:00 a.m. on Sept. 19. They were immediately greeted by high fives and “How are you?” comments from Tom Davidson (CEO of a Washington-based educational technology company). Their principal, SuzAnne Walton announced that the Compassion Project, a relatively new online learning program – created by Davidson’s company EverFi – would be piloted in their country. This program aims to improve students’ social and emotional learning (SEL), with a special emphasis on compassion. According to the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning, a policy-based organization that supports SEL in education, social and emotional learning refers to when people and children learn skills that allow them to make informed decisions, manage their emotions, feel empathy for others, and establish positive relationships. Walton stated, “One of our goals for Kirkpatrick’s students is to try and educate the whole child – not just academically but also morally – and to teach them the right way to go… because this skill is so important for their future jobs as well as school.” Davidson, one co-founder of EverFi, stated that the innovative education technology company EverFi launched the program in August. It took over a year for it to develop. He said that Jeff Weiner, CEO at LinkedIn, was crucial in the launch of the program. It offers digital resources, local support, and free financial education. The Compassion Project creators claim that these skills are often left out of teacher’s curriculum because they place more emphasis on science and math. According to a brief overview of the course, they argue that social and emotional skills should be given equal attention because it improves students’ sense of well-being as well as the learning environment. EverFi’s Jackson-based special project manager Carmen Gross said, “As an education technology company, we’re trying to influence students who don’t succeed outside of the classroom and go into areas that have the technology or lack the access.” Each lesson takes approximately 20 minutes to complete. These courses are aligned with state educational standards. Students will be taught how to identify emotions and practice kindness, empathy and compassion, mindfulness and growth mindset, as well as how to define and practice compassion. Students receive a grade or score after each lesson. Students can take lessons back to improve their grades if they’re not satisfied with the grade. Students receive a certificate that recognizes their achievements after the program has been completed. EverFi, a start-up company that was founded in 2010, offered teachers in Alabama and the Mississippi Delta the chance to offer their first courses on financial literacy. “I had the idea, but I wasn’t sure how to make it happen. Davidson said that he drove all the way from Washington, D.C. to Clarksdale. “I began talking to people in schools about this idea and I asked them what the best way was to teach third-graders and fourth-graders and fifth-graders and high school students about it, and how can I make it work on a computer that makes sense. You know what? Over 40 million children have taken those courses ten years later. It all began in Clarksdale Mississippi. “After that initial visit, Davidson returned to Clarksdale with his team five years later. Because of the relationships he established, Davidson returned to Clarksdale in order to let students pilot the Compassion project first. He stressed the importance and definition of compassion during his meeting with students. It is about caring for someone in need, seeing them, then helping them. According to a recent study by the National Network of State Teachers of the Year, students who participate in social and emotional learning programs experience a rise in grit and growth mindset. This is correlated with significant academic gains such as higher grades, attendance and scores on achievement tests. While factors such as peer and parental support can influence a child’s academic performance, research has shown that the most influential factors in improving student achievement are those in the school environment, such as teacher support. Frazier said that while it is the responsibility of educators to teach students academically, it also falls to them to teach social skills. She added that it doesn’t take away the core subjects by incorporating social and emotional skills into day-to-day learning. Frazier hopes that her children will remember Kirkpatrick as a place where they were loved, accepted and a part of a larger family as they grow up. “I hope they will one day say “Mrs. Frazier, did you know that we were the first to do this project ?’,”? she asked. “Seeing our children down the road and seeing them move on is one of my most rewarding experiences as an educator. To have them come back to you and remember things they said or did 10 or 15 years back.”_x000D