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School reaches out to kids

For Scotia-Glenville Middle School teacher Dan Elliot, the program he teaches known as Capturing Hearts, was supposed to be a lesson for the students in caring and connecting. Elliot told the board of education at Monday, Jan. 28, night's meeting that he is the one who has learned a thing or two.

"This is a class that transforms many of our students who are at risk for a number of different reasons. What I have learned is that I have to model what I want from my kids. It has made me a better husband, father, teacher, person. I am so happy to be a part of this amazing process," said Elliot.

Elliot is part of a team of teachers who are administering different outreach programs to the district's sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students. Principal Sheri Keller said that even though they can't claim success with every student, the results have been better than she had anticipated.

"First of all, I want to thank the board of education for their dedication to these programs, as well as our staff of about 10 teachers. We have had a dramatic decrease in behavioral referrals and incidents. The kids are responding and school morale is high," said Keller.

In addition to academic programs, the school has implemented a reward and points system where the fewer points a student has, the better. She said the students are rewarded with field trips, snack breaks and other fun activities for good behavior, which includes showing respect for others and taking responsibility. The school is using friendly competitions and even a new school radio station, MSBC, to boost morale and a sense of community.

"We plan to build upon these different programs. We have looked at what other districts are doing, and we feel we have a solid starting point to build upon," said Keller.

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