Lincoln Park elementary's Resilient Schools program helps kids cope

- Children standing around the hallway pushing against the wall and tracing this pattern is not a time out.  
Instead a Lincoln Park school is using it as time away for kids to reboot in between learning.

"It makes me calm myself down and then I am ready to go back to class," said student Jorge Rodriguez.

"When you get in this room you can feel comfortable," said Maria Gutierrez, a student. "You can feel calm and relaxed."

Maria and Jorge are elementary school students at Raupp Elementary. They may not realize this, but they are part of something big.

Eleven schools across the district have started what's known as the Resilient Schools Team Room program.
    
"(They are) doing things like sensory diet and different exercises that are happening within the classrooms in this building," said Terry Dangerfield, Lincoln Park Schools superintendent. "It allows them to find a way to overcome, to cope, and to address maybe how they are feeling, if they are not ready to learn. Maybe there is a stress going on in their life, it gives them an avenue for them to settle their minds and reset themselves and be prepared to get the most out of their education."

The idea behind these rooms meant to reset, is simple.  It gives them a sensory experience to calm down, focus and then go back.

Because kids often go through adversity and trauma in their lives, so how then can they be expected to perform at the same level as kids who don't have these issues?
   
"What happens in childhood matters," said Nicole Chubb, director of special education. "Trauma is an experience for children even beginning in infancy through early childhood. What happens to them impacts their entire life."

The director of special education knows that it influences their brains.  The resilient schools program takes into account that the way the brain works can change because of trauma.
      
"We know that a lot of our kids come to school every day with a lot of non-academic barriers that might prevent them from learning or being ready to learn," Chubb said.

This is their first year with the program which is in full effect in Lincoln Park, for a progress report we go right to the principal.

"We also saw a decrease in the number of ODRs which is Office Discipline Referrals," said Tara Randall, principal. "Which my kids were able to stay in the classroom and sustain learning rather than being removed for their behavior. 

"We also saw a decrease in out of school suspensions. as well as the amount of violent incidents in the school."


 

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