Lincoln has an immediate need (start of the school year)for a calming room where kids who need a quiet place can go away from their peers to recover from a meltdown. Basically, the kids are witnessing a lot of trauma and need to learn to self-regulate. Calm rooms have been used at other schools successfully and have reduced the number and frequency of kids needing a "reset" period. The staff at Lincoln has developed a list of items to be incorporated into the proposed calm room. The cost and availability of these items were compared, and the Amazon price structure and delivery cost provided the best total cost of $790.00 to $800.00 (includes tax).
The garden shed would secure the garden tools, and create a central location on the campus for all rooms to have assigned access. The Lincoln Elementary School is located in an industrialized and slightly depressed part of Mesa, and having the shed would provide additional security on campus.
Justification for Grant Request
Four years ago student achievement levels were at an all time low for the Lincoln Elementary School. The number of students not passing the AZ Merit far outnumbered the students who did pass. This caused Lincoln Elementary to be one of the lowest performing schools in the State. During the past four years with Josh as the Principal, he provided the tools, strategies and encouragement to substantially change the student academic performance.
The current enrollment at Lincoln Elementary is 734 students, of which at least 25% have trauma that ranges from family violence, loss of a loved one, substance abuse by a family member, serious accidents, life threatening events, sexual abuse, etc. Despite the high percentage of our students experiencing some form of trauma, many students are excelling, and the teaching staff believe that they can do more.
At the beginning of the 2018-2019 academic year the faculty and administration developed a new mission and vision statement. The mission of Lincoln Elementary is to foster student growth: academically, socially, and emotionally. Again, the past four years were dedicated to improving academics. The faculty are concerned about educating the whole child. This academic year the faculty focused on social and emotional learning. They spent the year focusing on self-awareness and self-management through teaching daily Sanford Harmony lessons and using community circles. Faculty have noticed an increase in empathy, problem solving skills, and self-regulation skills.
At the end of each academic year faculty and administration take time to analyze not just the academic data, but also behavior data as well. In 2018-2019, there were 86 behavior incidents that were classified as aggression. One of the leading factors of this aggression is the trauma that students have experienced in their short life-times. These students have not had the opportunity to be taught self-regulation skills to help them when they feel angry, so often they opt to harm others. The faculty and administration of Lincoln Elementary school has made a request that the Mesa Rotary Club help fund a calming space for the students. Through the school's Title 1 budget they are able to fund a majority of the academic needs. However, the one area the budget falls short is funding social and emotional needs. Another source of community support is Casa de Amor, who will fund some calm spaces in the classroom. These calm spaces will be a tier 1 intervention to behavior needs within the classroom. The school is asking the Mesa Rotary Club to help sponsor the creation of a separate calm room.
The calming room would be created in room 21, and could serve as a dual purpose calming space and sensory space. When used as a calming room this would be a space where students would be taken if their behavior has escalated to the point where the classroom corner was not successful for them. The faculty are teaching students to identify the zone they are in. Blue signals that they are sad, sick, tired, bored; green signals that they are happy, calm, feeling okay, focused; yellow signals that they are frustrated, worried, silly; and red signals that they are mad/angry, terrified,, yelling, hitting. When the student arrives at the calm room they would identify their zone and then pick a calming strategy that aligns (coloring, sitting in a bean bag, massage chair, play dough, etc.). Once the timer goes off the students would determine their zone again. The hope is for the student to get to green, if they do after the first strategy they will debrief with the adult, and return to class. If the student does not identify with green they would go through the process again.
When Room 21 is used as a sensory room, students with Autism would be able to visit the room to obtain their sensory needs, such as weighted blankets (pressure), massage, play dough, etc. Providing these students with sensory time helps alleviate the possibility for an outburst.
Garden Shed and Garden Tools
Students can learn by doing through activities outside of the classroom, such as maintaining a student garden. Time spent working with their hands to prepare the soil, plant and grow vegetables and flowers can be a rewarding psycho motor activity that addresses the Biological Sciences. A simplified lesson in Agribusiness will explain the cycle from the farmers seed to the produce sold in grocery stores. Because of the size of the campus, a garden shed is needed to store the tools and teaching materials in close proximity to the garden. A prefab garden shed such as Tough Shed is needed, with garden tools to support a class of students.Mesa Rotarians will facilitate the Shed Assembly, and purchase the garden tools and materials suitable for a class to work together during assigned times.
Addendum to Project Description (added after the project was signed)
Location - Mesa, AZ