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Davenport school board briefed on benefits of good student mental health

Davenport school board briefed on benefits of good student mental health

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The J.B. Young Center is home to the Davenport Community School District's administrative offices.

The Davenport Community School District board got a presentation Monday about the benefits good mental health has for students as well as tips for helping them maintain it.

The material is based on information issued by the state, according to the presentation. It was then organized into booklets by the Network for Community and School Partnership and the tips for families were developed by the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach in Scott County.

“We know in education that brain function is hierarchical and so children feel first then they think,”said Jennifer Best, of the Extension, during the presentation, which was at the board's regular meeting.

If educators don’t know how to meet the social and emotional needs of students, those students won’t be learning as effectively, she said. A purposeful focus on social and emotional development can help create an environment that fosters better learning.

“They’re coming to school ready to learn because they have those skills,” Best said.

TJ Schneckloth was hired by the Davenport Community School District board on Monday, Jan. 25, 2021 as the district superintendent

The tips were organized into four different booklets based on age: kindergarten through 2nd Grade, 3rd through 5th Grade, 6th through 8th Grade and high school. Each covers a wide variety of topics — including managing emotions and goal setting — tailored to the age group being discussed.

Electronic versions of the tips booklets have been distributed to the district’s schools, and will be further distributed through the district, including on its website, according to discussion during the meeting.

They are also available in electronic form in the board agenda. Links to each version are incorporated into the online version of this article on the newspaper’s website.

“We know that social and emotional learning programming can have a positive impact way beyond the years that students actually receive that education,” Best said.

Best said benefits for students participating in social and emotional learning programs include showing improved classroom behavior, and increased ability to manage stress and mental health issues.

“They have better attitudes about themselves and others in school,” she said.

They show increased academic growth compared to students who do not have access to social and behavioral learning programs, Best said.

Also during Monday night's meeting, the board approved offering another round of early retirement for district employees.

The board voted unanimously to adopt the program. All members of the board were present.

“This plan is designed to show our appreciation for our staff’s service, to aid in the transition into retirement, and to allow flexibility with certified staffing requirements,” according to an outline provided in Monday’s agenda.

There was no discussion on the topic before the vote.

Eligibility requirements include that the employee be at least 55 by June 30 and have at least 20 years of continuous employment with the district, according to the outline. The deadline for enrollment is April 13.

The district offered an early retirement program in 2020 as well.

The meeting was recorded and is available for review on the district’s YouTube page.


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