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Houston Elementary creates Culture of Caring

Thanks to guidance lessons presented by DISD counselor Connie Patton, students at Houston elementary start their school days by asking themselves a simple but powerful question: What would it look like for every student to feel a sense of belonging and acceptance . . . and what can each of us do to make that happen?

Patton says she chose the interactive program QuaverSEL (SEL stands for Social and Emotional Learning) for her campus-wide guidance lessons because it’s primary mission is to create a culture of caring in elementary schools around the world -- starting right here at home.

“Our kids love being a part of something bigger than themselves, something that they can contribute to in hopes of making our school, our community and our world a better place for everyone,” said Patton. “It’s been proven that when students feel valued and cared for, they are happier and achieve more academically. Likewise, as educators, we are more successful in our work when we strive to educate and support the whole child.”

Patton says educating the whole child according to SEL guidelines gives students a strong foundation for support in all areas and stages of life. It helps students develop healthy identities, manage emotions, achieve personal and collective goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships, and make responsible and caring decisions.

Dr. David Kirkbride, Assistant Superintendent, agrees wholeheartedly. “Growing and educating successful students who are also great people is a Denison ISD tradition that began many years ago with such programs and events as our DISD 5K for Kindness, Rachel’s Challenge and many other positive behavior programs. We plan to continue and grow this important mission as we move forward, ensuring that every Denison child gets the guidance, instruction and support they need to become successful community members and productive citizens.”

Patton says she tries to make each of her guidance lessons as interactive and impactful as possible. “There are so many wonderful resources within our community, if we just take the time to discover them. The Ethiopian clothing for our recent Appreciating Diversity lesson was provided by a member of The Refuge, whose parents were missionaries and worked in Ethiopia. The clothing made the learning experience a lot more real and global for our students…and much more meaningful and relevant right before our recent Martin Luther King national holiday. We love this program at Houston because it enriches and improves everyone’s lives, both now and in the future.”

Two Houston elementary 4th graders, AJ and Dayton, learned about Ethiopian culture during a recent SEL (Social and Emotional Learning) program presented by Houston counselor Connie Patton. The goal: to create a culture of caring and acceptance in elementary schools around the world – starting right here at home.

Jayleen and Camryn, 4th grade students at Houston elementary, modeled Ethiopian scarves and dresses during counselor Connie Patton’s recent “Appreciating Diversity” lesson, one of many presentations designed to create a culture of caring among students. “It’s been proven that when students feel valued and cared for, they are happier and achieve more academically,” said Patton.


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