SEL Awardee

Elise Domico

Denair Middle School
Denair Unified School District
Denair, CA
“This project will take place at Denair Middle School. Of our 235 students, 66% are categorized as socioeconomically disadvantaged. Many of our students are raised by a single parent, grandparent or other relative. Often, male role models are not present in the home. This can leave male students without consistent guidance. We have many programs in place for our female students. After returning from the Covid-19 school closures we recognized that our boys are underserved, and they are struggling. The return to in-school learning has been difficult for them. Our project will focus on reaching our male students who are falling short of their goals, both socially and academically. We will do this through two modalities. First, we will engage these students through social emotional learning (SEL) lessons that focus on building skills in areas such as decision making, self awareness, self management, relationship skills and social awareness. These sessions will be led by a mental health clinician on a weekly basis. Second, we will harness the restorative power of nature by having our students help us refresh our campus greenhouse area. This project will become a community resource, and the proceeds will go to families within our district. We have found that our boys need a sense of purpose. Part of their challenge, especially in middle school, is that they are unable to cultivate a sense of belonging and identify what is important to them. Yet, so many of these students want to help and contribute.”
Tags: Boys and Young Men of Color, Middle School, Rural, Teacher, Traditional Public School