Maple School District Sees Success With Sensory Grant

MAPLE, Wisc. – “No matter what happens during the day, we will love them no matter what,” Elementary School Counselor, Kara Hietala says.

It’s a process newly integrated into the maple school district.

“Getting really at the root of what is going on really in their own lives and helping them be able to problem solve and get through that,” Hietala says.

Being recognized as a trauma sensitive school allows teachers to meet all of the students needs.

“Not only the academic needs but also the social and emotional needs because we know that students will not academically achieve without those social and emotional needs met,” Northwestern Elementary School Principal, Brad Larrabee says.

Now in phase two of a special grant, the district continues to have some of the highest test scores in the state of Wisconsin.

“My hope would be that the department of public instruction for every state takes a good look at the success that we are having and that other school districts are having and tries to replicate that so everybody has access to those training’s for their teachers,”Larrabee says.

Maple teachers are now equipped with different learning tools such as: a newly installed sensory path, morning greetings and meeting routines.

“When they feel that way- valued and respected and safe- they are able to then take educational risks and social risks and become a little bit more involved in their own education and learning,” Northwestern Elementary School 4th Grade Teacher, Beth Lindberg says.

With roughly thirteen hundred students in a district spanning five hundred square miles, teachers believe bringing these strategies back to the classroom helps build better relationships with the students for an optimal learning environment.

“We’re building trust with that student. We’re helping them be part of the choice: what’re going to make this better. So I feel like we’re having better responses from those students,” Middle School Counselor, Erika Kaufman says.

“They really push us to be involved here. There’s tons of clubs that we could be involved in later in college that’ll help prepare us for life later on,” Northwestern High School Senior, Jagar Stillson says.

Because of a lack of funding, the district has been forced to get creative by taking advantage of other educational methods.

The trauma sensitive schools grant helps teachers bring more than just academics to the classroom.

“Those, I guess, love and caring moments where we have our students needing them the most. That’s when our teachers are there for them,” Larrabee says.

Out of 419 school districts in the State of Wisconsin, 54 schools received the trauma sensitive schools grant.

The Maple School district is one of just a handful of schools in Northwest Wisconsin to receive the grant.

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