Sousa Elementary School to implement new conflict management program

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John Phillip Sousa Elementary School will implement a new program this fall that will provide students and staff with the tools to better understand emotions and conflict management as part of the school’s social and emotional learning initiative.

Three Sousa teachers attended a program at Yale University over the summer to learn the program’s focus: RULER, which stands for recognizing, understanding, labeling, expressing and regulating, according to a news release.

“RULER is an evidence-based approach to establishing a common language and tools to foster healthy relationships, enhance well-being, achieve improved academic performance and reduce bullying and aggressive behavior in young students,” said the Port Washington superintendent of schools, Dr. Kathleen Mooney. “This is an amazing initiative inspired by ‘Sousa Strong.’”

School counselor Jennifer Biblowitz, school psychologist Dr. Nadine Fitoussi and teacher Suzanne Potucek attended the two-day program and will be in charge of implementing it at Sousa.

The program, the release said, was made possible by the support of the Ed. Foundation and its Home School Association.

According to the release, “Four key tools will be infused under RULER: a school developed charter that spells out how the staff and students aspire to treat each other; a ‘mood meter’ that will help students and educators monitor how their emotions change throughout the day; meta-moment training, which utilizes specific strategies for dealing with strong emotional reactions; and a blueprint for managing conflict.”

The first three key tools will be introduced over the course of the 2016-17 school year to all of the 600 students and the school’s staff, the release said. The program will be integrated into a wide range of activities and different subject areas, the release said.

The school principal, Dr. David Meoli, said that the RULER curriculum “can be used to train new staff and students every year.”

“We thank the Ed. Foundation and Sousa HSA for supporting this wonderful extension to Sousa Strong,” Meoli said.  “Our school is committed to sharing our experiences from RULER with other elementary schools in Port and throughout the community.”

By Stephen Romano

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