SEL Awardee

Patricia Rice

Waimea Middle Public Conversion Charter School
Ho'okako'o Corporation
Kamuela, HI
“We know that middle school is a crucial time. As students encounter and struggle with social and emotional changes that occur during this transitionary period to adulthood, it's extremely important that they have adult role models who care about them. Seventy-two percent of our students qualify for free or reduced meals, and their parent(s) are struggling to make ends meet, often working two or more jobs. Many of our children come from one-parent families. Our teachers work with 100 or more students and cannot provide the one-on-one supports every student requires. If students believe that there is somebody at school who believes in them, they will feel more connected to school. The greater students' connections to school, the more likely they are to stay in school. The National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Division of Adolescent and School Health, defines school connectedness as :the belief held by students that the adults and peers in their school care about their learning as well about themselves as individuals". The mentoring program at WMPCCS recruits community volunteers to work one-on-one with middle school students who are willing to participate and whose parents/guardians give permission. Volunteers come from many professions within the community and commit to meeting with their mentees at least one time per month, but usually once per week or once every other week. They help students process and practice the social-emotional skills essential for their development and, above all, encourage and support their mentees during these difficult times.”
Tags: Charter School, Indigenous Communities, Middle School, Rural, Teacher