(by Karen Campbell, Weakley Co. Schools Communications Director)
Returning to classrooms this week also marks a return to after school programs, helping families ensure their children are safe and cared for until workdays conclude.
On Monday, the part-time workers who provide up to 2.5 hours of additional care, recreation and homework assistance were learning themselves.
Weakley County Schools RTI Coordinator Jessica Wade led a half-day workshop on Maintaining Good Behavior Management for the after school staff of Martin Primary, Martin Elementary, and the combined Dresden Elementary and Middle School program.
Trista Snider, who supervises the work, said the workshop was in response to a request by an after school director.
“The better we can equip you, the better our program will be,” she said in opening remarks to the 20 workers in attendance.
Using case studies and activities, Wade covered why students behave the way they do and the resulting positive, negative and corrective consequences of those actions. Workers listed several reasons students behave as they do – for attention; to please adult figures; a result of the home environment; the culture and norms of behavior in places they are familiar with such as church; fear of consequences; and incentives or rewards.
Karla Ramos directs the Martin Primary program, Kathryn Brown leads at MES, and Erin Donoho is the Dresden director. All agreed the training was helpful for workers who interact with students and are seeking to create a positive environment.
“I felt like today was very encouraging and that it equipped me to respond to students in positive ways,” said Brown. “I loved it.”
Serving at Dresden with Donoho are Allison Evans, Jenny Hopper, Jessica Hupp, Brenda Pope, Victoria Todd, Emily Youngblood. At Martin Elementary, where the program has transitioned to focus on enrichment opportunities for the students who remain after regular school hours, are Brown and Hannah Acuff, Alexis Beam, Layla Doyle, Brady Jones, Ashton Lannom, and Jessica McCall. They lead activities that also include enrichment activities in science, math, social studies, English language arts and history. At Martin Primary, Ramos is joined by Amanda Camp, Anna Comer, Cassy Griffy, and Carli Stricklin.
(photo: Weakley County Schools’ Trista Snider (seated) and Jessica Wade look on as workers in the county’s after school program take part in an activity at this week’s training session on good behavior management.)