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Laconia High School: Freedom Found
Moving into the second semester of the school year, Freedom Found is continuing to run strong and is prepping for the events, programs and themes of mid-Winter. As always, we use nature, seasonal metaphors and everything around us to help ignite student insight and instill the values of connection, mindfulness, solutions and strength-based approaches to challenges.
One way the group continues to do this is by emphasizing peer support and incorporating weekly themes or lessons aimed at educating, empowering and inspiring youth to live with heart and courage. Also, in order to help offset the lethargy and low moods that can sometimes set in during the winter months, we will be guiding Freedom Found students through a variety of energizing and strength-building routines during our Weekend Warrior series, which take place on Saturdays. Our goals here are understanding and enhancing mind, body, emotions and energy, as well as improving leadership abilities so that these students will not only be more able to handle the demands of a NH winter and their own physical fitness, but also will be better equipped to navigate the storms and flurries of everyday life at home and school.
In addition, we will once again be participating in AMTP’s Annual Youth Summit, which is scheduled to take place at Lakes Region Community College on March 25th. This event will be a follow-up to last year’s program and the issues in our community that were brought up by local youth. The three major topics we will be addressing are Substance Abuse, Self-Harm/Suicidality among teens, and Bullying. Freedom Found members are excited to attend and add their voice to these conversations, as these topics fall in line with what Freedom Found also addresses and stands for.
Onward and upward into the second half of our 2016 school year!
LRCC – Annual NH Youth Summit
The focus of this years’ Youth Summit, of which Freedom Found members and facilitators were a part, was to move forward in addressing the three most salient and critical issues within the community and school environments identified by last years’ summit attendees. These topics of concern were: substance misuse, suicide & self-harm, and bullying. With the intent to empower young students and continue the momentum of the insights and goals achieved at last year’s Summit, we engaged in reflective discussion and group activities to review these concerns and determine some of the structures, systems and supports that will be helpful in creating solutions for addressing these critical problems.
The morning began with an introduction and guest speaker, and also involved break-out groups, a meal, small and large-group discussions, share-out of ideas, and action-step planning for the upcoming months. We also identified teams of students who could help to monitor and carry out these action steps within the specified time-frames throughout this year and next.
By involving teens of varying ages, grade levels, backgrounds and interests, youth involvement and inclusive collaboration were emphasized. By being a part of such an event, these thoughtful youth become budding leaders in their own right. They were able to experientially learn the value and effectiveness of strengths-based thinking, advocacy, cooperation, goal-setting, and action-step planning while being part of the changes they wish to see in their school and community.
Laconia Middle School has a new Site Coordinator!
My name is Kaylah Barton and I am the Site Coordinator for Project Extra at the Laconia Middle School. I grew up in Franklin NH and graduated from Plymouth State University with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and a certification in secondary education. I was most recently employed at Belmont Middle School with their seventh grade team. I have a love for theater, Frisbee, all things Harry Potter, cats, and mathematics among many other interests.
Through the remainder of this year, I want to watch this program grow. My plans for the program include more choices for structured activities throughout the week. I also would like to develop open lines of communication with the parents to show that we are a team and to also create a more secure program for the students.
If you have any questions or would like to get to know me further, I can be reached via email at email@example.com or by calling or texting (603) 455-1736.
Elm Street School
FRC and Project EXTRA collaborated this Spring to provide a family dinner night and parent education session. We had a great turn out for the 3 Family Nights. Students were able to join in activities while parent were able to support each other and learn how we can better support our children. We want to thank everyone that were involved in making this new these new events a success.
This spring we have added a few new classes and have continued some very popular ones as well. Students and staff work together to create a great schedule for the spring session.
It’s A Mystery
Artist in Art NEW
Our Student Leadership Committee is working together to create an end of the year celebration. They are working together to come up with a theme for the last week along with a fun schedule full of silly, fun and memorable activities. Student Leadership is also brainstorming some great ideas for next year’s school year. They are so excited to share their plans with everyone!
Pleasant Street School
Pleasant Street School Project EXTRA students are enjoying their spring session enrichment activities. Do you know what a tessellation is? The students in Computer Smartz do! A tessellation is when a shape is repeated over and over again covering an area without gaps or overlaps. Students in the class were able to create their tessellation using multicolored pattern blocks and then created one using the Shodor Tessellate Interactive website. Other students are engaged in enriching activities like basketball, drama, drawing comic strip characters, and creating rap music on iPads. Students in What’s the Weather enjoyed making a rain gage. The water in the gage is measured and graphed weekly. All the Project EXTRA students enjoyed a visit from Pemi (short for Pemigewasset) the service dog.
Woodland Heights School
Welcome to Spring! The staff and students at WHS Project EXTRA are excited with our recent, albeit sporadic, ability to use the great outdoors with ease. We are taking advantage of this decent weather and have been getting the kids out to play in the fresh air and green grass.
Once play time is over our students participate in team building activities, board game playing to build strategy skills and reinforce problem solving skills, and completing both long term and daily goals in the game Minecraft. Students have also been building their math skills through a computer program called SumDog and have been developing their planning and math skills with Strategy Card Club.
Our major focus of the Spring Session has been working on planning, building and decorating a variety of games for our end of the year Carnival. We are hoping to branch out into the field this year for the first time and offer larger games for students to play in small teams. So lets hope for some great weather!
Before signing off for the year, I would like to say Thank You to our Woodland Heights and Project EXTRA communities, which includes all staff, students and families. This year was met with some great difficulties and our community really helped to support each other and forge ahead. It was a testament to our strength and resiliency and I hope that this sense of community only grows as we continue forward.
Project EXTRA-Laconia School District
Christine Gingerella: Program Director
603-524-5710 ext. 314
Beth Vachon: Assistant Program Director
603-524-5710 ext. 321
Jacob Colby: Woodland Heights School Site Coordinator
Ken Martin: Laconia High School Site Coordinator
Aja Montague: Elm Street School Site Coordinator
Patricia Quinn: Pleasant Street School Site Coordinator
Kaylah Barton: Laconia Middle School Site Coordinator