Most of the time our children are doing well at school. They are “in the flow.” Sometimes, though, they experience challenges. For one reason or another they feel out of kilter with their teacher and classmates. Their challenges may have to do with the social realm (“They’re being mean to me.”); learning challenges (“Everyone knows how to read except me.”); or, occasionally, acting out, misbehavior, or non-compliant behavior (“I don’t have to if I don’t want to; you can’t make me.”)
Student Support Services
Three Streams of Care for Student Support:
Social and emotional well-being is a prerequisite for academic success. Juniper Ridge Community School is committed to providing a foundation for healthy learning by supporting those students who are experiencing challenges. This commitment is the foundation of the curriculum and the heart of our work at JRCS. We have adopted our Three Care Streams of Student Support process in order to provide as much support as possible for students who are experiencing social, disciplinary, or learning challenges. It is based on the work of Kim John Payne, who is respected worldwide for helping children, parents, and teachers navigate challenge as well as conflict.
Under the guidance of the Student Support Coordinator our school has three branches of
Discipline and Guidance
Learning & Remedial Support
Underlying Premises of the Three Streams Work
Accountability rather than blame. When things are going wrong we must set them right. Each person involved can take some responsibility. Empathy is key to success in life. Our interventions seek to build empathy in the children so that they can learn to stand in one another’s shoes.
A child who misbehaves is a disoriented child. If we realize that a child who is pushing the behavioral boundaries is disoriented, we approach the child differently – less punitively – than we do when we see their behaviors as intentionally naughty or disruptive.
Conflict is a necessary part of being human. If we expect that we can remove all conflict from our children’s lives, we set ourselves up for frustration. Conflict is a given, and most of us have learned our greatest lessons from the conflicts we’ve experienced. Our task is to let children know that we are there, guiding them through their conflicts so that they may learn constructive lessons from them.
Our task is to remove hindrances to learning. Children who experience learning challenges present us with a riddle: What is the key that unlocks their capacities? As educators and parents, our work is to seek these keys and support the child to find areas of success.
We begin with implicit approaches before moving to explicit approaches. Implicit means “not directly expressed.” In other words, it’s a process that is there, but the children are not necessarily aware of it. The Waldorf curriculum is rich in implicit approaches to social and emotional challenges. In fact, much of the Three Care Streams work is not apparent to the parent body or the students because it is implicit – embedded in the stories, pictures, artwork, speech, music, theatre, and rhythms of the lessons. When the teacher tells the class a story about a character who could never forgive, and describes the hardships this caused him in his working life, this is an example of using a story to address the difficulties that one or more of her students is experiencing.
On the other hand, an explicit approach directly addresses a situation in the class or with an individual child. Explicit approaches range from “light touch” (“Children, is this a raising our hands and taking turns time, or is it a speaking out time?”) to “heavy touch” (possible a behavior change plan for an individual child). When we support a child, we begin with the lightest touch possible. If that doesn’t work, we move on to more explicit, heavier-touch approaches.
Students who have been identified as having special needs will receive support based on their Individual Education Plans (IEPs). Students who are considered “gifted” will receive consideration to meet their needs and support their continued growth in school. The RTI Process will be followed for students whose needs are not being met or for whom there are concerns. (See RTI below) An RTI meeting will be convened to discuss the needs of a child requiring special consideration. This team is made up of teachers, Administrative Director and parents of the child. Accommodations will be discussed to assist the child to become successful in areas of concern.
Response to Intervention (RTI)
Students who are below grade level, by our curriculum standards, will be given support to increase student achievement. In cases where a teacher realizes a student needs help, he/she will put accommodations in place to support the child’s learning. Progress made will be documented by the teacher to determine if this approach is working. If not, new accommodations should be put in place. Such RTIs will require follow up meetings to determine success of the accommodations and support systems. If they are not working, the plan will be altered until success is achieved.
Individual Health Plan (IHP):
If your child has a medical condition that requires support, administration of medications, or care during the school day, an Individual Health Plan (IHP) should be drafted with the school nurse. In order to draft a health plan that includes the administration of medications, a form with a qualified healthcare professional’s signature must be provided by the parents to the school nurse. Forms are available in the front office. To request a meeting with the school nurse to discuss health concerns, please contact Megan Murray at [email protected].